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The Impassable Road to Redemption

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This is what I find when I click on the author link that says “Frank Sherlock—Bloof Books.” Before clicking, I catch a preview in my search results of what was once there. A photograph of the short-haired, bearded poet, wearing a white collared shirt and black blazer, pink background behind him, a partial bio: “Frank Sherlock is the author of Life Is to Blame for Everything, Space Between These Lines, Not Dedicated, Over Here, The City Real & Imagined (w/CA Conrad), and a collaboration with Brett

Nothing was found at this location. Try searching or check the links below.

Nothing may be found, but surely, something has been lost.

The former Philadelphia poet laureate had recently admitted on Facebook that he’d played in a racist skinhead band as a poor and misguided teenager back in the late 1980s, after he was outed by another poet. Sherlock was probably nervous about the risk he was taking. Would his followers understand? Was an artist required to disclose everything about his past to the world, even though this had happened 30 years ago? Why put himself through it? Why should he be forced to confess this ugly smudge in his personal history? After all, Sherlock has spent years redeeming himself.

As poet laureate in 2014–2015, he’d started a youth program called “Write Your Block,” which he described as “a way for Philadelphians to explore their neighborhoods via poetry, charting—and sharing—their communities through their own words.” This program was originally inspired by his book The City Real & Imagined, a collaboration between Sherlock and another poet, CA Conrad, in “which the two poets wandered the city, using poetry to map their path and articulate their interaction with urban space.” One of his more recent blog posts was about an event he’d put together called “An Immigrant Alphabet,” which he describes as “a series of workshops with kids from Northeast High School—the most diverse immigrant student population in the Philadelphia School District…” In a statement, he cites one of his favorite moments from the event, when a Palestinian poet who has published two books in Arabic wrote his first poem in English during the exercise. “It’s a beautiful poem,” he says. “It was a beautiful day.”  

He might have thought that, by confronting the truth about his past, he could use his experiences to help others in the same way that Christian Picciolini, a former leader of the white power movement, has done. Another Philadelphia man, Frank Meeink, a former neo-Nazi, is now a vocal opponent of white supremacy. German novelist and Nobel laureate Günter Grass kept his Nazi past a secret for 50 years: Grass only revealed that he’d been a member of the Waffen-SS as a 17-year-old boy in 2006, nine years before he died. “The citizen’s first duty,” he had once said, “is not to keep quiet.” Maybe he thought it would be a relief to clear the air, and unburden himself of the shame he had carried all those years. After all, Grass had been an actual Nazi, which is much worse than playing in a skinhead band, and most of the world had forgiven him.

Maybe Sherlock thought his admission might be a teachable moment for others—to provide hope, especially to those alienated teenagers who were just like he was and who might likewise be susceptible to indoctrination. He might have even hoped to be commended for denouncing his stained past and correcting course, and maybe even given a little sympathy, compassion, and understanding. But that was too much to ask of the internet. Small press publisher, Called Back Books tweeted:

Before long, the man who had once quipped to the The Philadelphia Citizen, “Believe it or not, poets can be terrible people too” was apparently regretting his candor. He deleted his Facebook post, and retreated into silence as his enemies continued to shower him with vitriol. Before publishing it, he had written to his old friend and collaborator, CA Conrad, to tell his fellow poet what he was about to do. On April 11, Conrad shared a public post with 5,000 Facebook friends, which stated:

…when he wrote to me just before posting it to Facebook, my mind was flooded with images of violence from that period in the city…My immediate question, especially after seeing the dates in question was, “Did you participate in the violence?” He assured me that he did not.

The following day, Conrad publicly announced the withdrawal of the book on which the two poets had collaborated, and which had been republished in 2018:

In light of Frank Sherlock’s revelation that he was a former skinhead, I have asked Shanna Compton (of Bloof Books) to please stop selling the book he and I wrote together.

