What a Creep!

Henry Clay Folger was an American oil tycoon and collector of Shakespeareana.  In 1930, near the end of his life, he laid the cornerstone of the Folger Shakespeare Library.  Located on Capitol Hill, the Library housed Folger’s collection of first folio editions, which was the largest in the world, along with various manuscripts and books from Shakespeare’s lifetime.  Endowed with Folger’s fortune, the mission of the Library was to enlarge Folger’s collection and foster the tycoon’s love for all things Shakespearian.

Until it became an instrument of Social Justice.

I noted this in earlier posts on theatrical performances at the Library in which Black actresses were cast as Cleopatra and Joan of Arc, and note it again because of a testimonial the Library Director sent out this morning (below).  We are, he says, “in the midst of a reckoning around racial injustice and the long history of violence against people of color,” and the sum of this tally will decide “who we are as people” and “what the Folger is as a public institution.”

Observe the omission of the article in that first phrase.  This is not simply a reckoning that will decide what Americans are as a people, but is rather a reckoning that could save (or damn) mankind.  If you read the second paragraph of the Director’s message closely, you will see that Floyd is for him a Christ who has died for our sins and whose death can set us free.

Henry Clay Folger established his Library to draw attention to the works of William Shakespeare, but the Library now exists to draw attention to “the problem of violence against people of color,” and to undo “that legacy of hurt, racial injustice, and pain.”  It has therefore, obviously, undergone the form of mission creep that we call “convergence.”  Every institution feels the gravitational pull of more prestigious institutions, and in the absence of active restraints will therefore more and more assume the mission and character of the prestigious institutions.  Thus teaching colleges naturally “creep” in the direction of research universities and soft sciences and non-sciences naturally “creep” in the direction of natural science (so-called “physics envy).  Liberal churches “creep” in the direction of sociology departments and just about every institution nowadays creeps in the direction of Social Justice.

I propose to call these last institutions the Creeps.

We can see that the Folger Shakespeare Library is a Creep when the Director tells us that it “is in the process of becoming an even more public institution, which means telling the stories of all people in a setting of abundant welcome.”  I do wonder what old Henry Clay Folger would think of that.  Not, you will note, using its “collections, programs and research” to tell the story of William Shakespeare and his times, but rather using these resources to “push back on the legacy of racism that led to this latest crisis.”

As I said, this mission creep tells us that George Floyd is now a bigger star than William Shakespeare in the mind of the Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library.

What a Creep!

17 thoughts on “What a Creep!

  1. Pingback: What a Creep! | Reaction Times

  2. Floyd’s killing was atrocious, but most of the racism I see is directed against those born with white skin. All whites are deemed as, by their nature, ‘racist’ against people of colour and guilty, somehow, of oppressing them. This condemnation is based on nothing more than the colour of white people’s skin, surely the very definition of racism. Of course, those who push this anti-white agenda are the real racists, incapable of looking at another human being and seeing anything more than the colour of their skin.

  3. It is wrong to ad hominem label anyone as “creep”, even for emotional reasons, as some people seem creepy, and the world is full of sin, pedophile priests, homophobes, lesbians (which seems creepy), homosexuals (creepy too), adulterous fornicators and former porn addicts, and so on. And such were some of you (like myself), as the NT; but we were washed by Christ in baptism, and the past is past. We should not be looking for political debates nor white supremacism nor worship of Donald J. Trump and moralizing divisiveness in this ALREADY overly divided overly POLITICAL AGE. Believe whatever you want. But no human being (and not anyone of any gender, race, or religion) is a “creep”.

    • I am guilty of some no doubt clumsy wordplay, but used the word creep primarily in the sense of “mission creep.” The concept of mission creep is not arcane and is related to concepts like “soil creep.” That’s why I mentioned “gravitational pull.” I agree with you that we are living in an “overly divided overly political age,” and this is precisely why I object to politicizing the Folger Shakespeare Library. “Convergence” is the name of the process wherein everything converges on the political, and I am against it. I am so much against it that I will combat it with whatever striking terms I can think of.

  4. JMSmith,

    I really enjoyed this. Along with Jane Austen, Shakespeare has always been a reliable source of artistic solace for me during insane times such as these. I won’t say too much about the merits of the library’s current program as it seems to have sensitive partisans in this combox. But I smile a bit thinking so many sources or irony would not be lost on the Bard, and perhaps his challenge would be to decide if this all were the stuff of Comedy, History, or Tragedy.

    • Thanks for the encouraging words. Dissent is hard when you are up against bigots who identify dissent and malignancy.

  5. You boys seem to get awfully upset about who used which word in what sort of way. Y’all apologize a lot, too, I’ve noticed.

    scottrobertharrington wrote, “But no human being (and not anyone of any gender, race, or religion) is a “creep”.” That’s just effing LAUGHABLE. Really, now. Reminds me of the Tim Keller types who start their sentences with “We have to be really careful about accusing someone of sin….” Fact is, there are LOTS of creeps out there. Lots of idiots and assholes and smarmy parasites who stand behind pulpits and live off of the wages of men who actually work for a living, too.

    Mickvet started his comment with “Floyd’s killing was atrocious, but….” WHY was it atrocious? What are you basing your comment on…the media’s reporting of the incident?

    • You seem to be saying that lots of people are creeps, which I fully agree with, but also that none are to be found in the Minneapolis police force.

      The evidence seems to me convincing that this hand-cuffed prisoner was unnecessarily choked to death. Even the media haven’t got to the point of staging incidents of this kind so realistically that they even provide a body.

      If you don’t like our style around here, you don’t have to come round.

      • It is hard to separate truth from fiction in this affair, but my understanding is that the official autopsy ruled that Floyd died of heart failure brought on by chronic coronary disease, a serious drug overdose, and the psychological trauma of his arrest. A second autopsy disputes this. Not that any of this matters at this point.

      • Easy, Mickvet. I just asked a question, and now you’re showing me the door.

        I’m not at ALL saying that there are no creeps on the MPD. Quite the contrary. I am no fan of the police — ANY police –. The police brutalize and bully my people for not wearing masks on beaches, but they stand smiling while Floyd’s pals burn cities down. And then they lie down on the ground or genuflect in supplication to these verminous criminals. I have no problem believing that most of the cops on that PD are dirtbags. The police protect criminals and rich people. They don’t give a shit about people like me.

        The question I asked was why this career criminal’s alleged death at the hands of the po-po was “atrocious?” What happened to Channon Christian and Christopher Newsome in Knoxville several years ago was atrocious. What happened to Kriss Donald in Scotland several years ago was atrocious. Mr. Floyd’s drug-addled ass meeting his demise –however he met it — was not atrocious. Cops and clergy and politicians kneeling and grinning at Floyd’s homies is atrocious.

  6. That is a shame. I really like(d) the Folger. I used to live a few blocks away, and I’d visit it from time to time to see their changing exhibitions. I often wonder what the founders and benefactors of these “converged institutions” would think (or do think???) — all their time and treasure to cultivate future generations with the patrimony of Western civilization only for vermin to infiltrate and corrupt — to parasitize and desecrate. It’s worse what churchmen have done in their stewardship, of course, but emaciated souls have perverted museums, libraries, symphonies, and other cultural institutions — not to mention schools! But keeping with libraries, just a few days ago, I received an email from the director of the Mercantile Library here in Cincinnati. The Library began in 1835 and has been a focal point of intellectual life in the city — with visiting luminaries, scholars, statesmen, and cultural movers from all over the world. Anyway, the email subject was “From the Director: Resources for our times.” It reads:

    * * *

    The Mercantile Library was founded on the idea that we are all better together, reading and talking about what we’re reading even when the conversations are hard — maybe especially then. One hundred and eighty-five years later, we still put our faith in that idea.

    We are living through contentious and chaotic times. Reading is one way to make sense of times like these. So, we’ve been busy pulling books off our shelves that might help us educate ourselves, to learn from history and experts, from lived experiences. We also have been buying new books, taking suggestions from racial justice experts such as Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, author of How To Be An Anti-Racist and recipient of our Harriet Beecher Stowe Freedom Writer Award, and readers in our community.

    Whatever questions you might have about the events you see unfolding in our region and across the country, our staff is here to suggest books — nonfiction, fiction, poetry, stories, books to read with your children — that might help answer them.

    Here are a few of the books we have out and available right now:

    [Picture of topical books set out.]

    And here are some of the books we have on order:

    So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeomo Oluo
    What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker by Damon Young
    We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom by Bettina L. Love
    Waiting ‘Til The Midnight Hour by Peniel E. Joseph
    How We Get Free by Keeanga-Yamahtta Tayor

    We are here to provide resources, share stories, amplify voices, spark conversation. Let us read. Let us talk. Let us band together for self-improvement.

    * * *

    The director writes, ‘The Mercantile Library was founded on the idea that we are all better together, reading and talking about what we’re reading even when the conversations are hard — maybe especially then. One hundred and eighty-five years later, we still put our faith in that idea.’ He then proceeds to showcase books that repeat the omnipresent orthodoxy of everyone with any influence or power in American society. The featured speakers every year are all left-wing if they have any sort of displayed political tendency at all. Of course, it is their institution — and their guest list. Fine — but they need not be so dishonest about sponsoring hard conversations. What posers! If they wanted real engagement on the issues they should bring in a spectrum of intelligent and informed voices who may make them question their assumptions — Heather MacDonald from the Manhattan Institute, Thomas Sowell, Charles Murray, and Joseph Cesario for starters. In addition, they could invite scholars (even international ones) who specialize in ethnic conflict in other places and times — distance often facilitates objectivity — and might offer some insights and suggestions for contemporary America. That’s what a real intellectual institution would do.

    Alas, the remnants of WASP America look destined to become wondrous ruins in our coming dark age. Five centuries after Alaric, peasants were grazing cattle in a field that was once the Forum Romanum. If we continue on our present course, imagine what Manhattan will look like in five centuries. “You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you! Goddamn you all to hell!”

    • So brave! as they say. Or, rather, how utterly craven and conventional. If the Mercantile Library sponsored a “hard conversation,” Antifa would hold a riot and burn it down (or, worse than that, NIH would cut their funding).

  7. Pingback: Suffer No Strange Tales – The Orthosphere

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