Thursday, March 19, 2015

Kit's Thoughts: Depressing Thoughts

by Kit

The following, as the title indicates, is going to be depressing. It is also a bit of a rambling collection of thoughts rather than a coherent thought. It is really a collection of desultory thoughts I've had looking at the current political and cultural landscape. 

The idea of America is dead, or is dying. It has been replaced with identity politics, which is antithetical to America.

Neither side really seems to believe in America anymore.

And the Right has happily gone along with it, replacing Reagan-esque American idealism with the culture war identity politics of Pat Buchanan.

The Right's adoration of the Greats and now subtle embrace of the Boomers while sneering at X-ers and Millennials is just another form of identity politics. Adding to this, they have embraced white identity politics, as well. Pandering to racist union workers in Pennsylvania.

This has also caused conservatives to abandon making a case for immigration, embracing instead the idea espoused in the title of Mark Krikorian's book (emphasis mine), The Case Against Immigration: Legal and Illegal. Quixotically, they still wonder why they can no longer win among Cubans and Koreans.

Also, in 2016 they will go down in flames because this spring the Supreme Court will issue a ruling legalizing Gay Marriage throughout the land causing the Republican Party to face pressure from the Religious Right demanding they treat this as an "illegal and unconstitutional ruling" (to quote one writer). In fact, they already are.

Knowing the GOP, especially Boehner, they will fold like a cheap suit. And in 2016 they will have in their platform a proposal for a federal marriage amendment and will run hard on it as their main platform. And lose.

They know better than to write up an actual platform of policies (a.k.a., goals), which would likely involve compromises to reality. Which would offend the talk-radio crowd.

Our culture? It is saturated with cynicism and self-loathing. We no longer look for the mysterious joys and simple pleasures. Instead, our culture teaches people to aspire to be the most degraded among us. Rap and country teaches Americans (in the South, at least) to emulate the ghetto and white trash cultures.

In short, America died the moment Larry the Cable Guy replaced Norman Rockwell as the artistic representation of Middle America, "America" became "'Merikuh!", and a patriotic American citizen ceased to be a good husband, father, and citizen and instead became a fat guy with a beer gut and shotgun. Patriotism is a joke even among those who call themselves patriotic.

Can it be saved? Some days I'm not so sure. Like a heroin addict in his final days day America seems to prefer, nay, relish injecting more poison into its last remaining veins.

** I've more or less snapped out of the funk due to some help from the excellent movie The Kingsman. It is surprising what a bizarre blend of British 1960s spy-fi and Tarantino-style action can do.


AndrewPrice said...

Very depressing Kit. I'll respond to tomorrow. Things aren't that bad.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Sounds like you need to go to Hillary's Adult Fun Camp, Kit.

Robert L. Hedd said...

Kit....Step away from the Politico articles...NOW


ScottDS said...

Kit, this is for you. :-)

And if you want to enjoy a piece of pop culture with a minimum of cynicism, check out Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt on Netflix.

Having said all that, I'd like to think it isn't that bad, and that most Americans (the ones who aren't glued to political blogs and talk radio all day) just go about their business and are more or less normal, decent people.

Unfortunately, we live in a country where everything is politicized (Shop at Whole Foods? You Commie!) and neither side is acting like an adult. Both sides are guilty of this but one of the reasons I lost interest in a filmmaking career is that you can't do jackshit without it becoming a "think piece." Not enough transgendered people in your movie? You must be "corrected." The villain is a CEO? You must be an Alinsky disciple!

Fuck 'em all.

I'm all for gay marriage but when they start picking on allies (i.e. me) for not being pro-gay enough, it's a problem. And I have friends who are religious and they're wonderful people, but the religious right in this country makes it impossible to even remotely sympathize with them, even for a nanosecond.

And you're correct... how did we go from Norman Rockwell and Aaron Copland to Duck Dynasty? Andrew agreed with me when I told him that, if Spike Lee's "magic negro" exists as a trope, then so must the "magic redneck."

