Saturday, October 30, 2004
LEFTIST ELITISTS SHOOT THEMSELVES IN THE FOOT
Post lifted bodily from an article by CHRIS REED
The Issue: The we're-in-a-culture-war thesis of the best-selling book, "The Great Divide: Retro vs. Metro America," edited by billionaire lefty John Sperling, founder of the University of Phoenix chain.
The Spin: The book contends that in politics and life, noble, hip, smart, well- educated, tolerant urbanites (read: Jon Stewart) are doing battle with ignorant, racist, Bible-thumping hicks (read: George W. Bush) to save the nation from becoming Alabama writ large.
The Unspin: The simple-minded Sperling thesis is easily dismissed, given that polls show great majorities of Democrats are religious and that the economies of Republican-dominated states are hardly left in the dust by Democrat-dominated states.
What's most relevant about "The Great Divide" is how it illustrates the Republicans' great secret weapon: the smug contempt many on the left have for anyone who doesn't live in San Francisco or Manhattan or dream of living in San Francisco or Manhattan. Why would any evangelical Christian or country-music lover or blue-collar worker want to vote for a party whose elite considers them subhuman?
This is what Thomas Frank missed in his book, "What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America." He argued that Republican appeals to the social conservatism of what Sperling calls Retro voters lead them to vote GOP instead of voting their wallets and backing the economic populism of Democrats.
Certainly, a lot of voters go Republican on social-conservative grounds. But a big chunk go GOP just because they wouldn't feel welcome in a party that sees them as dumb proles. This is primarily why Southern Democrats have been the only kind elected president for 40 years; it's tough to sound condescending with a Southern accent. And it's also why Republicans should secretly cheer the popularity of smug crap like "The Great Divide."
Friday, October 29, 2004
WHO SAID LEFTISTS HAVE VAST EGOS? -- SOROS AS A CASE IN POINT
“If truth be known, I carried some rather potent messianic fantasies with me from childhood, which I felt I had to control, otherwise they might get me in trouble,” Soros once wrote. When asked to elaborate on that passage by The Independent, Soros said, “It is a sort of disease when you consider yourself some kind of God, the creator of everything, but I feel comfortable about it now since I began to live it out.”
“Since I began to live it out.” For those who have followed his career and socio-political endeavors, this pretentious statement is not taken lightly. Soros has proven that with the vast resources of money at his command he has the ability to make the once unthinkable normal. His work as a self-professed “amoral” financial speculator has left millions in poverty. He has overthrown governments throughout the world, pumping so much cash into shaping former Soviet republics to his liking that he has bragged that the former Soviet Empire is now the “Soros Empire” (although that “Empire” did not last for very long; when he no longer served the former Soviets’ purposes, his Empire was taken away from him).
Now that “god” – Soros – has decided that George W. Bush has to go. The controversial billionaire has been proclaiming that defeating George W. Bush is the “central focus” of his life. He has written that he always “felt that modern society in general and America in particular suffer from a deficiency of values.” Only fundamental changes in our way of life will satisfy him, and he is spending millions to make those changes a reality.
WHY THE ELITES ARE STEAMING
In the last three decades, there has been a steady evolution from liberal to moderately conservative politics among a majority of the voters, whether gauged by the recent spate of Republican presidents or Bill Clinton's calculated shift to the center. Now the House, Senate, presidency and the majority of state governorships and legislatures are in Republican hands. A Bush win will ensure a conservative Supreme Court for a generation.
In contrast, the universities, the arts, the major influential media and Hollywood are predominately liberal -- and furious. They bring an enormous amount of capital, talent, education and cultural influence into the political fray -- but continue to lose real political power. The talented elite plays the same role to the rest of America as the Europeans do to the United States -- venting and seething because the supposedly less sophisticated, but far more powerful, average Joes don't embrace their visions of utopia.
Elites from college professors and George Soros to Bruce Springsteen and Garrison Keillor believe that their underappreciated political insight is a natural byproduct of their own proven artistic genius, education, talent or capital. How then can a tongue-tied George W. Bush and his cronies so easily fool Americans, when novelists, actors, singers, comedians and venture capitalists have spent so much time and money warning them of their danger?
