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  • The Bottom Line

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on October 24th, 2018 (All posts by )

    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.



    29 Responses to “The Bottom Line”

    1. roadgeek Says:

      I made the decision in the last year to stop buying books by both James Lee Burke and Stephen King. Adding King to the list really hurt, but his politic views are becoming more and more obvious in his books, and he simply cannot keep his mouth shut. His remarks while the First Lady was in the hospital earlier this year, and remarks earlier after the train wreck which involved multiple members of Congress, were beyond the pale and quite enough for me. I’ve read King since 1976. No more.

    2. Sgt. Mom Says:

      RG – feel the pain and disappointment. You know – it’s as if these people are deliberately going out to make their appeal more selective

    3. Mike K Says:

      I loved the eye roll of the guy in the vid as he said “more selective.”

      Ann Althouse has a post on the WaPoo’s article on PTSD among college students.

      Their candidate lost the election and that is trauma. I am not a subscriber but she relates some of the story.

      “And so while these researchers (or article writer) might prefer to compare the subsequent emotional fallout to ‘PTSD,’ (and while the term PTSD is getting thrown around for everything under the sun these days) they undermine the argument and their intention by using a term that carries such a specific meaning. As for whether or not people are too sensitive these days, why don’t you ask the NY Times, who can’t seem to get enough ink writing articles about poor misunderstood economically anxious trump voters.”

      That’s a comment at WaPoo. As a Trump voter I am having a great time.

      It happens I have been reading Ed Rasimus’ book, “When Thunder Rolled” and thinking about the wimps in college these days, not all female.

      I just learned died in 2013, far too young. I plan to get his other books,

    4. Pitbullranch Says:

      During the 2016 campaign I got rid of all my Jimmy Buffet and Bruce Springsteen albums. I personally don’t get it. Both Buffet and Springsteen started out as dirt people, but I guess fame changed their perspective. The Boss has been a vocal liberal for a while and I almost stopped listening to him in 2012 when he went to Madison to campaign for Obama. But in 2016 both their open support and fund raising for Hilary did it for me. I felt like I had to make a choice. I don’t regret it and I feel better for having made my decision. In the grand scope of things it’s not a big deal, but given that I’ve been enjoying their music for over 4 decades it felt a bit like a divorce with no turning back. I think that’s pretty much where we are as a country.

    5. Gringo Says:

      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 was a big Lake Wobegon fan. I sent quite a few Prairie Home Companion tapes to an English teacher friend in Argentina. I stopped listening to Prairie Home Companion around 2000- definitely before 9/11- because I got tired of the rerun shows coming from several months ago instead of several years- or decades – before.

      I did notice the more partisan tone of Garrison Keillor’s columns after 9/11.

      My first realization of the upper set’s scorn of the deplorables came in high school. I attended a regional high school. Compared to the host town, my home town was less affluent, less educated, and more rural. Students from the host town considered students from my town to be “dumb farmers.” This was not an attitude of complete exclusion, as I wasn’t the only person from my hometown on the Student Council. But the attitude was there. Moreover, I have been told that decades later the attitude persists at my old high school.

      While the “dumb farmer” schtick made me uncomfortable, I learned a valuable lesson. The same people who would be angry at Southerners talking about “dumb N&%%*@!” had no problem talking about “dumb farmers.” Before I left high school, I concluded that all of us have our in-groups and out-groups. None of us is free from prejudice. Certainly those from my hometown had their in-groups and out-groups, their particular prejudices. I found out the host town was no better.

      I suspect that a not insubstantial proportion of my high school classmates have not yet come to that conclusion about in-groups and out-groups, about all of us having some sort of prejudice.

      NPR announcers gave me an additional indication of that scorn. While I initially voted for the Democrat candidate for President, in 1980 and 1984 I voted Third Party. I noticed that NPR announcers, in discussing Regan’s electoral victories, had a definite tone of scorn towards Reagan. As I had been neutral regarding Reagan, I wasn’t imagining things.

    6. Exasperated Says:

      Ditto on Lake Woebegon. I too avoid a lot of the authors, performers, organizations, and sports teams, I used to enjoy, and I’m an old Midwestern profarm, prolabor type.
      It sure gives me pause when I think about where we’d be if these people had succeeded in derailing energy independence. The working Middle would be on its knees. Naturally, they are insulated from the consequences of globalization, open borders, and the iffy policies of the managerial class.
      It ISN’T just the sneaky, behind the scenes underhandedness or the nepotism and the ineptness, ala Gruber, Ben Rhodes.
      It ISN’T just that the “Rules are for thee, but not for me.” Hillary is the poster child.
      It ISN’T just about the useless top heavy, regulatory state, serving the entrenched interests, and favored Special Interests, while suppressing growth and American competitiveness, for our own good, of course. It IS about the willingness to denigrate and demonize the working aspirational Middle while stiffing them, people whose only crime is their increasing alarm over their own livelihoods and the future standard of living for their children.

