Thursday, March 17, 2011

American Blog Posts Shall Receive No Titles from Kings, Princes, or Foreign States

First, something green for St. Patrick's Day:

Swiped from my Facebook sister's photos. Not sure where she got it from. Somewhere on the Intertoobz.

Today the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to cut federal funding for NPR. RWA1 promptly linked to the bad news on Facebook, and declared:
On to the Senate. Forget Nina Totenberg; I want my Metropolitan Opera, Chicago Symphony, Harmonia, Pipe Dreams, etc. The culture is going down the toilet fast enough as it is.
Here's a free-market solution for RWA1 and other right wingers who want the nanny state for themselves but for no one else: Pay for your Metropolitan Opera, Symphony, Harmonia, Pipe Dreams, etc. instead of demanding that the public support your Old-Europe fetishes. I've actually talked about this face-to-face with RWA1. He is aware of the contradiction, he just doesn't care: he wants to be able to tune in to the opera every Saturday afternoon, and if it's not commercially viable, then he wants the government to pay for it, free-market principles be damned. (P.S. I forgot to mention: amazingly, RWA1 has told me that donating to the local station is 'paying for it.' Not while our socialist totalitarian government is holding a knife to the throats of decent Americans to extort their tax dollars to subsidize effete elitist Old Europe culture, it isn't. A free-market solution means economic freedom means no taxpayer support.)

Notice also that last bit, that the "culture is going down the toilet fast enough as it is." This marks RWA1 out as one of the NPR elitists he professes to despise, as when he linked to this article with the comment, "untimeliness of academic snobbery torpedoes NPR below the waterline". Say what? Of course the Right has its own pseudo-intellectuals (George Will, David Brock), but what can be wrong with elitism when eighty percent of Americans believe themselves to be above average? Elitism is a populist value.

Which reminds me of this quotation from Katha Pollitt by way of Michael Berube (who's better on cultural politics than on politics politics, if you take my meaning:
The stress on high-end conservative pundits is beginning to show. These are people, after all, who belong to the Ivy-educated, latte-drinking, Tuscan-vacationing urban elite they love to ridicule and who see themselves, however deludedly, as policy intellectuals and grown-ups. They’ve written endlessly about “excellence” and “standards.” McCain’s erratic flounderings, and Palin’s patent absurdity, have driven David Brooks and George Will to write columns so anguished I’d feel sorry for them had they not made their bed by spending the past eight years rationalizing the obvious inadequacies of George W. Bush.
Berube went on to mention that pointy-headed intellectual Charles Murray had declared that "The last thing we need are more pointy-headed intellectuals running the government."

The Right is still tying itself in knots over this; it's entertaining to watch, as when RWA1 linked recently to this piece at the Daily Caller, which wouldn't be worth mentioning if not for the fact that the author's first name is "Dr." -- honestly, white people give their children such ridiculous names! how are they ever going to succeed in American society? - and this first comment on it:
America is now split close to 50/50 between the working class who generate wealth, and the parasite class who confiscate it through fees, fines, taxes, and mandatory union dues, and use it to buy political influence to maintain the status quo. A big part of this is the dependent class who are pandered to with hand outs and programs to influence their vote. Liberalism is a LIE. We are now converging on the Soviet model of government!
That leaves me almost speechless with admiration. It's a remarkable confirmation of author Dr. Blake's lament about "the widespread failure of American academia to advance civic learning." Well, of course. The last thing we need is more pointy-headed intellectuals coming out of academia! Dr. (I'm sure he won't mind my calling him by his first name, I feel that I know him so well already!) also conveniently neglects to mention the fact that Ron Schiller's slighting remarks about the Tea Party were his paraphrase of some highly placed Republicans who felt that their party was "going down the toilet", to borrow a handy phrase. That quite a few such Republicans felt that way enough not only to vote for but to publicly endorse Obama in 2008 is simple fact. Many of them clearly feel the same way now. If it's elitism, it's Republican elitism. If it represents a lack of civic learning, it's Republican lack of civic learning.

And remember, RWA1: the Soviets also had government support of the arts, and look where it got them!

I'm serious, though. NPR is already subordinate to the big corporations. Their news department is worthless. The defunding bill will probably be defeated in the Senate, but even if it isn't, I don't think NPR is worth saving.