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Ralph and the two cultures

By Owen Paine on Tuesday June 27, 2006 12:25 PM

Just read a post at Counterpunch by Ralph N -- it was oddly loose, so I'm not sure I got his point.

It was a comparison of two cultures -- liberal and conservative -- and despite its apparently slapdash scurry two passages caused me to reach a conclusion of my own. The first, about activities dominated by the liberal hemisphere:

... more passive, spectator, celluloid or "cool" internet occasions. And after a while a chronically humorous way of looking at politics becomes a distraction, even though it may be a style that avoids commercial media censorship.
But then his second passage says:
Politics, even in an age of electronic supremacy, is still strongly moved by the person-to-person, conversational, affinity, communal groupings in our society.
I.e., the liberals organize all wrong. Get out into the streets, storm the glass towers occupy the plants, shut down the high schools! Action, action, action!

Comments (5)


I like the casual style Nader employs here -- unusual for him. I see another point behind the one you dig out -- liberals are higher up on the lifestyle ladder than conservatives. The attitudes and avocations Nader sees in liberals are those of a somewhat leisured or affluent class. Liberals have arrived, and though they are horrified at the arrogance of the current administration, they are not going to jeopardize or belie their arrived status by vigorous political action.

From an economic perspective, liberals should be expected to be conservative!

On the other hand, hard-working, anxious conservatives go to bed too early to watch Jon Stewart, and their sense of alienation (or disqualification) from current lifestyles makes them more apt to cling together in Rotary clubs and churches, the seedbed of the Republican base.

The French revolution was made by small trades people we would call conservatives today!



yes, Yes, YES! But…

…let us (and I include myself here, I’m as guilty as anyone) not fall into the trap of parroting the pundits on the social makeup of the parties, the Red State-Blue State divide (speaking of echo chambers!) crapola

Working-class whites (no matter how you slice it socio-metrically, education, income, occupation) are more likely to vote DP than their white betters – that is, those who bother to vote

On a purely anecdotal note, from here in my neck of the woods, you drive around the neighborhood notorious for the delegations it sends to the Jerry Springer show, you won’t see many “W” bumper stickers, although you will see plenty of yellow ribbon magnets… you drive around the neighborhood where boob jobs and Lexxus SUV’s are de rigeur, and it’s a different story

It took a little getting used to…the native “yuppies” of the South may surround themselves with many of the same lifestyle accoutrements (sushi! eco-tourist trips to Bali! blah blah blah) of the DLC crowd from, say, Chicago’s Gold Coast… but collectively they are the most reactionary people I have ever encountered

David Brooks go fuck yourself.

Arthur Gilroy:

The wonderful writer Joe Bageant pins the so-called left in an interview he gave to someone named Richard Oxman. The interviewer himself seems fairly lame, but Bageant is as far as I am concerned the legitimate successor to Jimmy Breslin in the bring-home-the-bacon style of truth telling about American culture and politics that is and has been all too rare here over the past 60 years or so.

In the interview, he says:


Every American seems to think the sun rises and sets on his or her ass. Americans cannot seem to get over themselves. Consequently, empathy for mankind’s planetary misery is in short supply – more of an intellectual concept than a reality to soft, moody, self-absorbed American lefties. They all come from the 25% of Americans who get a college degree. They have no fucking idea what it is like for the other 60-70% of Americans who have to survive in our brutal corporatized state without the benefit of genuine education, insight or even honest news programming to see what is going on around them. These workers are being cultivated as a human crop by global business. A crop of toilers, consumers, and when need be, mechanized killers to be sent abroad.


"...soft, moody, self-absorbed American lefties" whose "empathy for mankind’s planetary misery is in short supply – more of an intellectual concept than a reality..."


That about sums it up.

They do not engage in collective action because they are too wrapped up in themselves to even go out the door unless there is some profit-making action to be taken. "To take care of their families" is the usual excuse, but the REAL reason is their utter hypnotism by the media...a hypnotism of which they are totally unconscious... and their fear that they are simply not men and women enough to be able to cope with what lies outside of their completely suburban, middle class experience. Even when they migrate to the cities, they simply Starbucks-ize depresssed working class and minority neighborhoods and turn them into little facsimiles of their own Great Neck/Chevy Chase-style upbringing.

"Gentrification" my royal Irish ass!!!

Bourgeoisification is more like it.

And the saddest thing about all of this shit is that they represent the only "opposition" to our techno-fascist friends in DC that is legitimized by the media.

The Hispanic working class can mobilize several millions in marches against the powers-that-be; it can literally stop LA's commerce in its tracks for a day, and what's the BIG :"opposition" news as far as the mainstream media are concerned? The Daily Kos Klown Konvention in Las Vagueness, complete with shamefully expensive Mark Warner for Semi-President sushi and martinis party and appearances by the designated CIA "opposition" to the neo-cons.

The left wing of the right wing.

We are all fucked.

Get out the prayer rugs, because the only really effective "opposition" at the moment is carrying captured Kalashnikovs and burning lame diso tapes in the name of Allah.

So it goes.

Duck and cover or run like hell, because the system as it now stands is officially closed for business.

NEW business, anyway.

It will have to quite literally break before anything changes.

If then.



Oxman. Bleah. I'm sure he's a decent enough guy in person, but his self-important theatrics during the Danish Cartoon blowup are the reason I don't go over to Press Action any more...

AG, I don't know whether it's good news or bad news for stragglers like us, but the immigration issue has the potential to drive a major wedge into the liberal "movement" as embodied by the Air America crowd. Or so it seems to me. I was temping a few weeks ago out in the tony 'burbs, and the supervisor was a nice enough woman. However, she was a big Air America fan and I freely admit: Her distinct old-school nativist streak really startled me. You know the drill: Those people will stir up trouble, drive down wages, etc etc. Even if I'd been a liberal myself, the class divisions between the supervisor and I were clear almost instantly when the immigration thing came up. Despite us both being college edjamacated and all...

Arthur Gilroy:


I am not at ALL sure how "decent a guy" he may be. On the evidence of that interview...the only thing I know of him...he is just the usual packrat-diguised-as-a-journalist that Jimmy Breslin referred to as the pekinese of the press.

The so-called left wing version thereof.

Joe Bageant as an intellectual Paris Hilton.

I have no use for self-inflated idiots, no matter on WHICH side of an issue they claim to stand. Didn't look like Bageant had much use for him, either, except maybe insofar as he might possibly help to sell some books.

And Air America?


90% total self-serving centrist Plan A Lite bullshit.

There IS no functioning left here, ms_xeno.

Remember that old Gertrude Stein quip about Oakland?

There's no there there?


Well, there's no left left, either.

Bet on it.

Not in America, anyway.

CERTAINLY not enough to DO anything.

Just a left-leaning hologram.

The VIRTUAL left.

So it goes.

"Immigrant reform?"

Racism redux.

The one and ONLY reason for ANY kind of racism?

The despised are always better in some way than the despisers, and the despisers feel threatened by them.

Again...so it goes.

"The business of America is business", said Calvin Coolidge.

And this is just business as usual.

Get used to it.

It is not going to change unless the entire system falls.

Further…if and when it DOES fail, what springs up to take its place is liable to be worse.

MUCH worse.



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