Culture postsMonday August 24, 2015
The New Clod Worship Isn't New
I read this last night in Michael Medved's “Hollywood vs. America,” from 1992:
“Welcome to the new clod worship, a pop culture deification of the asinine,” writes Jan Stuart in a recent issue of FanFare. “Been to the movies or theater lately? The joint is jumpin' with blowhard anti-role models who combine Trump-size arrogance with the grace of Al Sharpton ... turning the ethos of the jerk inside out until jerkiness becomes a kind of heroism... By and large, that behavior takes as its ideal the iconoclasm and unformed moral code of adolescent boys.”
Meet the new clod worship; same as the old clod worship.
Here's Evan Osnos on Trump, the GOP frontrunner. (Great illustration, btw, by Christoph Niemann.)
Other Things Donald Trump Likes
- Fireman who didn't die on 9/11.
- Soldiers who didn't die or get wounded in Afghanistan, Iraq, et al. Also captured, of course.
- Yankee teams that didn't lose the World Series. Not like those 2001 bums. And just when the city needed them, too.
- “Rocky II,” “Rocky III” and “Rocky IV.” Go the distance, my ass.
- Kreese. None of this wax-on/wax-off shit. I pay people for that.
- Old men in the sea who know how to land a fucking fish.
From his comments yesterday about John McCain's war hero status: “I like people who weren't captured.” Feel free to add your own.
ADDENDUM: Jon Stewart, of course, did it better. On his show Monday night, he played the above clip, and said, as Trump, “And if I may ... fuck cancer survivors, too. Hey, let me just say this. I like people who don't get cancer.”
Why the Love for Bryan Cranston's 'Your Mom' Slam?
I do not understand all the love “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston is getting for his “your mother” joke at the San Diego Comic-Con this past week.
Here's the video.
And here's the conversation:
Nervous teen: How was [Albuquerque]? Cuz it's ... my hometown, So I just want to know, how'd you like it? Did you have fun there?
Cranston: Yeah, I'd go and visit your mother once in a while!
The audience erupts in laughter and applause, and Cranston basks in it before feigning a mic-drop.
Is there a context I'm missing? Is it Bryan being Walt or Bryan being Cranston? More importantly: Why does the kid deserves this slam?
Since then, the applause has continued on most major (or at least ad-heavy) web sites. It's as if Cranston has just delivered an Oscar Wilde-ian bon mot instead of the most adolescent of comebacks. It's a line worth of apology, not a mic-drop.
This culture sometimes, I swear.
Spot the Difference Between the Mass Murderer and the GOP Candidate for President
Two quotes. Who's the mass murderer and who's the GOP candidate for president?
- Person A: “When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're sending people that have lots of problems. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists.”
- Person B: “'I have to do it. You rape our women and you're taking over our country.”
Answer in the comments field.
Jelani Cobb on Rachel Dolezal
“On Monday, Dolezal resigned, in a statement that didn't answer questions about what she referred to as 'my personal identity,' though it did refer obliquely to 'challenging the construct of race.' That answer is clearly inadequate; many people have challenged the construct of race without lying about their lives. But there is something more worth discussing here. ... In truth, Dolezal has been dressed precisely as we all are, in a fictive garb of race whose determinations are as arbitrary as they are damaging. This doesn't mean that Dolezal wasn't lying about who she is. It means that she was lying about a lie.
”Rachel Dolezal is not black—by lineage or lifelong experience—yet I find her deceptions less troubling than the vexed criteria being used to exclude her. ... Dolezal was dishonest about an undertaking rooted in dishonesty, and no matter how absurd her fictional blackness may appear, it is worth recalling that the former lie is far more dangerous than the latter. Our means of defining ourselves are complex and contradictory—and could be nothing other than that. But if the rubric is faulty it remains vital. The great majority of Americans recognize slavery as a figment of history, interred in a receding past. But, for black people, that past remains at the surface—close at hand, indelible, a narrative as legible as skin.“
-- Jelani Cobb, ”Black Like Her," The New Yorker. Cobb's is the first article I've read that has referenced John Howard Griffin's seminal book of the 1960s, which I never read, but which was everywhere when I was growing up. And don't forget the Lois Lane version, as much as all of us have tried.