“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Saturday, March 10, 2007

ersatz outrage, real outrage, and the boy that go a-lynchin'

LI will, perhaps, shock all true hearts by admitting that we weren’t at all shocked by Ann Coulter’s use of faggot last week. It wasn’t as good a joke as it could have been, but fuck it – it isn’t that we are especially worried that the Conservative Congress of Dimwits is going to hear something that will corrupt them, or their endorsement of various politicians who will do all within their power to give us a nice, toasty, lifeending atmosphere and lead up to it with one bloody and pointless war after the other.

We thought, at most, that this was a sign of the separation of conservative politics from the conservative constituency. It may surprise liberals, but the conservative constituency is not that interested in politics. Fundamentally, it needs to be prodded into paying concerted attention to who rules the country (although I should say, the attention is directed to a counterfeit network of who runs the country – nobody wants the fundamentalist yahoos looking at the life styles of the rich and the famous, they might begin to get all biblical about that wealth). LI would hazard that the fundamentalists are getting more and more fed up with their so called leaders – for the leaders are political creatures. The reason for going to church, asking forgiveness for sin, being reborn, has everything to do with the emotional and existential satisfactions of accepting Jesus in your heart, and little to do with the epiphenomena of laws, wars, tax cuts, abortion, homosexuality and all the rest of it. And when the people of Muskegee look up and see their so called leaders listening to a blonde pottymouth who seems to have more cultural connection to Lenny Bruce than to Billy Graham, I think they are overcome with a deep and justified apathy. I may be wrong, but the faggot remark is much worse for Red Staters than for liberal sensibilities. It shouldn’t be necessary to say this, but: taboos don’t exist in society in terms of straight binaries. There is a whole middle ground of decorum, and it is on that middle ground of decorum that your good Southern Baptist takes his or her stand.

But LI can be moved to loathing by small, spontaneous outrages. The recent story about AutoAdmit, an online community that seems to exist to combine the sensibility of the titty bar customer with the maddening attitude of spoiled rich male law student, did move me to go here and sign the petition to stop their obnoxious condoning of sexual harassment. For details about this crewe of the misbegotten, go to this Feministe post. There is a distressing thread, to me, equating the sum of the wrong done by the people at AutoAdmit who take women’s pictures from their homepages, submit them for various bogus contests, make a lot of comments re tits, ass, desire to hatefuck, etc. to a bump in the upward trajectory of a career. I understand why this is quantified in money terms, and in fact I think AutoAdmit should be hit in money terms – I think that if liberal and feminist organizations issued advisories against law schools that apparently contain members of AutoAdmit, the company would change its policy in a heartbeat.

However, I do think it is interesting that in the same week that Girls Gone Wild is blamed on feminism, Boys Gone a-Lynching is given a free pass. Mind, I believe the 20 something generation in this country is much less sexist and racist than my generation was – I have a mild faith in the incremental progress of the human spirit in this department. But the lyncher mentality of rich or upper class males is a huge cultural festuche.

There is a sub-outrage to the AutoAdmit stupidity: Ann Althouse's attack on Jill at Feministe for... well, for something. It isn't clear what. Althouse is a conservative, and her kneejerk reaction is determined by three variables, in descending order: class, race, and sex. If you fill those things in wealthy, white and male, you get the Althouse prize of sympathy, if you want it. Temperaments are important in politics: fill those things in poor, black and female, and you'd get LI's kneejerk sympathy. I have no problem with conservative kneejerk reaction per se - I simply am on the other side of that class war. But disguising it in a fake populism does tend to piss me off. When Russell Kirk was replaced by Rush Limbaugh, it was a deal with the devil.


Scruggs said...

I'm fascinated by the creepy yuppie and his slickly stupid, third year sophist partner. They're well adapted to cretin capitalism, Roger, with a jump start on degradation, harassment and destroying value. These are the lesser Deciders of tomorrow! I predict the third year sophist will find work with the DLC and eventually quarrel with the creepy yuppie, who will self-acutalize as campaign money bundler for the Republicans.

roger said...

Mistah Scrugg, you have the hardihood of the seasoned parasitologist. That admirable clinical coldness. But not LI! I want to hide from these people. If they are the Deciders of tomorrow, tomorrow isn't going to look very bright for yours truly. It is, after all, all about me me me - as in, me not swimming in a nation flooded by blood and shit as it sinks down a hole in the side of the world. I know, my dreams are too ambitious, but I figure, hell, we reduce the wars to one a decade, the Ciolis of this world find out that when the business plan involves the propensity of the clients to lynch random victims, the business collapses and buries them in the ruins, and the ersatz outrage industry goes into recession - simple baby steps towards a better world!

If not - couldn't we at least offshore the manufacture of outrage? I'd be oh so happy to get outraged at the bigoted comments of Bollywood debutantes. That's what I want to be outraged by!

Scruggs said...

The sangfroid is actually mild dementia and the hardihood comes from my personal philosophy, phlegmatic philistinism. They don't do a lot for the Fear, however, and much as I'd like to encourage their propagation, they're not for everyone. So LI has my sympathy.