So, several posts by the Zman blog crystalized in my own mind a partial understanding of the situation as regards the new cold civil war. The whole Trumpland/Clinton Archipelago split, and practically every bit of conservative/left nastiness over the last two years represent a slow-moving rebellion. Zman phrases it as; “The ruling class and their media organs will never admit it, but one main reason for Trump is that white people grew tired of fighting wars for a ruling class that despises them.” I wouldn’t limit it to strictly white people, though – or the issue to war-fighting. I’d just say that it’s a rebellion of the normal citizens, the flyover country residents, the working and middle-class, what used to be called the salt of the earth, those who are Ruled against the Ruling Class – a Ruling Class which despises the Ruled with a passion which sends most of the Ruling Class into incoherent, spittle-flecked rage.
The academic elite, the national news media, the political and bureaucratic lords and ladies, entertainers – to include everyone from Hollywood personalities to NFL players – hardly bother even hiding their contempt any more. Monologues on late-night TV, editorials in magazines and cartoons in newspapers, jokes on award shows, on Twitter feeds, press releases, and in university classrooms – the hatred for the Ruled Normals who simply will not conform as they have been ordered to by their betters, pours like water from a fire hydrant. This contempt started out in drips and dribbles; hardly perceptible, at the very first – say, perhaps a decade or two ago, and especially when it involved news, or entertainment personalities, most of whom had a reputation of perhaps being on the liberal side of things, but not obnoxiously, objectionably so. My personal prime example of an entertainment personality being more and more open – and alienating an increasing portion of the audience in doing so – is Garrison Keillor. Time was, when I didn’t miss a Prairie Home Companion airing. Lake Woebegon was a charming place, a very American place, practically the only place in modern-day media fiction that I could genuinely identify with and see reflected in my own life experience. Garrison Keillor may have been, throughout the 1970s, 80’s and 90’s a die-hard liberal, but he wasn’t obnoxious with it, or openly contemptuous of those small-town, flyover-country Americans, who lived in real-life Lake Woebegons … until he began to get more and more partisan after 9/11. I dropped listening entirely around 2008, when Keillor just went full-on partisan in the PHC, and murderously hateful through his various other media outlets. I know through blog comments and conversations in real life that a number of other former fans went through pretty much the same arc of disillusion – from fan to ‘hell no, not if you paid me!’. Multiply that a hundred, thousand, hundred-thousand times with programs, personalities, publications, and fans who now, alas are former fans. Oprah Winfrey, Saturday Night Live, CNN, NFL football, Vogue the fashion magazine, the Oscar awards, any number of writers, news personalities, movie stars, singers, all of whom couldn’t dial back their conventionally-liberal sympathies or keep themselves from voicing them in the public marketplace. Increasingly, the Ruled, angry and resentful over being repeatedly insulted, are choosing to withdraw support – their eyeballs and their pocketbook support – from such personalities and enterprises.
One might think that a sensible person, or enterprise, doing a cold-eyed cost-to-benefit analysis might realize that going all outrageously partisan is a bad career move; Michael Jordan is said to have pointed out that “Republicans buy sneakers, too.” Alas, this is not the age of good economic sense, it seems – not among the Ruling Class. Authority is all that matters – political and cultural – the authority to make those nasty proles, those fly-over-country Americans, just do as their rulers tell them.
And when they don’t do as they are told – the Ruling Class get angry, frustrated and double down. Discuss as you will; share your own story of disillusion and estimation of where this all will lead.