I’ll protect you from the Chardonnazis!
Somewhere a Kallikak’s feeling has been wounded. A Juke has been slighted.
A dust bunny has wafted out from behind the chemical toilet and scared a Son of the Soil right out of his sister.
Thank Merciful God that David Brooks is there to take up their cross.
A snip, copied from the Bobo’s Jethromiad, “The Heyday of Snobbery”.
And so we enter the era of mass condescension. Thanks to the creativity of our cultural entrepreneurs, we enter a time when we can gather in large groups and look down at our mental, social and spiritual inferiors.
In retrospect, it's easy to see how this cultural moment crept up on us. There is “American Idol,” which allows the millions to watch Simon Cowell ridicule people who don't realize how talentless they are. There is the middle segment of “The Daily Show,” during which correspondents sometimes go out and use postmodern interviewing techniques to humiliate rural goobers who think they were abducted by aliens or some such.
Then there is the rise of culture-war comedians whose jokes heap scorn on the sorts of people who are guaranteed not to be in the audience. (“Megachurches,” Bill Maher joked recently on HBO, “are presided over by the same skeevy door-to-door Bible salesmen that we've always had, just in an age of better technology. But they're selling the same thing: fear. Fear to keep you in line.”
Then, the condescending H.L Menckenites were a small, educated sect, much less popular than the romantics who celebrated the Middle American common man in novels, movies and fanfares. Now, however, the Mencken sensibility is a mass phenomenon, found on networks and in multiplexes all across the country. We've democratized snobbery and turned it into a consumption item for the vast educated class. Popular culture has traveled from “The Grapes of Wrath” to Borat the magnificent.
Well, OK, let’s take a look at this tide of snobbery that is supposedly sweeping the land and coarsening the breed.
Based on the Nielsen Ratings of popular television programs (Spring 2006) – what actually people are actually watching – let’s strap this muttha into the cultural particle accelerator, dial it up to “Smashy” and see what’s what.
I mean, if Bobo’s right, there should be wall-to-wall evidence of the mass disparagement of the Usual Rightard Suspects, shouldn’t there?
AMERICAN IDOL took both first and second places.
Is it condescending?
Does it condescend to Christopaths and Red State simpletons?
Hell, those are the people who watch the fucking show, but Bobo needs to keep feeding the paranoid fantasies of the Great Wad that they are somehow downtrodden and put-upon.
Of course they are, but the knife they feel at their backs is wielded by Bobo's paymasters and controllers within the Power Elite of the Republican Party and not by Jon Stewart. And if someone really is stupid enough to keep supporting the very people who are kicking their teeth down their throat, then cutting of their health insurance, then mortgaging their children's future, well the absolute minimum they deserve is to be mocked.
Preferably into extinction.
But I digress.
AMERICAN IDOL doesn't pick on anyone except those who are so frantic for fame and fortune that they will humiliate themselves for money. Who, for sordid wages, will basically shit their pants on teevee. And given the difference between that and what David Brooks does from the NYT is not one of kind but of degree, perhaps that explains why he is to terribly sensitive about the topic.
#3 -- DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, which certainly mocks the rot at the heart of white, suburban privilege but little else. Again, maybe the shells are falling a little close to Casa Bobo.
4 CSI: MIAMI CBS The umpteenth in this generation of “Serve and Protect and T and A” police procedurals featuring flatly affected cops with thumbnail-sketched blasted private lives who solve crimes apparently by using “Minority Report” computers and nth generation weather modeling software to figure out where a strand of DNA would have blown on the day in question. Then they drive to Tallahassee, shinny up a palm tree, and tweeze out the conclusive proof that the Colonel Mustard did it in the Library with a Nine Iron.
This appeals to people who want to believe that a Sekrit Race of criminal supergeniuses are being held at bay by a thing blue line of Law Enforcement superdupergeniuses…but doesn't mock anyone in particular, unless you count Stanley Kubrick and every other director who believed in long takes.
#5 -- 60 MINUTES. While it grew to prominence putting con men in jail, it doesn't really make fun of them.
#6 -- TWO AND A HALF MEN – From the man who brought you “Dharma and Greg” – (which stereotyped the Left and Right with excruciating balance), this mocks stupid men, wastrels, man-eating mothers, and as in real life most of the hilarity is based on sexually-humiliating situations.
#7 DEAL OR NO DEAL-- people jumping up and down peeing themselves for cash. Has been a staple of public entertainment since the Aztecs. Contestants are not forced to come on and freak out on camera and should consider themselves lucky they aren't ritually disemboweled if they lose.
#8 THE UNIT - Military procedural. Saw four minutes of it once. Didn’t notice anyone being singled out for derision.
#9 GREY'S ANATOMY - If it mocks anyone, it's the unattractive.
#10 -- LOST - the most diverse cast on television, it takes both science and faith very seriously. Its heroes include a nearly-amoral con man, a murderous drug lord turned priest, a father and son, a spinal surgeon, a Iraqi Republican Guard torturer, a Korean mob enforcer and his wife, an interracial couple, a fat guy, a junkie and a felon on the run. It never condescends to any of them. In fact the “villains” are, as far as we know, what appear to be what remains of a 1970s “Walden II”-style experiment that went drastically wrong.
#11 OLD CHRISTINE - It just plain sucks, but it reserves most of its scorn for the pastel-based Stepford Moms who appear to run the school, and for the show's protagonist.
The rest of the Top 20 are the same; medicals, cop shows, sports and game shows.
And twas ever thus, so understand what's really going on here.
Brooks is a huckster whose only skill in this world is hawking his Neocon ideological snake oil to rubes and Christopaths. And since that is the ONLY marketable line on his resume, he doesn't get rewarded because he's right, or entertaining, or particularly talented. He prospers because stupid and hateful people will always pay a fat premium to have a suit writing for the NYT they can point to and say “See! We'z right!”
He comforts them and tells them what they want to hear, except he and his ilk just got their asses publicly handed to them. But while they may have lost their political manhood in the most spectacular way imaginable, they still need to pay the mortgage, and Bobo ain't gonna feed the goose that shits the Magic Golden Cheetohs by writing anything resembling the ugly, painful truth.
So he needs to pick some stupid fight that'll shore up his street cred as the Friend Of The Everyman and foe of the Chardonnay-sipping Liberal elite.
He needs to find a nice, safe, market-tested raison d'etre, and calling out the Vast Liberal Media Conspiracy for colluding to make hillbillies and preachers look stupid is a Conservative Bullshit well that never runs dry.
So having lost on every front, Bobo pulls out this old chestnut from his favorite autographed Pat Buchanan Nixon-era trick bag and desperately crawls back under the Culture War Porch to lick his wounds until it's safe to come out and start lying about Liberals hating Christmas based on some anecdotal stupidity that happened in the cat food aisle of the