Friday, July 21, 2017


Jim Fourniadis -- genius behind Rats of Unusual Size,
and producer of the first Reverb Motherfuckers album
(how's that for HOF credentials?) -- 
did this and I think it's great.

  I’ve only listened to a little Chapo Traphouse — podcasts still strike me as just a slower way of reading, and I don’t have the time. But I like Chapo Traphouse; they’re like Firesign Theater meets Negativland meets Alan Berg; I think it’s hilarious that, given their arcane references and not-terrible politics, they’re so popular. So it’s actually mystifying to me that the very smart Jeet Heer, among others, is giving them a hard time about being mean. I know his argument is technically more sweeping than “they’re mean” but isn’t that what it comes down to? Heer accuses them of “dominance politics” because of the bend-the-knee stuff, but how can he miss that the experience they provide is mainly aesthetic? Saying “Chapo is fighting a two-front war, one against the Republicans and another against moderate Democrats” is like saying “The Marx Brothers are fighting a two-front war, one against Sig Ruman as a stuffy opera impresario and another against Margaret Dumont.”

Jonathan Chait, of all people, is so close to getting this — “a podcast does not have to abide the logic of political coalition-building” — but then he starts talking about cross-checking your content for bias blah blah blah. Guys, this shit is funny, and humor (real humor that you can actually laugh at, not crude apparatchiks emulating the form) is not an insidious delivery system for propaganda, it’s a timeless source of human pleasure. He who feels it knows it. I hate to be dramatic (though I do have a BFA) but this is a step in the direction of treating everything as politics. Which, as this website daily shows, makes you ridiculous, and not in a laughing-with-you way.

  The insufferable Victor Davis Maximus Super Hanson, whose insufferability was revisited here only Wednesday, has a new offense at City Journal. In brief, it’s a yowl over how nobody (that is, nobody Hanson approves of) does physical labor anymore. VDMSH himself, a part-time gentleman farmer, reveals himself acquainted with toil, at least in an overseer capacity, which makes him superior to the sissies who push paper and then go to the gym.

As someone who waited tables for years before entering office life, I could say that I know something of what he’s talking about. It’s good to know worlds beyond the knowledge-worker one, especially now that so many middle-class kids are shunted into that world from the cradle. But Hanson gotta Hanson: eventually he is forced to admit (perhaps by an editor, though the article otherwise seems not to have been submitted to editorial attention) that people who have been made to labor for their wages would not miss the experience. That’s about when Hanson dodges to a new tack: “diminished cultural awareness about those who work physically” is the trouble with all those “privileged Yale students shouting down” their professors and other Hansonian bugbears. Blah. Here in northeast D.C., I have seen a lot of middle-class working-class people — cooks, day laborers, security guards — who hobble home from the bus. One might say they’re had too much of what Hanson counts a good thing. They might have had less, or more ease from the travails, were someone in authority and power paying more attention to them. But the Hansons of the world never agitate for them to have that kind of attention — they only want to turn the eyes of whippersnappers toward them to shame them, while feeling no shame themselves.

  Oh and: If you get tired of reading me on Rod Dreher, or even if not, why not give Andrew Johnston a try? Here he makes some good points, including this:
[Dreher's] is an extensive list of criticisms against this modern, nightmarish world of choice. That's the watchword, the real problem. Seven hundred years ago, there was no choice - you did as you were told or else you ended up flogged, exiled or broken on the wheel. Bit by bit, this changed as the Western world acquired the political and economic means to exercise choice as well as the knowledge to recognize that those choices existed… 
Dreher doesn't like the fact that people around him have the freedom not to believe in God, or to believe in a different god, or even to worship his God in a manner different from him. What he longs for in this book is enforced homogeny.
Dreher's a buffoon, but never forget that all his blubbering about homos forcing him to bake cakes is massive projection and the sheep's clothing on a threat. He and all the wormy theocons are just itching to get medieval on your ass.

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