Two new collections of essays by George Orwell are as relevant today as when he wrote them. In Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” (1946) he connects degraded language with the decline of contemporary culture and political thought. He also says this:
“All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia.”
Keeping that in mind, an important essay by Mark Lilla in the Wall Street Journal outlines the history of “Populist Chic” and what it means for the conservative intellectual tradition. He describes how a disdain for liberal intellectuals slipped into “a disdain for the educated class as a whole.” He laments that the result of this movement was the promotion “of a candidate like Sarah Palin, whose ignorance, provinciality and populist demagoguery represent everything older conservative thinkers once stood against.”
On the same track is an op-ed in the New York Times today called “Obama and the War on Brains.” Nicholas Kristof reminds us that the second most remarkable thing about Obama’s election “is that American voters have just picked a president who is an open, out-of-the-closet, practicing intellectual.”
Yeah, baby! That’s what I’m talking about. Let’s make stupidity a sin instead of celebrating it. Eight years of W have been more than enough. People who don’t read newspapers and scoff at science should know enough to be ashamed of themselves.
We need to raise the tone! We need to insist that people think and read and be proud of their vocabularies instead of being afraid to sound elitist. America is the only country I know of where “real people” means simpletons. We need to respect intellectuals instead of regarding them as suspect.
Today my friend Mark was visiting from Connecticut and he tried to describe how his hatred of Sarah Palin wasn’t just partisan but personal. That’s the issue that has set many of us apart from other Democrats and liberals: We fucking hate her and we still do! I think that above all, it’s the proud stupidity that she wears like a crown. Today in an interview at her home, while cooking up some moose, she said this:
“Regarding information regarding my record, that its now out there much of it that was based on misinformation was a very, very frustrating thing to have to go through when the record was never corrected.”
Huh? Say again, in English?
Asked to be specific about the misinformation, she said…..
“Some of the goofy things like who was Trig’s mom. Well, I’m Trig’s mom (raises her hand) and do you want to see my medical records to prove that?”
Hahahahaha! YES, YOU MORON, we do! Until she does, I guess I’m doomed to keep hating her and writing about it. Just not all the time.