Brooke Baldwin, Charles Kaiser and the Voldemort Effect

On a recent episode of CNN’s Newsroom, Brook Baldwin was joined by Charles Kaiser, a liberal pundit and author of The Gay Metropolis and The Cost of Courage, as well as the GOP political consultant Paris Dennard. The conversation centered around the aftermath of Richard B. Spencer’s alt-right NPI conference in Washington where Roman/Nazi salutes were given by a handful of people. Trump was asked to “disavow” and condemn Spencer and the alt-right which he readily did, saying, “Of course I condemn. I disavow and condemn.” A curious thing, due to the fact that Trump never made any vow towards Spencer nor the alt-right, just as he had never made a pact with David Duke, whom he has, in the past, also been asked to disavow. But Charles Kaiser, all rasp and pomp, decided this was not a suitable objection and took things in the opposite direction.

To him, Trump had not done enough in regards to disavowing such people. Kaiser then contested that Trump was only fueling the flames of white supremacy by appointed Brietbart’s Steve Bannon to his cabinet. He then went on a tirade about things Trump should avoid doing if he wished to avoid “energizing the alt-right,”  such as to never again ask his supports to give the Nazi salute (something which Trump has never done nor suggested). He then went on to condemn Mike Pence as, “The most homophobic man in America,” who believes that homosexuals, “Actually do not have the right to exist,” (something which Pence never once said). Kaiser ended by saying that, “If you don’t want to support the alt-right, don’t chose, as a White House counselor, a man who uses the word, ‘nigger.’”

Things got rather interesting from there on in, with the black pundit, Paris Dennard’s eyebrows nearly leaping to the back of his skull. Ms. Baldwin was similarly displeased with Kaiser and averted her eyes to her desk, exclaiming, “Wow.” Shortly after recovering from sheer shock she replied, “Charles, hang on a second. I appreciate you going through all of this… but please don’t use the n-word on my show.” Mr. Kaiser replied, “I’m sorry. I never use the n-word except when I’m quoting someone [Bannon] who has been appointed by the president to serve in the Oval Office, since this is such a disgusting moment in our history.”

Now what to make of all of this? Well, firstly, Kaiser is incorrect that Bannon has ever been on record as calling anyone a, “nigger.” Now, with that falsity out of the way, was Mr. Kaiser in the wrong? That depends on whether or not he actually believed this was something Bannon had said. If he was insincere and lying through his teeth then he’s a shifty, chortling weasel and he shouldn’t have been given a platform in the first place. If sincere, then the answer is a resounding, “No.” Nevermind that no one says “the c-word” when referring to cow-kisser (derogatory slang for Indians) or for cracker (demeaning slang lobbed at anglos, implying the crack of a slave-whip), or the “d-word” for dago or the “m-word” for mick, ect. Put all of that aside and simply consider that Kaiser believed he was quoting someone. I don’t know about you, dear reader, but as I see it, if a grown adult can not weather the utterance of a single, racial slur without falling into a stuttering, neurotic mess, then that person is a weakling of such staggering proportions as to beggar belief.

Furthermore, Baldwin is a prime example of the debilitating Voldemort Effect. The term was coined by Quilliam founder, Maajid Nawaz to denote a person or group who deems a certain word so terrifying as to be off limits, much like the Harry Potter antagonist, the snake-like sorcerer, Voldemort, who inspires such fear that he is referred to only as, “He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named.” In this way an entire lexicon can be controlled so long as key, valve words are made taboo. Nawaz utilized the Voldemort Effect to concisely illustrate the way that the mainstream media, liberal academics, as well as the White House, continuously and consciously referred to Islamic attacks as, “Lone wolf attacks,” or, “Terrorist attacks.” Ever dancing around the central thread that connected every subsequent bombing, stabbing and shooting – Islam.

So you can now see how the effect is being applied to Mr. Kaiser – for in keeping with the game, doesn’t matter if one is quoting something or not, all that matters is that the word itself is suppressed. There is another problem here that is not oft mentioned, that being that in continuously suppressing a word does not diminish its power, in fact, quite the opposite is true. Just like with Prohibition, the allure of the forbidden only increases the tighter the jackboot grinds, until at least it seems nigh irresistible. Therefore, the more outlets like CNN foster suppression of a word like nigger, the more alluring it will seem, not to say openly, but to whisper in snickering passing. Consider the previously mentioned insult for anglos, cracker – how much heft does it hold today? None. Call a white guy a cracker and biggest rise you’ll get out of him will be a grin or an outright laugh. No one takes such a phrase seriously anymore, it has lost all emotional weight, and as a consequence has fallen out of common parlance. This is exactly what would happen with the word nigger if people like Brook Baldwin and Paris Dennard weren’t constantly decrying and suppressing it. If it people simply brushed it off you would see, given enough time, a social response akin to that of cracker and the slur would fade off into linguistic obscurity, nothing more than a historical relic to be deployed upon the pages of a smutty pulp fiction novel or a grindhouse picture. Instead, outlets like CNN are breeding a climate of linguistic hysteria, where grown adults react to juvenile insults like vampires accosted by the cross.