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Meet the New Conservative

[ 119 ] February 27, 2013 |

Same homophobia as the old one.

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  1. Shakezula says:

    You may not know the name Rod Dreher…

    [vomits]

    Au contraire, mon frere.

    Yes, I expect to see many of these dirtbags attempt to reinvent themselves as kinder, gentler dirtbags now that they sense they’ve made themselves massively unpopular. Don’t worry, they’ll keep fucking that chicken.

    We saw the post-election head scratching from the GOP. Today on TPM there’s a bit about Erickson of all critters, bewailing the fact that conservatives are too angry and incoherent. (While at the same time not passing on the chance to whine about the liberal media.)

    But it won’t work for two reasons, the eternal memory of the Internet is one. But more importantly, these people are assholes. They enjoy being assholes. They’ve made a living off assholery for years. You can’t undo that just by thinking warm fuzzy thoughts because someone you know died.

    • actor212 says:

      I had EXACTLY this reaction.

      I’ve heard of Rod Dreher. To paint him as a “reformed conservative” seems to be like saying the John Birch Society is just a reformed Klan.

      • Shakezula says:

        He was not reformed as of Feb. 25, on which date he goes off on the Post for being unfair to anti-gay hateniks.

        Cry me a fucking river, stuff rocks in your pockets and hop in.

  2. snarkout says:

    Yeah, Edroso’s been on this beat for a while. (Googling “crunchy con” also produces some gems.)

    I’ll give this to Drehrer — I didn’t expect him to be on the ball enough to realize that he could tap the indefatigable well for popular entertainment saying how much moral superiority people who live in small towns have over the rest of us. Maybe they’ll make his book into a Reese Witherspoon movie.

    • Uncle Kvetch says:

      Dreher’s one of those people who brings out the best in Roy (by which I mean, the most hilariously, viciously bitchy).

    • wjts says:

      I didn’t expect him to be on the ball enough to realize that he could tap the indefatigable well for popular entertainment saying how much moral superiority people who live in small towns have over the rest of us.

      According to a a link from the article Scott links to, Dreher is being paid somewhere around $1 million dollars for this particular paean to the moral and spiritual superiority of small towns in the American South. This money, of course, will be used to fund Dreher’s numerous jaunts to Paris. This is good news, because Dreher is “happy in Paris in a way that I’m not happy in Altoona: Because most of the things that matter most to me in life — faith, food, beauty, contemplation, conversation — exist here in a degree of harmony and intensity that they do not anywhere else. Put another way, I am most myself here, or so it seems to me.”

      Fucking small-town American hillbillies who don’t know Délice de Bourgogne from Dietrich Bonhoeffer – why can’t you be more like Rod Dreher’s imaginary best friend from Paris?

  3. Joshua says:

    Obviously a lot of people already believe that small town America is “real America”, but the idea of cons taking over the airport bookstore with their propaganda is worrying.

    • BigHank53 says:

      Have you looked in an airport bookstore recently? It’s always the lowest common denominator in there, and it always will be. The NYT bestseller list and a double handful of genre crap for those desperate for a fix of romance, the old west, or vampires. All three at once if you’re lucky.

      Storytelling is inherently conservative; readers wish to see the worthy rewarded and the unjust punished. They want a narrative arc grounded in morality so they can identify with, and root for, individual characters.

      Non-fiction is worse; I dare you to find a business book that isn’t an inherent celebration of “free-market” capitalism.

      • I’m uncomfortable labeling all romance or vampire-related fiction crap. Having been a reader of both–often at the same time*–I’m rather fond of genres, and I’m not quite sure why they’re any sillier than any other niche genre.

        No, not “Twilight.”

        • *No, not “Twilight.”

          Geez. Really in need of an edit button today.

        • BigHank53 says:

          I read a ton of genre myself, and it’s made me a firm believer in Sturgeon’s Law. Tanya Huff’s vampire books were inconsequential fun*, Time Powers’ were…unsettling. Lois Bujold’s novels almost always have a substantial romantic sub-plot, which sometimes becomes the main plot.

          But good luck finding any of those three authors in an airport bookstore. There will be some conflict technoporn from Baen Books, Star Wars and Star Trek tie-in novels, and some angsty supernatural handwringing that reads like Anita Blake fanfic.**

          So. Mass market publishing kinda sucks, airport bookstores’ selection totally sucks, and whatever kind of book you like to read is fine by me.

          *Not a knock; light entertainment is much heavier lifting than it seems.

