Monday, December 12, 2005

The sensitive, stupid American

George Will says that Eugene McCarthy made Americans mad because he looked down his nose at them.
McCarthy's acerbic wit sometimes slid into unpleasantness, as when, after Gov. George Romney, the Michigan Republican, said that briefers in Vietnam had "brainwashed" him, McCarthy said that surely a light rinse would have sufficed. McCarthy's wit revealed an aptitude for condescension, an aptitude that charmed intellectuals but not Americans condescended to.
If we accept Will's point that Americans are made of such tender stuff and, also, consider that most Americans disagree with Bush and his party, shouldn't Republicans be taking into account that Americans might not appreciate being called a nation of people embracing "retreat and defeat"?

Of course, the former condition for that question could never be performed with a straight face. Americans aren't afraid of intelligence, they just want some muscle in the arms which work at the behest of powerful minds. They want someone who knows what he wants, knows why he wants it and goes after and it. McCarthy's refusal to even refer to himself as a candidate during a wartime election did much more to turn Americans off than any perceived intellectual snobbery.

George Will knows this and makes it obvious in his own column. Does he really think, for example, that philippic is a word tossed off by the bake sale mothers, the bar stool jockeys or salarymen he's setting up as the offended masses? McCarthy, at the very least, was funny. By simultaneously decrying liberal intellectualism and tossing off $10 words—a favorite trick he uses to hide the shameful lack of any real intellectual integrity underlying his arguments—Will is thumbing his nose at so-called "common" Americans. I'm fucking with you and you're too stupid to even know it, he seems to be saying.

There's a lot of this going around. Earlier today, a Fox News "Holiday Party" flier surface on the web and everyone had a good chuckle. "Look at those ridiculous Foxholes, who can't even keep their pandering straight." But it's not funny and no one who feels that faith is an important part of their lives should see it as even slightly humorous. Every bit of evidence tells us that those who are most loudly bleating about a so-called "War on Christmas" know full well that such talk is ridiculous. They are, then, using one of the most holy Christian holidays as a tool not to bring about peace, understanding or (God forbid) good will toward men, but to breed hate and discontent in the hearts of Americans for the sake television ratings and donations to political "war chests." They are using a season of love and the faith from which it springs as a bludgeon, laughing behind the backs of true believers as they do it.

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