Liberalism from above: some random thoughts

  1. How does one deal with the massive information glut coming from the mass media as an artist? Simple: ignore it. This is the language coming from above, which is useless because it seeks to define and appropriate everything. It takes Gil-Scott Heron poems and makes them background noise for athletes selling anything from Coke to Gillette razors. It does not appear to be politically conscious of what it does, ostensibly, anyway: it just finds that “Howl” or “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” are catchy enough to sell their plastic junk. It may or may not know that it is appropriating and diluting the significance of the art that it appropriates. However, it knows very well that it doesn’t give a shit about “old men weeping in parks” and that it is absolutely opposed to anything remotely resembling revolution—as long as it doesn’t benefit from that revolution: in which case, the “revolution” becomes terrorism.
  2. The artist has the freedom to reject as well as absorb and appropriate, and in this instance, rejection is an absolute necessity. In “White Noise,” published in 1985, Don DeLillo highlights the mindless commercial jingles of Reagan-Era America, such as “Coke is It” (among billions of others) or brand-names like Toyota-Celica. Today nobody knows what a Toyota-Celica is—nobody under 30, anyway. Tomorrow nobody will know what a KIA or a Bentley is, just as nobody under 60 today knows what a DeSoto or a Packard Coup is.
  3. As a writer, the proper thing to do is observe the Coke jingle without highlighting whatever significance its creators imagine it has. When I was a kid (early seventies), the big jingle was “I’d like to teach the world to sing,” blah, blah, blah—one of the first big “multiracial” TV commercials, circa 1971-1973. Nobody born after 1980 remembers it. When describing a commercial, or the products of mass media, it is an imperative to play down their hyper-inflated importance—for in reality, they are NOT IMPORTANT.
  4. Folk culture, which is a creation of people, has been pushed completely into the shadows by pop culture, which is a creation of multinational corporations interested only in money. JUST BECAUSE IT IS POPULAR DOESN’T MAKE IT GREAT. Of course, one could persuasively argue that the opposite is equally true: what other vocal groups of the 20th century could seriously rival The Temptations (a pop group), to cite just one example? And John Cage’s effete experiments with noise simply could not hold a candle to the dadaistic sound experiments of late-eighties Public Enemy; the establishment poetry of most American lit journals pales beside your average rap lyrics by Nas or Mos Def. Eubie Blake dismissed Stravinsky as “lousy.” Of course, this is all a matter of opinion. Blake never wrote anything that equaled Stravinsky’s Rites of Spring. But then again, Stravinsky couldn’t write ragtime. And Charleston Rag is just as musically innovative as Firebird, if not even more so.
  5. The massive information glut is all of a piece with the phony liberalism coming from academia. It comes from an elite class which has both a liberal wing—a false face of tolerance—and a conservative one. They come on like enemies for the benefit of those below them. It has worked fantastically well, for virtually no one in the Western World, especially America, can tell that Fox News and NPR are controlled by the same elite class. It is irrelevant that, ideologically speaking, they are bitterly at loggerheads with one another. The important thing to know is that both of them imagine that they speak for the entire planet.
  6. The elite liberal class utilizes “political correctness” in a distinctly sinister and petty way. “Political correctness,” of course, is something that they, of the six and seven-figure crowd, have defined on their own terms, just as criticism of the foibles of the West—racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-Semitism and other noxious isms—must always be done by them, in their insufferably patronizing and high-handed manner. The critique is never too trenchant for it is merely the elite criticizing itself. Anyone who actually gets his or her hands dirty, who makes less than $85,000 a year for a family of three, who lives on the other side of the tracks, who is the wrong kind of black, brown, yellow, red or tan, the wrong kind of woman, the wrong kind of gay, the wrong kind of Muslim or Jew* (they always know just who is the “right” kind and the “wrong” kind) will be met, if they are lucky, with silence—or otherwise brutal police will escort them from the lecture hall.
  7. Actually these “wrong” kind of intellectuals will be lucky if they find themselves anywhere near any sort of American lecture hall; if they do, these intellectuals will find themselves patronized, at best, like unruly natives who don’t quite know their place.
  8. In effect, this is the colonizer telling the colonized that colonialism is bad, that it must be changed. The NPR crowd are agents of the same colonialism they claim to despise; the same holds true for the ACLU, the progressives of New York and the Bay Area, as well as the prissy, self-righteous bourgeois Social Justice Warriors: whether they are aware of it or not, none of these groups truly represent the interests of the ordinary, struggling American of color. Ishmael Reed has complained about them for years, so it is very easy to connect the dots and see exactly what is going on here. The impoverished white working classes in the West are infuriated by the arrogant, puritanical self-righteousness of the establishment left. It fuels their reactionism and racism, thereupon giving further power to the right. Unfortunately the white so-called “workers” are generally too hot-headed to see that the establishment left is simply part of a two-headed beast: one face wears the mask of Arianna Huffington whereas the other wears that of Bill O’Reilly.
