On Thursday’s episode of “The Andrew Klavan Show,” Klavan discusses the “send her back” chant at a recent rally for President Donald Trump and how the Left is hypocritical when calling it out. Video and partial transcript below.
So, here’s a story from the old days when [Ben] Shapiro, the god-king and I were on a site called Truth Revolt before we all got fired and regrouped for The Daily Wire. In 2004, the European Space Agency performed the miraculous feat of landing a probe on a comet. Instead of celebrating this giant step for mankind, feminists attacked one of the scientists on the project because he wore a shirt with sexy cartoons of women on it. By the time these shrieking shrews were done with him, the poor nerd was nearly in tears and forced into a Stalin show trial style apology.
So of course, I thought it would be hilarious if I wore the same shirt in my next satirical Truth Revolt video without even mentioning it. So, we had an annoying factotum hanging out around the place named Michael Knowles and I asked him to locate such a shirt and because Knowles turned out to be a very stable genius, he found the last one available.
So, prepping for the video, I put the shirt on, and I felt like a total idiot. What a stupid sexist shirt this was. Because, of course, in real life, I like people of the female persuasion in general and at least one of them happens to live very close to the center of my universe, I believe it is my privilege and responsibility to treat the lady of my house in an elevated manner. That includes behaving in such a way that people can see how I honor and respect her. So, I don’t go to Hollywood parties where a lot of sexual malfeasances might be taking place, and I don’t wear stupid shirts with sexed-up cartoons of women on them.
But I wore one that day. You can go on YouTube and see it by searching Klavan and Gamergate, because I wanted to make the point that people should be free to wear whatever they want, and we should treat our fellow humans with humor and grace, and we should focus on important things like landing on comets instead of on anything having to do with feminism.
Now, like Shapiro’s wife, my son Spencer is a doctor. Unfortunately, he’s a Ph.D. in Greek classics so unless you’re suffering from an imbalance of the humor, the kid is basically useless. But Spencer did explain to me that I was operating here in an illocutionary way instead of in a propositional way. I didn’t know what that meant either. But he explained that illocution involves the social effect of an utterance, in this case wearing the shirt to declare our right to free speech and so on. Whereas propositional means to propose the actual meaning I express, which in this case was wearing a crass and sexist shirt.
The Left has wrapped us in a mental prison by purposely mistaking our illocutions for propositions until we’re afraid to even make a joke without explaining it because we don’t want the outrage mob showing up at our door, or more importantly our sponsor’s door.
So yesterday, Donald Trump had a rally and when he started describing the many sins of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, the crowd started chanting “Send her back.” Many on the left and right reeled in horror at the chant, fearing that, propositionally, it was racist or, more accurately, xenophobic. But my friend John Nolte scoffed at these pearl clutchers, saying no, this was an illocutionary act.
Now I think in the case of Ilhan Omar, on a visceral emotional level, the crowd and Nolte had a point. She’s an American, all right, but a more ungrateful, un-American, terrorist-sympathizing, Jew-hating wretch of an American would be pretty hard to imagine. So yeah, I’ll go with the illocution here, we feel “send her back” in our hearts, not because of the color of her skin but because of the content of her philosophy, and so being Americans, we’ll damn well chant it no matter how many people on leftist news outlets tear up and grump about it.
But at the same time, I have to note that the propositional side of this is dangerous both politically and, yes, morally. That chant is going to be appearing in Democrat ads forever and it could bring out angry left-leaning voters in 2020 who stayed home in 2016. As our president would say, not good.
Plus, I want even the crowds to be clear about this: Omar stinks, not because she’s black, but because did I mention she’s an ungrateful, un-American, terrorist-sympathizing, Jew-hating wretch… could we somehow make a chant out of that? Well, maybe not. But I think we can do better and smarter than “send her back.”