    7. David Foster Says:

      I’m not sure “Ruling Class” vs “Ruled” is precisely the right dichotomy. Is *Garrison Keilor* really part of a “ruling class”?…there are surely owners of mid-sized manufacturing companies, and independent oil drillers, who have far more wealth than he does, and who manage hundreds or thousands of people. I think what is going on today is more horizontal class warfare than vertical class warfare.

    8. David Foster Says:

      Gringo…”I did notice the more partisan tone of Garrison Keillor’s columns after 9/11.”

      I think 9/11 led a lot of Leftists to fear an outbreak of “excessive” patriotism among ordinary Americans, leading to persecution of (list of groups here.) And I remember seeing a piece by some male professor who was afraid that the outbreak of war would lead to too much respect for masculinity.

    9. Sgt. Mom Says:

      GK is just the most obvious and personal cultural exemplar, David. And the one most … immediately obvious to me. Here he was – and like Jimmy Buffet and Bruce Springsteen, all about the flyover people, the working class in their original presentation – their shtick, as it were. And yet actually, they were anything but – they were Ruling Class. Contemptuous of the people they pretended to be one of and sympathetic towards. That’s the bit that grates, actually.

    10. James the lesser Says:

      David: a guess WRT 9/11 “God permits a war or an earthquake or some other calamity, and at once courage becomes so obviously lovely and important even in human eyes that all our work is undone”

      Individuals of the Ruling Class may have great personal courage, but the philosophy they have on offer doesn’t really value it. (“Speaking truth to power” is always done quite safely in this country.) 9/11 was an opportunity for different values to shine, and Ruling Class feared the loss of moral authority.

    11. David Foster Says:

      Sort of a Turing test: Comparing the ability of conservatives to answer questions like “liberals” would with the ability of “liberals” to answer questions like conservatives.

    12. Gringo Says:

      And the one most … immediately obvious to me. Here he(GK) was – and like Jimmy Buffet and Bruce Springsteen, all about the flyover people, the working class in their original presentation – their shtick, as it were. And yet actually, they were anything but – they were Ruling Class.

      I never paid much attention to Jimmy Buffet. I have no idea about his politics, while I am somewhat aware of Bruce Springsteen’s politics. Was Jimmy Buffet bard of the people or not bard of the people? I have no idea.

      I worked several years for a mega-wealthy individual. He always had his personal secretary get a block of front row seats for Jimmy Buffet concerts. At least as regards this one individual, Jimmy Buffet was bard of the mega-wealthy. But this particular individual, being both an entrepreneur and the son of an entrepreneur (and one who did NOT rest on his father’s laurels), was not a lefty. I wonder if he would have stopped purchasing Jimmy Buffet tickets in response to Jimmy Buffet’s politics.

    13. David Foster Says:

      Re singers and politics…the one that got to me was Chrissy Hynde of The Pretenders. At a rock concert in 2003, not that long after the 9/11 attacks:

      “Have we gone to war yet?” she asked sarcastically. “We (expletive) deserve to get bombed. Bring it on.” Later she yelled, “Let’s get rid of all the economic (expletive) this country represents! Bring it on, I hope the Muslims win!”

      I posted some related thoughts here: Beauty and Ugliness.

    14. rcocean Says:

      I had the same experience with David Letterman. Knew the guy was Liberal, but he seemed to keep it in reasonable check until Palin came around in 2008.

      Then suddenly, he started making vicious Palin, attacking her kids, and generally behaving like a bitter, left-wing jackass. Of course, his Manhattan audience would bray with delight.

      Of course, even in 2008, he wasn’t what he was in 1998. He’d already changed from a subversive Late, Late guy to a somewhat bitter, ‘Why didn’t I get the Tonight show’ guy. But the Left-wing politics was someone new.

      I think in the 2000’s he started being REALLY snotty and unpleasant to any Republican/Conservative he had on his show. He wasn’t funny or witty, he was just a “anyone who disagrees with me is immoral or an idiot”.

      So, I stopped watching. Didn’t watch his retirement show, and didn’t care. In 2016/2017, he made some clownish remarks about how he’d “slice and dice Trump” if he could interview him. Which gave me the first Letterman induced laugh in 8 years.