For all Sean Penn's rants, Rather's sermons, Michael Moore's mythodramas and Jon Stewart's postmodern snickers, America, even in times of a controversial war and rocky economy, is still not impressed. National Public Radio, "Nightline" and the New York Times are working overtime to assert their views in this philosophical debate; Jimmy Carter and Al Gore -- not George H. W. Bush and Bob Dole -- are fuming. Most Americans snore or flip the channel.
It is apparently a terrible thing to be sensitive, glib, smart, educated or chic -- and not be listened to, as we have seen from this noisy and often hysterical campaign among elites. That is the real divide in this country, and it is only going to get worse.
Sunday, October 24, 2004
ELITIST LEFTIST HATRED GOES HOMICIDAL
Not that there's a thing new about that! Joe Stalin, V.I. Lenin, Pol Pot and Mao clearly still have devoted followers in the British media
"The US election draws ever nearer, and while the rest of the world bangs its head against the floorboards screaming "Please God, not Bush!", the candidates clash head to head in a series of live televised debates....
[Bush's] behaviour goes beyond strange, and heads toward terrifying. He looks like he's listening to something we can't hear. He blinks, he mumbles, he lets a sentence trail off, starts a new one, then reverts back to whatever he was saying in the first place. Each time he recalls a statistic (either from memory or the voice in his head), he flashes us a dumb little smile, like a toddler proudly showing off its first bowel movement. Forgive me for employing the language of the playground, but the man's a tool....
So I sit there and I watch this and I start scratching my head, because I'm trying to work out why Bush is afforded any kind of credence or respect whatsoever in his native country. His performance is so transparently bizarre, so feeble and stumbling, it's a miracle he wasn't laughed off the stage.
Throughout the debate, John Kerry, for his part, looks and sounds a bit like a haunted tree. But at least he's not a lying, sniggering, drink-driving, selfish, reckless, ignorant, dangerous, backward, drooling, twitching, blinking, mouse-faced little cheat. And besides, in a fight between a tree and a bush, I know who I'd favour.
On November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all. The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you?" [Booth, Harvey and Hinckley, of course, all shot U.S. Presidents]
The words given in red show that the writer is seriously disturbed. He clearly believes that the entire world agrees with him. About half of the American electorate simply do not exist for him: A total loss of reality contact is evident.
The article has evoked a lot of outrage so "the Guardian" may in due course do some sort of defence of it. The defence will be that it was "jocular", "ironic", "hyperbolic" or other words to that effect. I think, however, that the author meant every word of it
My guess was spot-on. The following appeared in "The Guardian" on 24th.:
"The final sentence of a column in The Guide on Saturday caused offence to some readers. The Guardian associates itself with the following statement from the writer.
"Charlie Brooker apologises for any offence caused by his comments relating to President Bush in his TV column, Screen Burn. The views expressed in this column are not those of the Guardian. Although flippant and tasteless, his closing comments were intended as an ironic joke, not as a call to action - an intention he believed regular readers of his humorous column would understand. He deplores violence of any kind.""
Note however that the author has not disowned his delusion that the whole world agrees with him
Thursday, October 21, 2004
THE ELITISM OF THE AUSTRALIAN LEFT
Excerpt from an article by Barry Cohen
It must have been a quiet news day when, in the aftermath of the 1998 election, I was rifling through a Labor publication containing pen-portraits of the 90 odd Labor MPs and senators and noticed something that was more than passing strange. In the section titled Occupations Before Entering Parliament, there seemed to be a singular lack of variety. I amused myself by doing a detailed analysis. When I finished, I could hardly believe my eyes. With three exceptions, all fell into one of six categories: lawyers, public servants, party and union officials, state MPs and their staff, and teachers.
It is difficult to imagine a more incestuous group. An evening listening to a discussion of their life experiences would have been riveting. Almost all, if you'll excuse the expression, had spent their lives on the public tit. When I raised the matter with former colleagues, they seemed surprised at my concern.
With everyone seeking answers for Labor's latest humiliating defeat, I thought the time was opportune to find out whether there had been change in the interim. It is my melancholy duty to report that, if anything, the situation has worsened. Behold the results of an analysis of the recent parliament: union officials, 29; teachers, 18; state MPs and ministerial staff, 16; public servants, 14; party officials, 8; lawyers, 8. Quite a number had more than one career but, amazingly, those other careers were covered by the same six categories.
