Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Riders of the Purple Wage*: Update

What does this "OMFG! Why are these assholes still tilling this shitty ground" story from Wednesday's New York Times --
After Putin Meeting, Trump Voters Mostly Dig In. But Cracks Are Showing.

Maybe it was the F.B.I.’s fault for unnerving him. Or maybe the White House staff had left President Trump ill-prepared before his stunning remarks in Helsinki Monday, when he sided with Russia over his own intelligence agencies.

At a bar in central Pennsylvania, voters wondered if election meddling was really so terrible. At a mall in Arizona, they insisted that Mr. Trump had actually been quite tough on Russia until, well, whatever that was in Finland...
-- have to do with Scientology?

I'm glad you asked!

Before he invented a highly successful, lawsuit-intensive method of separating celebrities from their cash, L. Ron Hubbard was a writer of pulp fiction.  A penny-a-word guy who typed on rolls of butcher-paper and used an IBM typewriter modified with extra keys for words like ‘and’, ‘the’, and ‘but’ to increase the speed of his output.

From Wikipedia:
Although he was best known for his pulp fantasy and science fiction, Hubbard also wrote adventure, aviation, travel, mystery, western and romance. He wrote under his own name and as Kurt von Rachen and René Lafayette, his principal science fiction/fantasy pseudonyms. His other pen names included "Winchester Remington Colt (rather obviously reserved for Westerns), Lt Jonathan Daly, Capt Charles Gordon, Bernard Hubbel, Michael Keith, Legionnaire 148, Legionnaire 14830, Ken Martin, Scott Morgan or Lt Scott Morgan, Barry Randolph and Capt Humbert Reynolds."
Hubbard wrote for money, so if word got around that New Mystery Adventures was paying a decent rate this month, Hubbard was going to dash off  The Cossack ("A final confrontation between Colonel Komroff and the woman he had spurned in pre-revolutionary Russia ends in death for both") and if westerns were hot next month, Cowboy Stories might see Plans for the Boy  ("The son of a rancher saves his father's spread from a mesa fire set by enemies, and dramatically changes his own future") arrive in the mail at the same time Top-Notch magazine found Medals for Mahoney ("Mahoney and a native medicine man collaborate to thwart a murderous plot to defraud the trading company") waiting on their doorstep.

Hubbard didn't write Man-Killers of the Air ("A daredevil pilot wins an international air race, foiling a scheme to sabotage his plane") to raise the level of national discourse or for the betterment of mankind. He wrote it because Five Novels Monthly would pay him for it.

The point being this: just as Thrilling Detective and Detective Fiction Weekly were in the business of cranking out hard-boiled crime genre fiction for the titillation of their readers, so have The New York Times and the Washington Post gone into the business of cranking out True Tales Of Rust-Belt Trump Murricans! for the titillation of their readers.

Of course, this condescending Duck of Death  claptrap plays very differently for those of us who actually live in Middle America and who have actively been yelling about the GOP monster factory for decades  -- those of us who were actually in the Blue Bottle Saloon in Wichita the night English Bob killed Corky Corcoran --

-- but as long as the Times' and Post core readership can enjoy hair-raising tales of Middle America pity and terror from a safe distance,  there is no reason in the world for America's mighty East Coast media factories to stop paying people to write "Rubes along the Monongahela" or "The Economically Distressed Madmen of Mercer County".

On the other hand, no one living in the middle of a gang war braves automatic weapons crossfire to run out and buy a copy of New Detective Magazine.  Which is why I suspect that as the very real horrors which the election of Donald Trump have unleashed on the world continue to crawl right up the pants-legs of our coastal elites and bite them in very personal and intimate places, the market for these hair-raising tales of Middle America pity and terror will gradually expire.

And what will replace it?

By a new genre of fiction which I predict will breathlessly cover the rise of "The Radical Civility Movement" (tm) -- a brand-new, Middle American, grass-roots, sensible Centrist Party-over-Country thingie which will be massively well-finance and composed entirely of Always-Wrong Beltway Conservatives like Bill Kristol, Joe Scarborough, David Brooks, Matthew Dowd and millions of "Independents" who will swear to God they have never even heard of Donald Trump no matter what their lawn signs and Facebook pages say.