          **Which isn’t to knock fanfic either. I’m just not willing to pay $8.99 for it.

          • N__B says:

            Electoral politics made me a believer in Sturgeon’s Law.

          • Origami Isopod says:

            Airport bookstores cater to people who want distraction that can be put aside quickly. Not a market for deep-dish readers.

            I don’t disagree that mass-marketing publishing is the pits, but I’d argue it reflects the tastes of a conservative and poorly educated society; it has nothing to do with the politics of storytelling.

          • Darkrose says:

            Anita Blake fanfic is just so meta, given that LKH’s female protagonists are not-very-thinly-veiled Mary Sues.

        • witless chum says:

          I’m not sure if that was Hanks’ point, or he was just pointing out the fact that people who dig a particular genre will often read some terrible, terrible books because they just want something in the right genre.

          But yeah, people who making dismissing statements about genre fiction in toto tend to be myopic at best, if they’re not just trendy nonsense peddlers who care about books as culture signifers more than anything else.

          What would be some recommendations for kinda like Twilight, but good, Dr?

          Yes, I’m threadjacking, but who wants to talk about Rod Dreher?

          • Indeed!

            OK, I should admit up front, I was a romance reader. Until they got a little too silly & schlocky and hackneyed and repetitive even for me and gave it up. Then someone turned me on to this series. So far as I can tell she’s the only one out there doing decent paranormal romance (and, no, I can’t imagine any of the guys and gals of LGM liking it. At all.) But anyway, if you’re into it, you’ll be elbow-deep in Lore and magic and vampires, werewolves, demons and witches. Also hot sex. Fun.

            I recently went on a “teen girl saves post-apocalyptic world” jag. Everyone knows that “Hunger Games” is incredibly good, but not everyone may know that “Enclave” is a light, quick, quality read, as well. Plus, zombies.

            This put me on another path: dark YA fairy tales. Currently I am reading this, and it’s shockingly well-written. And apparently, some people think this is the most sinfully delicious thing since chocolate. It is next on my reading list.

            Now everyone can back away slowly with horrified looks on their faces.

            • sharculese says:

              Everyone knows that “Hunger Games” is incredibly good

              I honestly did not care much for the Hunger Games, but that probably shouldn’t have surprised me since fight sequences tend not to engage me.

              I stopped halfway through the second one when I realized that no, seriously, they were gonna go fight the Hunger Games again.

            • Malaclypse says:

              Everyone knows that “Hunger Games” is incredibly good

              No. World-building completely implausible. Character and plot were okay, but not the world-building. The economics don’t work (supply chains? we don’t need supply chains. We can build all electronics inside a single self-contained district. And weaponry in a different one. And aircraft seem to grow on trees.). There is literally nothing outside of what used to be America (Canada? Mexico? What are they?). Gah.

              • Oh, ok. Weyull, I liked it.

              • rm says:

                I will defend it. Kenneth, I am on your frequency.

                Two things:

                1) Worldbuilding doesn’t matter as much as the fable, the thematic/metaphorical level of the story which is about war, slavery, genocide, torture, propaganda, and other such atrocities. It’s about the present, not the future. I think this aspect of the story works well: there are no good guys; even the hero is tempted by the dream of redemptive violence and learns that there is no such thing; war is always evil. It is undercut, yes, by the way the “games” become a videogame-like spectacle for the reader, but even that has a metafictional level which asks the reader to think about why that’s entertaining.

                2) Worldbuilding: perhaps realizing how many gaping holes her worldbuilding had in the first volume, Collins dropped in details that would rationalize it a little bit in the second and third. By the end of the series, it seems that the “districts” are actually small isolated colonies surrounded by vast wilderness, and that the world has been so entirely disrupted by global warming that only a few tens of thousands of people are left. The characters worry that if they can’t learn to give up war, humanity will go extinct. This is a little bit less incoherent than the first volume makes it appear.

            • you’ll be elbow-deep in Lore and magic and vampires, werewolves, demons and witches.

              Hmpf.

            • Hogan says:

              It’s a very different kind of paranormal, but check out Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching books. And I’ll check out Cole; apparently I can read Philippa Gregory with pleasure, so I must not be entirely allergic to romance.

              (Also, check out Janice Radway’s Reading Romance, a sympathetic ethnography of romance readers.)

              • marijane says:

                Radway is so good. There was a class in library school that I took specifically because it covered that book, which I became interested in because I read her essay “Reading is Not Eating” in a different class.

