The Way We [Never] Were
A reader of John Ray's mostly excellent blog Dissecting Leftism writes
, "A leftist teacher friend of mine found herself painted into a corner recently when she tried to explain 50s social values to a class of modern teens. Despite her best effort to sell the advantages of feminism, diversity and libertine culture, most of the kids quickly saw the more stable and predictable values of the 50s as offering more protection to the weakest and most vulnerable members of society, children."
I wonder how the teenage girls would have responded if the teacher had mentioned that back in the Fifties, if your husband beat the hell out of you and you were foolish enough to go to the police station, the cops would just tell you to go home and cook him a nice dinner. Or, if you got raped, the same cops would jeer at you and ask, "So, did you enjoy it? Maybe you shouldn't be parading around in short skirts, honey."
And I wonder how the non-white kids in the class would have enjoyed living in the days before the Civil Rights Movement ... even in the North, where I grew up and where racism is, of course, not unknown.
As far as "libertine culture" goes, sexual freedom has always
been available for men if they wanted it, with few if any repercussions. Back in the Fifties, does anybody really think "Our Boys in Korea" weren't availing themselves of prostitutes over there, just as soldiers, sailors, etc. had done in various parts of the world a decade earlier? But let a teenage girl of those eras get pregnant...quite a different story. When conservatives decry "the moral values of today," what they're really saying is, "We don't think women should be allowed the same freedoms as men."
Also note that the reader invokes "the children." As a woman who's child-free by choice, I've become especially
wary whenever I see that invocation, no matter whether it comes from the right or the left, because it basically means, "I'm about to suggest that your liberties be curtailed, and I'm going to use 'the children' as an excuse for doing so, even though I don't really have any firm evidence on hand that the curtailment of your liberties will improve their lot."
On the left, it usually means higher taxes for schools, regardless of how well the schools actually use the money they already get. Some dim bint with three kids recently wrote to her local newspaper after a tax-hike went Tango Uniform to say, "The village has failed my children!" (No, I'm not making this up — this is Massachusetts, remember.) Now, this bint lives in a very nice house (with a historical marker — her house is nearly 200 years old!) in a very nice section of a very nice suburb, so she certainly could have afforded private lessons for her offspring in most of the stuff that was slashed, if maybe she and her husband made the ultimate sacrifice and passed up on getting a new SUV again next year. Her email address was not hard to find online; my scathing missive to her about her overweening sense of entitlement was, shall we say, unappreciated by its recipient.
And although liberals and conservatives often make unholy alliances under the "for the children" banner, such as crusades against pornography, typically the right invoke "the little ones" as justification for intrusion into the bedroom, and they do so much more often for women than for men. (Same with intrusion into the doctor's office. Yes, I'm "pro-abortion." Deal with it. As I wrote recently to a local talk-radio host who was bemoaning the current "dearth" of women who wish to reproduce — "only" 60%...my ghod, a mere fraction of the female population! — I not only "tolerate" abortion, but I encourage it. Sometimes retroactively, like in, say, the 90th trimester. To quote an acquaintance from Usenet, "Put the swingsets BACK on the concrete and let God sort 'em out! Too many morons reaching breeding age nowadays!")
To get back to a more serious note, let's not kid ourselves that the '50s were some sort of Father Knows Best
paradise, any more than the entire generation that came of age in the '60s were revolutionary heroes to a man ("and womyn"), with a deep concern for "social justice." Judging by the history I've read, the Fifties were, if anything, an anomaly, and one made possible by quite a bit of government spending at that.
Schlock the Vote
A friend approvingly sent me this article: Rockers Unite to Oust Bush
<yawn> People with a lot of artistic talent but no serious understanding of how the greater world works suddenly think that because millions buy their albums and cheer at their concerts, they're globopolitical geniuses. I'm not a big fan of Laura Ingraham, but I do intend to borrow her book Shut Up and Sing
, which addresses this phenomenon, from the local library. (No, I wouldn't buy it outright at retail, or even buy it on half.com, even if I were employed. But then I'm overloaded with books and I'm spoiled by yard-sale prices.)
Bruce Springsteen told a crowd of 50,000 New Yorkers on October 4th to "shout a little louder if you want the president impeached."
The blue-collar worker shtick is wearing thin, Bruce. You haven't been struggling for a living for a few decades now.
[John "Cougar" Melonhead sez,] "We have been lied to and terrorized by our own government, and it is time to take action."
"Terrorized." In other words, what Bush & Co. have done to date is just the same as flying jumbo jets into skyscrapers and killing 3K people. Moral equivalence, party of one? (Actually, party of several dozen, it seems.)
Dave Matthews is railing against the war in Iraq in interviews
...in between tokes...
"The America we believe in can't survive another four years of George Bush," says Moby.
Fortunately, something like 70% of voters believe in a different America. And as the number of evangelicals in this country is something like 30% of the population, it's obvious that not all who intend to vote for Bush in '04 are Bible-thumpers.
"Our motto: Anything but Bush."
Careful what you wish for; you might get it. (E.g.
: President Sharpton.)
Many artists aren't afraid to get their hands dirty in the democratic process, either...
