Enter Joe Biden, a man who is repelled by the ancient feudalism of the right and is outside the “meritocratic” feudalism of the left. Here is a Truman-like figure, whose Inaugural Address was spoken in the plain words and with the plain values of Main Street.
Friday, January 22, 2021
What A Cluster-Pluck
"Elite" institutions attract the financial "elite." I know few people who, if they got into Harvard (as a symbol, not a university) would have been all that comfortable or gained all that much from being around the "elite" for four years. "Elite" institutions attract people from that strata of society, for better or worse. And it's no surprise they scamper off to familiar environs as soon as they can. The former owners of my house came from the very wealthy section of town, and sold this place so they could return there. So it goes. And then there's the assumption "white supremacy" is the province of the poor and the poorly educated. To which I respond: Charles Murray; Stephen Miller; Donald J. Trump.
Just for starters.
But to put it in further context: "Today we have homegrown feudalism"? Huh? From what "elite" university did he get that misguided notion? Nothing in American society, politics, or governance even vaguely resembles "homegrown feudalism," not even the paltry efforts of plantation owners before slavery was abolished. We have what we have always had: people divided by race, money, and education. And frankly, not all education is equal. "Elite" institutions in general do a poor job training their graduates to be ethical, responsible beings. Again: Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, for starters. But then, as Randy Newman sang about "Rednecks", we got: "Good ol' boys from LSU/Went in dumb, come out dumb, too/Hustlin' 'round Atlanta in their alligator shoes/Gettin' drunk every weekend at the barbecue/Keepin' the niggers down."
As the song argues, that last sentiment belongs to pretty much all of us. How many black/brown faces at the Capitol on January 6th? The most prominent one was there on the side of the government. How many of the protestors are products of "elite" universities, or support white supremacy?
I like "Joe from Scranton" as much as the next guy, but this nonsense about "feudalism" has got to stop. "Ancient feudalism" of the right? What, in contrast to modern feudalism? Feudalism IS ancient. Period. " 'Meritocratic' feudalism"? I don't even know where to start. By what meritocracy, frankly, does David Brooks get space on the Op-Ed page of the New York Times? Is feudalism involved? As I recall, Molly Ivins, who was actually quite well-educated and knowledgeable (despite the proto-Texan persona she portrayed in public, and traded on heavily at the end), but she didn't get along with the Times "meritocracy" at all. Feudalism at work? Or more likely regionalism? Ms. Ivins had the temerity to write an article about a chicken plucking party in a Western state and rural area as a "cluster pluck." Her editor was outraged that she made the tender readers of the NYT think of...well, you know what you thought of.
If that ain't "feudalism" in this new and metaphorical meaning, what is?
Posted by Rmj at 4:42 PM