    15. David Foster Says:

      Joel Kotkin: One Nation, Two Economies

      The Democrats now own the fashion, media, literary, and entertainment communities, in the process turning the putative party of the common man into the political vehicle of the leisure class. In contrast, during the depth of the recession, a much larger, more dispersed America struggled. As traditional industries like manufacturing, energy, agriculture, home construction, and basic business services declined, the progressive clerisy in forums like Slate crowed that these blue-collar jobs were never coming back.


      “Crowed” is a rather jarring word choice…I’m afraid that in many cases it’s all too accurate.

    16. CapitalistRoader Says:

      David Wong had an excellent pre-election analysis of flyover country vs. big city people: Six reasons for Trump’s rise no one ever talks about

      “Nothing that happens outside the city matters!” they say at their cocktail parties, blissfully unaware of where their food is grown. Hey, remember when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans? Kind of weird that a big hurricane hundreds of miles across managed to snipe one specific city and avoid everything else. To watch the news (or the multiple movies and TV shows about it), you’d barely hear about how the storm utterly steamrolled rural Mississippi, killing 238 people and doing an astounding $125 billion in damage.

      But who cares about those people, right? What’s newsworthy about a bunch of toothless hillbillies crying over a flattened trailer? New Orleans is culturally important. It matters.

      To those ignored, suffering people, Donald Trump is a brick chucked through the window of the elites. “Are you assholes listening now?”

    17. Brian Says:

      Being overly picky about an artist’s politics would make life awfully hard for a modern conservative, no? I’m certainly not going to stop listening to Margaritaville because Jimmy Buffett is a Democrat (Is he overtly hostile to conservatives? I’d be kind of surprised, that doesn’t really fit his image.) Or stop having fond memories of those old Lake Wobegon tapes. Nor will I for instance stop loving Star Wars (the original, of course, the one and only) because George Lucas is a moral idiot when it comes to how he conceived the story.

      It is too bad that so many alleged champions of the “working class” (looking at you Springsteen, Mellencamp, etc.) have turned on them with such fierce disdain now that they’ve started voting GOP, but one wonders why they think that that would somehow change the mind of people who’ve been left behind and cr@pped on for decades now.

    18. ColoComment Says:

      I suggest that the concept goes back at least to Sowell’s 1995 “The Vision of the Anointed,” if not before. Then recall that there was Angelo Codevilla’s 2010 essay in The American Spectator “The Ruling Class” wherein the division was between them and the “Country Class.”
      I’m two chapters from the end of Kurt Schlichter’s “Militant Normals,” and while not so elegant a writer as Sowell or Codevilla, he, too, postulates a type of class division, and calls it the “Elite” v. the “Normals,” …not based on wealth per se, but rather on the Elites’ own perception of their moral superiority relative to the Normals (whom the Elite actually despise and deplore.)

      Interesting times….

    19. ErisGuy Says:

      Adding King to the list really hurt, but his politic views are becoming more and more obvious in his books,

      I’m curious of your opinion of Koontz. In the audio books I’ve heard, he attributes the villains’ failures and motives to traditional causes.

    20. fiona Says:

      Sgt Mom Said: “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…” I have read that the various entertainment enterprises and social media sites are making more from China and assorted other global sites than they are making in the US; and of course they still have some portion of the useful idiots here. Like the NY Times. they move left to keep their shrinking audience here, since it doesn’t really affect their global income. Think of NIKE’s recent campaign.

    21. JaimeRoberto Says:

      People are tribal and seem to want to look down on the out-group. MLK said we should judge people by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. It’s good advice. This would work against that tribalism. While the lefties celebrate MLK one day a year, they seem to forget his words the other 364 days where they look down on some of the biggest segments of the country. It’s not hard to see the hypocrisy and to finally rebel against it.

    22. rcocean Says:

      I’ve always regarded singers and songwriters as idiot savants and make it a rule to learn as little about them as possible

      The same is true of painters and illustrators and photographers.

      But for some reason, not only do they INSIST on giving us their deep thoughts on life, the universe, and everything – huge numbers of people worship them.

      Gov Christie who seems like an intelligent man, worships “the boss” has been to 200 Springsteen concerts and supposedly cried when he met the man in person.

      That’s beyond my comprehension. But different strokes..

    23. Sgt. Mom Says:

      Brian, I think everyone has a different metric of what is acceptable when it comes to personal fandom. There are authors, singers, actors whose work I liked, and enjoyed tremendously – and yet, for me, they have offended in such ways that I really can’t watch or read them any more. But – different strokes.
      It’s just that in going so openly partisan, they have to know that their appeal is becoming selective. Sure, you might turn out to be big in China, or in Japan, but pissing off American fans has to begin hurting the bottom line eventually.

    24. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      The fate of the Dixie Chicks (Remember them?) might have been a sobering warning to any entertainer thinking of sharing her views on politics with the wider world. But the entertainers don’t seem to have got the message — so it is probably a good guess that many more of them will eventually join the Dixie Chicks in whichever Circle of Hell they are currently not performing.