      • Malaclypse says:

        Storytelling is inherently conservative; readers wish to see the worthy rewarded and the unjust punished.

        The first clause is incorrect (*), and the second has no relation to the first.

        * See, for example, pretty much all of Jesus’ parables. Or all of Ursula LeGuin’s work. I can go on.

        • BigHank53 says:

          Perhaps I should have said most storytelling. Where would you rank the parables and LeGuin in the ranks of printed fiction? Top 10%? 1%? 0.001%?

          Most fiction is comfort food.

        • actor212 says:

          In fairness, “inherently” implies that there are outliers, but the first instinct of a storyteller is a morality tale, because people like simplicity.

          Ex: Jesus’ parables are inherently liberal, except the ones that aren’t (the ten virgins, for instance)

      • Shakezula says:

        Worthy rewarded, unjust punished? Sounds like the conservative nightmare to me.

        • Njorl says:

          That depends on what you think of as “worthy” and “unjust”. They probably think that Hester Prynne got her just desserts, but Uriah Heep was treated shamefully.

          • Shakezula says:

            It says not good things about me that when I try to imagine your common or garden neo-con sitting down with either of those books it MAKES MY BRAIN HURT.

          • sibusisodan says:

            That’s a thought – David Brooks missed a trick in not covering Uriah Heep for The Humility Course…

    • Major Kong says:

      The “small town = real America” thing really drives me nuts sometimes.

      More people live in NYC than the combined populations of just about any 3 states in the deep south, but I have to constantly hear how the rural South is “real America”.

      • chaed says:

        I’ve always wondered where the dividing line is between “Real” and “Fake” America. Growing up in suburban Atlanta (in Newt’s old district, BTW), but now living in the city, I think what people mean is that “Fake America” is any place where a black/brown person may look at you in public. It counts double if they look at you on a bus or the subway.

        • Shakezula says:

          Pretty much. Real America(TM) can only truly be found in The God Old Days(R). However, people believe (and not incorrectly so) that small towns tend to lag behind larger cities in terms of ideas and behavior and number of brown people.

          I regularly visit a place that at first glance would meet the requirements. But then you start talking to people, especially the 20 somethings, and you realize cable TV and the Internet are rapidly killing off Real America. There just isn’t any way to keep all those outside influences and ideas away any more.

      • witless chum says:

        I’ve often wondered if my hometown would qualify as real America to this bunch or if all the Native Americans turn it into unreal America?

      • cpinva says:

        that depends on how you define “real america”. if you define it as the place where the vast majority of the population resides, then yes, of course NYC,Chicago and LA would be “real america”.

        “but I have to constantly hear how the rural South is “real America”.”

        if you define it as the place where the people are routinely under-educated, ill-informed and easily swayed, by virtue of their virulent prejudices, then yeah, the sparsely populated, rural south is “real america”.

    • c u n d gulag says:

      That’s “Reel ‘Murka,” there, Bub!!!

      I haven’t flown in a few years, but it was disturbing when I did do a lot of flying in the early-mid 00′s, how many books by O’Reilly, Hannity, Coulter, et al, were front and center at the airport book stores, right next to the latest “The DaVinci Code” book-clones.

      I also found tons of Conservative magazines, but I discovered early on, not to even bother asking for the latest issue of “The Nation” there, because no one’s ever heard of it – at least down in NC, GA, SC, and FL, which is where I mostly flew to and from.

      • Brandon says:

        Most southern airports these days have Fox News playing on the TV screens in the gate areas.

        • ironic irony says:

          As do most military facilities that have TVs. I get tired of seeing that crap all. The. Damn. Time.

        • chaed says:

          Not in the biggest southern airport of them all. Atlanta is CNN country. And I’ve definitely bought a copy of The Nation at Hartsfield-Jackson.

      • Joshua says:

        I was speaking of “airport bookstores” as a more general term for “pop book culture.” I wasn’t so much thinking of Limbaugh or O’Reilly’s vomit, since that is easily identifiable. I am thinking more about the next few Mitch Alboms or Malcolm Gladwells being hardcore wingnuts pushing their agenda under a guise of fuzzy, feel-good pop writing.

      • Shakezula says:

        Isn’t that based on where you are? When I fly out of here I always dart into the airport bookstore because I always decide I don’t have enough books for a trip. I don’t recall seeing any of that crap.

  4. Todd says:

    Dreher’s Proof:

    Premise 1: Gay = Alcoholic
    Premise 2: Gay = McCarthy
    Theorem Application: Transitive Property

    Conclusion: McCarthy = Alcoholic

    Hmm, I cannot fail him for this, much as I would like to. Results matter.