At this point, I could write another essay about the growing censorship problem in the literary world or explaining that the art is not the artist (both of which I believe to be true). But something else is bothering me—something at the core of what is now referred to as “cancel culture”: the inability to redeem oneself. It seems to me that the word “former” in Conrad’s statement is the critical piece of context that Sherlock’s critics are apparently most eager to dismiss and deride. The poet Sara Bess was particularly unsympathetic:

Is this what progressives imagine constitutes social justice these days? Willful ignorance and an insistence that everything a person is or will ever be can be gleaned from their very worst moment? Should a gang member be allowed to change? Should a drug addict be allowed to clean up? Should a drunk be allowed to get sober? If it were just the poetry community, I might have chalked this allergy to personal progress up to the usual performative melodrama. But it isn’t. It’s something infecting our whole culture. Not only is no-one allowed to change for the better anymore, no one is even allowed to be understood, much less forgiven.

“We need to think through the whole process of redemption for people in society,” Sam Harris recently remarked on Joe Rogan’s podcast. “We need to understand what the criteria are for successful apologies and forgiveness…We need to talk about how people can redeem themselves once something this unsavory is revealed about their past…The apology has to show intelligibly, how you are different from the person who committed that thing.” Harris also points out the irony that some of the people most vocal in calling for cancelling somebody, are often the biggest advocates for the rehabilitation of criminals. Should the goal of the justice system be to rehabilitate criminals wherever possible, or should they simply be condemned and left to languish in a cell until the end of their days?

In a NYMag essay entitled, “America’s New Religions,” Andrew Sullivan likens this new zealotry to the old religious impulse, which manifests itself in our political movements today, whether in the cult that surrounds Donald Trump or in the “woke” social justice groups, both of which he says behave in the same way as religions do:

Like early modern Christians, they punish heresy by banishing sinners from society or coercing them to public demonstration of shame and provide an avenue for redemption in the form of a thorough public confession of sin…

But the avenue for redemption is full of roadblocks these days. Public confessions or apologies hardly ever lead to forgiveness, and almost always lead to a second round of shaming, if not banishment. Zealots are never satisfied with just an apology. No matter how small the infraction, a public apology almost always leads to further punishment. Think of the recent controversy over actor Liam Neeson’s admittance that he’d entertained violent and potentially racist thoughts after a close friend of his was raped by a black assailant. Here was a “sinner” trying to atone for his “sins” by denouncing his own vengeful impulses (and alluding to his own instability at the time), and still people were calling for the end of his film career.

What is most troubling about all this is how it freezes public discourse. You cannot change anything in society if you cannot first speak truthfully about it. The dirty laundry must be aired, not hidden in the closet, if you really want to get the stench out. But in an era in which people are canceled for the slightest infraction, it’s much more prudent to just keep your mouth shut. This kind of intimidation threatens our social contract. If we cannot atone for our mistakes in the past and speak truthfully about our human flaws, how can we ever make progress?

Sometimes, I wonder if the sadistic champions of cancel culture care at all about fixing society’s problems, much less bringing about real social justice. Some of the loudest, most powerful people benefit from this outrage. There is no doubt that cancel culture effects social change, only the effect is destructive. There may be ideological fights worth having, but they are ultimately ineffective when fueled by tribal hatreds rather than compassion and good faith. It’s easy to shame others, but much harder to take an honest look at ourselves.

Remember Megan Phelps-Roper, erstwhile member of the Westboro Baptist Church? It wasn’t public shaming that persuaded her to denounce her family’s cult and leave her church, it was the compassion of a Jewish man named David Abitbol, and a few others, who decided to engage with her on Twitter. It wasn’t demonizing her that finally opened her eyes, it was talking to her as a human being. Now she uses her experience to help and inspire others who find themselves in a similar situation. Had there not been anyone to welcome her with open arms, she might have relapsed into the familiar comfort of her family’s church and its righteous hatreds.

By the logic of cancel culture, I should also be cancelling Frank Sherlock. When I was 14—around the same time he was in a skinhead band—I was attacked and beaten up by a gang of skinheads outside a movie theater. For the next four years, I was terrorized by them. They called me names, poured drinks on me, and made more threats of violence. For years, I harbored fantasies of revenge. It’s only natural to feel anger and distrust after an incident like that—as John Lydon once sang, “Anger is an energy.” But that energy can be used for good or for ill. So why this demand that we punish someone like Frank Sherlock? Why cast someone into alienation when it was alienation that led him astray as a bitter and confused young man? Why not commend him for having the courage to denounce his past and try to make amends? Shaming someone like Sherlock is surely not a productive or humane way to defeat hatred.

Thirty years after that night at the movie theater, I can still see the scar beneath my nose where a skinhead’s forehead split my face. The scar makes a line directly to my mouth. It reminds me never to let a mob of extremists silence me again. But it also reminds me that when society loses its tolerance for truthful speech, all it has left is violence. It’s not so much a question of whether someone like Frank Sherlock can change—he already has. It’s a question of whether we can.

 

Clint Margrave is the author of Salute the Wreckage (2016) and The Early Death of Men (2012), both published by NYQ Books. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Threepenny ReviewNew York Quarterly, the Writer’s AlmanacRattleCimarron Review, Verse Daily, the American Journal of Poetry, andAmbit (UK), among others.  He lives in Los Angeles, and you can follow him on Twitter @clintmargrave

UPDATE: This article has been amended to include recently received information that Frank Sherlock’s past was revealed by another poet prior to his Facebook admission.

45 Comments

  1. OWG says

    By the logic described, wouldn’t many today drum the apostle Paul out of the church and amend the New Testament accordingly? With any luck, this insanity will burn itself out soon.

    • Jean Levant says

      Actually, we’re in a perfect christian drama. Good article. Also a little bit of a surprise for me. I ignored there were still some poets to be honored in our day. That’s the good news in it.
      For the rest, I’d say that if you didn’t commit some screw-ups when young (or not) that is you have probably not lived.

    • Andrew Elsey says

      The insanity will burn out one way or another. While the left debates whether or not we should fall on our sword, China & co. are more than happy to surpass us in primacy and billions others are waiting to replace us in our own countries.

      • Biologist says

        “The insanity will burn out one way or another.”

        Yes, but if you have studied the paleontological record you”ll know that extinction is always an open option to be one of those ways. The fact that nothing, not even insanity, lasts forever is no comfort for the loss of what it destroys while it burns out.

        • Alain aka Trickster says

          I believe in redemption at least for those I approve. Redemption for Hitler or Stalin? What about Judas? We live in an imperfect world we made because we are imperfect: Ignorance and intolerance… We are tied together by our gregarious nature but motivated by our individuality. Is that insanity?

  2. asdf says

    A lot of these people can’t understand why anyone would sin in the ways their ideology has taboo. Everyone understands why someone might steal, do drugs, or cheat on their wife. I don’t say “agree with”, but understand. That’s why they can forgive criminals or other sinners.

    However, they have been taught that the only reason to be a (racist, bigot, etc) is pure evil. There is absolutely no reason someone might believe these things. They can’t relate to that, even if they could relate to a murderer.

    Forgiveness often comes from the realization that “I might have done that in that position.”

    I don’t for instance support the Confederacy. But I get why in a world of such poverty, where only a tiny proportion of people lived anything resembling a decent life, someone would be tempted to own other people in order to escape poverty. This is the logic that made slavery almost universal throughout all the world’s history until the industrial revolution offered a way out of Malthusianism.

    I can also understand why someone not even owning slaves might fight for the Confederacy if Sherman’s army threatened their home, or simply because they were drafted at gunpoint and the punishment for desertion was death.

    That’s why after the war the official line from the government was that a small group of radical fire-eater planters had pushed half the country into ruin out of hubris, and that those that got dragged down with them were victims too. Take a loyalty oath and let’s get on with rebuilding.

  3. E. Olson says

    The discussion of secular humanism in two recent Quillette pieces has been very interesting because so many of the the secular humanist/atheist commenters appear to have real anger over the idea that their beliefs in “science” as a mechanism for guiding human ethics share characteristics with faith based religions, which they clearly also despise. Their anger at religion (or at least Christianity) seems to be mostly a negative reaction to being “preached at” by people of faith who they consider their inferiors, and they seem to believe people of faith are inferiors because of their “crazy” and “unscientific” beliefs in unseen higher powers and Biblical miracles, but also because they sin while claiming to be good “religious” people.

    I can’t speak about other religions, but Christianity is all about acknowledging the imperfections of man as manifested by sin. Religious “rules” and parables are generally about trying to minimize sins among individuals and society, but at least for Christianity also about the forgiveness of sins. Thus a secular humanist wonders why a Christian could ever vote for a sinner like Donald Trump, but a Christian understands that no one is without sin (especially Hillary Clinton), and is taught that God will forgive a sinner and that good Christians should also try to forgive and help sinners. Religions succeed when they provide a framework for keeping a society functioning during difficult times such as when individuals or groups sin, and the teaching of forgiveness is one of the mechanisms for “moving on”. And proof is in the pudding, Christian rules for living and forgiveness of sin have held “believing” societies together for over 2000 years, and is built on Jewish foundations that have kept the Jewish race and faith alive for a few thousand more.

    Which brings us to the rise of the “cancel culture” explored in this article. Is it coincidence that many (most/all) purveyors of the cancel culture are not religious, at least not in a faith based sense? Or that their anger and desire to “permanently cancel” is almost always mostly strongly directed at people who are followers or perceived to be supportive of Christian faith and teachings? How dare someone give money/vote for organizations/candidates that don’t support gay marriage and transgender bathroom rights, they must be humiliated, deplatformed, fired, and perhaps violently assaulted. How dare a Christian/Republican hire a prostitute or not support affirmative action, they must be humiliated, deplatformed, fired, and perhaps jailed. Of course cancel culture can also strike fellow non-believers, if they should express doubt about global warming, or suggest genetic explanations for gender or racial outcome gaps, or offer any sympathy or compliments for “gay basher” Mike Pence or “racist” Donald Trump. Good Christians try to forgive sins, and also try to help sinners and make peace with non-believers, but “cancel culture” social justice warriors with no faith and hostility towards Christian principles have no “forgiveness” teachings and faith network to fall back on – they just have hate and never ending anger at the unfairness of the world, which is why research finds they are always miserable and unhappy.

    • Harbinger says

      @ E Olsen…a good insight EO about seculars being easily triggered by preaching. This I understand, as someone who had the bejesus thrashed out of them by the Sisters of Mercy as a youngster.That old school stuff made so many kids in the post WW2 era strongly anti-religion for ever after.

      The trouble is once you abandon the old teachings, as you point out, science and humanist rationalisation does not provide a sufficiently coherent and sustained collective narrative about how we all should live. This seems to be because modern secularism doesn’t cope very well with the role of the unconscious, on both the individual and collective levels.

      The cancel culture, discussed in the article is a secular impulse, but it is so very different from most religious proscription, because it does not allow for redemption. Perhaps this very alarming regressive feature is a reflection of the fact that postmodern social justice is predominantly a female habitat, politically and socially.

  4. Farris says

    To: Frank Sherlock

    CA Conrad was not your friend. You were his ally. You ceased to be useful, so Conrad backed away. What is worse to be reformed former skin head or a coward?

    Beware those claiming to be pure but trust those who can admit their past transgressions.

    • Asenath Waite says

      @Farris

      Very true. There is no such thing as loyalty among these people. They would turn on their own brother if he transgressed. No forgiveness.

