Prissy betters

AVI drew our attention to the Orthosphere site, where I found an article from a month or so ago about the attempt to induce conformity (mimesis) by force when one's ability to lead a coherent dance by charm has withered. He quotes Arnold Toynbee's 1939 "A Study of History: The Breakdown of Civilizations":
“Where there is no creation, there is no mimesis. The piper who has lost his cunning can no longer conjure the feet of the multitude into a dance; and if, in a rage and panic, he now attempts to convert himself into a drill-sergeant or a slave-driver, and to coerce by physical force a people that he can no longer lead by his old magnetic charm, then all the more surely and swiftly he defeats his own intention; for the followers who had merely flagged and fallen out of step as the heavenly music died away will be stung by a touch of the whip into active rebellion.”
He goes on to cite David Brooks's recent piece in The Atlantic, attempting to explain why the "creative elites" Brooks so desperately wants to belong to have become objects of scorn. Brooks calls the elites "bobos," for bourgeois-bohemians, and blames their fall on "hogging profits," that is, not throwing enough tax money out of helicopters. I think Orthosphere has a better grasp:
Brooks does not understand that the unruly plebian masses do not envy his bobo lifestyle. They are not yearning to mimic, even in a vulgar and provincial way, the manners of David Brooks and his friends. He does not understand that the unruly plebian masses, whose allegiance the bobo elite has lost, are repelled by the bobos’ pencil-necked unmanliness, their officious scolding, their sexual weirdness, and their everlasting, apple-polishing striving to attract the teacher’s eye and move to the head of the class. They are embarrassed by the bobos’ juvenile spirituality, revolted by their parvenu gourmandizing, and sick to death of their half-wit moral lectures and their infantile ideals.


Grim said...

Brooks tells us that the mark of a boubour is that he goes out of his way to shock the bobos “with nativism, nationalism, and a willful lack of tact.”

I will agree that the MAGA aesthetic of the boubours is vulgar, provincial, and crude, but will also insist that this is mainly because it emerged in reaction to the SWPL aesthetic of the bobobs. As everyone knows, that SWPL aesthetic is genteel, metropolitan, and

I would say that one piece of 'stuff' that these 'White People Like' is the ostentatious use of curse words. For example, "Stay home. Stay. Home. Stay. The. F***. Home." Or Tik Tok videos of themselves saying something else emphatically PC featuring carefully enunciated F-bombs to show their passionate sincerity.

When I was in Iraq we had one captain who was Albanian, and had learned English by watching gangster movies on bootlegs. His use of that particular word was almost musical, worked into his sentence approximately every other word in every single sentence. It was just a way of keeping rhythm so that the speech sounded natural to him, like it was in those movies he grew up watching. That was nothing bothersome or objectionable to it, or even really crude. It was just who he was.

Others cursed frequently and habitually without meaning anything by it, as is common among soldiers (and even more famously among sailors). It was totally not objectionable.

The ostentatious use of cursing to signal virtue, though, is really objectionable. It's also much more crude. One might say that they feel empowered to be crude as a way of expressing their prissiness; self-righteously excused from the norms by the fact of having encountered someone from outside the club, and needing to be very clear about how much they are offended by that.

David Foster said...

"the ostentatious use of curse words"...there is a site called I F****** Love Science, patronized largely by those of leftish orientation. I'm confident that if the name of the site was merely I Love Science, its followers would be quite different people...and a lot fewer of them.

Narr said...

Good to see old Prof Toynbee get a good word. We are definitely in a civilizational challenge phase right now, with elites about as far removed from an understanding of the past as it is possible for elites to be.

As an academic and traditional elitist, I saw and smelled the rot up close, and Orthosphere pegs it.