  5. CaptBackslap says:

    Don’t forget the racism! Pretty much every time there’s a black group crime at a mall anywhere, Dreher is all about posting a cell phone video of it and a comment that’s basically “TNB, amirite?”

    • delurking says:

      This. I was fooled for (short) time by Dreher’s sweet and civil vocabulary. Then I hit one of his OMG THE BLACKS posts.

      He’s so scared of those brown people he wets himself.

      • slimslowslider says:

        Plus… Steve Sailer in the comments! Except his post on this controversy, which has comments closed.

        • sharculese says:

          I actually kind of love Steve Sailer because I can’t imagine a more hilariously inept propagandist for White Nationalism.

          It still makes my skin crawl to read him, of course.

          • Malaclypse says:

            I actually kind of love Steve Sailer because I can’t imagine a more hilariously inept propagandist for White Nationalism.

            Robert Stacey McCain.

            • sharculese says:

              I… had forgotten about RSM.

              Sailer’s in my mind right now because he had a hilarious rebuttal of K-Drum’s lead piece that proved nothing except that he doesn’t understand data gathering, statistics, or the basic concept of the scientific method.

          • Origami Isopod says:

            It boggled me to see Andrew Gelman treat Sailer with respect on his blog. Like… do you know who this guy is?

  6. ironic irony says:

    “And last year, Brooks placed Dreher among the conservatives of the future, who ‘tend to be suspicious of bigness: big corporations, big government, a big military, concentrated power and concentrated wealth.’”

    I’msorrywhatnow? 99% of Republicans (and the majority of conservatives) are on the jock of big business, big military, and concentrated power and wealth. Who is Brooks trying to kid?

  7. I’m sorry. I had no idea Dreher was known as anything other than full-on wingnut.

  8. mark f says:

    Dreher wasn’t the guy who bragged about letting his gay brother die alone and unloved (probably of AIDS!!!!!) in San Francisco?

    • actor212 says:

      I’m not sure. He was the one who applied the term “Lavender Mafia” to the bishops in Rome, however.

    • sharculese says:

      That is correct, although I’m not sure it was bragged so much as fantasized about.

      • sharculese says:

        To clarify: he knew for a fact his brother was dead, but seemed to put a lot of thought into imagining how awful his last days were.

        • mark f says:

          Odd that that didn’t make it into the Alternet link, especially as it contrasts with the death of his sister.

        • witless chum says:

          Eww. Links? I’ve read a lot of richly-deserved Dreher bashing over the years, but I don’t recall that one. I didn’t assume I’d be lowering my opinion of Dreher any more.

          • mark f says:

            Oops, I’m thinking of Dan Riehl: http://www.sadlyno.com/archives/4065.html

            • witless chum says:

              That makes a lot of sense. Dan Riehl, for those keeping score, is also the fantasy subway car battler of those dusky hordes of D.C.

              http://www.sadlyno.com/archives/24978.html

              • Shakezula says:

                Good times.

                Reading about the fucktoads’ adventures in Chocolate City is even better than watching them because you see what they were thinking. It’s like they’re aware that black people are here, but they’re shocked to find we’re allowed to walk around and interact with normal people. Either that or they can only conceive of perhaps a dozen black people in the entire U.S. So when they see number 13: Brain assplodes.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  Everybody knows there are not these “dozens” of black people.

                • witless chum says:

                  The second funniest thing about the Riehl thing is his contrasting description of a good sized bunch of Republicans riding on the metro and talking about politics loudly enough for everyone to hear and his description of what those terrible nogoodniks in the back were doing.

          • sharculese says:

            Sorry, ever mind. Google tells me that was actually Dan Riehl.

            • CaptBackslap says:

              Riehl has always fascinated me, because he manages to stand out as just plain stupid even among right-wing bloggers. That’s like being the least qualified member of a state legislature.

          • Shakezula says:

            The leopard does not change his shorts. Here he is earlier this week, shitting his pants because (according to his totally not biased clips of an email exchange) the Washington Post doesn’t provide fair coverage of gay rights issues (i.e. refuses to include the latest spittle flecked invective from fucksticks like Dreher.)

            The reader isn’t asking the Post to take the side of traditionalists; he or she is simply asking the Post to report the news in an evenhanded way. And the reporter refuses to do so. I suppose we should be grateful that the reporter doesn’t feel the need to make the preposterous claim that there is no bias; the reporter lays it right out there, saying that bigotry in news reporting against orthodox Christians and other marriage traditionalists is an act of virtue.

