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Narrative is a powerful social tool. Because facts are mostly irrelevant to narrative, narrative is both malleable and transposable: What doesn’t fit one way can be easily twisted to fit another way, and what doesn’t apply to one situation, in time, can certainly be made to apply to another.  Perhaps most important, narrative is ALWAYS morally correct, thus those controlling the narrative maintain the moral high ground.  It is no wonder the Left prizes narrative over fact and it should be no surprise that the main stream media, twists and manipulates facts in order to fit any narrative that might further the Leftist agenda of their progressive friends. Recent weeks have provided two excellent examples of the narrative in full effect: Nooses reported hanging from a tree on the campus of the University of Delaware and a clock reported as a bomb in Irving Texas.

Narrative has perhaps nowhere been more evident than in the amazing story of Ahmed the clock maker.

Ahmed Mohamed is a 14 year old ninth grade student in Irving Texas, who brought a home-made clock to school and was detained by police when school officials believed the clock looked like a bomb.

The narrative is that Ahmed is a genius inventor, who was harassed and detained by police because the school administrators in Irving Texas are just a bunch of racist, afflicted with the peculiar strain of Islamophobia currently running rampant in our country.  The narrative has resulted in Ahmed becoming an internet sensation and a celebrity among the New Left.  Because of the narrative, or rather because the narrative furthers the progressive agenda, Ahmed has been showered with gifts from technology corporations, glad handed by celebrities, and even invited to the White House.  President Obama, tweeted Ahmed, “Cool clock Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House?”

Ironically, the president’s invitation to Ahmed is where the tortured facts of narrative meet the bulwark of unvarnished truth.  The fact is that the “cool clock” the president mentions (clearly having responded before photos of the clock emerged) would NEVER be allowed in the White House, because the device Ahmed brought to school LOOKS LIKE A BOMB! The narrative counts on all of us knowing what a clock looks like, which is why those pushing the narrative tend to leave photos of Ahmed’s invention out of their stories.  Ahmed’s clock is not one to hang on a wall.  Ahmed’s clock is almost indistinguishable from a suitcase bomb.


Moreover, the “cool clock” Ahmed invented was nothing more than a store-bought, digital clock that the ninth grader disassembled and placed in a pencil box, which he then wrapped with wire so as not to attract suspicion.  The rather elementary project gives serious doubts to the part of the narrative extolling Ahmed’s genius.  I suspect that most third graders could dismantle a clock and toss it into a pencil box.  What most third graders might not think about is that their clock project looks suspicious. Ahmed thought about it.  In fact, Ahmed was told NOT to show the clock around school BECAUSE it didn’t look like a clock, but LIKE A BOMB.

Finally, there is the bit about the United States running rampant with islamophobia. Depending on how one defines islamophobia, I suppose one could make an argument that there is a virulent hatred of Muslims in this country.  Then again, I imagine that if one defines life in the broadest of terms, Elvis Presley is not dead.  Using a standard measure of hate crimes against Muslims, Americans have been EXTREMELY tolerant of Muslims.  Compared to the broader population, Muslims are simply not being dragged from their homes and beaten, their mosques are not being burned down, and their businesses remain safe from thievery.  Ironically, the group still number one on the hate crimes list is Jews.  So, there’s that…

But again the narrative is what is important. The fact that the clock doesn’t look like a clock, that the boy is no junior engineering genius, that the school administrators responded reasonably (if not a bit inflexibly), and that the facts do not support American hatred of Muslims should not stand in the way of all the speeches, and new anti-being mean to anyone who might be Muslim legislation coming down the pike.

And if you don’t think this episode of “Ahmed Goes To College” won’t end with a bunch of touchy-feely regulations aimed at killing islamophobia, you haven’t been paying attention to how the narrative works. And you haven’t been attending the right schools. Which brings us to the University of Delaware.

At the beginning of this week, following a Black Lives Matter protest, a student crossing the campus green, looked up and saw three pieces of string hanging from a tree.  The student immediately reported to the campus police that “nooses” had been hung on campus. (Because, of course, in 2015, anytime you see a string hanging from a tree, it has got to be a noose!) The campus police removed the string and alerted the campus student body that a possible hate crime had been committed.  The next day, students and faculty packed the campus green in order to chant, discuss the incident, and because this generation of college students is filled with squishy negroes, share their weepy tales of discrimination.

There was lots of talk of diversity and how this horrible incident was PROOF that more must be done on campus in order to help the minority community feel safe.

Flash forward 24 hours and it is discovered that the strings in the tree were in fact NOT nooses left to intimidate squishy BLM revolutionaries, but string leftover from lanterns hung in celebration of Alumni weekend in JUNE.


One would think that following such an embarrassment, the school administrators would apologize for getting everyone all worked up.  One would be wrong, because THAT is not how the narrative works.  Remember that narrative is transposable.

For some students, the fact that nooses were NOT hung on campus still implied a bigger problem on campus, one that the administration was failing to address. BLACK LIVES MATTER and black men are dying all across the country!  The speeches continued, the anxiety and tales of students of color not being safe on the university campus continued.  Also continuing were the proclamations by the administration that while NO HATE CRIME existed, there was still a need for dialogue, (which will no doubt include more teary-eyed impromptu group therapy sessions). And through it all those pushing the narrative, which has little to do with the facts, can claim moral righteousness and smug superiority.

THAT is how narrative works!  Clocks that don’t tell time and look like bombs are brilliant examples of engineering genius.  Those who question the narrative are quickly discredited as being islamophobes.  “You don’t like Ahmed because he is Muslim!” NOT finding nooses on campus is proof of the veracity of Black lives matter: students of color are not safe on campus!  Questioning that analysis is proof of ones complicity with white privilege. “You don’t like black people!”

No.  what I don’t like are liars who twist facts to push a political and social narrative.  But that’s just me.


About Author

Joseph C. Phillips

Joseph C. Phillips was born on January 17, 1962 in Denver, Colorado, USA as Joseph Connor Phillips. He is an actor, known for General Hospital (1994), The Cosby Show (1984) and Strictly Business (1991). He has been married to Nicole since 1994. They have three children.

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