Update:  And the beat goes on.  From the NYT yesterday:
Liberal Blind Spots Are Hiding the Truth About ‘Trump Country’  

* I thought and thought and could not come up with a title better suited for this post that the a title of the novella The Riders of the Purple Wage by Peoria, Illinois native-son, Philip José Farmer which appeared in Harlan Ellison's first Dangerous Visions anthology, and which is sitting on my bookshelf right now.

Behold, a Tip Jar!


Robt said...

On sale,

Box of GOP Saltine Quackers.

Best served at Tea Potters slurping time.

Now, Dipping your Quacker into Caviar dip with your Tea will be the rage.

bowtiejack said...

Kudos. Man, you are good!

trgahan said...

I am still waiting for our media intellectual "elite" to realize during one of these Cletus Safaris that to the people they are talking to (even if it is a reports going back "home"), a NTY/WP reporter IS a mortal enemy and threat. period. full stop.

So they have no problem lying to such enemies, especially if their lie will own the libs in the next edition of "liberal media's" journals of record.

These are the same people who shifted the earth's axis with the collective sigh of relief they had when THEIR party failed to repeal Obamacare in 2016. They are certainly never going to tell a NYT/WP reporter they are preparing kindling to burn their MAGA uniforms.

joel hanes said...

Winnegan's Fake.

Captain Plaid said...

Long-time listener, first-time caller. Love the show. Seriously, thanks for the work!

I was nodding along until the update. The way I read Sarah Smarsh's latest (I understand it's her first in the Grey Lady after many years of rejection) was not as 'a beat goes on' piece but rather a muddy Midwestern workboot in their butt. She seemed to be giving media meatsticks who write slop for money similar grief. Then again, maybe I'm just not understanding what was meant by, "And the beat goes on."

Sarah's writing was known to me before reading that 'Liberal Blind Spots' op-ed so perhaps such influenced how I read it. Still, the following sentence really resonated for this old country boy from the hills of east Alabama: "I am far less interested in calls for empathy toward struggling white Americans who spout or abide hatred than I am in tapping into the political power of those who don’t." Amen!

Folks are encouraged to click through and read the piece. They might even want to root around on for some of Sarah's other work and consider it for themselves. I used her 'Poor Teeth' piece when teaching social class and ... this past spring. I hardly think she's writing for the wrong reasons. In my opinion, she's a good 'un.

I need to comment and bounce. I'm hoping to strip some forms off and then pour some more concrete when I reset them as it supposedly won't rain here today. While I love doing hard work with my hands, I often do think about how grumpy I'd likely get with a boss and/or structural system mistreating me if I was doing that hot, hard, and heavy work to keep the lights on. To grind day after day just to barely get by is something so many citizens must do. And they are damned tired of it. Collectively doing something to ease their/our struggle by channeling those frustrations into confronting and changing current conditions remains the nugget (at least to me) in Sarah Smarsh's piece that I'll carry with me.

cvmbner said...

Hey DG, I’m with you throughout this post *except* believe it or not, that NYT article you reference at the end actually isn’t another bit of Hillbilly Elegy/Most Important People in the World bullshit. The title is misleading. The author is actually saying stuff I think you’d agree with (like that “Trump Country” actually includes a broad coalition of multiracial working class folks who support social justice & voted for Hillary— and that Trump won the white vote more than the working-class vote).

The Kraken said...

I’m way behind on the Bob Cesca show, but just heard his segment on #walkaway presaging the civility obsessed centrist party of well-funded conservatives as ‘bot run AstroTurf dirty tricks. This midterm season is going to be interesting. said...

The guest column actually says what you say about these crappy anthropology papers masquerading as news stories. Her only mistake is to refer to the NYT & other MSM as librral.

threemma said...

I think I will take a boat ride. Maybe I will run into Harlan.