David Jesus Advocate General French, when he isn’t jostling Brooks for space on the fainting couch, sits before his computer and uses strategic squirts of his Milk of Human Kindness to create long tragic sighs for the sorry state of humanity.
This week he used his special powers to defend Kevin Death to the Proles Williamson’s uncivil outburst against the dreadful American’ts who are ruining everything by supporting the loudest, meanest, brashest SOB on the Republican roster.
He starts by establishing his dirt road cred.
My childhood was different from Kevin’s, but I grew up in Kentucky, live in a rural county in Tennessee, and have seen the challenges of the white working-class first-hand. Simply put, Americans are killing themselves and destroying their families at an alarming rate.
One assumes the target audience experiences a tingle of admiration for French because he lives among Those People. No, not those Those People. The ones who rhyme with Frailer Rash. At any rate, like his urban counterpart who dwells among, or near, or in the same city as, those Those People, French is here to enable some sneering. So let’s all open our Bibles to that bit where Jesus goes on about what complete oiks the poor are. Like, barf out to the max!
As I’ve related before, my church in Kentucky made a determined attempt to reach kids and families that were falling between the cracks, and it was consistently astounding how little effort most parents and their teen children made to improve their lives.
(For the purposes of this post I’m assuming French didn’t pull this anecdote out of the place he stores his head. But I do note that he uses the past tense. And he’s not clear about whether this was something his church in KY did while he was growing up there or if he is talking about a recent effort that the folks back home have told him about. At any rate, can we pause for a moment to commiserate with people who have or have had to endure grinding poverty and the ice-cold, pursed-lipped, “charity” of anything like David French?
If they couldn’t find a job in a few days — or perhaps even as little as a few hours — they’d stop looking. If they got angry at teachers or coaches, they’d drop out of school.
Of course I don’t expect French to be familiar with the concept of learned helplessness any more than I would expect him to be aware of how many jobs there are/were in the corner of Kentucky that spat him out. That would require empathy, curiosity and seriously undermine his theory that all people have to do to succeed is square their shoulders, stick out their chins and tell Ol’ Man Adversity to step aside. (He does undermine that point, but on purpose, so it doesn’t count.)
If they fought with their wife, they had sex with a neighbor.
(See? It’s hard for me to believe that anyone would discuss sex with French, unless they were being paid. And it was happening over a phone line. But anyway.)
And always — always — there was a sense of entitlement.
Ye divvint say, hinny! Where o where could poor white Americans have gotten the idea that they were entitled to anything? I mean, it isn’t like a major political party blared the message “If you’re white, you’re all right” for several decades.
It certainly isn’t the case that poor white people have received a steady stream of assurances that everything wrong with their lives was the fault of a poor black woman who lives in an urban area, possibly in another state, who also drives a large American car, a few young black men who eat beef, and faceless hordes of effete liberal elitists (totally different than the rugged conservative elitists) who are planning to confiscate poor white Americans’ guns, turn their churches into gay wedding chapels and put abortion clinics in the baptismal tank and teach first graders to put condoms on Jihadists. BUT, if they just vote for Smilin’ Sam, the Much Married Tea Room Traveling Republican Real American, he’ll fix everything by fixing THEM real good.
Yes, it truly is a mystery how poor white Americans could have gotten the idea that since the people who told them “Hey folks I’m just plain folks, just like you,” get paid to sit around doing nothing much, interspersed with behavior that is at odds with the whole moral purity message, that this is what just plain folks do. Can’t these people take a joke??
Of course they can, French suddenly decides. It must be some other outside force making them gobble oxy while screwing their neighbors.
And that’s where disability or other government programs kicked in. They were there, beckoning, giving men and women alternatives to gainful employment.
So … when poor white people succumb to the siren calls of booze, narcotics and thy neighbor’s spouse it’s their fault. But when they leap into the arms of Lady Disability Program, it’s her fault. (And they really do leap. They’re perfectly healthy! French knows those x-rays and MRIs of herniated discs and fractured vertebrae are all faked!! Repetitive motion injuries are a liberal lie!!!)
You don’t have to do any work (your disability lawyer does all the heavy lifting), you make money, and you get drugs.
Green Acres is the place for me!
At our local regional hospital, it’s become a bitter joke the extent to which the community is hooked on “Xanatab” — the Xanax and Lortab prescriptions that lead to drug dependence.
I’m not sure how French knows what they joke about at the local regional hospital, but it would be irresponsible for me to speculate he puts on a white coat, throws a stethoscope around his neck and sneaks in there to play doctor. Neither would I expect French to be aware that the opioid addiction crisis he’s vaporing about was brought to us by a pharmaceutical company, and I certainly would never in a billion years expect French to point his quivering digit of blame at a corporation.
Speaking of the finger, it seems to be pointing back towards blaming the poor for their fate … no …
Oh fuck it. Call it French’s Quasi-Deterministic Theory of Personal Responsibility. People are responsible for their fates unless the government program in the box is still alive.
Of course we should have compassion even as we call on people to do better. I have compassion for kids who often see the worst behavior modeled at home.
In French’s thesaurus, compassion is a synonym for contempt.
I have compassion for families facing economic uncertainty. But compassion can’t excuse or enable self-destructive moral failures.
Nor does a focus on personal responsibility mean that the government or cultural elite are blameless. Far from it, and I’ve written at length about the role of progressive culture and progressive policies in cultural decline.
Williamson and now French’s pieces aren’t completely original, but the change in timing and target makes them surprising.
Traditionally the neo-con rage/passive-aggressive tutting about people who vote for the Wrong Person occurs in the winter, after the GOP has been pantsed in an election.
Once the unintelligentsia establish that the GOP is perfect, and Minority Voter X ought to vote Republican (insert blather about shared values that doesn’t stand up to any sort of scrutiny, but do not hold your breath waiting for anyone to connect the dots between racist airhorning and lack of GOP success with non-whites), it must be the case that the damned darkies are too dependent on food and shelter.
While it is so far only two people at one rag, and I know that the conservative elite are disdainful of poor whites I admit that seeing them use the same rhetoric about poor whites is as unexpected as a visit from Cardinal Ximenez.
Just as the rise of the Tea Party within the GOP was inevitable, so was something Trumplike, but so long The Base kept people with an R after their names were in charge, I thought all would be well with the scribbling class.
And what about pissing off the liberals? I assumed that any personal distaste a neocon lackey might have about Trump’s less subtle forms of demagoguery would have been evaporated once anyone called Trump a fascist. Clearly, j’ai eu tort.
Maybe anti-base sentiment won’t spread beyond these two. It’s hard to see how it could, especially since one party also goes out of its way to encourage its voters to buy guns to go with their guns. But maybe this is the year of taking turns to shout the quiet parts into the nearest mic.