Monday, August 04, 2008

Okay, Just this Once

I don't want this to be the sort of blog that gets currency from picking on the likes of Jonah Goldberg. It's already done to death by people who have followings, write two posts a day, and are a lot funnier than I am, and by-the-minute opinion politics isn't really my department. (The mission of this blog is, obviously, to provide a resource for lazy students to research book reports.) I consider Goldberg to be a lightweight legacy, harmless in his way, and easily ignored, and prefer to forget that people see his face in the funny pages and think he must be a serious feller indeed. But visiting the old home always gets me a liesurely Sunday with the paper, where even then I'd have normally skimmed his usual blather, maybe even have rolled my eyes in a smug condescending way, except that his most recent column, which of course the hometown conserva-rag proudly aired with condescending smugness somewhat more belligerant than my own, was kindly pointed out by my dear Mum, even though she knows damn well that topical political conversations have been forbidden from family gatherings since last August, when it was discovered that I not only have opinions, I also occasionally read stuff as a means of forming them. The guy has succeeded in breaking through and annoying me.

So look, Jonah's column has, if we're being generous, it's heart in the right place, even if his head has taken up the usual residence in the recesses of his colon. I let slide his statement that, "Capitalism is the greatest system ever created for alleviating general human misery," even though I'm pretty sure that the philosophical groundwork wasn't really ends-based, but whatever, I know Goldberg's not into the deeper nuances of the things he writes about. And I suppose I can get by the thick-headedness of insinuating that capitalist societies have in fact eradicated poverty, and I can get by the fact that Jonah (who's succeeded on name recognition, absent of any real intelluctual cred) ironically believes that poverty is the default condition of the uneducated and the skill-less. His opinion that material wealth only matters when it serves his point is nothing more than I expect from him, as is his suggestion that our real capital is positive thinking. I'll even generously forgive him for using the word "toilette". His opinion is, after all, motherhood-and-apple-pie stuff (as my boss calls it), nothing but fluffy marketing, advertising without the attention to the inconvenient details, and if you get down to it, I'm doing okay in the system, at least so long as nothing happens. And moreover, for what it's worth, I also imagine a "fair" economic system where valuable contributions to the economy are related, at least statistically, to the distribution of its wealth amongst people, a position which the market may or may not equlibrate to, and which may or may not be capitalism. (Some of my inconvenient details don't end up looking very capitalist at all. One funny thought is that if the American-style market really found the best value every time, we'd have dirty-word health care by now. Which is, like, totally mindblowing, dude.)

Anyway, the issue I have with Jonah's article (specifically), and his kind in general, is this: it's not the conviction in free markets and of owning the fruits of your labors that's lacking, it's the fucking evidence.


Archaeopteryx said...

See, your problem here is that you read Jonah Goldberg. I have one word for Goldberg, and that word is "fucking idiot."

Keifus said...

Reading the article through is my mother's fault. I'm happy to ignore him normally. If you don't look very carefully, the doofus's column admittedly looks like the usual work-hard-and-prosper ideal that the politicians and pundits have been plying more or less cynically for as long as I've been sentient.

Sufice to say, I see it as "more cynically" in John and Jonah's case (although I'm not sure Jonah's smart enough to be cycnical). It might even get McCain in.

[As for me, I think I'm going to vote for McKinney. Even if she's as buffoonish as the press used to suggest, I don't care. At least environmentalism is something I actually believe in (as opposed to the usual bipartisan oligopoly-whoring), and it's not like Johnny Mac is going to win Massachusetts.]

Archaeopteryx said...

I like McKinney. As for the bufoonery--I just keep in mind Al Sharpton. In 2004, when he ran for president, I heard him give an interview on NPR where he talked about the war, and all the bogus reasoning behind it. I remember thinking, "This is what we've come to--Al Sharpton is the voice of reason in this country." The point is that bufoonery is often thrust upon politicians by the media. Kucinich is a "dwarf." Gravel is a "looney." Sharpton is a "racist opportunist."

For all I know, McKinney is Abraham Fucking Lincoln.

Keifus said...

Yeah, "buffoon" may even be a feature.