Thursday, May 24, 2007

AS BELOW, SO ABOVE. People sometimes ask me why I don't engage wingnuts who have more intellectual cred than the feebs and dimbulbs who comprise my normal subject matter. So I read this Joseph Bottum essay at the schoolly First Things. The essay is 300,000 words long and tells how evil San Francisco liberals want to get as far away from corpses as possible, whereas highly moral conservatives like to keep theirs hanging up in the smokehouse or something.
In its way, San Francisco’s turn against graves provides a nice synopsis of the twentieth century, all the forces of modern times pushing toward a single end. So, for example, whatever politicians may have thought they governed, American cities were actually driven, for much of the twentieth century, by the juggernaut of city planners and public-health officers, their eyes gleaming with visions of Tomorrowland’s immaculate metropolis. So, too, the great engine of modern finance put enormous pressure on real estate—skyscrapers! bank towers! the downtown office!—in narrow urban spaces such as the Golden Gate peninsula.
Somehow I missed the giant Necropoli dominating the landscapes of Salt Lake City and other highly moral Red State cities. Nor did I know that the terms of Burke's famous partnership between the living and the dead required that we actually hang out with the dead.

Mostly I am confused to encounter, in so famously intellectual a publication, the crackpot idea that liberalism is defined, not by its historical advocacy for expanding human freedoms, but by its alleged opposition to timeless realities such as grief and mourning. I'm more accustomed to hearing this crap from blog dummies than from lofty dons.

Speaking of dummies, at The Corner they're all talking about "Lost" -- having worn out their higher minds over the preceding week with rages against Mexicans.

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