HA!!! "Dirty"?! Can you say, "delusions of working-class solidarity," boys, and girls? I knew you could. (Although, as the working class overwhelmingly votes GOP these days, there are limits to solidarity.)
Willie Nelson recently called Dennis Kucinich to offer his time and a slogan, "Kucinich: His middle name is sin,"
Given his well-known problems with the IRS, Willie might want to reconsider backing a Democrat, especially one with no allergy to high taxes.
"Musicians have an obligation to get involved," says Henley, "not necessarily because they have a forum but because they are citizens."
I can see why Mojo Nixon wrote "Don Henley Must Die."
In his spot, Wesley Clark even name-drops OutKast.
It's not always easy for artists to speak out. Recently, New Jersey radio station WCHR banned Jethro Tull after the band's lead singer, Ian Anderson, was quoted in a local paper saying, "I hate to see the American flag hanging out of every bloody station wagon. It's easy to confuse patriotism with nationalism. Flag-waving ain't gonna do it."
So go back to England, you overrated twit. Sheesh.
This country has a different history than European countries, where flag-waving often does
symbolize nationalism. Here it usually is
an expression of patriotism, not that the left can mentally separate the phenomenon from that of nationalism. Clue: more often than not — especially in multiracial areas like the one I live in — the people with it on their SUVs aren't white. They're certainly not gearing up to drive "all them furriners" out of the U.S.
(Very few people drive station wagons anymore. They would, but certain environmental regulations drove them out of large-scale production ... to be replaced by SUVs, which despite their bulk managed to drive through a loophole in the regs. Pyrrhic victory, anyone?)
Eight months ago, Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines told a London audience, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas."
And she was called "courageous" for doing so, which is a crock. It's called sucking up to one's audience. A courageous
act would have been to support
Bush in that crowd.
More than fifty radio stations pulled the Dixie Chicks' songs off the air, and DJs and fans launched protests.
...which is their right under the First Amendment, despite the predictable cries of "Censorship!"
Says Maines, "I thought, 'Why am I, a country singer who has never been involved in politics publicly, the one asking questions?'"
...because nobody else in the ENTIRE
U.S. has expressed any
criticism of Bush in the last three years.
Maines says that she hopes the London incident will help rally eighteen- to twenty-four-year-old women to vote.
Xrist help us, they might put PETArd-in-Chief Ingrid Newkirk in the Oval Office!
Merle Haggard, who recorded his own anti-war song, "That's the News," this year, says that the attacks on the Chicks "reminded me of things I'd read about Berlin in 1938. It pissed me off."
I respect Haggard a great deal, but he's got the 1938 analogy backwards. The Fourth Reich is spawning not out of Washington and Texas, but Riyadh ... and the spirits of Chamberlain, Quisling, and Vichy are alive and well in the EU.
And Jews are being slaughtered again
. Has any musician protested THAT?
The notion that musicians shouldn't get involved in politics is "ridiculous,"
I like the notion, myself. Also artists, "literary figures," and others who think that just because one has talent, the world is obligated to take one's every utterance as a drop of golden wisdom.
People make their livings based not on any inherent worth or talent, but based on how much value they provide to others. Ahhtists hate this, even the ones who draw millions to their concerts, because to what passes for their minds, that basic law of economics reeks of "selling out." That's why they by and large tack left.
"Everyone should be involved in politics: cabdrivers, lawyers..."
He's never been in a cab and been subjected to the rant about The World And The Way It Would Be If I Was [sic
] In Charge?
And there are plenty
of lawyers in politics, including in Congress, which just could
be part of the problem...?
Artists are in a unique position to understand the mood of this country, too. "We travel," says Henley. "We see what the economy is like in every city. We take the temperature of between 10,000 and 20,000 people four nights a week."
...and have in-depth and erudite conversations with each of them about the economy, the Constitution, the Marshall Plan, et cetera, et cetera.
James Taylor, who has supported Sen. John Kerry,
I wouldn't be surprised if they own houses in the same neighborhood on the Vineyard.
(Oh, and Taylor's music suxx0rs, by the way.)
"Americans are asleep at the wheel," Taylor adds.
No, they just disagree with you — and many of them have even given great thought to the issues at hand. Hard concept to swallow, I know, especially when you live in the People's Republic of Massachusetts, surrounded by the like-minded. I see it every day.
...to put the idea forward that some conversation needs to take place here, as opposed to accepting the [government] line," he says.
Yeah, because, again, since November of 2000 and especially since 9/11/01, NOBODY'S been criticizing the Bush Administration. Everybody's soooooo afraid to — especially after the Secret Police dragged Noam Chomsky off in the middle of the night, never to be heard from again! (We should be so lucky.)
[Clinton apparatchnik and apologist Donna Brazile sez,] "People come out because they're attracted not just to [the candidate] but also because the candidate is being endorsed by their favorite artist," she says. "It matters."
That's pretty scary, if you ask me. If Iverson speaks for most Republicans and Brazile speaks for most Democrats, I might consider scrapping the Libertarian affiliation and registering with the GOP.
"It's in style to be at the rallies."
"It's THE place to be, man! You can pick up lots of chicks with nose rings and armpit hair!"
This article cheers me up, quite frankly. If this is the true overall nature of the opposition, it looks like Bush is a shoo-in next fall.