Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Dooming of the Modern Mind

Intellectual Hygiene and Its Enemies
Among them Gore Vidal

Victor David Hanson, not one to speak ill of the dead, manages to say what anyone who has ever had to endure a panel discussion or television appearance with Gore Vidal has felt:
Vidal said he was nauseated by American imperialism and gloated over our decline, but his real pique was that the mannered East Coast snobbishness that he loved to shock had given way to a socially mobile, no-holds-barred popular culture that did not so much ignore his world of blue-blood repartee, but had no clue that it had ever existed. He liked being hated; he hated being irrelevant.
Upon meeting him as a young man, Hanson notes an affliction from which every presumed made-for-TV intellectual in Europe still suffers from:
Vidal certainly had an instinct for saying outrageous things with such erudite authority that we yokels found him fascinating rather than repulsive. As I remember (it has been 48 years since that evening), Vidal spoke for about 30 minutes, but then he wowed the crowd to a standing ovation in the question-and-answer period (his forte), as he advocated the legalization of drugs and prostitution and went on rants about “small town” values.
Pooping the nest come naturally to this type. More to the point, their rather sad imitators, agitators of the political left, have also contracted a rather regrettable trope from them, one which they try to conceal on the election circuit: hating happy, normal people makes them feel smart.