Candace Owens' Book is Performance Art

I doubt most of the belligerents associated with Turning Point USA, the Daily Wire and Blaze TV would know what to do if they were dropped into a combat situation. If you dropped Candace Owens behind enemy lines, she’d bite the throat out of an Isis fighter and stroll back to civilization without a scratch. Not to say Ms Owens is insightful or honest, or even that she means what she says. She means to succeed, and no one will stop her.

Owens’s new book Blackout: How Black America Can Make Its Second Escape from the Democrat Plantation is far more entertaining than the recent duds from Dave Rubin and Charlie Kirk. That doesn’t mean it’s a good book. Intellectually it is completely incoherent.

‘Leftism,’ Owens announces, is ‘defined as any political philosophy that seeks to infringe upon individual liberties in its demand for a higher moral good’. No, it isn’t. I’m not sure what I can say except that it isn’t. ‘Grass is defined as blue.’ ‘Mountains are defined as small.’ ‘Vodka is defined as a non-alcoholic drink.’ Come on.

Owens later rhapsodizes about ‘Judeo-Christian values’ being what ‘Western civilization was built upon’. Does she think that the adoption of Christian values was entirely voluntary and involved no infringement on individual liberties?

She tiresomely rehashes the fact that the original Ku Klux Klan were Democrats, as if contemporary Democrats would not line up to spit on the grave of Nathan Bedford Forrest. She bizarrely asserts that FDR was known for ‘theatrically harping on the struggles of minorities’. Most damaging to Owens’s core thesis — that black Americans have to escape the victim mentality allegedly imposed on them by Democrats — is her continual insistence that black Americans are victims of the Democrats.

Joe Biden, Owens says, was ‘a leading crusader and coauthor of the notorious 1994 crime bill, championing harsher sentencing policies that led to defendants’ serving longer prison terms, which disproportionately affected black men’. She does not explore the reasons why they might have been disproportionately affected by a bill targeting violent crime. Black men are victims of Joe Biden: it is as simple as that. What happened to your call to ‘reject…the victim narrative’, Ms Owens?

The prose can also be a headache. ‘I determined this to be odd,’ begins one irrecoverable sentence. Joe Biden’s alleged mistakes are somehow called ‘misgivings’. The very term from which the book takes its title is abused in the following manner:

‘And then I will ask again: what do you have to lose? Because I believe the answer is everything, if we do not blackout from this toxic, illiberal, progressive agenda, which has precipitated little more than helplessness.’

Look, I know she’s not using it in this sense, but ‘blacking out’ already means losing consciousness and enforced darkness. She cannot repurpose it to mean enlightenment, and then use it in ways that evoke its established meanings.

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