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Comments by YACCS
Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Blame the Jews cultural elite


Culture in action


Just as I was relaxing and watching some no-limit poker, I head over to Atrios and then see the site filled up with comments on culture, spurred on by another stupid fucking comment by Amy Sullivan. God, I really don't like her. It's bad enough she has to wave religion in our faces like we're heathens, but this shit is simply silly.

Amy Sullivan

SIGH....I'm going to give Matt the benefit of the doubt and assume that he was just providing a helpful demonstration of what those "cultural elites" Dan Gerstein referred to yesterday might sound like. (If you want more examples, take a stroll through our comments, bearing in mind that they represent less than one-tenth of one percent of our overall readership and are therefore to be taken with an entire pantry full of salt.)

Matt's main contention with the argument Gerstein and I are making seems to be that there is no problem, so if Democrats talk about popular culture as if it is a problem, they will be guilty of shameless political pandering.

Maybe we just have a fundamental difference of opinion here about the definition of "pandering." Matt seems to think it's talking about things you can't fix with a policy solution. I think that acknowledging the concerns of many Americans--even if you can't fix them with a policy--is sometimes just the obvious and right thing to do, and shouldn't always be given the perjorative label of pandering. Most parents don't care that statistics of child wellbeing are improving overall; they worry about whether their kid is going to use drugs or start having sex early or become a victim of violence. Some twenty-something blogger telling them not to worry about it isn't going to make them feel better.

For the 352nd time: This is not a choice between Democrats doing/saying nothing or becoming Christian Coalition clones. It's just not. Anyone who insists on posing that false choice is being willfully narrow-minded. There is a heck of a lot of ground between those two poles. I worry about a crisis of imagination in our society if we can't see that.

All too often, however, Americans find themselves faced with a stark choice, choosing between one side that says, "We know you worry about raising your kids and about our culture" (even as they exploit those fears), and one that says, "Bah! Culture! Not a problem!" So far, liberals don't seem to have done a bang-up job convincing Americans that those silly little things they worry about aren't that big a deal.

I believe there are actually policies Democrats can pursue that don't involve censoring free speech or impacting how adults consume popular culture. But sometimes it's not about policies. It's about proving that you're not hopelessly out of touch with the real anxieties and concerns of many Americans. Maybe I'm starting from the wrong square, though. Maybe the Democratic Party really is out of touch. If so, it's time to settle in for a looooong winter's night in the minority.

UPDATE: As one reader has already reminded me, I've neglected to remind people that popular culture doesn't begin to encompass the concerns of many parents. Sometimes I forget that doesn't go without saying. We're also talking about the fact that parents are working more than ever before, and that's a major reason why they aren't around to monitor their kids. The fact that with our country's woefully inadequate child care system, the mere juggling of work and kid schedules is enough to drive the most resourceful parent insane. These are issues policymakers can do something about, but policies won't mean a thing if voters don't believe you understand their concerns.


Amy,

May as I be as kind as to suggest that there IS no problem with popular culture. None.

Is there a policy which can prevent those nasty things you don't like and not have censorship?

No.

Once you tell people what to say, you have censorship. You don't have any fucking policies on offer, you silly, silly woman. All you want to do is find a way to enforce your religous views on us all. I don't want you to tell me what to see or what game to play or what to allow in my house. Do you actually talk to kids? Because in the end, we're not talking about kids. Because kids play with Beyblades and Barbie. My rather clever niece is enchanted with a book of Degas ballerinas, the perfect combination of dance and art. Her brother likes racing games like Need for Speed and sports games like NBA Street3. He's not begging for Doom3 like my adult partner, who was quite disappointed it wasn't out for PS2 yet. It ruined her day.

Here's a hint, little kids don't like blood and guts. A 10 year old will giggle at GTA; San Andreas for a while, and then go back to something much less violent.

