the imaginative conservative logo

 media progressivism

It is sad that the crowds should be amused by what should outrage them, these manifestations of riotous vulgarity; but what is to be done? The insult to the public is exonerated by the Public’s laughter. The laughter of every man is the accomplice of universal degradation. The populace like all tyrants must have a buffoon.Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

Amid the part-bacchanalia, part-Ides of March preparation for America’s Super Bowl Sunday, briefly consider the centrality of labeling to the schematic of it all. Think of the labels being employed by the secular-progressive social engineers, who will be the ones flashing everything on your TV screen Sunday (and always). Whether you would consider it or not, the commercial spoliation of prudent ideation will assail at least two or three of your senses.

The simple fact is: media progressivism has survived—thrived—even in spite of its parent ideologies’ countless patent failures. It has done so through the selective use of terms of art which spoil and subvert the ideas their signifiers designate. Once popular ideas have become rotten, so follows the soul of the people. I speak not of some formless, future danger of the hypochondriac sort, of course, but rather of an American fait accompli.

The pulp is already rotted from the tooth. Too late to tend to that aspect of the American corpus, ruined from saccharine sweetness. Look instead to the translucent skin and the protruding gut.

Through it all, one wonders: how did the nasty, brutish, and truth-befuddling ideas of secular progressives endure so perennially? (Secular-progressivism is truly the cockroach of the cultural world—it endures and outlasts all, notwithstanding its pestilent existence.) Doesn’t truth “out,” as the saying goes? All else does in 2014, after all.

Not when masterminds subvert the intelligible good with such furtive labels as: the slaughter of one’s own offspring as an item of “women’s health”; an illegal resident as an “undocumented” one; the armed defense of one’s home or family as “gun violence”. Diabolic genius!

No doubt at long last that mislabeling works on its intended audience.

What is to be done in response to such willful misnaming? Conservative commentators have spanned the spectrum from outright rejection of the left’s linguistic chicanery all the way to tongue-in-cheek emulation. As to the latter, something about codifying “abortion” as “fetal bullying” (which would veritably garnish more popular attention) so trivializes the truth that the former seems the only proper response, irrespective of efficacy. Even if, as a result, greater attention were to be drawn to the American infanticide, that means of so doing would count as a “Pyrrhic victory,” to be sure. The detriment would outweigh the benefit.

And yet, the question persists: what if something so absurd is the only way to break through to the American consumer? To save babies? One must reconsider the propositions of Plato’s Gorgias.

The members of the American “straw audience,” have for generations now frightened their physicians via the staggering physiognomy of the ruined soul: thin skin and a strong stomach. The public man has assumed the form of the bottom-feeder: a delicate animal that consumes all but withers at the approach of even a minnow. His fragile physique can sustain almost nothing by external touch, neither much light nor any amount of tactile pressure; on the other hand, his gastroenterology effortlessly breaks down all manner of fetid or toxic waste, aluminum cans, shattered glass. He is all gut, no guts.

This is to say, the American public will now witlessly advocate for eggshell-skull-standards of scrutiny applied to the increasingly brittle politics of identity; yet all the while, they’ll subject grade-schoolers to moral and sexual perversity sufficient to reverse the metabolization of any healthy adult.

For instance, the Washington Redskins and the Atlanta Braves should, according to their respective leagues, rethink the “reprobate” cultural minutiae of their mascots—which are held out as odiously egregious offenses against tact. Even the thematic mention of skin color or head feathers warrants a franchise name change, we are told. All while the National Football League features guest-performers and commercials at Super Bowl’s Halftime which act out or croon about sweaty-toothed gang-bangs over absurdly banal, pop-bubblegum, sonic slurry. (I’ll let the reader figure out which performer this is: the answer is several.)

No doubt, my skin is a little thicker and my stomach more sensitive. And I keep on hand a fresh batch of purgatives along with my Super Bowl spread. I recommend them to all my guests.

Come Sunday, we all shall need purging: behind every athlete a mendicant eunuch pitching you a “lifestyle change.”

O to diagnose the etiology of that binary sensibility in the average progressive’s mind: they’ll correct you for saying “third-world”–it’s developing country–as they pepper their correction with a head-spinning cadre of 4-letter anatomical allusions in obscenity which would redden the Marquis de Sade’s sub-angelic face. I’m not sure which came first: the Bill Maher-styled thin skin, or the Bill Maher-styled strong stomach.

Either way, make no mistake: both the thin skin and the strong stomach are sine qua nons to the survival of 21st-century postmodernism. Both are indispensable. Neither is independently effective in readying the way for the Apolaustic Order being marshaled by its authors.

Indeed, pleasure remains the only item of holy worth to the secular progressives. We all know as much. They have even commandeered the popular intuition as to which “happiness” the Declaration of Independence language “pursues.” They would have us believe that the “happiness” of Jefferson, Madison, et al. is nothing like the classical Eudaimonian sort, that of ethical goodness. Oh no. We are lowly animals, worthy of fleeting pleasure, but not redemption and never contrition.

It is a beast’s sensory pleasure that Super Bowl features will explicate: the ultimate end of our lives and the single, temporary shelter from suffering, sickness, and death. Sin, on their staggering configuration of things, is not itself the “sickness unto death,” but rather, the single solace from sickness and death.

From the living room to the marketplace to the courtroom, most conservatives have been disappointingly hasty to forget what republicanism requires: rigorous textual fidelity to dusty, fusty, and musty old palimpsests of moral mandamus at the heart of human culture. In a word, most conservatives have been abjectly unimaginative in their acceptance of “PC,” outside of the occasional rant here or there. In that sense, they have been more than a little disillusioning in their wholesale abandonment of textualism: what words really mean. And when the fixed meaning of text is gone, woe to the God-fearer, who will be persecuted for his thick skin and sickened for his sensitive stomach.

Books on the topic of this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
"All comments are subject to moderation. We welcome the comments of those who disagree, but not those who are disagreeable."
2 replies to this post

Please leave a thoughtful, civil, and constructive comment: