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Maclean’s burns itself with bizarre article about “mediocre white men”
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Maclean’s burns itself with bizarre article about “mediocre white men” 

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I never thought of Maclean’s as a satirical magazine, but perhaps they are testing the waters on a rebranding. I cannot otherwise account for the bizarre article just published under their aegis by Scott Gilmore, “Thank God I could Enjoy the Age of Mediocre White Men While It Lasted.” This self-flagellatory apologia for being a successful white male reads like a parody of our cultural moment. 

I laughed when I read it, and checked the URL to make sure I hadn’t stumbled on a piece from The Onion by mistake, but no, it was indeed a Maclean’s piece. Sadly, I am all too aware that in these fanatically anti-white male times, a lot of identity-politics activists—including white men who pee sitting down to prove their wokeness—will not only take it seriously, they will applaud him.

Gilmore’s thesis is this in a nutshell: simply being white and male gives you such an advantage in life that for all of human history, other people, so dazzled by male whiteness that they are rendered oblivious both to white-male mediocrity and their own inherent superiority, willingly hand things over to you, things like their bodies, their possessions and their national sovereignty, and of course all the good careers. Your skin colour and sex are your ticket to ride. That state of affairs is now ending, Gilmore says, and this piece is effectively Gilmore’s thank-you note to history for allowing him to have benefited from this remarkable deal, and as well an expression of gratitude that white males are now headed to the dustbin of history, where they belong.

The first problem with the article is that Gilmore never defines “mediocre.” One dictionary definition is “of only moderate quality; not very good.” Let’s go with that. Let’s assume he means white men are dumber, lazier and of lesser character than all women and all non-white men. And yet, “being a white male has been the bee’s knees for about 2,000 years. We have been giving all the orders, taking all the credit, and pocketing all the money since Caesar told Cleopatra to pipe down. We wrote the history books and we built the empires (well, other people did the actual building, but we oversaw a lot of it from our sedan chairs). We drafted all the laws, and made sure to always stack the cards in our favour. And, for a truly impressive long time, we were able to keep all the fun to ourselves.”

I don’t think I have ever seen such a ridiculous encapsulation of human history in my life. People of all colours created empires. The Mongol empire constituted the largest contiguous land empire in history. Islam produced many empires. Ottoman Empire ring any bells? The Egyptians were no slouches for many thousands of years. Is Gilmore suggesting that Egypt was defeated because Romans were white? That’s as dumb as saying Ghengis Khan was successful in empire-building because he wasn’t white! Oh wait, maybe Gilmore said that because he wants to prove his ignorance of history and mediocrity in critical thinking. In which case—good job, Gilmore!

Gilmore laments the fact that we Canadians are forced to choose between two mediocre white men in this election campaign: “In Canada, with one of the most ethnically diverse populations in the world and a female majority, the two whitest men you have ever seen are naturally the only contenders for Prime Minister.”

Um, Is Scott Gilmore unaware of the fact that Canadians also have their choice of an echt brown male (with a turban yet!) and a green woman? Has he forgotten that the U.S. had a black president for eight years? How did that happen if only mediocre white males can be assured of upward mobility? As for Trump’s victory over Hillary, Gilmore knows nothing if he believes that Hillary was rejected because she was a woman, as he claims. She was rejected because of her long and insalubrious history in the political swamplands. 

Here is how Gilmore describes his own trajectory: “when it came time for promotions, the mediocre white men above looked at me and saw a younger version of themselves: self-assured, privileged, someone who understood the value of the status quo and was willing to do the bare minimum to protect it—and rewarded me accordingly.”

Let’s unpack this a bit, using the same curious strain of logic Gilmore has assumed for his premise. Gilmore is a white man, and therefore so privileged he never had to rise above mediocrity to succeed, because of other white men—themselves presumably mediocre, and promoted above their competence by their male white predecessors—saw themselves reflected in him. 

So that means the editors of Maclean’s are mediocre (“of only moderate quality; not very good,” remember). One could argue from the fact that this piece got published that they are mediocre, I suppose, since any good editor would have told Gilmore to save this self-serving piece of virtue-signalling nonsense for his Facebook page, and asked for something substantive to run instead. But that would be unfair to the many other excellent writers at Maclean’s who are not mediocre, and I assume, cringing as they read it. 

But seriously, Maclean’s editors, did you realize that is what he was implying about you? That you aren’t interested in talent and smarts, that you aren’t actually committed to diversity and inclusiveness, and that you are so dumb and lazy and bigoted that you hire writers based on maleness and whiteness? 

Or did you realize that was precisely what he was implying and think, ah, let’s go with it, because bashing white males gets clicks, and Maoist masturbatory struggle-session self-bashing by actually quite brainy successful white males gets even more clicks? 

I am guessing the latter. Because you know who would take that decision? People who know they are not mediocre. People who can afford to beat their breasts about their privilege, because they have nothing to lose but a lot of cultural capital to gain by doing it. (Gilmore built his career on capitalist entrepreneurship; he’s still at it, just amassing a different form of capital.)

If Gilmore really thought he was an imposter for such a long time, why didn’t he prove his moral worth by demanding his editors fire him and hire a woman or a brown immigrant in his place? If they stand behind Gilmore’s polemic, why don’t the Maclean’s editors have themselves replaced by women and non-whites who are inherently non-mediocre? Whoa! Heh heh, let’s not get carried away here, eh?

You know how socialists are good at giving away other people’s money? Identity-politics sycophants are good at giving away the classic liberal principle of treating people as individuals, and judging them accordingly. Chalk up an own goal for Maclean’s.

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