"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Pasties, Sequins, Glitz, Glamour, And Tinsel–And The Penitential Humorlessness Of The Woke

When asked why progressives couldn’t crack a joke, a member of the Washington-based Progressive Coalition for Social Action said, “There is nothing to laugh about”; and there in a nutshell was the reason for the hopelessly pontifical attitude of the woke generation.  

Not only that, but anything other than expressionless behavior would be unseemly.  How could one possibly enjoy a Las Vegas show – America’s most carefree entertainment – when children were suffering, women were oppressed, and black people were still struggling under the boot heel of the white man?  How could any self-respecting serious woman wear anything but comfortable shoes and off-the-rack dresses. It was a matter of principle.  One had to empathize with the less fortunate.

Image result for images las vegas show girls

This wasn’t always the case.  Before the onset of social justice penitence, that infection of the seriously committed, there was plenty of hanky-panky, high spirits, shenanigans, and boozy dips in the Reflecting Pool. The representatives from the heartland were no aficionados of Pablo Casals and Robert Frost but of tight-fitting dresses and high heels, lots of perfume, arm candy, and male camaraderie. They couldn’t wait to get to Washington to be  treated like pashas who received supplicants and had harems. For what else did they scratch and pay their way up the ranks in forgotten districts of Nebraska and North Dakota?  

Besides, in those halcyon days governance was not a matter of bitter rectitude and holy crusade; and Washington was not the venue for exorcism and witch trials.  Good ol’ boys reached across the aisle, got drunk together, shared their love for floozies and tarts, and had a great old time.

The morbidness, endemic worry, and holy fear of Armageddon which took root a few decades before and had now become a Washington ethos, was happily disrupted by Donald Trump, a man who not only appreciated the glitz and tinsel of Las Vegas, but who embodied it.  Trump was a President without a serious bone in his body, a man of Hollywood, Barnum & Bailey, vaudeville, the Borscht Belt, and most of all the runways and catwalks of Sin City.  Arm candy, hundred-foot yachts, tropical resorts, and boozy galas.

Image result for images trump with miss connecticut

Bill Clinton who prided himself on his intellectual prowess, his logic, and his thorough command of the facts, hosted Renaissance Weekends, retreats for the nation’s intelligentsia to mull over and discuss the important issues of the day.  One might have a few drinks at the end of the day, but only if over a final parsing of the fine points of nuclear parity, women, or Russia.  ‘Fun’ was a relative term.  It was a social lubricant, a modest, temperate way of resolving differences.  Fun was never had for itself. 

Donald Trump was far removed from Bill Clinton’s Renaissance Weekends, Kennedy White House high culture, and especially the grim and joyless caucuses of liberal Washington.  As a true conservative, he understood that while governance demanded attention to resolving problems, there was nothing absolute in any of it.  The same problems have occurred with predictable frequency for millennia.  Man’s inhumanity to man is to be expected.  After all what else could come from an aggressive, self-interested, territorial human nature? 

Sad but true, the parade of indignity is a permanent feature of human society, and those who are intent on creating a more perfect world are just whistlin’ Dixie.

Image result for images renaissance weekends clinton

What was the point of dogged seriousness when the world would never change; and when the pompous sanctimony of those who refused to accept the fact is itself hilarious? They are caricatures, puppets, mock images. 

Bob M had been a progressive since birth – a serious, easily upset child, a worried adolescent, and an adult on the frontlines of every cause for social justice.  He saw no humor in anything.  Human oddities were not funny at all, slipping on a banana peel was misfortune, not comedy.  All black people resonated with the pain of Jim Crow and tenant farming.  Women were never alluring, attractive, or seductive but victims of misogyny and male deceit.  

He was a Deconstructionist’s Deconstructionist.  Things were not what they seemed, but what they represented.  Historicism was not funny, Derrida and Lacan were not comedians.

No matter what the circumstances – dinner with old friends, coffee with classmates, casual conversation at a hotel bar – Bob was able to insert his concerns about women, blacks, and the environment. Before long, gab about football turned to Colin Kaepernick and social protest; reminiscences about topflight meals became disquisitions about the exploitation of restaurant workers; jokes between men about sexual exploits were deflected and replaced by considerations of sexual abuse, No Means No, and abortion rights.

He was insufferable, a throbbing, thudding bore; and yet he could not stop himself.  He could not hear even the most oblique, joking reference without taking umbrage and calling out the speaker.   All the women marching on the Mall were Saint Marys, all black men were images of Frederick Douglas and Martin Luther King.  Bob  would abide no pimp walk, ghetto attitude, or black-speak.  All gay men were models of Jesus Christ.  No La Cage Aux Folles hilarity over gay swishing, cross-dressing, and hyper-sensitivity.  Gay men were the future of America.

Image result for images black pimps

Bob was not alone, and his kind were legion. They filled their dance cards at every event, their numbers crowded conference halls, church basements, and stadiums.  There was no moment when their guard was let down.  The world was in their hands, up to them to save, and not even one moment of frivolity was allowed.

Meanwhile just about everyone outside the Beltway and between the two coasts was waiting for the return of Donald Trump, not only for his very conservative political policies but for his Americanism, a character not defined by democracy, liberty, opportunity, and freedom; but for an unashamed, raucous championing of their culture; not the low culture sniffed at by the Washington elite, but the real, nuts and bolts, tractor and plow, factory floor cultural honesty.  An honesty which did not have to parse the lines of Balmain or Givenchy, but simply get off on the sparkling glitz of the wildly lit runways of Las Vegas.

Those with privilege, money, education, and profession can afford to be distant and serious about matters which don’t concern them; but Walmart greeters, factory workers, scullery maids, and dirt farmers cannot.  No reflection after a two-job day, no parsing, no consideration.  Just watching Hollywood imagery, arm candy, yachts, and hot beaches on television and wanting to be there. 

So, many Americans can’t wait for the return of Donald Trump not for what he proposes, but for who he is – outrageous, outlandish, happy, secure, and very, very American

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