            Boo. Fucking. Hoo. The attempt to recast anti-gay bigots as traditionalists makes me laugh. Through out the ages Tradition! has been the bigots’ countersign, mating call and battle cry.

            • ironic irony says:

              The Post will be “evenhanded” in its reporting (and I am not saying they are or aren’t) when Fox News is. So, in other words, never.

            • witless chum says:

              The reporter’s statement he highlights does make me a little itchy as a reporter myself, because it couches coverage of gays and gay issues in the sorta squishy terms of “fairness and justice” as opposed to something more like “well, that’s the world, we’re not going to pretend it’s otherwise because it makes Rod Dreher feel a little weird in the pit of his stomach.”

              But Dreher and his pal seem to want to get to register their displeasure every time that gays or gay issues are mentioned, because that’s how “traditionalists” maintain their traditions, by trying to bully people into following them.

              Conservatives seem to almost always experience neutrality as opposition, because their world view doesn’t allow for them to go their way and us to go ours, because the government or the Post not enforcing their worldview on us means it’s discriminating against them.

              And I guess their right, because a big part of their worldview is the demand that they get to set the standards and we have to respect their autoritah and keep our various sins against grand old tradition out of public view.

  9. sharculese says:

    I read more Dreher than is probably healthy, just because his worldview is so fascinatingly fucked, and I have to say, seeing him on Oprah would be… interesting. Would he go into his theory about how ‘traditionalists’ are losing the battle against gay marriage because the kids care too much about this new-fangled thing called love? Would he explain how the Church could solve it’s pedophilia problem by chasing the gays out? The possibilities are endless.

  10. socraticsilence says:

    I give Dreher credit for realizing his side is on the losing side of history with regards to gay rights despite his own inability to evolve morally on said issue.

  11. penpen says:

    I enjoyed this comment on the article by SnowyOwl:

    If you read enough of his columns, you’ll find that while Dreher is intelligent, articulate, and well-read, he’s also stuck at an adolescent emotional level regarding sexuality. He’s clearly uncomfortable with sex in general, female sexuality in particular, and gay sex most of all. Yet he writes about it at every opportunity. More than that, any sort of aberrant sexuality fascinates him, even as he goes on about how disgusting and awful it is. He’s written more than one column about bestiality in the news, for instance. It’s as if he can’t NOT write about sex, especially the “Lavender Mafia” to use one of his pet phrases.

    He’s quite similar to someone like Ross Douthat, in fact. Both have that erudite, above-it-all air of intellectual spirituality, as if they long to be free of something so vulgar, mundane, and just plain icky as the flesh. You may have known people like them in high school — smart, lonely, picked on, desperately eager to be regarded as grownups, unable to really fit in. To that extent, I’m sympathetic. The problem is, when their bodies grew up, their emotions never really did. Notice how often a childish snarkiness creeps into their otherwise well-written columns. They basically live in their heads and barely tolerate their bodies, even as they can’t stop thinking about them, obsessing over them. And not just theirs, but everybody else’s.

    http://www.alternet.org/comments/media/new-friendlier-face-conservatism-old-school-homophobe#comment-813001036

  12. CaptBackslap says:

    Wait, hold everything! Apparently “lifestyle liberalism” entails children playing video games and even (brace yourself) watching raunchy Game of Thrones YouTubes!

  13. MikeN says:

    Ah, Rod “Big Government is Bad When it Helps Other People” Dreher

    “Broadband access at my house is frustratingly slow. We had to cancel Netflix, because we can’t stream. My iPad apps can’t update, and have been permanently hung up for weeks (I’ve rebooted the iPad several times, to no avail). Skyping is very spotty. You can’t watch any online video, even YouTube, without transmission being interrupted.
    …..
    This is such a small town that I don’t know that AT&T has any real economic incentive to upgrade its equipment to provide first-class broadband to people here. Is this something the town, or parish government, would have an interest in subsidizing, as an economic development initiative?”

    Then he goes on to quote approvingly of an Obama initiative to expand broadband connections to small towns and rural areas, whining that a majority of his fellow citizens don’t want their tax dollars to be used to support his lifestyle choices.

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/small-town-small-broadband/

    Also, check out his classic tirade after he attended a wedding where the bride sported a (gasp!) tattoo! The slut! (his word)

    http://alicublog.blogspot.tw/2008/02/big-time-negotiators-false-healers-and.html

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