Amy, when I talk to my sisters, they do not worry about video games. They worry about keeping day care and getting a masters. Except when older sister isn't actually administering day cares. What she didn't worry about when her kids were younger, and what other sister doesn't worry about is video games. And my nephew and his friends love video games. Why? Because my nephew , who is quite conversant in the subject, more than me, has games in mind and GTA and Resident Evil aren't among them. Why? Because 9 year olds don't like oceans of blood.

I mean this whole pro-censorship call, and that's what it is, is just so goddamn silly and pointless. Because it's not a real issue. There is a whole alternative world of Christian, Christian kids and kid material any sentinent parent can find. Even uncles can dig this stuff up without too many key strokes.

Oh, yeah, let's get to the "cultural elites".

Now, Big Media Matt was too kind to mention this, suprisingly so, since he's half-Jewish, but whenever I hear that phrase, I just insert the word Jew. It saves time and money.

Why not say what you mean: the Hollywood Jews are ruining this country. At least you don't go as far as Bill Donoghue and accuse them of loving anal sex, but the whiff of the bonfire and the brownshirt still eminates from your words. The elitism comes from the Dan Gerstein article, which cleverly suggests that women in "exburbs" haven't heard of threesomes. As if swingers were some unknown thing and the internet didn't reach them. The arrogance here is just amazing.

However, what does shine through is the often coded anti-semitic words like "cultural elite" and "Hollywood". When they talk about "Hollywood's" influence on the media, what they really mean are those dirty Jews are polluting our Christian culture again. Because it's the same argument used from the days of Father Coughlin. Back then, the studios hopped to their tune to keep the cultural brownshirts away.

But the argument is so subtle, so denuded of history, even well-meaning people slip into the silvershirt and logic of the German-American Bund while not even realizing it. I don't think you hate Jews or even think your argument is at all anti-semitic. But it is. Becazuse there is never any mention of the culture of sports or fashion or even comic books, but Hollywood. We have a vast culture, music, art, the internet, but they never get mentioned.
Just "Hollywood". Now, when I think back, the pro-German Joe McCarthy couldn't wait to get his hands on Hollywood, and oddly enough, many of those blacklisted were.....Jews. Some may have been commies, but a lot were just Jews.

Because this isn't a discussion about culture. Because if it was, we'd be asking why country music lionizes adultery and revenge, why NASCAR fans seem to enjoy crashes, why high school kids are shoved into basketball. Instead we talk about video games, which are marketed and sold to adults, music which hasa shelf life of a few weeks, and movies which cycle in and out of theaters every few weeks, then cable. But this, not a culture which keeps adults at work longer and pays them less is the issue.

The idea of a "cultural elite" isn't real. The video game industry is nothing like the decentralized film industry and the highly centralized TV industry. Sure, they may cross with each other, but there's film, TV and everything else. But as the ever present anti-semitic canard, it still has its magic powers. Because when we say "cultural elite" we are not talking about Opera and Ballet. We are talking about Hollywood, and the people who run it and well, they do happen to attend services on Saturday when they go.

Amy, do you know why kids use drugs? Since my father worked with junkies for 20 years, I do. We discussed it. Their friends. Their friends intrduce them to drugs. No one ever smoked a joint given to them by a stranger.

Do you know the actual statistics about teen pregnancy? The one which shines is this: most girls are impregnated by older boys and men, with as much as 5-10 years age difference.

Most victims of violence know their attacker.

Video games haven't got a thing to do with it.

Our flawed culture comes not from entertainment, but from economics. A culture where parents work 10 hour days, where children come home to empty houses as young as six years old. Where after school programs are rare and part time jobs so consuming that kids fall asleep in class. Which you admit. But this whole argument is like trying to outseg the segregationists. Our core principles, like a belief in free speech makes this a self-defeating argument.

What you also neglect to mention is the explosion in alternative media, like the Left Behind books. People who want to have entertainment which meets their standards can walk into any Wal Mart and get what they need.

This patronizing idea promoted by Gerstein and amplified by you is ridiculous. People who care deeply about this stuff will not vote Democratic because we will never go far enough.

posted by Steve @ 12:50:00 AM

12:50:00 AM

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