Sunday, July 22, 2007

Where's David Orland ?

We are as yet some months away from the autumnal French rioting season, but the loss of David Orland's now defunct Faute de Pire blog from Paris will be felt. Let's hope the man returns.

He's got previous. His Faute de Mieux blog disappeared in similar fashion a few years back.

There's a fair amount of his stuff on the web, some archived at

Travel much outside the U.S. and you are bound to meet people who are heavily invested, partisan observers of American domestic politics. You get used to it. This was not the first time I had been cornered on the issue of convicted cop-killer and death-row-celebrity, Mumia Abu-Jamal. Only a week before the incident at the café, I was taken aside by a very drunken Frenchwoman and forced to explain my position on Mumia: how could I possibly justify applying the death penalty in his case ? You mean apart from the fact that he's guilty ? I asked. It was all downhill from there ...

In recent years, the left has increasingly tended to conceive of oppression in exclusively racial terms. In place of Marx's proletariat we now have "the brown people of the earth." And, in place of Marx's "capitalist-bourgeosie" we are offered "the white European male." Class war has become race war and, as in all holy wars, there's satisfaction in believing you're on the right side of history.

For these Marxists gone bad, Mumia fits the bill to a tee. As a teenager, he served as the Minister of Information for the Philadelphia chapter of the Black Panther Party. Later, he worked as a cab driver, moonlighted at a radical black radio station and was affiliated with the notorious black nationalist organization, MOVE. He had cool dreads, wrote underground journalism, and, until recently, was on death row. In him, one could recognize a whole cluster of dearly held left-wing clichés: the grass-roots black intellectual; the despairing race rebel who turns to violence; the victim of white oppression singing from his prison cell. These clichés are the key to Mumia's worldwide success and prove, once again, that there is no end to the sentimentality of the left. For his supporters, Mumia the individual never mattered. Neither, for that matter, did Mumia the criminal cop-killer. No, what has always mattered most is Mumia the image, Mumia the symbol, Mumia the standard-bearer.

1 comment:

DO said...

Nice of you to notice that I'm gone. I have at least two good reasons for disappearing like that:

i) The past few years of blogging have been spent endlessly re-writing what is a basically unchanging immigration narrative. While the problem remains -- indeed, is in some respects worse than ever -- the narrative has gone mainstream. In the meantime, I had grown bored and, I suspected, superfluous.

ii) My daugther was born four months ago. A great delight but less sleep and more responsibility for doing things like making a living.

I won't count out a return to blogging at some indefinite moment in the future. In the meantime, I certainly hope you don't follow my example...