  9. On the other hand, the establishment left has decided in its colonialist arrogance that the oppressed, which it imagines it champions, is still not enlightened or educated enough to be allowed to critique colonialism on its own. It is playing a dirty game. To begin with, no true “left” throws in its lot with the elite class and pretends to speak for the so-called “masses.” It certainly does not try to “instruct” the masses in how to conduct their private lives—i.e., what language should they use to address women, the elderly or the handicapped (or “physically challenged,” as they so primly put it); which customs are acceptable to their delicate sensibilities (for example, female circumcision or “genital mutilation,” understood by most enlightened Muslim minds to be an anachronistic abomination, needs their own particular censure above all others); which expressions of sexuality are acceptable to same (chiefly, the feeble homosexuality of the powerful Velvet Mafia, which is largely white and male). The real horror that the Left establishment has is not for the Tea Baggers, but for their own niggers. They fear that these niggers will start speaking in a distinctly progressive language that is their own, formulating critiques of capitalism, of anti-Semitism, racism, sexism, homophobia, etc., etc., that are genuinely theirs and not that of the establishment Left. Such critiques will naturally wind their way back to the establishment Left and expose their complicity in keeping the masses, so-called, silent and cowed.
  10. Orwell, 1942: “All left-wing parties in the highly industrialized countries are at bottom a sham, because they make it their business to fight against something which they do not really wish to destroy. They have internationalist aims, and at the same time they struggle to keep up a standard of life with which those aims are incompatible. We all live by robbing Asiatic coolies, and those of us who are ‘enlightened’ all maintain that those coolies ought to be set free; but our standard of living, and hence our ‘enlightenment’, demands that the robbery shall continue.”
  11. In other words, they fear having their Persian rugs yanked from under them.
  12. The liberal elite, or neo-liberals, make no bones—privately, anyway—about where they truthfully stand. Unfortunately, their elitist arrogance has provoked reaction in many corners. Camille Paglia has made a name for herself for kicking clueless white middle-class “feminists” in their bloated behinds. (Unfortunately Ms. Paglia can’t seem to tell the difference between pop culture and folk culture.) Sixties feminism, which sprung to life as a rejection of puritanical middle-class white mores and ideas of womanhood, has come full circle in the 2010s: it now epitomizes many of these same outmoded white mores. Among these is the absurd notion that women, somehow, need to be “protected” by the long arm of the state. Protected? By whom? By what? The Patriarchy of the One Percent. (Because that’s what runs this country.) Against whom? Against what? Against harmful words and thoughts that may in any way insinuate that (white) women are in any way, shape or form connected with adult sexuality–in other words, protection against reality.
  13. It has to be wondered whether this current pseudo-feminist upper-middle-class sex paranoia has a racist and xenophobic undertow, or is simply a classist reaction on the part of a greedy, narcissistic and shallow Western womanhood which–far from being concerned with liberation from the “establishment” or “patriarchy”–simply wants to take over this rotting establishment and run it for its own benefit. It appears they are not really opposed to male dominance; they simply hate the idea of being the boyfriends and husbands of ordinary working men and wish to be the bed wenches of the Fortune 500 crowd.  Of course, this is debatable. Contrary to what Hanna Rosin thinks, there is no “End of Men” in the West, only the continued replacement of men in the white-collar workplace with women. Those responsible for this widespread overhauling are, of course, rich white men. You know, The Patriarchy.
  14. A younger and more media-savvy group of white men appear to have come up with their own solution to the current moral, social and political crisis gripping the White West. As confused sexually as they are proud of their “whiteness,” these young men reject both the establishment left and right. They feel that all mainstream western politicians are “cucks.”
  15. “Cuck” appears to be a term of their own making. It is code talk, but unlike their neoconservative predecessors, the Alt-Right generally finds political code talk a sign of weakness. In their diseased minds, both ends of the western political spectrum are dominated by political cuckolds who let “illegals” and “terrorists”–in other words, “niggers” and “kikes” and “muzzies”–fuck their own nations. They are unapologetically racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic and anti-Islam. Their deep moral confusion is analogous to the moral confusion of young Germans in Weimar Germany; on the one hand they wish to fuck all the hot chicks, and on the other hand, take up precisely where Hitler left off,  but with far more efficient ruthlessness. Above all, these Alt-Righters are completely incapable of a single original thought and simply regurgitate 19th century colonialist rhetoric about the “superiority” of the Great White Race.
  16. If the Alt-Right somehow manages to take control of the Western political establishment, contemporary civilization as we know it will simply die. Their belligerent solipsism has already begun to lead the so-called “free world” off a cliff; one need only observe Poland’s hysterical lurch to the far right. Yesterday it was Ukraine and Greece; today it is Poland, Hungary and France; tomorrow (and quite predictably) it will be Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy, the UK, Canada and the USA.
  17. The fantastic rise of loudmouthed populist Donald Trump and his stupid Guardian Angels rhetoric is a harbinger of disasters to come–this, whether Trump wins the Presidency or not. Rest assured that if Trumpkopf doesn’t win the nomination, the Alt-Right will simply dig in its heels and go full-on Nazi in ways that even their pinup-boy, Adolf Hitler, dared not dream of. There will be war. And the West will lose the war, because the West stupidly thinks it is living in the same world of their great-grandfathers. And it is highly doubtful if either China, Brazil, India, or South Africa will be much interested in any Marshall Plan to rebuild the shattered cities and infrastructures of the West.

*Apparently not hyperbole on my part, when one considers the abrupt silencing of Norman Finkelstein.