Archive for October, 2008

My Screedish Manifesto, Inspired by Buckley, Frum, Noonan, etc.

October 26, 2008

Now that we have endured a thoroughly unbecoming series of hissy-fits by the Elitist Right, I have a statement to make.  With full reverence to Chairman Bill, whom I sort of quote:
I would rather be governed by one hundred random people in the Wasilla phone book than by the news departments of ABC, CBS, NBC, PBC, the NYT, the WashPo, the LA Times, and the editorial staffs of the New Republic and the National Review (well, if Jay Nordlinger was around, I’d take him, but keep him far away from China policy, and Mark Steyn doesn’t count).


I am a mere foolish, unworthy wage slave in the flyover zone.  I rejected the overture from Yale when I was in high school, in favor of attending the local (large, national research) university because my parents were not well-to-do, and I knew that I would have to work my way through school.  I was too sensible to take out loans for college.


Unlike David Frum, I am not a beneficiary of a millionaire family who married into a prominent journalism family, and went to Yale and then Harvard law.  Unlike Jeffrey Hart, I am not hostile to religion, and on those grounds a total apostate to every philosophical tenet I ever held throughout my working life.  Unlike Kathleen Parker and Peggy Noonan, I am not envious of another far more accomplished woman, and don’t confuse extemporaneous glibness and the ability to lie with impunity on the spot (Joe Biden) in an unusual situation for intellect and ability.  Unlike Colin Powell, I don’t let my personal grudges over being deservedly fired by the president overwhelm my ability to think and reason coherently and thus dictate my political views.  Unlike Christopher Buckley, I did not get my writing career kicked off by being introduced by a famous parent to the glitterati of New York publishing and then use the relationship thus established to write sophomoric parodies that are outshined every day of the week by Scrappleface’s Scott Ott, nor did I then sleep with my publicist, have an out-of-wedlock child, later abandoning my wife and daughters to essentially live with a young woman half my age.  And unlike Kenneth Adelman, I am capable of expressing, in terms not laughable on their face, why I support the candidates whom I favor in this election. 


In fact, I have a guilty secret.  I still like and admire George Bush, and would vote for him again in a heartbeat, in preference to any of the alleged Republicans listed above.


I think that it is time to take the Republican Party away from the New York-Washington-Ivy League cabal and put it back in the hands of people who live more then three hundred miles inland, who work in some field besides journalism and punditry, who watch football and thus understand why the rest of us like it, and even go to church regularly, not being persuaded that the god who counts is looking at us fromt he mirror.  One fairly well-known Republican once said “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow-Republican”; well, since I have heard nothing but “ill” about Palin for the last two months, I am returning the favor.


By the way, our small family includes one successful accountant, a trained lawyer with two other post-graduate degrees, and two college professors at world famous universities.  We all went to public schools, and then to unfashionable state universities.  Somehow, we managed to muddle through in spite of such handicaps. 


And we are completely disgusted with the petty elitism that has been revealed (it was there all along, but apparently well-disguised before the emergence of the Threat Of Palin) during this last three months. 




Steve Edelman Caused the Financial Crisis

October 24, 2008

Uh, so who’s Steve Edelman, you ask?  What mortgage broker, risk pool derivatives firm, Wall Street bank, politician does he represent?


None of them, of course.  This is far more insidious a conspiracy than that! 


Back in the late 1950’s, the pop sociologists were all bloviating about a book by Vance Packard called The Hidden Persuaders.  Its premise was, essentially, “the devil made me do it”.  We are all helpless, manipulated by psychological forces we don’t perceive because they flash past so fast that they subliminally impress our minds with messages we absorb, but are simply not aware we are taking in.  Of course, this was a screed against Madison Avenue and the advertising business, this being the same era as the other rebellions against post-war conformity- The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, screeds against “built-in obsolescence”, etc.


Even though this was overblown conspiracy stuff, the basic principle still applies and always will.  Many years ago, a very wise entity, intimately understanding of human nature, said (paraphrased from Exodus 20:17): “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.”


What?  That’s the entire basis of modern economies!  Better Homes and Gardens, In Style, Southern Living, This old House, Extreme Makeover, Martha Stewart, Bob Vila, you name it.  Virtually everything out there, whether advertising or entertainment, is predicated on making us jealous of somebody’s house.  Maybe not my next-door neighbor’s tarpaper shack, but certainly the place over in that other neighborhood.


So Moses described the issue a few years back as “covetousness”.  In the 20th century, we called it “Keeping up with the Joneses”.  Today, we call it “getting our fair share of the American Dream”, usually via a maxed-out MasterCard, and, for the last few years, a second, third, and fourth mortgage layered onto our tarpaper shack down in the wrong end of town.


And that brings us to Steve Edelman.  I first realized how insidious and dangerous he was when I read a comment by the perfesser on Instapundit to the effect that his beloved Instawife, upon returning home from a medical procedure, relaxed by watching HGTV to learn how to “accessorize a room”. 


Here we had the World’s Richest Blogger, and his highly educated spouse, living high in Knoxville with Mazda sports cars and audio-video equipment to rival a cable TV network, and they have HGTV up on the new flat screen digital television.  All because of Steve Edelman, the former local daytime TV host-turned-producer, who creates and films the lion’s share of HGTV programming from his San Francisco headquarters.  


To quote from a news story “His company’s shows currently airing on HGTV include Color Splash, Curb Appeal, Designed to Sell, Decorating Cents, Design Remix, Double Take, FreeStyle, House Detective, Landscape Smart and Sensible Chic, plus three new ones that recently premiered, Sleep on It, Get It Sold and Find Your Style. Edelman’s series on the DIY network include Bathroom Renovations, Fresh Coat, Home Transformations, Weekend Handyman, Wood Works and Kitchen Renovations.”


Nineteen shows on 24 hour a day cable TV, all planned to make you want to take out an excess mortgage and overpay your income to get a house that matches a gated community.


Isn’t this one of those situations where the FCC should step in?  At least, to forbid my wife from watching any more HGTV?  (Please?)