“Schtick”— from the Yiddish: A comic theme or gimmick, first introduced on stage by Mark Twain
The story goes that Mark Twain had invested heavily into the publishing of Ulysses S Grant’s autobiography, but which had been victimized by a Ponzi scheme from one of its co-publishers. Grant was a good friend of Twain’s so he felt obliged to help out. So he went on speaking tours in Europe and in the process actually created the outline of what we now know as “stand-up” humor.
And he could do his schtick for an hour or more. If you’ve ever listened to any of the Hal Holbrook versions, you’ll get a feel for how Twain delivered his humor on stage.
In one of those talks he mentioned a deplorable cultural behavior trait, describing it this way:
“It is illegal!” (pause)
“It is unfair!” (pause), Holding up a finger into the sky.
“It is dishonest!” (pause), jabbing fist into hand.
“It is unconstitutional!” (pause) spoken through clenched teeth.
Then holding a finger up, he bellowed:
“It is un-American!”, almost shouting.
Then after a longer pause, more hushed:
“It is French”
(Try this. It works. Just don’t try to sound like Billy Graham.)
Therein lies a tale, because even the most cynical of Christians would not admit that the French are that lost, so lost as to be irretrievably un-American, if not anti-American.
(Or perhaps the “French in history”, at least the beginning of their history in 800 AD, when a bunch of Christian monks in Rome, fearful for their lives after being overrun and burned out by hordes of really mean pagans from the east. The principal Frankish tribe of that time was not French, but Germanic. Indeed, France is an amalgam of Gauls, Romans, Visigoths, Normans, Celts. The only thing French about the French is their language, and yes, you guessed it: France’s #2 language is Arabic.)
Israel is not French. But Democrats are. Slavery wasn’t French, but the cultural institutions supporting it were. They made them easy to justify. And even among their churches, easy to overlook.
And much like a Frenchman’s inability to resist looking up a lady’s skirt, those institutions provided an avenue to grab what they wanted.
My favorite example is what I learned while trying to teach Civics to young black mothers who had to come off welfare because the American government, on Bill Clinton’s watch, had suddenly fallen under the control of the Republican Party and House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Congress had ordered an end to the AFDC Program (Aid to Families with Dependant Children) which in one shape or another, had been around since FDR in 1936. Non-bureaucrats out of government had decided that enough was enough. And if the truth were known, the biggest pain was not to the mothers and children who were being shown the door, but to the bureaucrats, 60 years worth, who were being shown that door.
I played a small role, in that I was hired by a small inner-city college in Cincinnati to teach many mothers, mostly in their 20s, who had just gotten notice that they had a few months to find replacement income, for that federal check was about to disappear.
Now stay with me here, for something amazing happened in this classroom, when I stumbled across “the timeline to freedom”, which follows this introduction to the difference between being American and being French. It’s a big deal in understanding “How Things Work” in Nature, e.g., when we try apply terms “good” or “bad” in this war in Israel, Ukraine, and other places. As you know, Democrats, Republicans, and MAGA’s all have different definitions of Good, bad, and probably even Ugly.
What you need most to understand is that modern government does not like government “by the people”. They will decide what is good for the people.