Mark Steyn and Judy's father
Mark Steyn's column
about lo-brow vs hi-brow conservatism has raised hackles. He certainly has a point, and it's similar to Polistra's main theme.
But Steyn doesn't hit the whole target.
It's not just within conservatism, and it's not just the forehead altitude of commentary.
The basic problem covers all realms of art, science and politics. Why don't we have hi-brow commentary? Because there is no hi-brow subject matter
available to discuss.
I realized this, oddly enough, while listening to a 1946 episode of A Date with Judy.
In this episode Judy wants to attend an evening lecture by an intellectual, and she wants her father to take her. Father gets pompous, saying: "It is true, Judy, that I try to keep abreast of the times; literature, art, politics..."
Since this is a comedy, we know that Father's pomposity will be duly punished later, and we're not disappointed.
Consider: Keeping abreast of the times in literature, art, music and politics was a hi-brow pursuit, because there were hi-brow developments in literature, art, music and politics.
What do we have now? Sure, we have literature, art, music and politics, but the only parts available for Father to discuss are lo-brow. The formal or serious segments of the arts have destroyed themselves by total devotion to incestuous avant-garde ugliness, advancing the Soviet cause.
If Judy's father wanted to learn something about these monstrosities, he couldn't penetrate the nonsensical jargon of the inner priesthood.
Science has split in a different way: plenty of important work is still proceeding, but the public face of science is nothing more than primitive, vicious and anti-logical bigotry against religion and Western civilization. If Judy's father wanted to read about the new developments, he would have to wade through a minefield
of abuse and hatred
against everything he holds dear.
Most importantly, politics has gone down the same road, though without the help of the academics. There is some rational thought, but it doesn't reach any medium that Judy's father could watch or hear. Dozens of important questions beg to be discussed, but the only thing we hear on TV and radio is mindless repetition of today's talking points.
Asshole General Holder and his minions at CNN endlessly repeat "We need more discussion of race." (By which Holder really means "C'mon you motherfucking ofay punks, make my Leninist day!")
And Rush leads the opposite charge with a wider variety of subjects, such as (1) Zero zip nada taxes for me and my fellow millionaires! (2) Zero zip nada taxes for me and my fellow millionaires! (3) Zero zip nada taxes for me and my fellow millionaires! (4) Zero zip nada taxes for me and my fellow millionaires!
Neither side ever asks whether we should restore American industry, though Obama tosses an occasional symbolic bone in that direction. Neither side ever asks whether school integration was good for black kids. Neither side ever wonders why it's no longer possible for an ordinary man to support a family with one income. Neither side ever proposes limiting lawsuits. Neither side can find the obvious answer to our health-care problem, though it's already available in France.
Neither side can find the obvious answer to our energy problem, though it's already available in France.
If we were able to discuss these topics, we'd have more of a middle-brow political culture. But these topics are not allowed. Anyone who tries to discuss them is covered with Hazmat labels and surrounded with crime-scene tape.