Reality and the Narrative

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

This article was originally published in American Greatness on November 28, 2020.

Oscar Wilde was such a card. Sitting for his viva voce examination in Greek, he given a passage to translate from one of the Passion stories in the New Testament. He started in and was barreling along fluently. At some point, one of the examiners interrupted, noting that he was satisfied by Wilde’s performance and that he could stop. Wilde ignored him and kept at it. The examiner interrupted again. “Really, Mr. Wilde, you may stop now. It is clear that you know the Greek.” “Oh please let me continue,” Wilde is supposed to have responded. “I want to see how it ends.”

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Yuck, yuck, yuck. Who knows whether the story is true? I like to think it is. It’s not that I believe Wilde was ignorant of the plot of a Gospel story. He knew how it ended all right. But I admire the insouciance of his response.

Many people think the world is in a position akin to Wilde’s with respect to the 2020 presidential election. We’re all assumed to know how it ended. Joe Biden won. Any demurral on that score is put down to feigned ignorance, attempted cleverness, or petulant perversity.

After all, the Associated Press called the election for Joe Biden a couple of weeks ago. Other news agencies, from the Wall Street Journal and Fox News to CNN, the New Woke Times, and the Washington Post were right there on cue, hailing him the winner. Time, the former news weekly, devoted its cover to Joe Biden, “46th President of the United States.” Twitter was on the case, adding little warning messages to tweets about the election it didn’t like, suspending the accounts of people whose opinions it disagreed with, throttling the ability of those who dissented to broadcast their dissent. Who knows what Google and Facebook are doing with their search results. Some secrets are too deep for the light of day.

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And that is my point. The strongest argument for Biden’s victory is not the vote tally. It is the monolithic narrative, pumped up like one of those inflatable play castles at a child’s birthday party. With every passing day, that narrative becomes more boisterous, more assertive, more uncompromising. It is a collective primal scream, emitted with eyes shut and ears plugged.

There is a problem for the narrative, however. Or more to the point, there are 73 million problems. A major concession in the Biden-won-give-it-up-narrative is revealed by the hawkers of the “Unity Now” meme. Let us all come together as one nation, under Joe, and reassert the American normality that has been so sorely missing under the despotic reign of Donald Trump.

No. No, that’s not going to fly, and not only because of the snarling viciousness that attended Donald Trump and his entire administration from the moment he was elected until now. Granted, Democrats are masters of hypocrisy. I will give them that. Brazenness is part of the formula. They are utterly unembarrassed by double standards. Indeed, they glory in them…

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Continue reading this article at American Greatness.

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Roger Kimball is editor and publisher of The New Criterion and the president and publisher of Encounter Books. He is the author and editor of many books, including The Fortunes of Permanence: Culture and Anarchy in an Age of Amnesia (St. Augustine’s Press), The Rape of the Masters (Encounter), Lives of the Mind: The Use and Abuse of Intelligence from Hegel to Wodehouse (Ivan R. Dee), and Art’s Prospect: The Challenge of Tradition in an Age of Celebrity (Ivan R. Dee).

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