September 6, 2010

Cultural Elite...

I'd missed this piece by Victor Davis Hanson from July. (Thanks to Stephen Browne.) It's full of truths... Pity the Postmodern Cultural Elite:

...In short, money, privilege, and status create in the cultural elite both a fear of mixing it up with others that might jeopardize position and placement, and yet guilt for that very sense of entitlement and exemption. All that, in turn, only heightens the shrill and sanctimonious rhetorical demands on less blessed others to prove their morality.

Barack Obama was a genius in recognizing all this, and at a very early age no less. The subtext of Dreams from My Father, and indeed Obama's life from 18 to 45, was to allay elite fears, guilt, and suspicions. And by proving to be a calm, charismatic, minority wannabe fellow elite — who could ipso facto offer instant penance for rather isolated and shamed cultural elites — Obama in return grasped that the rules simply would not apply to him (elites having few real unchanging principles and values): graduate admission without commensurate grades and test scores (their release to the public could in theory prove my hypothesis wrong), law review without a paper trail, teaching and offers of tenure at law schools without normal publication, community organizing without worry of tangible results, running for office without repercussions from tawdry attacks ranging from suing to invalidate petitions to leaking divorce records....
Also...
...Today's male's voice is often far more feminine than that of 50 years ago. Sort of whiney, sort of nasally, sort of fussy. Being overexact, sighing, artificially pausing, all that seems part of the new elite parlance. In terms of vocabulary, the absolute ("he's no damn good," "she's a coward," "he ran the business to hell") is avoided. Pejoratives and swearing resemble adolescent temper tantrums rather than threats that might well presage violence.

In other words, sexuality, sex roles, and gender differences sound as if they are less distinct among the elite. The old notion has long passed that a no-nonsense mom of 50 or so, in sizing up a daughter's suitor or potential son-in-law, would mark the sound of his voice, its modulation, tone, and expression. And who any more would take a look at the boy's shoulders in comparison to his behind, the texture of his hands, whether he looked Mom in the eye or not, whether he opened doors or charged in first, whether he jumped up to fix a running toilet in the back bathroom, or tried to deal with a leaky faucet? My grandfather in 1974 told me that he liked my dad better than a few Stanford fellow grads that my mom — his daughter — had brought home to visit, because he climbed up to the second story on his first appearance out here to put in new pads in the swamp cooler...
Posted by John Weidner at September 6, 2010 7:27 AM
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