Thursday, December 11, 2008

From Daniel Larison
  • Cavett and Paglia on Palin and Larison’s good answer. Cavett doesn’t sound mid-Atlantic (the anglicised sound of George Plimpton for example, which used to be America’s imitation of RP — Cavett sounds like he’s from Nebraska because he is) to me but that style’s passing is everybody’s loss. (About the only time you hear it now is when an actor like Kelsey Grammer makes fun of it but then again Frasier was likeable.) There’s room for it and for rap’s street poetry in a culture. But there’s a difference between knowing and breaking the rules creatively and ignorance. Score two for Cavett and Larison on language and on Palin’s not being qualified to be vice-president, and one for the smart, funny (met her once) but often wrong Paglia on WASP (anti-Latin people, at least implied anti-Catholic) snobbery. About language and taste the abuse of something (by snobs for example) doesn’t take away its right use (Cavett speaks better than Palin and I don’t mean Palin’s perfectly good Minnesotan-by-way-of-settlers-in-Alaska accent). In Paglia’s story the groom’s Nehru jacket says something about social class: as Paul Fussell and other observers note a mistake people from lower classes often make is to invest heavily in trends and fads in style including fashion. Such were building ultra-modern houses etc. (you know, the kind that look dated now) when the WASPs stayed true to beautiful Georgian (known in America as colonial) and Victorian architecture and Savile Row and Brooks Brothers suits. (Sometimes people went and still go ultra-modern and abstract deliberately to spite both Anglo-American and in general Christendom’s culture. A style of spite: as ugly as it sounds.) The most disturbing thing about Cavett’s snobbery is his dismissal of abstinence for example, just the kind of thinking from the intelligentsia that has done the most harm to the less fortunate. (The best and the brightest have led America off a cliff.) The kind of snobs who think Bush’s power is fine if one of them like Obama wields it and wonder why the Palins and others don’t obey their betters, including in the mainline churches where they are pushing the Palin-like out (or the latter are gettin’ fed up and leavin’, you betcha) and having gay weddings. Like Paglia and many others not blinded by sheer hatred of all of Palin’s views I think there’s much to like about the beautiful Alaskan governor and her frontier-sized lust for life. But no, she signed on with the neocons on top of being unsuited for the job. Of course I have an interest in bad speaking/writing: it keeps me working.
  • Fantasy, celebrity and dynastic politics. On Caroline Kennedy for senator.
  • On dropping the f-bomb of religious discourse and trying to rewrite Christian theology on marriage, pastimes of the mainline.

No comments:

Post a comment

Leave comment