The genteel trap When Santayana used the phrase “genteel tradition” to refer to a certain strain in American thinking - a romantic avoidance of the real, haunted by Calvinistic rules that equated happiness with sin – the phrase escaped his essay and came to stand for an damning avoidance of the vulgar in American art and by extension, America’s middle class self-consciousness. An editor at Scribner’s magazine, which was popular in the 1920s, wrote that he refused stories that contained “slang, profanity, vulgarity, agnosticism or radicalism.” (quote from The Black Genteel Tradition by Gorman Beauchamp). This rule was, as well, once the rule of genteel politics, and most especially of the Republican party, centered in the Northeast among businessmen. The Democratic party was quite different. From the beginning, it was the libido to the Whig Id. It welcomed both the Southern planter and the ethnic immigrant, mainly Irish. And it was animated with the anti-Black fevers of both groups.
“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears
"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads