The Preachy Misery of the Enlightened Class
Such a great mastery of language, nuance, wit. This Unbound plus the Fridays with Matt Taibbi -- oases of sanity.
“...placing signs of welcome to minorities in front of houses few minorities can afford to purchase but often visit – as gardeners and maids.” I’ve never seen a better explanation of why I can’t stand those people. Walter, can you write a counter-sign for us please.
I would read this just for your sparkling, lucid prose, even if I disagreed at a cellular level with your message. I don’t—you’re spot on—but my God, man, how you write! A joy to read you, every time.
Loved this! I've never been as successful at voicing my outrage at the elitist hypocrisy, but this is wonderful.
I think I would have included Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities" in the book genre you focus on: it's a great swipe at how the very one's that the elitist SJW power-brokers wish to help can come back and bite them in the ass!
"To eager readers of New Yorker fiction about the superficial, frigid lives of readers of the New Yorker, it takes a thief to catch a thief, much as it takes opaque intelligence agencies to guarantee an open society."
There's 3-6 devastatingly on point memorable lines in this but I'm going to put that at the top.
Like most of us, when you & Taibbi discuss this group & the political-cultural rot it supports, you use the ambiguous pronoun "they."
e.g.: "they want us to eat bugs," "they don't want us to read controversial opinions," etc....
I propose that we put a name to this tyranny of enforced conformity. Let's call them "the regime."
"The regime wants me to get the latest booster."
Does that refer to a Federal hea!th bureaucrat, a school board, a big corporation, the corporate media, or my bossy neighbors at the condo association?
All of them. Or some. It doesn't matter. Everyone not participating in the groupthink knows what it is & who does it and we should give it a far more pejorative identification than the harmless sounding "they."
The regime's media, the regime's universities, the regime corporations, the regime's opinion. Try it out.
When my wife was pregnant with our first child, and we were tossing about possible names, I advocated for Freeman. I admired the physicist Freeman Dyson, but it was really because I thought, what greater aspiration is there than to be a free man? That is, to truly think for yourself despite the overwhelming pressures to conform to group think, which are much stronger today than several decades ago...But my wife (now ex-wife) immediately and derisively vetoed it. After exhausting rounds of vetoing names--like prosecutors and trial attorneys do with potential jurors--we settled for a name we both didn’t hate...My son went on to attend NYU and has worked exclusively in NYC and San Francisco, ‘nuf said about his political views and friends. I still wonder if he would be different as Freeman.
Absolutely, positively, without question "dead on", Walter.
Great essay. I notice you touching on themes that you and Matt Taibbi come back to often in your chats (which I also love). It would be great if you two could crystallize your arguments in a book. For my part, my apotheosis of loathing for our brahmin class was in the NY Times roundtable to endorse the 2020 Democratic candidate. With their steepled hands and twirling pencils, it’s the most arrogant thing I have ever seen on so many levels and justifies a revolution just on its own. I digress. Keep up the great work.
Self-loathing betters trying make us hate ourselves by forcing us to repeat their claptrap against our own better senses.
Great essay, Walter! I read a lot of the three Johns when I was younger (I grew up minutes from where Updike lived). I enjoyed the books, but they always had a pomp to them that I just didn't track. Why were these well-off people always so miserable?! Maybe it's from spending a lot of time thinking, not doing. My favorite Updike story is still "A&P", my favorite Cheever "The Swimmer", and favorite O'Hare "Appointment In Samarra." Maybe the theme that connects those is, "We're fucked."
I'm not exactly sure how you wound up in my inbox, but I love this column so much, I just signed up for a paid subscription.
Sharp Knife Here: "In the same way the Wheelers tut-tut about the suburbs while remaining ensconced behind their hedges, the class that most keenly despises its own privilege still indulges its greatest privilege of all: forcing us to hearken to what it thinks."
Upgraded to paid for this brilliant essay!
While doing the NYer mag jigsaw puzzle online - the only thing left - I noticed a feature - How do we read Anna K now with the war in the Ukraine? And above it the "analysis" of why the mayor of NYC is hanging out with a dubious crony? Any detective novel can explain that question.
I'm a new subscriber and like many, love the Chat with Matt and your ability to cut through the stinkin thinkin we're handed today like vegan, gluten-free, pasture-grown swill. Thanks, Walter.
Mr. Kirn. I am being billed as a paid subscriber and don’t wish to be. Every attempt to unsubscribe (via this app) has been confounded. So buddy can ya spare a dime? Help a poor altar boy out? Unsubscribe me?
I’m reading a couple of your novels. Thumbsucker and Blood Will Out (which I guess isn’t really a novel). I enjoy your writing. Just not enough to pay for it.
Besides...I’ll bet you the cost of this subscription (now bordering on petty theft as the app won’t free me of my monthly $6 payment) you make/have...oh... five times as much as I have. That includes hair.
Johnny Maudlin Esq.
Just subscribed. I enjoy the Friday chats between Matt and Walter and realised I needed to subscribe to both. I have been conservative/libertarian for my 68 years--economically conservative but more socially liberal--less government in our lives. I'm appalled by the sheer stupidity (or malice) of the agenda of the left and deep state. As Walter said in this week's chat, America is deteriorating. And it's as if by design. Most of the people I know are oblivious to what they are voting for.
These days the voices I seek out (in print, I can't find any in person) are mostly disaffected liberals. I probably wouldn't agree with them on a lot of economic issues--that we're commiting financial hara kiri--but they are the best questioners of the orthodoxy. And great writers--thanks!
Another kid from Minnesota.