Everything’s an Outrage With You, Man.

July 5th, 2007  |  Published in etc  |  2 Comments

I would say “Libertarians are cute when they’re showing their paleocon side,” but it’s 2007 and some of these cretins have been complaining about the miseries inflicted by “PC thought police” and the like for almost 20 years now.

Bush is in the White House, the Supreme Court is stacked with reactionaries, it took breathtakingly obtuse and unqualified support for an ill-conceived and disastrously executed war of aggression to break the Republican hold on Congress, and 86 percent of Americans aged 18 to 34 believe in hell. Oh … and Virginia still celebrates “Lee-Jackson Day.” And even if you want to call the Clinton presidency some sort of liberal interregnum, well … the sorts of people who count as “PC thought police” were complaining about it the whole time.

Still … PC jackboots are still heard on the cobblestones just around the corner. And let a columnist for The Nation dryly suggest that a book with a pointedly retrograde sensibility might, despite its numerous charms, not be the best thing a kid could read. Suddenly it’s all about an army of combat clones grown from Rosa Parks’ own stem cells, and “Limbaugh is right about those people!” and “She can’t tell us what to say!”

Right. She can’t. She wasn’t trying.

People complain about the shrill nature of political discourse these days, but the emphasis is often on the shrill nature of those positing one stance or the other. I submit that the bulk of the shrillness is taking place inside peoples’ own heads.

That Reason post, linked above, for example, zeroes in on the most “objectionable” part of an essay, then pointedly omits the parts of even the relatively small sample that might risk making the author seem sort of reasonable. “Objectionable” in scare quotes because we’re talking about “objectionable” in the context of people who think Katha Pollitt is going to come impound their ratty old VHS copy of “Zulu.” As if the person making the post realized, the way a sound engineer might, that Pollitt needed some sweetening to get the right level of shrill … she just wasn’t popping on her own.


  1. David says:

    July 12th, 2007 at 10:08 pm (#)

    Reading the Reason essay, I don’t sense any outrage, or even any PC scare threats. Seems like someone saying “duh, Frederick Douglas and Rosa Parks aren’t in there because this is a British book” in what I would say is quite polite language, at least by blog standards. But, I don’t know what “paleocon” means anyway, so…

  2. mph says:

    July 12th, 2007 at 11:52 pm (#)

    Some of the commenters more than the post itelf, David.

    Though the post itself got you, too, even if you didn’t get your buttons pushed as reliably as the average “Reason” reader: The poster elided the reason she named the people she did so it’d look like dopey PC inclusivism, instead of the point she was trying to make, which was “This book has a backwards conception of courage.”

    And its Britishness didn’t keep the Alamo out of its pages, which would make saying “Duh” to anyone on that premise flatfooted, if still polite by blog standards.

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