Wednesday, January 31, 2007

CULTURE CLUBFOOT. TRex at Firedoglake (get well soon, dearest Jane) points out rightwing superhag Mona Charen's most recent exhortation to the Kulture Kops -- this one a little more forward looking than most:
When I travel around the country is when people say well you know how do we effect the country, how do we effect the culture, I will frequently say rather than have your kids be business men, teachers, lawyer—many other things—have them either be journalists or movie makers. That's where we have nothing in the culture…
Mona, Mona, Mona. That's not how it works.

Funnily enough, I've been reading a rather poorly written but still fascinating book on a subject of relevance to the topic. A Great, Silly Grin by Humphrey Carpenter is about British satire in the 1960s -- Beyond the Fringe, That Was The Week That Was, the magazine Private Eye, and that lot.

If you're familiar with late 20th century Brit humor high and/or low, you know that it was all over the place in terms of the usual political labels -- Labour got poked as much as the Tories did, and there's nothing a white English comic liked better than to pretend to be one of those silly African despots. ("Ah'm already consolidatin' mah effective position," said John Bird, grotesquely impersonating Kenya's Jomo Kenyatta, "as de first Negro Prime Minister o' Great Britain, an' shall soon be rushin' on to de assumin' o' even more gigantic powers as de Queen.")

Obviously these people were not so much ideologues as wreckers -- in fact, Malcolm Muggeridge denounced them as mere tyros for whom all "authority is a schoolmaster who, when his back is turned, can be pelted with paper darts and mocked with mimicry and funny face." Private Eye's Christopher Booker said he "gave up Liberalism as soon as it became fashionable," and his colleague Richard Ingrams alternately described himself as a Tory and as an anarchist.

If you pay any attention at all to the history of art, or to common sense, you will notice a problem with Charen's marching orders for heartland America to produce rightwing "culture." She thinks creativity is something the powerful can order up as easily as room service -- "Get young Jennings to produce us some satire, there's a good darkie!" She has no idea that culture is not created by sub-committees of political action groups, but by the sort of obstreperous, irreverent, fart-blowing people that she and her fellow winger dweebs would normally cross the street to avoid.

I've said it many times before and I will say it many times more: these pricks say they are at war for the "culture," but what they really want is to replace all vestiges of culture wih propaganda -- which is the only thing they know how to produce.

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