Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The "L" Word

Attend please while Andrew Sullivan casually admits that Liberals have been right about the Right all along.
I agree with [George] Packer that the Republican South's take-over of the GOP - thanks Dick and Ron! - has helped destroy sane, moderate conservatism in America.
We will politely ignore for the moment the fact that even if we accept Mr. Sullivan's persistent, pathetic figleafing assertions about the existence of a once-upon-a-time days of "sane, moderate Conservatism" in America, according to my calendar, American Conservatism's Golden Age must have pre-dated Mr. Sullivan's first day as a living human being on planet Earth.

We will also generously refrain from dwelling on the fact that Mr. Sullivan's Conservative Happy Days seem to be made entirely out of exotic subatomic particles -- some combination of the bosons, gluons and morons perhaps -- that flick in and out of existence so fast that they are visible only briefly and only in Mr. Sullivan's Conservative rear-view mirror.

Instead, being largish of soul and of a forgiving nature, we will celebrate the fact that Conservative Public Intellectual Andrew Sullivan has, for a brief moment, come tremblingly close to acknowledging the fact that Conservatism as it has actually existed in America during his entire adult life has been exactly as Liberals have described it.  That it did not just go inexplicably shoutycrackers during the latter half the the Dubya regime.  That its actions were carefully programmed by its own leaders and set on this doomed course long before Mr. Sullivan was in long pants.

So good for us!

Except of course, Mr. Sullivan is far too much the poltroon to ever say any such thing in public.

After all, without his "Conservative Public Intellectual" bona fides, Mr. Sullivan is just a gay man writing about pot, gay marriage and climate change.  Without his edgy reputation for bravely standing athwart Vile Liberalism and shouting "Not quite!", he's just one more guy having public breakdowns over Barack Obama throwing it all away after his first debate; just a blogger chasing Sarah Palin's uterus across the continent.

In other words, if Liberalism was right all along, then Mr. Sullivan looks really, really stupid, which might be a recoverable error for a Dell customer service rep or a hot apple pie upseller at McDonald's, but for a Conservative Public Intellectual, coming out someone who was dead wrong about both Liberals and Conservatives for most of his life is a uniquely disqualifying, career-death-on a stick kind of stupid.

Which is why Mr. Sullivan constantly trips over his own dick trying to avoid stating what is perfectly obvious: that he has become a Liberal-lite cover-band.  That just as the Rolling Stones owe their fame and fortune to hardscrabble American blues musicians from whom the Stones borrowed much of their structure and voice (from the Amazon review of "Blues Roots of the Rolling Stones") --
It's hardly a state secret that the Rolling Stones started out as a blues cover band in 1962, and that the blues has always underpinned their long career, even as they flirted at different times with pop, disco, and reggae touches. The blues was always the touchstone, and this 22-track collection dips into some of the band's obvious influences, beginning with the Muddy Waters track "Rolling Stone," a version of Robert Petway's "Catfish Blues" (which is also included here) that gave the group its name, and reaching through to songs like Robert Wilkins' "That's No Way to Get Along," which appeared on the Stones' Beggars Banquet album as "Prodigal Son," and Robert Johnson's "Love in Vain," which the Stones' covered wonderfully on Let It Bleed. Even setting the Rolling Stones connection aside, this set makes for a varied little survey sampler of the different strains of the blues, from the swampy, lazy malaise feel of Slim Harpo's "I'm a King Bee" to the blastoff electric slide guitar riff that drives Elmore James' "Dust My Broom" (one could make a strong case that this track exemplifies everything the Stones aspired to be) and the Bo Diddley roots of Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away," the song that first broke the Stones to an American audience. Again, it's no secret that these songs provided the template for the band that the Stones became, so in that sense this set isn't exactly revelatory, but hearing these original versions underscores just how strongly the Stones absorbed, expanded, and relied on the blues every step of the way.
-- so too does Mr. Sullivan's career exist now thanks in large measure to the American Liberal garments he has borrowed and the American Liberal language he has learned to mimic.

And speaking for all Liberals everywhere, let me be clear that we are delighted to hear our critiques of American politics and media suddenly pouring forth from different sources.

But if Mr. Sullivan cannot muster the courage to own up to the fact that he is now basically a very successful Liberal-lite cover-band

the least he could do on those rare occasions when the "L" word actually passes his lips is to stop spitting it out all peevish and hollow:
"Foster has an estimated net worth of $100 million. Forgive me if I side with an out kid in high school over the pampered enablers of homophobia in Hollywood, who all the while preen about their liberalism."


Hef said...

"bosons, gluons and morons"...made me spit my chardonnay all over the room. How long you been saving that one up? Glad to see sully getting a wee taste of the DFB scrutiny. I give him a year before he goes all Charlie Pierce. Helluva post Drifty.

Anonymous said...

"Helluva post Drifty."

hear, hear

Anonymous said...


Did he call Jodie Foster a Hollywood enabler of homophobia? Jodie?

And... Homophobia in Hollywood? It was my understanding that if you work in Hollywood, pissing off the gays is like telling a drag queen she has an ugly wig. Some things you just don't do, or you risk your own destruction. In Hollywood, you risk your makeup looking like shit, your lighting looking like shit, and your sound coming out like shit. Angry gays behind the set can make you look like a shambling turd squeaking "Shave and a Haircut" as your opening act.

While I also think the ending of "Contact" was a WTF moment, I don't think that should be taken out on Miss Foster's personal life.


Tengrain said...

Sorry for a bit of nostalgia, but here I go:

I remember seeing the Stones in '81 in L.A., and Prince was the opening act. Prince got boo'ed off the stage, and though none of us had any idea who he was, I remember being transfixed and thinking he was brilliant: Prince was (in effect) the black Mick.

This video just brought the whole thing full circle for me: Muddy > Mick > Prince. There is something there. I wish I was more of a rock historian, I bet someone has already written a thesis on this. But I feel electrified. I love connections like this.



marindenver said...

Anytime lately that I'm tempted to think Sullivan is reforming I just refer to this piece

I think Sully is just looking for a new set of marks. Maybe not but it'll take quite a bit to convince me.

And the Rolling Stones may owe their roots to American blues but they took it to a new place. Love me my Stones. Saw them at CSU in 1968 I think it was and a few times in Denver starting in 1970 - most recently a couple of years back on Thanksgiving. My late husband and I went with our two young adult daughters who were a little surprised that we were hip enough to do that!