Not Your Daddy’s Revolution
Where to start with the excellent quotations from a recent article in Adbusters on the sad state of the modern American left? I might actually start by first noting how refreshing it is to see a piece like this published … Read More
Where to start with the excellent quotations from a recent article in Adbusters on the sad state of the modern American left? I might actually start by first noting how refreshing it is to see a piece like this published in the premiere magazine of the anti-Swoosh, bomb Starbucks left. I am myself an apostate of this movement, having once been the type of fellow who read Adbusters founder Kalle Lasn's manifesto Culture Jam in zealous thrall. But taking it all seriously and getting involved has serious consequences for the serious-minded:
Anyone who’s ever been to a lefty political meeting knows the deal – the problem is the “spirit of inclusiveness” stretched to the limits of absurdity. The post-sixties dogma that everyone’s viewpoint is legitimate, everyone‘s choice about anything (lifestyle, gender, ethnicity, even class) is valid, that’s now so totally ingrained that at every single meeting, every time some yutz gets up and starts rambling about anything, no matter how ridiculous, no one ever tells him to shut the fuck up. Next thing you know, you’ve got guys on stilts wearing mime makeup and Cat-in-the-Hat striped top-hats leading a half-million people at an anti-war rally. Why is that guy there? Because no one told him that war is a matter of life and death and that he should leave his fucking stilts at home.
Taibbi gets so much right: the repulsive tone-of-voice, the farcical re-enactments of the 1960s, the disconnection from working class experience. At his best, he recognizes that the modern American left needs to pay attention to the dynamics of the current battles and fight them instead of pretending all the new fights are the same as the old ones and substituting the whines of victims for the real exercise of power.
The only thing American college kids have left to fight for are the royalties for their myriad appearances in Girls Gone Wild videos. Which is why they look ridiculous parading around at peace protests in the guise of hapless victims and subjects of the Amerikan neo-Reich. Rich liberals protesting the establishment is absurd because they are the establishment; they’re just too embarrassed to admit it.
Hear, hear: let's just be down-and-dirty Marxists about this for a second–in the culture business, how much potential capital exists in claiming a liberal/left political ID? Ask Matt Damon, Gus Van Sant, George Clooney, and just about any rock and roll band around! And that's just culture, to say nothing of the academic ivory tower (I still shudder every time I realize how much debt a working class kid like me had to incur in order to hit the classrooms with the liberal/left/Marxist elite intelligentsia.)
Lasn's idea of incisive media analysis manifested recently as an edition of Adbusters on American neoconservatives with the headline 'Why Won't Anyone Say They Are Jewish?' Apparently it escapes him that neoconservatism is an ideology without an ethnic requirement and that there are a great many philosophical criticisms to raise without delving into yet another ill-concieved diatribe about Jewish conspiracy (I don't even have to ask if he'd publish an edition on terrorism with the headline 'Why Won't Anyone Say They Are Muslims?). I get the impression from this article that Taibbi is smarter than Lasn–perhaps their views diverge when it comes to ethnic conspiracy. But I do wonder: what would Taibbi would do if, seeing this current milieu minus the 60's lens, he were to discover that his liberal, left and progressive principles were being championed by people known as neoconservatives?