Lileks is Like, Funny!

August 22nd, 2006 at 2:40 am by Mark
Tags: , , ,

     Man, Swanky, maybe it was the greasers over the weekend that got you all worked up.  Maybe it was discussing politics with me where I clearly implicated both sides in screwing over the American Public. Maybe it was being tired and cranky and cantankerous (old man! heh).
     But … I’ve read Lilek’s article over and over, and I can’t figure out WHAT you’re talking about.

I’ve been reading the Bleat for years now and he has gone further and further into the business of being a grumpy guy and less and less being an amusing commentator on culture. He had the sense to move a lot of it to a separate blog. But today he just lost it. It sounds to me like the rantings of an “old guy” who can’t take the notion that he is a complete square. He spends a lot of words trying to discount any sort of counter culture sensibility as being stupid and has a bad habit of justifying things by pointing out that much much worse things are happening elsewhere in the world. Sort of like “Why are the namby pamby Democrats so up in arms about the goverment spying on them without warrants when North Korea has 100,000 people being tortured to death in secret prisons?” “Why get so up in arms about blacks being kept out of good schools in the 50s when Russia was killing thousands of people every month in Gulags?” Sad. That’s not an argument. Mis-direction.

I read most of the Bleat today and over and over it was just saying, this guy is really a stiff neck jerk. “How dare you rebel against a country that feeds you, Marlon Brando and James Dean!” Lileks, you are a sad old guy. Mr. Unhip. And that seems to make you crazy. You need to start allowing people to reply to your rants on your site. Dialog.

     James Dean was a product of his environment, as we all all are.  We all rage against the machine, some harder than others. But when we express our displeasure at whatever’s going on, isn’t it better to focus on facts rather than lefty-nutso ridiculouslness?

     And on that note, I’m gonna throw in Sinatra while I try and sleep.  I hope that’s not too Republican of me, wanting to sleep at 2:41AM.  😉

     As for James Dean, check out this this great Craigslist ad (tip: Link Right 2).


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2 Responses to “Lileks is Like, Funny!”

  1. swanky Says:

    Here’s a quote to show what I mean:

    “The smothering wet quilt of Conformity that held America motionless until it was thrown off by the undulating hips of Elvis! (Did you know they didn’t show him below the waist on TV, at first! True! It was horrible, the Fifties; no one had sex without weeping in shame afterwards. Sometimes during.) It’s just interesting how Westerners think that that Red Scare was a historical event of such towering proportions it trumps the tales of the Soviet Union in the same period. US version: communist sympathizers frozen out of screenwriting jobs, justly or unjustly. USSR version: actual communists killed in ghastly numbers by a parody of a legal system underwritten by brute force and an industrialized penal system built on slave labor. Why is the latter ignored, and the former celebrated?”

    He’s trying to say that our complaints about a society that won’t show Elvis’ hips is ridiculous when Communists are killing people in Russia.

    I say, it is perfectly okay to pick at smaller issues in America, even though there may be huge issues elsewhere.

    His argument is meaningless. You can always say “X” is far worse than “Y”, but that does not mean we are somehow stupid to care about and even get POed about “Y”.

  2. Mark Steel Says:

    It had nothing to do with Elvis’ hips — you missed the context there, I think. The amusing prelude to the Elvis comment:

    I’m not going to defend McCarthy, because he was a brute and boor and a butter-eating drunk who set back the anti-Communist cause four decades. To say that he was sorta right, in the sense that there were Commies about, is like saying that J. Robert Oppenheimer had a salutory effect on Japanese urban renewal. I’m not interested in those debates right now. I’d just like to point out that it’s a little late in the game to trot out a play about the mean old witch-hunts. The bravery of the scrappy idealists! The piggish philistinism of the anti-commie brutes! The smothering wet quilt of Conformity that held America motionless until it was thrown off by the undulating hips of Elvis! (Did you know they didn’t show him below the waist on TV, at first! True! It was horrible, the Fifties; no one had sex without weeping in shame afterwards. Sometimes during.) 

    Maybe he should’ve done a paragraph break before continuing:

    It’s just interesting how Westerners think that that Red Scare was a historical event of such towering proportions it trumps the tales of the Soviet Union in the same period. 

    Westerners = Europeans (Americans aren’t even included in “The West” anymore).  It is interesting … “Bad Americans!  Look what they did!” 

    I get tired of that finger-pointing, too, but mostly because I had them aimed at me for history I wasn’t even a part of.  Sitting in an Irish Pub in Auckland, I remember some dumbass White South African saying, “Damn Kaffir [nigger] doesn’t belong in here!”  When I protested his idiocy, he says, “Don’t start on me, boet [brother] — you killed the Indians and locked up the Nips [Japanese] during World War II!”

    Mind you, this was a guy who’d run like Hell from South Africa because he was afraid he’d get some recompence for the crap he’d done in his lifetime.  And somehow, even though he was a racist, separatist prick who assisted in “ruling” the non-white majority, the fact that killing Native Americans in the 1800’s and locking up Japanese in the 1940’s — well before I was born, mind you — trumped the fact that he was screaming about non-whites in the bar that very night.

    I’m also absolutely certain that if an American made a historically inaccurate play about how the Scottish politicians screwed the clans over in order to earn fortune and power in an English-ruled Highland, the Scots would be totally up-in-arms, too.