Thursday, October 19, 2017

This Is You

This article about the cloying hit show This Is Us is what happens when you raise a generation of middle-class middle-brows on the notion Jane Austen novels were anything more than 19th Century soap operas. The author, and her audience, have just enough education to know this is hokey and culturally regressive, but that's exactly what they crave in their shallow Wal-Mart souls.

They know from the books they read in college that they should be skeptical of the family as an institution and critical of patriarchal structures which mandate all women choose motherhood, especially since it's not always really a choice...

But they're too much a product of contemporary suburban mores and norms to take that truly courageous step out of the Normal and into the sort of rootless bohemianism which the iconoclasts in their Norton anthologies embraced. Their critical articles, their social justice cant, their entire "wokeness" is so much virtue signalling. A mating call from the bland to the bland, so they can go in-hoc on a 4,000 square foot vinyl-sideded fuck-box, as the late Joe Bageant called American middle class housing. And all for the sake of recreating the family holidays and barbecues of their memories, despite how anxious and miserable they really were as children.

The media they consume - I hesitate to call it "art" - reflects this. A few well-timed fart and dick jokes to add a juvenile level of transgression to what is really a stuffy square's morality talking to itself. The Leave It To Beaver ethos, decked out in a few memes so these professional bores can pretend it's something new.

And this deep unconscious craving for the hokey and traditional that they so publicly roll their eyes at is exactly why we have the political climate we do now. Not hot enough to turn Red, but not cold enough to embrace the neo-feudal project of Conservatism, they are as lukewarm as piss in a swimming pool. They can't stand against the madness at this late stage of capitalism because they cannot bring themselves to conceive of a world beyond white picket fences, 2.5 kids, and lifelong consumer debt.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Big Man With A Gun

American Conservatives appear to be engaged in cognitive dissonance when they defend the "right to bear arms" in the wake of yet another mass shooting. This is the one non-negotiable Right for them, all else being easily sacrificed to the Patriot Act should some swarthy foreigner happen to have a shoe-bomb or underwear bomb or no bomb at all, just an expired work visa. None of these people are murdering Americans at the same rate as American Citizens with legally purchased firearms, so earnest Liberals think they can shame the Red Staters and Reactionaries into adopting gun control laws.

"From my cold, sweaty hands!"

But this is a misreading of Conservatism - one which Conservatives encourage. The animus against Muslims and Latinos does not come from any concern for security but rather for preserving the hierarchy of Real Americans over and above Everyone Else. Within this paradigm, frequent flare ups like Las Vegas are acceptable and so is Trump's latest Muslim Ban, as both maintain the primacy of Real Americans over foreign and alien Others, whether from Syria or San Francisco. Further, the untouchable Right To Bear Arms ensures the hierarchy of private, local regimes of power exercised with all the impulsive terror of a medieval manor lord - a "democratic feudalism" in which the boss rules you but you can still rule the wife, who rules the kids, who set fire to the dog because that's how all these little pyramids of "order" play out. Assuming you don't decide to expand your own rule with an Armalite and duffle bag of spare mags, like Stephen Paddock.

So when Conservatives howl about Muslims and immigrants but turn into muddling Constitutionalists at any mention of gun control, they're not being disingenuous. They are being principled, but it's the principles of fascist assholes. And they deserve the same as any fascist.