    • Benjamin says

      CAConrad is a complete coward, you’re right. Conrad uses people to his advantage and runs the second they feel like their career might be tarnished by association. Conrad is well known for abusing certain female poets in Philly and elsewhere. I wish they would come forward and speak their truths. Conrad is in no position to to engage in cancellation culture, unless they are electing to cancel themselves.

    • Peter from Oz says

      Yes, if anyone deserves to be shamed it is Conrad

  5. Peter from Oz says

    When I read stories like this it makes me glad that it is now the left that attracts the vast majority of the self righteous dogmatists, whilst we on the right are free to make real arguments.
    Who’d want to be pardoned by such sanctimonious gigs as that poet woman who could get a first class honours degree in projection? And who’d want a cum like the odious Conrad who ran away at the first whiff of gunshot?
    I suggest that Mr Sherlock is best off away from such nasty people and should instead come and join us having fun on the right.

  6. “What is most troubling about all this is how it freezes public discourse. You cannot change anything in society if you cannot first speak truthfully about it.”

    But that’s rather the point. American neo-liberalism is less a movement than a cult these days, and like most cults seeks homogeneity in thought and deed. Its purpose is to achieve and maintain a hypothetical level of purity that by definition needs no improvement and brooks no disagreement or deviance, no matter how momentary or regretted.

    The people who promote the cancel culture don’t want discussion, because their belief system won’t stand up to rational discussion. Which is why they reject rationalism as “patriarchal” and “oppressive.”

    • E. Olson says

      TB – so you are saying that girls are irrational and mean? If so, that definitely makes you a cancellable person, and welcome to the club.

    • Ghatanathoah says

      @Thomas Blersch

      Neo-liberalism is one of the things cancel culture SJWs oppose. They love ranting about how anyone who supports economic freedom is really just a corporate shill and somehow also a white supremacist.

      Neoliberalism is one of the rationalist, Enlightenment philosophies that encourages rational discussion. It’s done a far better job of fighting actual oppression than social justice movements ever have, maybe that’s why they hate it so much.

  7. Benjamin Perez says

    The progressive purity spiral will no doubt, in short time, take down almost all of our own (yes, I’m a progressive, hence “our”); conversely, the conservative tornado will not only lift most of their own but will likewise plough right over what few progressive purity trippers remain standing. The forgiveness of, for lack of a better term, “sins”—especially venial sins, and most especially venial sins committed during one’s youth and/or in one’s distant past—is not only possible but laudable (for both the forgivers and those forgiven gain and grow from the honesty, humility, and humanity necessary to offer or accept actual forgiveness); conversely, absence of sins is impossible: the more conservatives remember this (and the more conservatives remember the meaningful difference between venial and mortal sins), and the more progressives forget this (as well as forget the meaningful difference between venial and mortal sins), the more conservatives will win and the less progressives will win. The Puritans came to North America to build their “City upon a Hill”; no Puritans exist today, and neither does that “City” and neither does that “Hill” (they don’t because they can’t): history strongly suggests that progressives should stop planning that “City,” should stop looking for that “Hill.”

    • Zero Armed Peddlar says

      Those on the extreme left of identity politics are the new Puritans

  8. Heike says

    I don’t think anybody believes that apologies expressed under fear of being found out are sincere and reflect a true change of heart. That’s why he did this, to avoid being exposed in the future. Coming clean is the best defense to being blackmailed.

    The purpose of the reaction to these apologies is humiliation: the mob wants you to acknowledge its strength and your weakness, that it can destroy your life and crush you and that you can’t fight back and will submit. It’s a very simple matter of dominance. And if you apologize, the mob won’t grant you any mercy. There is no forgiveness to hope for, all you can do is fight back.

    • Peter from Oz says

      Wellington was right when he said never apologise, never explain.

  9. antipoet says

    If struggle and conflict inspire great art then Sherlock is getting his booster dose while Conrad slides into insipidity.

