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Amelia Bedelia Fights World War 2
Michael Tracey, professional Twitter troll, beclowns himself...
Amelia Bedelia was one of my kid’s favorite fictional characters growing up. As a maid to the oft’ time grumpy but always understanding Rodger’s family, Amelia’s time spent in their service is highlighted by her ability to extract only literal meaning out of tasks requested of her and the uncanny ability to misinterpret every homonym.
Ask her to “draw the drapes,” and Amelia will grab her pencil and paper to make the Rodgers an illustration of their curtains. “Pitching a tent” turns into gathering the piece of the tent out of the bushes Amelia threw them into. Asking her to “steal home plate,”…you get the idea.
Ultimately, the Rodgers always keep Amelia in their employ because she is sweet, charming, and comes through in the end.
Of course, the jokes work because we accept that people are often not literal in their speech and assume those with whom we are communicating can discern that and the good faith willingness to do so.
When they can’t make that discernment, you get Amelia Bedelia.
You get something less charming when they do not have the good faith to do so. For the less charming version, let me introduce you to “journalist” and Twitter troll Michael Tracey.
Tracey has made his bones as something of a contrarian, which has gained him a respectable 300k Twitter followers and a respectable Substack following (yes, even larger than Sub/Verses, as I am sure surprises you all).
Sometimes his nonconformist approach births something of interest, and sometimes, well, you’ll see…
One day last week, I was scrolling through Twitter, and I saw a bevy of responses to this tweet:
Of course, this overeducated woman uses the Oppenheimer movie as her jumping-off point to explain all the evils of the US, how using the nukes on Japan was an “unconscionable act,” etc.
I’m not going to get into all arguments as to why this may be an understandable opinion of a male feminist 11th grader trying to impress Claire, who he has no chance with because Claire is making the rounds of the football teams linebackers; it is not understandable for an adult literature professor at Amherst. It may be expected, but not understandable.
In response to this childlike critique, a professor at a “highly important university” (that’s actually what his Twitter bio says) responds with this:
It is in response to this truism that our protagonist enters the story in the most Kool-aid man-like way possible, with this edge-lord rejoinder:
The Power Rangers came a little after my time, but I was right in the thick of the TMNT craze, so I must have missed the episode where Leonardo and Michelangelo debate nuclear proliferation treaties.
It doesn’t become clear what Tracey means until he responds to Zhu’s response (which, of course, is the only appropriate one):
Not to be nitpicky, but to correct the revisionist history here (I know remembering two tweets back can be tricky), Tracey, not Zhu, reduced WW2 to a cartoon.
More importantly, we now get to the crux of the matter. Tracey doesn’t think the US can be called the good guys in WW2 because, well, a lot of people died.
If his point were that we should not be so flippant in discussing WW2, I would prescribe a couple of bong hits and see a proctologist about removing the sharpened bamboo shoot from his ass. However, that wasn’t precisely his point, as will become apparent over the days of back and forth about this hill he is so eager to commit harakiri on.
When Zaid Jilani asked the fundamental question, “was the world better off because the Allies won?” Tracey can’t bring himself around to give a straight answer even on that.
We get it, Michael; WW2 was bad, but someone had to win, and someone had to be destroyed. Which side was better off being the destroyer and which the destroyed?
Charles C.W. Cooke of the National Review makes the most obvious response to Tracey’s inane point.
But Tracey, much like Hunter Biden with a crack pipe, just can’t let it go.
At least we got a “the Holocaust was bad” out of him, but it was simply “one component of the mass-scale calamity.” So yes, the genocide committed against the Jews was terrible, but a lot of bad shit happened to many people, so who’s to say what’s worse?
And he continually refuses to concede that the Allies winning was the preferred outcome:
Ultimately, it comes down to one straightforward thing for Tracey. He is morally superior to you; He cries for all the 70 million dead equally, without judging any of it. The fact that you prioritize your tears (or have none for some of them) shows how depraved you are and how enlightened he is.
Tracey seems utterly unwilling (or incapable, though I think this is less likely) of looking at WW2 as anything other than just one shapeless blob of an event where a bunch of bad stuff happened, and any attempt to parse out the various justifiability or lack thereof, for any individual aspect of it, is morally repugnant. So let me try to breakdown a few key points for him here:
The Axis started it - yes, this elementary school excuse of why you got into a fight in the playground during recess does, indeed, matter.
The Axis committed unspeakable and unprovoked atrocities - the most obvious is the Holocaust, and most Americans know about the Bataan Death March, but check out The Rape of Nanking if you want to understand what the Japanese did to the Chinese, or more specifically, about the Japanese Unit 731, which essentially industrialized Josef Mengele’s concentration camp experiments.
The Allies did commit terrible acts against civilians - such as the fire bombings in Germany and later in Japan. Still, these were provoked and ostensibly had a military goal...none of the atrocities above could be claimed to have had any intent other than sheer terror.
Yes, it is better that the world lives under the one created by the Allied powers than the one created by the Axis.
Ironically, the fact that Tracey can’t simply admit point four while also addressing the issues in point three severely hurts his argument and makes it so he neither can be nor should be taken seriously.
But let’s even evaluate his earlier claim about 70 million dead. Who were they? Estimates vary widely depending on the source, but for the sake of argument, let’s use this chart as representative, at least of the percentage breakout:
Even if he wants to play the whataboutism game and argue that the Axis civilian deaths were unacceptable, no matter the circumstances, they make up 4% of the total war deaths. The other 96% of fatalities are solely attributable to the Axis.
What is the lowest number of Axis civilian deaths which would allow Tracey to concede that the Allies were the good guys? 10,000? 1,000? 100? 1?
As with most things in 2023, this entire episode can be summed up with a meme.
Returning to the Bedelia/Tracey comparison, the critical difference between the two is that Bedelia acts in good faith, while Tracey does not.
Pseudo-intellectuals try to demonstrate their pseudo-intellects by telling you that plainly true things are AXKSHULLY more complex than your tiny pea brain can comprehend.
This tut-tutting can take on a few root causes, depending on from what class of midwit the tutting materialized.
A couple of examples are:
Intellectual class midwits- invent words to explain previously apparent things to prove their superior intellectual rigor (cisgender, Lantinx, etc.).
Political class midwits - The What’s the Matter With Kansas argument. If a politician has a different opinion from a voter on what is good for said voter, it is the politician, not the person living their own life, who knows better.
Everyday midwits (Tracey’s categorization) - all their claims revolve around the idea that “you’re not nuanced enough to understand the intricacies of my argument.”
These midwits should shoot to obtain the status of the Amelia Bedelia’s of the world; then, the world would take them more seriously.