Cultural Blasphemy ? More Like Americanism
January 15, 2017 4 Comments
Ace quoted this piece the other day and called it very good. I agree. Yes, in Newsweek, and also yes, its liberal bias is pretty obvious. But you know we all filter things through our experiences and thus are biased. No less me than Michael Wolf. But things do work better when we talk to each other rather than at each other. I think he’s trying here to understand the rest of us here, and maybe share some of his insights, with other liberals. He’s not wrong, at least in broad strokes. In truth “Shut up, we won”, isn’t going to work much better for us than it did Obama.
That doesn’t mean we ought to be compromising things we believe. It does mean that we should return civility when civility is offered. When it’s not, well the left probably hasn’t seen The Shootist lately. They should because a whole lot of America still lives by that.
Here’s the article ( autoplay video)
If all his other cultural blasphemies did not finish off Donald Trump, his grab-them-by-the-pussy line, in the overwhelming opinion of the liberal media, would. That it did not might suggest that many cultural certainties are a lot less firm than most of the media and culture industry thought. Twenty years (or so) of rule tightening about how we talk about sex, gender, race and our multicultural society—what is disparagingly called political correctness, or, more inclusively, the liberal point of view—was put up for review by Trump’s election.
The ongoing expressions of shock on the part of the cultural establishment—expressed on a daily basis by The New Yorker, New York magazine and The New York Times, anything, apparently, with New York in its title—reflect their fears that the development of a more careful, regulated and corrected world is about to be undone. That the unapologetic white male has returned. You could hardly find a more threatening and throwback version of that than Trump—a rich, voluble, egomaniacal, middle-aged pussy hound. To write him you would need some combination of authors like Norman Mailer, Terry Southern, Harry Crews and Gore Vidal, all notably out of step with current cultural norms.
The culture norm is as starkly confronted as the political norm with proof that it’s not speaking to the lives of a sizeable part of the nation: that same pussy talk that shocked cosmopolitans turns out not to be of much concern, and even to express a casual day-to-day reality, for many Americans. Media fragmentation has created all sorts of thriving niches that accommodate the views of eager consumers, lessening the need to speak to a broader, more difficult-to-reach audience—the once-great mass market. (With no one speaking to it, it’s had to largely contend itself with an expanding diet of sports—another overlooked point of the Trump voter connection, his several decades of red carpet presence at major sporting events.) And, too, convincing higher-fashion cultural consumers that their concerns are paramount ones.
These are just “white man’s problems,” said an agent who in 2013 rejected a collection of short stories about middle-aged terrors and angst by 53-year-old Pennsylvania and working-class son Kevin Morris (transformed by the mysteries of American life into a top Hollywood entertainment lawyer), who promptly took that as the title for his book—think Richard Ford, John Cheever and Bernard Malamud, all writers who are also out of fashion—which he then self-published through Amazon. (The self-publishing world is an extraordinary and vibrant parallel culture, hardly recognizable to the official bookish world). When Grove/Atlantic’s Morgan Entrekin shortly thereafter bought Morris’s first novel, All Joe Knight, about sex and race and money, told through the eyes of a lower-middle-class white kid who grows up to be an alienated middle-aged white guy, “we struggled,” he said, “to think of like-minded writers who could blurb the book and could hardly come up with any.” The book, published shortly after the Trump election, and, in its political incorrectness and protean language, something of an instant samizdat-like favorite at least among other older male writers, has yet to be reviewed by The New York Times.