Friday, May 14, 2010
Review of the New York Review of Books, Continued
New theme! I'm moving away from doing the bloggy and sporadic Director's Comment Track on The Criterion DVD For My Own Unreleased Autobiopic and in a new direction that will hopefully attract more elderly intellectual readers who personally know Joan Didion. Or something. What I'm saying is that I know I've linked to the New York Review of Books a lot. Or a lot relative to the total number of actual linkings-to or writing-of anything, here.
But between this piece by Mark Lilla and the excerpt from Tony Judt's Ill Fares The Land that I linked to in the pre-honeymoon (PH) period, I think I can justify it. I spent my honeymoon enjoying Italy and being with my wife and being surrounded by expertly prepared food served to people who really just care an incredible lot about it, but I also did read the Judt book, and it's pretty amazingly great -- a simultaneously very simple and very profound look at what's rotten in the way we think about and talk about and govern ourselves. In short, the sort of thing you'd really enjoy reading in a clothing store in Italy while your wife tries on clothes. Hold on... I just found out that blurb will be on the back of the paperback edition! Awesome, I'm honored.
Here's Lilla on the Tea Party Thing. I'll admit that a NYRB take on this could be witheringly out of touch and UWS and goonishly elitist, but Lilla is not. He dismisses, as he kind of must, but he does so with a depth of perspective that you occasionally don't get from, you know, Elite Cosmopolitan Intellectuals:
But what happens after the class president is sworn in and the homecoming queen is crowned? The committees dissolve and normal private life resumes. And that, I suspect, is what will happen to the Tea Party organizations: after tasting a few symbolic victories they will likely dissolve. This is not only because, being ideologically allergic to hierarchy of any kind, they still have no identifiable leadership. It is because they have no constructive political agenda, though the right wing of the Republican Party would dearly love to attach its own to them. But the movement only exists to express defiance against a phantom threat behind a real economic and political crisis, and to remind those in power that they are there for one thing only: to protect our divine right to do whatever we damn well please. This message will be delivered, and then the messengers will go home. Every man a Cincinnatus.
The whole deal is worth reading. Mo' professional stuff coming once my body re-acclimates to being on this particular continent.