Thursday, June 11, 2009

Article Of The Week

It really was inevitable. One of the best analyses of the murder of Dr. George Tiller, he the performer of late term abortions, has come from Thomas Frank. Frank is the author of What's The Matter With Kansas, The Wrecking Crew, and other books, and writes a weekly column for The Wall Street Journal. (Think His Holiness writing a column for a journal dedicated to atheism- no exaggeration.)

As fingers are pointed at the extremist wing of the pro-life movement for Tiller's murder, the right-wingers in the media will increasingly blame the left, which they will demonize as part of the liberal media. As Frank better describes it in "Red State Story,"

Public memory is short, however, and it won't be long before this incident, too, has been carved and sanded and fitted neatly into the grand narrative of the culture wars, in which true-believing patriots are eternally disrespected by all-powerful liberals.

Or as he explained about the right in What's The Matter With Kansas,

Nevertheless, the leaders of the backlash..... have chosen to wage cultural battles where victory is impossible....

As culture war, the backlash was born to lose. Its goal is not to win cultural batles but to take offense, consipicuously, vocally, even flamboyantly.


But he makes an even better point when he notes in the WSJ

A larger reason for the shock and surprise -- and this is true for the right generally -- is this: The culture wars are not meant to be taken seriously. Yes, right-wing invective dabbles in nightmare visions of treason and conspiracy and rampant paganism and a homegrown holocaust right here on Main Street, U.S.A. Yes, it ritually denounces liberals as members of a class fundamentally alien to the American way of life. But these are the ingredients of entertainment, not politics.

Culture war makes you feel noble and heroic. It sells books, it drives up the ratings of "The O'Reilly Factor," it brings in millions in direct-mail contributions -- but everybody knows you can't make Hollywood change its ways by walking the streets of Wichita carrying a sign deploring the "culture of death."

According to the unwritten rules of the culture wars, the "base" isn't supposed to act on it when the performers describe a world gone crazy. They're an audience; they're supposed to hiss, applaud, donate, vote and go home.


Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin or Haley Barbour: the words may sound different, but in the end, it's all part of the effort to fortify American plutocracy.

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