Um... that is all for now. :-)

Critch said...

Scott, you hit on something that is interesting. I'm a practicing Catholic, I know what I believe is right and wrong, but this being a secular society, and it is, there are ways to compromise some of these issues, except, the extreme Left and Right hate everyone in the middle. I could care less about gay marriage, I have a feeling they aren't going to be any better about it than straight people are...I'm extremely pro-2nd Amendment, I know I won't get all of what I want, but I'm tired of the Left's silliness when it comes to guns. I'm tired of people like Sharpton saying I'm a racist because I firmly believe the black community has a problem that whitey didn't start. It goes on and on....and I really do believe you need to show an ID when you vote, because I am convinced that the ballot box is more powerful than the cartridge box.

BevfromNYC said...

Yay for Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt It really is a wonderful piece of fluff and you can't beat Carol Kane!

I agree with everyone here. Really, Kit, it is going to be okay. As I have said before, the fringes have the microphone and it seems like everyone has the wrong opinion and that for now the pendulum is swinging in the direction of degradation of our society. This is the same thing that happened in the '60's (pick a century) and we have survived.

I also believe that we are very plugged in to the noise, so it seems like all is lost. But there really are good citizens/people who just go about their lives, paying their bills, raising their children to be good citizens.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, We should all go to camp! :D


I'm the same way. By and large, I'm libertarian. I think people should be left alone to do their thing until they start imposing on other people. But the political extremes simply don't want to leave people alone. Both want to remake society by force and I can't stand that. In fact, the more they push, the more I dislike their issues even if I didn't care about them in the first place!

BevfromNYC said...

Or maybe we can just go back to "preschool"! These people would LOVE to go to camp!

NYC's Adult Preschool... Only in NY folks...only in NY.

Kit said...

"I think people should be left alone to do their thing until they start imposing on other people. But the political extremes simply don't want to leave people alone."

There was a great book of essays by a group of conservatives called Seven Deadly Virtues. A very good read. Anyway, one of the virtues was "Forbearance", about this very topic. How people need t be able to get along.

tryanmax said...

Kit, the Fringe Right actually encourages me. They're pulling out of the national debate, preferring instead to tantrum amongst themselves and infight. They bizarely hold Republicans responsible for Democrats' actions and turn their back on the whole system. The GOP has responded by telling them not to let the door hit them on the way out.

Conservatism, to my understanding, is a truly principled middle way philosopy. It's middleness, however, is obscured by being pitted against liberalism. (That, and the problem that current liberalism has little to do with liberty.) The Fringe Right, so long as they are vocal, gives conservatives something to triangulate against. Especially while the Democrats continue to embrace their fringe and present baby-splitting as compromise.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, One thing I have absolutely concluded is that the talk radio right is not conservative in almost any way. They have simply defined their non-conservative views as "genuine conservatism." Most their views, however, belong on the far left.

And like you, I'm encouraged that they are making themselves irrelevant. The GOP just needs to finally cut the chord.

Koshcat said...

Look it could be worse. At least no one is trying to force us to vote...oh wait...

Never mind.

Koshcat said...

Still can't figure out why the government is having such a difficult time with ACA. They have been so successful in the VA system.

Koshcat said...

Here is a different topic for discussion some time.

Long story short, a pregnant woman was attacked yesterday and had her 7-month old fetus cut out of her. The woman survived but the baby died. The way the laws are currently written, the DA may not be able to file murder charges on the perp. There have been attempts at personhood amendments and I agree with Andrew that most of them have been poorly written and have other problems attached. But I also think it is absolutely wrong and unethical to not consider this a homicide.

Kit said...


The baby in question was apparently breathing after it was removed from the womb and lying in the bathtub.

Kit said...

That being said, I'm not sure that this would be "murder", at least in the 1st Degree. 2nd Degree at most, though more likely Manslaughter or Criminally Negligent Homicide since it appears the woman who committed the crime did intend to keep the infant alive.

At least from what I can read of Colorado law.

Kit said...

A bit more uplifting, here is Camille Paglia's epic 1 minute rant ripping apart Hillary Clinton.

Koshcat said...

Interesting take on whether it was murder. If you were walking down the street and tackled a guy, cut him open and removed his appendix even though he wasn't ill and the guy died, I would still consider it a homicide.

I can see it being called manslaughter but this isn't the same as running a red light so I don't like the idea of calling it involuntary or criminally negligent. Voluntary fits better (crime of passion) but not perfectly.

Basically, I want this person to go away and never see freedom ever again.

Kit said...

"I want this person to go away and never see freedom ever again."


AndrewPrice said...

Sadly, I suspect the person will be declared insane and will be sent for mental treatment.

In terms of whether or not it's murder, I think it should be. And I would be surprised if the prosecution can't charge it as such. I would charge the perp with attempted murder of the mother, which is the same as murder one. There is also a crime in Colorado for the unlawful termination of a pregnancy, which is the killing of a fetus except through a medical procedure done with the mother's consent.

Kit said...


It is a disgusting case.

Rustbelt said...

Kit, it sounds like you're having a bad day. I just thought I'd post a link to let you know that even in the darkest of times, happy things can be uncovered.

And in the event that didn't do the job, I advise you to take your ills and just let it...okay, you know where this is going.

Kit said...

Thanks, Rustbelt.

Anthony said...

I doubt opposition to gay marriage will doom Republicans in 2016. Gays aren't universally loved so if one wants to single out a group of people to attack, they aren't a bad choice provided one doesn't get too nutty. Still, I think most of the presidential candidates will seek to prove their conservative bonafides on other issues (support for guns, opposition to Common Core and opposition to immigration).

Just yesterday I listened to Rush talking about how businesses were seeking H1Bs to obtain equally skilled, cheaper labor and how real conservatives in Congress were thwarting them and thus 'saving' American jobs. Like hitting a business with high taxes or a high minimum wage, such a move earns cheers from the peanut gallery, but is ineffective because businesses (which are pragmatic, not patriotic) will move rather that endure a serious damage to their profits/competitiveness.

Buchanan and his ilk have been a part of the Republican coalition for decades (heck, Buchanan was a Reagan staffer) so I doubt they can be blamed for Cubans shifting away from Republicans.

I suspect the problem is that there is a generational split between the older generation which hates the Castros with the heat of a thousand suns and has little use for those who still live in Cuba (and thus favors increasingly strong limits on visits and support) and the younger generation who isn't thrilled with the Cadtros, but cares more about their family members left behind (they want yo be able to support them and visit them as much as possible). Bush tightening restrictions on contact with Cuba thrilled the first group but pissed off the second.

Anthony said...

I doubt there was ever a time when most Americans looked for mysterious joys and simple pleasures. Generally speaking, we've aspired to be rich(er) not to achieve inner peace or what have you :).

Kit said...


I will concede that was the worst line I've ever written. :-)

Again, it was a ramble. The more I thought about this the more unhappy I got so crappy lines that would have been cut or revised were left uncut and unrevised.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, Kit's point about Pat Buchanan is actually really valid. I've considered writing about that for a long time. Buchanan has almost the polar opposite views that Ronald Reagan has on virtually every single issue, and the GOP "base" has gone from sharing Reagan's views to sharing Buchanan's noxious views.

When people say that Ronald Reagan would not be welcome in the GOP today, that is why, and they are correct. Everything Reagan actually stood for is attacked as mushy RINOism and leftism by the "genuine conservatives" today.*

* They get around this by redefining Reagan as basically the complete opposite of what he was... just as the Religious Right does with Jesus.

Rustbelt said...

You're welcome, Kit!

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