Many will argue that there is nothing wrong with the ALP having trade union officials in its parliamentary ranks. After all, it was the union movement that formed the party after the shearers strike of 1891. You will get no argument from me on that score, but today's union officials are somewhat different to their predecessors.
Arriving in Canberra in 1969, I was taken aback when on being introduced to my caucus colleagues I discovered that when they proffered their hand, there was a distinct shortage of fingers. I feared it was some arcane caucus rite that required the sacrifice of a knuckle as a form of initiation. It was some time before I took my hands out of my pockets. In time, I realised it was simply that more than half the caucus members had actually worked with their hands. They had been shearers, wharfies, miners, cane-cutters and a host of other blue-collar occupations. That is far from true of today's representatives of the working class. There is a smattering who list their earlier occupation as meatworker, garbage collector, clerk, secretary, or barmaid – but they are few and far between.
TURNING back to 1969 and my first parliament, a glance at the previous occupations of the 1969-72 caucus highlights the difference: accountants, 2; chemist, 1; clerks, 5; company executives, 2; journalists, 3; lawyers, 8; doctors, 5; religious ministers, 2; party officials, 3; policemen, 2; farmers, 2; public servants, 8; retailers, 4; teachers, 7; tradesmen, 5; union officials, 18; and others, 2. (For the record, I was one of the retailers – menswear – and I have to admit it's difficult to lose a finger handling cashmere sweaters.) Thirty-five years ago, the members and senators representing the ALP covered a broad range of expertise that more closely mirrored the Australian electorate. It ensured that in caucus and parliamentary debates there was a variety of views and some robust exchanges. Now, thanks to the factional control of the preselection process and the takeover of many of the branches by a middle-class elite, the elected representatives are coming from a very limited field of experience.
Today's generation of Labor MPs has too narrow a career path to parliament. After university and a stint in a union, ministerial or party office, it's into parliament, ready to run the country. Some experience in the real world wouldn't hurt.
Barry Cohen was a Labor MP from 1969 to 1990 and a minister in the Hawke government.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
A GOOD PICTURE OF LEFTIST ELITISM IN NYC
It was the kind of glittering occasion at which John Kerry and his wife would feel at home. There were millionaires in tuxedos with their Botoxed and bejewelled wives, graceful daughters with flawless skin in evening gowns, members of the Kennedy and Hearst dynasties and, because this is New York high society, there were artists surrounded by their patrons and benefactors. They had come to celebrate the National Arts Awards, but it was also the night of the final debate between Kerry and George W Bush. A special room was set aside for the dinner guests to watch the ding-dong on a big screen while eating petits fours and quaffing champagne.
Andres Serrano, the artist responsible for Piss Christ, one of the iconic images of the late 1980s culture wars, was rooting for Kerry. Wedged between two beautiful women, he enthused: "The debate's going well. Kerry's winning over the audience here."
Indeed. There were laughs and applause for Kerry, groans for Bush. Jeff Koons, the celebrated pop artist, was standing by the bar. "There's got to be a change for the future of the country," he told me soberly. Then Koons became unexpectedly open-minded. "This administration" - he couldn't bring himself to say Bush - "has supported the arts. In this particular area, they have been generous." But never mind such parochialism. "For the good of the country, it's time for a change," he repeated his mantra.
So here I am in deep Kerry territory, surrounded by designer Democrats who are far wealthier than me, harbouring a secret and deeply untrendy thought. Darn them all, despite being a registered Democrat - and in my London days a staunch Labour supporter - I am going to vote for George Dubya.
When the metrosexual chap standing next to me confides that urban sophisticates prefer Kerry because "you have to have a low IQ to appreciate Bush", I know I am making the right decision. "The guy is an idiot," he continued snobbishly. "I don't know what the rest of the country is thinking."
Perhaps I can enlighten him. I will be one of the millions voting for Bush because I trust the president's judgment on the war on terror more than Kerry's. In this election, I am a single-issue voter. It is that simple. Even in the New York metropolis, there are more of us out there than he imagines.
I have registered as a Democrat because I want to put the party on notice. Should it lose the election - an open question at present - I want it to look at the numbers of Bush-supporting Democrats and draw the appropriate lesson about its unconvincing foreign policy. Perhaps then I will be able to support the party in 2008.
My vote for Bush involves a fair amount of gritting of teeth. I am not a Republican and do not care much for the company he keeps. Back in Britain I have voted Labour since I was 18, sticking by the party through its wilderness years when it veered towards the extreme left. I was political editor of the left-wing New Statesman magazine in the early 1990s when two bright MPs, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, embarked on their quest to make Labour electable...
Monday, October 18, 2004
Well-said: "Pardon our populism, but we're a lot more impressed by the views of millions of ordinary voters than by those of all the academics in the world. Democracy and human rights are safer in the hands of people who directly benefit from them, soberly appreciate their value and rightly fear the alternatives than they are in the hands of overpaid, overfed, overpraised intellectual snobs who take their considerable safety and excessive comfort for granted, and spend far too much of their time sneering at those who don't belong to their self-regarding little subculture, but are expected to pay their salaries nonetheless".
Friday, October 15, 2004
Well-said: "Pardon our populism, but we’re a lot more impressed by the views of millions of ordinary voters than by those of all the academics in the world. Democracy and human rights are safer in the hands of people who directly benefit from them, soberly appreciate their value and rightly fear the alternatives than they are in the hands of overpaid, overfed, overpraised intellectual snobs who take their considerable safety and excessive comfort for granted, and spend far too much of their time sneering at those who don’t belong to their self-regarding little subculture, but are expected to pay their salaries nonetheless".
Friday, October 08, 2004
THERE ARE FEW THINGS AS INCORRECT AS A BIG MAC
It's just snobbery
"Many now seem to agree with the American professor who described McDonald's advertising as 'the last socially acceptable form of child abuse'.... Why do they hate McDonald's so much? Some of us might not think its food tastes that great, but surely that is a matter of, well, taste. There is no evidence that eating a McDonald's meal is bad for you, but plenty to suggest that it is being made an easy scapegoat for obesity. I want to let you in on a scientific secret. There is no such thing as 'junk food'. Given the news coverage that it attracts, this may sound like saying that there is no war in Iraq. But junk food really is a myth. As Professor Stanley Feldman from the University of London told me: 'Of course, some foods taste better or are more nutritious. But the idea that some are 'junk' - containing nothing of value, or harmful to our health - is nonsense. 'Whether meat is prime Angus beef or a Big Mac, it is absorbed into the bloodstream as the same variety of amino acids.'....
If people do not want their children to eat fast food, that is their choice, just as it should be their business if they want to take the kids out foxhunting. But the fashion for lecturing other people about the evils of eating McDonald's is motivated by something else. Partly, I think, it is a brand of anti-Americanism - the infantile belief that McDonald's golden arches are symbols of global empire, with Big Mac cast in the role of Bond villain.
Closer to home, it looks to me like the last socially acceptable form of snobbery, Many of those who hate McDonald's seem to believe that this makes them better, more caring people than those whom they blame for raising children as the human equivalent of chicken McNuggets. Listen to the words that everybody from the Department of Health downwards now uses to describe fast food - 'junk, fatty, unhealthy' - and it is hard not to hear them as moral judgments passed on those who eat it.
Anti-McDonald's protesters who have denounced its 'soulless industrialised product' unknowingly echo the snobbery of another age. In his fine book The Intellectuals and the Masses, John Carey describes how 20th-century writers from TS Eliot through John Betjeman to George Orwell railed against 'tinned food' as a symbol of the industrialised popular culture they despised: 'Tinned food becomes a mass symbol because it offends what the intellectual designates as nature: it is mechanical and soulless.' For today's less eloquent snobs, it seems that the ills of modernity and the soulless masses are encapsulated in a sesame burger bun rather than a tin of pink salmon.
The anti-McDonald's Left insist that attacking junk food is a 'class issue'. How noble of them to stoop to save the ignorant, helpless burger-munching poor from themselves. Has the Left really lowered its horizons so far that changing the world now means trying to prevent hard-up families from feeding their kids for £1.99 a time (toy and indoor playground included)?