Althouse 3 long sentences beginning with when.

When the poetry editors of The Nation virtuously publish an amateurish but super-woke poem, only to discover that the poem stumbled across several trip wires of political correctness; when these editors (one of them a full professor in the Harvard English department) then jointly write a letter oozing bathos and career anxiety and begging forgiveness from their critics; when the poet himself publishes a statement of his own—a missive falling somewhere between an apology, a Hail Mary pass, and a suicide note; and when all of this is accepted in the houses of the holy as one of the regrettable but minor incidents that take place along the path toward greater justice, something is dying.

When the top man at The New York Times publishes a sober statement about a meeting he had with the president in which he describes instructing Trump about the problem of his “deeply troubling anti-press rhetoric,” and then three days later the paper announces that it has hired a writer who has tweeted about her hatred of white people, of Republicans, of cops, of the president, of the need to stop certain female writers and journalists from “existing,” and when this new hire will not be a beat reporter, but will sit on the paper’s editorial board—having a hand in shaping the opinions the paper presents to the world—then it is no mystery that a parallel culture of ideas has emerged to replace a corrupted system.


When even Barack Obama, the poet laureate of identity politics, is moved to issue a message to the faithful, hinting that that they could be tipping their hand on all of this—saying during a speech he delivered in South Africa that a culture is at a dead end when it decides someone has no “standing to speak” if he is a white man—and when even this mayday is ignored, the doomsday clock ticks ever closer to the end.

Dylan follows all of his "when" clauses with "Won’t you come see me, Queen Jane?" Flanagan’s "when"s are followed by: 1. "something is dying," 2. "it is no mystery that a parallel culture of ideas has emerged to replace a corrupted system," and 3. "the doomsday clock ticks ever closer to the end." Which do you like better, the Flanagan variety or the Dylan repetition? Dylan gets an extra plus or minus because one of the "when"s is about being "sick of all this repetition." I give a plus, myself, especially since where all the "when"s get us is to a desire to be with "somebody you don’t have to speak to." There’s no repetition like no talking at all.

My first white BFF was Mitch Ross, a Jewish kid who died in my first year of high school, driving some girls home. He and I used to sit under a tree and we’d explain all kinds of things to each other, really looking forward to being together. His father was a Nike salesman. The kind of guy that wore a red jacket and tie with an all white get-up. Wild. Then Mitch was gone. I raised some money to plant some trees in Israel in his name, lost touch with his folks, nurse the memory. And then there’s the Nazis who ripped me off for the bar I helped design. I still remember losing a shoe as I barely got away from them. Yep – love and hate. There’s a lot of that going around.

I lived in two worlds: the L.A. Valley, where I got exposed to Rock and other weirdness, and South Central, L.A., where I was raised in Jazz, but exposed to Soul, R&B, Funk, etc. It was strictly regimented. I couldn’t let the white kids know I liked black music and couldn’t let the black kids know I liked Rock. So I became a headphone addict. And I still am. Everything I do should be listened to in headphones because that’s how I made it and intend for it to be heard. Here, try it.

I fight massive bouts of depression over the actions of my people – Americans of all shades – but, I think, that’s because I want the best for us. I don’t want to kill the rich, or the goose that lays the capitalist eggs, just get a little justice so we can look each other in the face with compassion – and without 9/11 or something having happened to motivate it.

Look, I want to put this kindly. You said (barring modifiers and qualifiers, not all, yada yada) that black people don’t know what taxes are. Such people as don’t know who taxes are can’t be given directly large sums of money. They are not competent. They are disabled because of their psychic suffering. Disabled people need custodians, guardians.

These are your thoughts as I interpret them, pardon me if I haven’t quoted precisely, but when black dysfunctions have been raised to you, your response is much along these lines. It’s not your fault, X happened to you. The grenade went off, never mind who pulled the pin, but now you have no legs, you cannot walk. Fine, but then you have to be wheeled around, you need elevators, you will never be able to climb ladders or stairs.

I know your focus is on the black experience in America. But consider this hypothetical: America isn’t here, and you are dropped in Soviet Russia or current Russia, or in China or LatAm or Africa or Australia or anywhere else. Or just on some desert island of no national character. America is gone, sunk into the sea like Atlantis for her sins.