      The Dixie Chicks were a classic example of entertainers outgrowing their audience. Their early music was fun and entertaining … and consequently popular. Later, the Chicks lost the plot musically well before they stuck their feet in their mouths politically. Peer pressure probably explains a lot of the self-destructive stupidity demonstrated by performers like the Dixie Chicks. The entertainers view other entertainers as their peers and pay attention to views popular in those narrow circles; the audience are simply the mugs who pay handsomely to show up at their concerts — until one day, inexplicably in the eyes of the performers, the audience instead is running pick-up trucks over piles of their CDs. This is really a form of Irish Democracy … we in the Great Unwashed voting with our feet.

    25. Helian Says:

      As Sgt. Mom mentions, the NFL certainly applies to me. I grew up in Wisconsin during the Lombardi dynasty years, and have been an avid Packer fan all my life. At this point I am no longer interested in the pro game, and will never again buy either tickets or NFL paraphernalia. I haven’t been religious since age 12, but have been aware of the rot in the mainstream churches for a long time. My parents were quite religious, and we attended our Methodist church regularly. Back in the 60’s it was still a going concern, with large children’s choirs, Sunday schools, etc., but by that time it had already become largely a leftist political club as far as the leadership is concerned. The few attendees at services today appear to have an average age of about 85, and children are a rare sight. From what I have seen the rest of the mainstream denominations have all suffered a more or less similar fate. Even the Southern Baptists have recently started spouting pronunciamientos against “white supremacy,” the “alt-right,” etc. The only exception I’m aware of are the Mormons. I recently lived among them in an almost purely Mormon neighborhood in Idaho for three years. I was invited to church services, dinners at the church on holidays, etc., and found the atmosphere and the attendance much as I remember that of our Methodist church back in the 60’s. They had a large children’s choir, and I saw many young families. However, if the Left hasn’t subverted them so far, it isn’t for lack of trying. There is already a strong cohort of “Mormon” SJW’s. I had to cringe when I heard them discussing their beliefs occasionally, but they’re not really more “remarkable” than the beliefs of mainstream Christians; just more recent. In any case, it appears they will show up for the future. My next door neighbors had 11 children and 37 grandchildren. Large families were hardly a rarity. They never subjected me to any heavy-handed proselytization. Apparently their philosophy was something like, “Let your light so shine…,” etc. They can’t drink alcohol, coffee, or tea, but occasionally someone would bring home-brewed root beer to their gatherings that was to die for. The old timers had some great stories about how federal “revenooers” tried to track down polygamists back in the day. The movie “Once I was a Beehive,” is an accurate depiction of the Mormons as I experienced them.

    26. Brian Says:

      I’ll concede Olbermann is a good example of someone who can’t be tolerated anymore because they’ve gone off the deep end. Sports media in general, in fact. But that doesn’t impact his greatness from the 90s, of course, it just makes him presently unbearable. If someone like Jimmy Buffett were to make new music that is overtly political, I’d not be interested, but it wouldn’t make his old stuff any less great.

    27. David Foster Says:

      Do not fail to read this piece by Sarah Hoyt:

    28. Jeff Brokaw Says:

      I actually never got the whole Lake Woebegone thing so maybe I was decades ahead of you guys 😂😂

      Just kidding. But seriously yes, I’ve had a series of these moments over the last 20 years. The Trump Experiment is just the latest pivot for me but long overdue and welcome.

    29. Mike K Says:

      To those ignored, suffering people, Donald Trump is a brick chucked through the window of the elites. “Are you assholes listening now?”

      Yes although I think of him as Rodney Dangerfield in “Caddyshack.” He is rich and doesn’t care if the “members” are upset at his manners. Most of the “members” don’t have as much money but are aping the manners fo their betters.

      The Dixie Chicks had some misandry before the big blowup. One song about “Roy” was about killing him and burying him.

      It’s just that in going so openly partisan, they have to know that their appeal is becoming selective. Sure, you might turn out to be big in China, or in Japan, but pissing off American fans has to begin hurting the bottom line eventually.

      The movies are being written for China and the export market but they are also exporting hate of America. There was a time that everyone in Europe thought “Dallas” was how we all lived. The people who watch these movies are getting propaganda. A good share of it is lies.

      I think what is going on today is more horizontal class warfare than vertical class warfare.

      Much of it, I believe, is envy and an attempt to ingratiate with the rich or cultured and, as Rafael Sabatini said of the French Revolution, it is an attempt by the Bourgeois to confuse themselves with the aristocracy. Ape their manners and the rest might confuse you with them.

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