  10. Fickle Pickle says

    The only thing that anyone can change is of course their own presence and actions in the world.

    Charles Dickens famous Scrooge had a radical change of heart which caused a complete turnabout in how he saw and treated everyone.
    Simultaneously he also found that the rest of the human world did not change in any way.

    Meanwhile of course following on from Scrooge’s inspiring example only men and women who have realized the inherent pleasurableness of existence are fit for loving here, and are thereby good company to all beings, regardless of what anyone else is dramatizing.

    Everything else is just an unconscious dramatization of the unconverted loveless heart.

    And speaking of someone who has always used any and every one for his own advantage, or deliberately shafted them, such a human monstrosity now lives in the Whitehouse.

    • Jean Levant says

      You’re a pretty good writer, Fickle, but you could change your tune sometimes: I don’t know if your post has some subtil relation to the article but I’m sure your last sentence has none.

    • Stephanie says

      @FP, “this post triggered my TDS so now I need to talk about it.”

  11. Kessler says

    In USSR prisons, criminals were considered to be better then political prisoners. There is no forgiveness for wrong think.

    • Charlie says

      Perhaps it is because as Descartes said ” I think, therefore I am “. As most middle class left wingers have no great deeds or overcome great hardship all they have is their thoughts which amount to self delusion. Most middle class impractical effete left wingers are no more than empty glass baubles. Their thoughts are the brittle glass containing nothing.

      Those early Labour Party members such as Keir Hardie believed self help and wanted practical measures to improve the lives of the poor. Hardie went down the mines at 12 years of age.

      Glass baubles make a noise when struck because they are brittle and hollow, like middle class left wingers. The pointing of the finger and condemning others is to distract away from their hollowness. Noise and movement, activism signifies only that , not practical worthwhile accomplishment.

  12. Lydia says

    They are the epitome of what they refuse to forgive because they feel it is their duty to ruin people. So they have become what they claim they hate

    the Puritans would preach confession and then condemn the very people who genuinely confessed

    These leftist have no clue how religious they are. They are sin sniffing Puritans.

  13. I am not a person of faith says

    It seems like we have drawn alongside Hadrian. Our temples are an empty architecture taken from a previous people. They lack moral force despite their impressive outrage. Will there be another carpenter speaking parables?

  14. Russ says

    Funny how the people most critical in instances such as this as are guilty of what they attack. Projection much?

    Statists/collectivists are in the U.S. primarily fascists, in its actual, technical meaning, i.e., a system of titular private property in which the State dictates how you may or may not use that property.

    So “poets” who fling the “fascist” charge are really only denouncing themselves…

  15. House of Shards says

    Having just watched the first two parts of the documentary on the Evergreen State College debacle, I am compelled to point out that this is a lose-lose situation. First, at Evergreen, a rite of forced confessions of unconscious bias was proposed, as a ritual requirement. But if this were indulged, then everyone would be forced to admit to being racist, similar to Sherlock’s admission of guilt. (Brett Weinstein refused to participate in the ritual as I understand it, thus branding himself as racist even as he insisted he wasn’t). In other words you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. This really raises the bar on the question Who decides? It’s utterly incoherent, a new “democratic” guillotine searching for heads.

    • OleK says

      @House of Shards

      Where/how did you watch this documentary?

    • Heike says

      That’s precisely what they used to do in Mao’s China.

  16. The Zero Armed Peddlar says

    If this guy murdered someone in a botched bank robbery, and after leaving prison said he was sorry and he was a new man now and in fact he spent hours volunteering to help the poor, he’d be forgiven. Or if he was once a member of the Maoist Communist party in the USA. Or if he beat up an old white man for insulting him years ago and now he works at seniors centers and with alzheimer’s patients. But once in a skinhead band? And now he’s remorseful and he’s been redeeming himself for years with his actions? No way, Jose. You’re toast. It’s part of a trend of polarization in the USA due to identity politics. I recently submitted a fiction manuscript to a literary magazine and there was a two page form to fill out about my identity. All about what gender I identified with, where I was born, my ethnic origins….”This will not change whether or not we accept your piece. It’s completely voluntary.” I didn’t fill it out.

