Feeling even more lazy and self-indulgent than usual, I feel this is the time for me to throw some links at you and say whatever pops into my head about them.
First, let’s break the ice with some down-home country comedy from a funny ol guy who calls himself Golf Brooks. It’s not exactly well honed high brow comedy, but I like it.
Obviously, this fella plays to the golfer crowd at his local Nineteenth Hole, and he looks about old enough enough to remember when all those kill were just bumps on the ground, so we can forgive him a rather amateurish performance, a little deficit in the bell-like tone department, and the lyrics sure could do with some sanding and painting. Kinda clunky there, old timer.
But lack of refinement aside, the song is fairly funny, and the old wheezer is quite likable, so I decided to share him with you folks. Myself, I have had “senior moments” and “brain farts” all my life. I started out absentminded and clueless and stayed that way. So the way I got it figured, either when I go senile nobody will notice, not even me… or when it happens, I will have so many years experience dealing with my own cloudy head that I can take it in stride.
Of course, the third possibility is that I will be absolutely enfeebled and live a life of terror and crankiness and confusion. But I prefer not to think about that.
Surely all this mental exercise all day is good for something!
Its basic thesis is that the Tea Part, and the kind of frothing inchoate insanity it represents, is the latest expression of the rural thinking versus urban thinking divide that we have been struggling with since the time of the horse and buggy and the sistern well.
The idea is that it is natural for someone who live in a rural area to see government as an outsider, an intruder, a stranger who comes in and tells you what to do and makes you give them money. Farmers tend to think of their land as a state unto itself, following the same sort of territoriality rules that keeps one ape clan away from another. And in this miniature nation, the head of family is the head of state, with a heavy sense of their responsibility to their family, who are in a sense the aristocracy, and the hired hands, who are much like the day help of yore.
Hence, the conservative’s constant falling back on ruralist sentimentality. They have a foggy but fervent idea that somehow, farmers are the “real people” and all those city folk are weirdos who live terrible lives in unnatural conditions that make them do crazy things.
This point of view has been promulgated ever since the shepherds and hill people who would one day be Christians were bewildered and horrified by the big cities like Rome and Babylon, and declared them evil whores worthy only of Biblical destruction.
And it survives all the way to this day in the form of talk of “Real America”, even though the vast majority of people in the modern world live in cities, including the vast majority of those calling for a return to the values of a simpler time.
But civilization is citification. The entire thrust of civilization has been to build larger and larger communal groups, from families to clans to hamlets to villages to towns to cities and all the way to the modern megapolis, where millions live together in remarkable peace, law, order, and harmony.
The primitive mind rebels against this, and declares it unnatural. And it is indeed unnatural… for an ape or a money or a pygmy marmoset.
But it is the most natural thing in the world for human beings.
In fact, as I grow older and theoretically potentially wiser, it becomes clear to me that conservatism is the force of anti-human, primitive, barbarian, anti-civilization rage. Their basic problem is that they are old and they do not adapt to change as well any more, and the days seem to go faster and faster and feels like it is spinning out of control as they fall further and further behind the present,.
And so, instead of simply having the humility to realize that the problem lies not with the world but within themselves, they raise a mighty hue and cry and demand that not only should progress cease immediately, but we should actually back up to their childhoods, which their addled minds now idealize.
Luckily, this has never, ever worked. Progress continues and the world leaves them behind, and all they get from trying to pray back the tide is wet feet and humiliation.
Going back to the article, Running On Empty (yes, I still remember it!), I feel that Gail Collins writes very well. Her writing style is highly readable and entertaining, meaning it goes down easy, which is vitally important in an opinion peace. I wish I wrote so well.
But I think she makes her points too broadly and without precision. I think she is too aware that she is writing to a sympathetic audience in the New York Times, and so she does not really land her points about Empty Spaces thinking versus Crowded Spaces thinking. She just sort of floats them out there, assuming the audience will gladly fill in the blanks because they are already politically aligned with her anyhow. Sloppy.
One last thing : here is an image guaranteed to cure anybody of not fearing clowns yet :
Click to enlarge… if you dare.
As if clowns were not inherently horrifying enough, now we have broken-toothed clowns (who look a little like Garry Shandling) drinking heavily because they have the mad deep liquor jones.
And we all know what that leads to, don’t we?
Sleep tight, folks!