Monday, 17 October 2011

The only way to make that argument convincing is not to. Scott’s already addressed this nonsense, but since I’m the visual rhetoric guy, I thought I’d take a whack at the Erick Erickson’s contribution to We Are The 53%: First and foremost, Erickson’s point is that he works three jobs, and then something, something, something, and something else. Whatever his point is, he doesn’t particularly care whether or not he communicates it. An illegible image of some scribbles isn’t likely to inspire a movement. It’s akin to a child screaming for attention for attention’s sake, because without legible words the only message Erickson can communicate is that he wants to communicate a message. His incompetence has rendered his point beside itself—because his point is that he is making a point, damn it, and he is making it on the Internet. He actually states his argument over at Red State, but I think he had a better chance garnering sympathy with his non-message: [A critic] wants you to fixate on the new house and ignore the old house. My wife and I bought it for $110,000.00 in March of 2001. It is appraised, for taxes, at $119,000.00. We’re having a tough time selling it. My student loans payments are more each month than the mortgage. But with the new house? It was originally for sale for over $600,000.00 and we benefited from the misery of others in the market downturn. It was tasty misery at that. The man owns two homes—one of which is worth upward of half a million dollars—and clearly enjoys exploiting the market conditions he and his fellow-travelers created. Revels in it. Hence the significance of the non-message he communicates: when he tells people what he truly believes, they’ll understand that Erickson is as odious as the policies he supports. Your average human being tends to be better than the worst consequences of his or her political beliefs. For example, most conservatives champion the free market, but when they meet someone who lost everything when the housing bubble burst, they respond sympathetically because, for them, the consequences of their belief are systemic. They take no personal joy in someone else’s homelessness. Erick Erickson, however, is not an average human being. He’s a spoiled man-child devoted to an ideology so despicable not even he can bring himself to communicate it directly. Yet he feels compelled to because he knows there are other terrible people out there who share the-sentiments-that-shall-not-shared and genuinely seeks their approval. So what does he do? He artfully arranges some books on the desk behind him, takes off his shirt and scribbles his foul screed. He performs the very act (“whining”) he condemns in blissful ignorance of his unintentionally ironic statement. The man can do nothing but whine—and he proves as much by whining an unintelligible criticism of whining. If there’s a market for shirtless men who loudly say nothing, I suppose we ought to thank Erickson for cornering it for us. Somebody had to, and far better him than us.
It's just a book about Indian history. Earlier this week, Salman Rusdie told Haaretz: Everybody loves The Wire and I think it's okay, but in the end it's just a police series. I love The Sopranos. Deadwood, which didn't last long, was a series I liked a lot; it had more filthy language than I've ever heard on television anywhere in my life, but it was brilliantly written. I like some of what is on now, like Breaking Bad and Dexter. Ever since then, his Twitter feed's been mighty entertaining. In particular, he implicitly claims that The Wire is "just a police series" but Entourage is something more. (I'm not sure exactly what that something is, but it must have to do with the fact that, as a celebrity himself, he could relate to the Vince and his crew on a profound level inaccessible to those of us who found the show and its characters vapid and humorless.) Rushdie's dismissal of The Wire as "mere" genre fiction couldn't be more poorly timed, coming as it does on the tail end of Colson Whitehead's dismissal of genre fiction as an operative category in contemporary literature. Genre only matters, Whitehead argues, to people incapable of seeing past it. One would assume that a magic realist like Rushdie would understand that. But no. He'll watch Game of Thrones, but only because it qualifies as research: I watched all that because if I am going to work in this field, I need to know what it is going on. I have been making myself have whole-series marathons to get the point of how it goes. I will soon start writing my little series. What's his "little series" about? It's a sort of paranoid science-fiction series, people disappearing and being replaced by other people. Sounds like just another science fiction series to me.

Become a Fan

Recent Comments