  17. GregS says

    I think of Bill Ayers, the terrorist leader of the Weather Underground and in whose living room Barack Obama launched his political career. It is not that Bill Ayers bothers me or that I do not believe him to be unworthy of redemption. What bothers me are the gatekeepers who get to determine who is eternally radioactive and who is not.

    • Gary says

      But Ayers has never repented. He has piled on his former ideas of killing and burning.

  18. Emily says

    This attitude might make more sense if the noisy crowd had never changed themselves.

    A couple of years ago, Ireland famously held a referendum on gay marriage. A large number of self-styled progressives took it upon themselves to denounce any No voters as bigots, not fit to share their country. Yet I don’t remember any of those progressives arguing for gay marriage back in the 1990s, when it was the province of fringe lunatics like Peter Tatchell and William Hague, and a few of us politely agreeing with them.

    They are incapable of understanding that anyone might simply be getting to their viewpoint a bit slower. No, they must be irredeemably wrong.

  19. Gary says

    I am a therapist that has been in the business of metanoia for 40 years. That means, repent biblically but has a broad meaning of a change of heart, mind, and behavior. In mature Christian theology that is a daily ritual and goes on forever because we are getting new insights and revelations all the time, especially as we age and wisdom arrives in small packages.

    The Neo Fundamentalist Atheists consider themselves to have already arrived at enlightenment or a place of total wisdom and insight with nothing new to learn. They are like the Westboro fundamentalists, filled with righteous hate. Thus, they cannot admit that others can learn anew after living a despicable life. I helped a man that killed a rival drug dealer that was trying to kill him. He was never caught by the cops but came to faith in Christ and tried the rest of his life to “pay his debt”.

    I have worked with many women that had abortions as teenagers but were filled with guilt and shame for decades. If forgiveness is unavailable then despair and extreme depression with drugs to dull the shame are the only way out. Lose your faith in mercy and grace and lose your sanity and your freedom.

    The USSR failed because they substituted “Rational Atheism” for Christianity and the people became callous, hateful, uncaring, and society broke down. In the last days before Perestroika, the Kremlin sent a representative to the Bible Society in a near country and asked for 100,000 Bibles in Russian because without faith, hope, and love a society cannot exist. The Bibles were an effort to small and too late. The Wall fell the next year.

  20. Jim Gorman says

    There are a lot of old adages that the SJW crowd is trying to erase. Many of them are the similar in a large number cultures. Grandma used to say that “If you can’t say anything nice about someone, say nothing at all.” Two wrongs don’t make a right. The Golden Rule. All these are followed by most sophisticated cultures. They make for a polite society.

    I am simply amazed that the SJW crowd can not see that by destroying peoples lives that they are exhibiting the very thing they are accusing other of – HATRED. Actions taken so that others are “not normalized” are quickly becoming a synonym for hatred of others. Hate never ends up being something a society should be built upon. It results in destruction.

  21. David Schwankle says

    If this were a purity spiral in any other area it would be alarming, but who really cares about the inter-tribal competition of a bunch of third-rate writers of lazy prose?

    As Ian McKellan calls it in “Gods and Monsters,” it’s “a bunch of fairies bashing each other with lillies.”

  22. Aerth says

    LEFT: forgive ISIS brides and welcome them back, they were abducted/groomed/too young to know better.

    Also Left: you made mistake in your youth, decades ago, NO FORGIVNESs!

  23. Pingback: Quillette Podcast 31 – Two poets, Clint Margrave and Timothy Green, discuss the public shaming of fellow poet Frank Sherlock - Quillette

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