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First time as tragedy, second time as... irony

By Owen Paine on Wednesday June 14, 2006 09:46 PM

So what do thoughtful prog-blog types think of their subculture?

Here's the product of one act of careful self-identifcation by a chap named Matt from mydd.com. It was either made -- or as I suspect, more likely reinforced by -- his attendence at the recent Kos Vegas happening:

We have a culture of liberalism....
Fair enough.
I know that sounds 'soft'...
They're nothing if not self conscious, eh?
...but the laughing liberally folk and the comedians at the event mixed perfectly with the bloggers...
Laughing liberals? Hey, Father Smiff, where the eff were you when these laff riots broke out -- re-reading Tacitus? But I digress. Back to Matt's memescape:
.... we are a movement...
Okay ..give with the pocket Weber, baby --
...Every significant political movement rests on cultural foundations....
The obvious is fiercely strangled with that line, eh?

But to be just, the man does deliver:

...and I think that the punk ethos and... the ironic collegiate comedy style of the 1970s has coalesced into a cultural base for what we're doing...
Hmm. A 70's gas works kinda thang. Well really now... gotta chew on that a mo... the 70s. Commandante Markos, impresario of the digital revolving door at Studio 54.

Matt keeps it all vague, like the Coke formula -- how to reverse engineer this belated 70's cocktail? You know the ratios? I hazard -- punk is like the vermouth?

But to get the real deal you go heavy, extra heavy, on the irony -- make that a double on the irony, with a cheer chaser. Not coarse practical jokes -- forks in the hand and such -- no animal-house hee-haws. No, this irony is high-proof 70's personal pain-swallowed raw-built irony.

What a battering ram, eh? They bring their rivals down by triumphing over self-laceration.

And it's not to be confused with the other brands of liberalism. It's a clear counter to the 'real America' faux-heartland schtick -- all that phoney blue-collar, let's get down to their level and take 'em back moves.

I gotta agree on that. Meritoids, be yourself. No shameless prole-pleb pandering.

But guess who else it's a clear counter to:

... the liberal NYT Hollywood elitists...
Bravo! Smash the NYT/Hollywood penthouse axis!

So yes, rightly he says, we are neither of them. Good move. Neither phoney Jethro nor glitter-lite.

We have mainstream cultural roots that are as powerful as our political ideas.
"Powerful as" -- well, you can't quarrel with that, a dimensionless ratio. But -- powerful absolutely? Mainstream as in... what?

Comments (3)


Hey, JSP -- Tacitus is really funny. And not a bit liberal.


Maybe once they were punk. After 2004, they're punk like the Sex Pistols reunion and the Clash in Gap ads.

I'd give anything to know just what this neo-punk-boogie-nights "culture" has to do with actually furthering the supposed progressive goals. Honestly. WTF ? I suffered through that whole damn thread and I still don't get it. I love yammering about music and such as much as the next person, but this is strictly some kind of nebulous back-to-High-School schtick. What on Earth is its point ?

OTOH, the Obama thread over there was vastly entertaining. (Well, I got through most of it before the nausea majorly set in.) I especially liked how all of the commenters bent over backwards to avoid mentioning that their Great Prog Hope is a fucking war hawk. Because who wants to get caught up in some silly trivia about possibly bringing on a new version of Mutually Assured Destruction via Iran when we have the important work of Taking Back The Party to do ?

Angel doll, we ARE here to par-teee !! In an ironic way, of course...

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