March 4, 2013


This piece I stumbled upon is an especially rich concoction of little things that bother me. Rowley's Whiskey Forge: The Wu of Maker's Mark. I've added numbers and footnotes...

...It wasn’t indignation over the decision to dilute the whiskey or even anger, really, I felt. Rather, it was sadness. Another layer on our ever-thickening patina of loss. True, Americans have experienced great gains in recent decades in fields such as medicine, technology, and publishing. But we have suffered a concomitant erosion of our greatness. [1] Heroes once idolized have been exposed as flawed — sometimes deeply flawed — humans; [2] OJ Simpson, Lance Armstrong, Joe Paterno, John F. Kennedy, Michael Vick. Endless obstructionist caviling among our politicians have led many to despair that we will ever be [3] better off than our parents.

Our entertainment has grown recursive; [4] witness the remakes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Arthur, The Karate Kid, or Gus Van Sant's scene-by-scene reshoot of Pyscho, movies that did not need to be remade, that arguably should not have been remade, that do not leave the world a better place in their passing. [5] Our homes, by and large, are not built as well as those of a hundred years ago. On it goes. [6] NASA's space program: gutted. [7] New Orleans: flooded and nearly lost to us. [8] The lunacy of creationism taught as fact to defenseless children who will be unable to compete for jobs as adults because they simply will not understand how the natural world works as well as their grandparents did....

1. "Greatness" is never defined in this type of piece. But the unspoken assumption is always some kind of Industrial Age thinking. "Greatness" equals some extravaganza organized by government, with the citizenry as passive useless spectators. That's boring in the Information Age.

2. Actually they were often flawed in the past, but society conspired in a lot more cover-up.

3. "Better off " is never defined in these pieces. That's sloppy thinking. (My dad was afflicted for decades with stomach ulcers. I buy Prilosec at Costco. Who's "better off?")

4. Everything is recursive in the Information Age. That's one of the underlying problems. I often call this world we are in "The Age of No Solid Ground." Everything becomes Disneyland. Everything is a copy of a copy of a copy. If there is an authentic original it is lost in the fog. When I was a lad, blue jeans were still work pants for cowboys, plus children's wear for boys. My world was still in touch with the original thing. Now the variations on the blue denim theme probably number in the millions, are global, and are for every social class. Probably most people are completely unaware that they are wearing a recursion of work clothes. They've also forgotten that my generation took to wearing jeans as adult wear partly because the problem of authenticity had already become apparent, and we thought of them as something real and unspoiled. Even as we were destroying that very quality by adopting them en mass!

5. Nonsense. Most of the homes preserved from 100 years ago were built for the well-to-do. It is silly to compare them with today's homes in general. They had splendid craftsmanship, to be sure. But that was possible because the craftsmen were what we would call poor people, and lived in what we would call shacks, which have mostly vanished.

6. "NASA's space program" is not space. We've been hoodwinked by the idea that NASA and big government are the only way we can approach the vastness beyond our atmosphere. I think this is just cowardice. Space is so big that we are intimidated, and want to limit it to a meager simulacrum, performed by a handful of uniformed government workers. I spit with utmost contempt on this rubbish. Space belongs to the frontiersmen, not the bureaucrats. I'm probably too old, but my children or grandchildren will go, with no one's permission, with no prissy white space suits with blue logos, No 5-year plans, and do great things undreamed of by declinists.

7. The kind of river-delta land New Orleans is built upon slowly sinks, and can only continue to exist because of periodic flooding which deposits new soil. Once the floods were prevented, New Orleans was doomed. It is now 18' below sea level! How stupid can you be, to sit there for a couple of centuries as you sink, and not re-think! How stupid is the author to imagine that New Orleans has some intrinsic right to exist?

8. I'm an orthodox Catholic, and we think that Creationism is rubbish. But it's not like the average graduate of government schools can think or speak intelligently on evolution by natural selection. Or the average NPR listener. Or probably the author. This is just silly liberal elitism. Jobs will still go to those who can do the work. And if we are talking science, the science to pay attention to is demographics. And the demographers say that the most important correlative to fertility rates is religious faith. In a nutshell, believers still have babies. Liberal materialists do not reproduce at anywhere near replacement rates. They have no future. The sort of people who go in for Creationism are evolutionarily superior to the trendy liberal materialists who sneer at them!

. Posted by John Weidner at March 4, 2013 6:09 PM


Posted by: matt at October 17, 2014 4:44 PM
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