Wednesday, May 31, 2017

fascists hate white women who make burritos

I tend to be a skeptic when it comes to the news.

I have a conservative friend who periodically sends me news clippings he thinks I will find interesting. Some are. Some aren't. And some fall into the category of "I really am not certain that is very factual."

He sent one yesterday that I felt should be tucked away into the third category. "Portland burrito business forced to close after getting hounded for 'culutural approriation.'" 

In the battle between the proponents of political correctness and the defenders of free speech, these stories abound. And, quite often, they have been exaggerated by one side or another to conform to preconceived political notions.

So, I read on with a bag of salt at the ready. Only to discover the story was more chilling than I originally thought

Two Portland women took a trip to Puerto Nuevo -- a bit south of Ensenada on the Baja peninsula. They had been considering opening what has become a Portland rite of passage -- a food cart. This one centered around burritos.

But they needed a hook. They wanted their tortillas to be the best Portland had to offer. Something authentic. So, why not go to where the best tortillas are made? In Mexico.

They talked, as one of the women said "in the worst broken Spanish ever" with several Mexican women making tortillas and asked about their secrets. The Mexican women showed them a thing or two, but they were not very forthcoming. The women learned enough,though, to head back to Portland to use their new-found knowledge to sell their wares as Kooks Burritos.

In a restaurant review in one of Portland's hep and lieftish newspapers, Willamette Week, the women let slip a little secret in their quest for the perfect tortilla: "We were peeking into the windows of every kitchen, totally fascinated by how easy they made it look. We learned quickly it was not that easy."

For that humility, their enterprise was bombed with enough irrationality to propel a Portland street riot.  Oh, yes, it should not matter in a sane world, but the two proprietors are white women.

What should have been the least interesting characteristic, the race of the women, became the central point of what followed the interview. The comments on the newspaper's website were acidic.

They were consciously squeezing out brown women in favor of their privileged white status. They were essentially white imperialists stealing ideas from poor brown women. And, my favorite, white women were appropriating the culture of a brown people. You would have thought the Elgin marbles were sequestered in their cart.

All of these comments were couched in the type of expletives that would have made even the Nixon White House cringe. And they were accompanied with a carpet bombing campaign of 1 stars designed to ruin the business.

But that was not enough. Another Portland newspaper, The Mercury, joined in the fray. I was hopeful that a newspaper would be interested in supporting diversity and free speech. After all, I keep hearing from my left-leaning friends that newspapers are the defenders of democracy.

Not this one. It went out of its way to reassure us that Margaret Thatcher's favorite phrase ("the Loony Left") still has legs.

When I started reading the article, I was positive I had stumbled across a piece from The Onion. Only a satire could contain phrases like: "appropriation problem," "white nonsense," "they colonized this style of food," "quirky to predatory," "stolen intellectual property," and "poaching trade secrets."

Just when you thought the breathlessness had reached its drama crescendo, out came a list of "White-owned appropriative restaurants in Portland. "A who's who of culinary white supremacy," as the writer so indelicately puts it. Harvey -- could you slip a white hood on that fried chicken?

The goal? To create a blacklist (or perhaps whitelist) of businesses that can no longer be judged on their culinary expertise, but by their ability to support a social agenda that can only be called by its real name -- fascism.

In the end, it worked. The owners have shut down their food cart. I assume they will now be forced to do absolution in the public square.

H.L. Menken once referred to puritanism as "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy." If this type of behavior continues to prosper in Portland, I suggest we all get ready for another round of Salem witch trials.

No comments: