January 04, 2006

God Wants You to Shop at Nordstrom's

And Brooks Brothers. Well, that's what I'm getting out of this extremely stupid article.

I'm not against some of the man's points about redneck culture not being very cultured at all, but here is a short list of what I am against:

1. This insistence on declaring a subset of conservatism and applying a cutesy name to it, like, say, "Metrocon:"

See also: Crunchy Cons.

Do you notice how the proponents of these subsets are always really vain guys who want to place themselves into these subsets because they think they're better than plain old regular conservatives? "Unlike those ordinary conservatives, I buy my arugula from the farmer's market." "Unlike those ordinary conservatives, I do not wear Old Spice."

No one ever says, "Yeah, I like to think of myself as a Dumbhick Conservative," or "I'm really more of a JerkyCon, myself."

The subset always flatters the guy who identifies it. It's pure vanity.

2. The author's complaint that there used to be more metrocons, back in the good old days:

There's William F. Buckley, the pluperfect conservative metrosexual. Buckley, whose National Review turned 50 last year, is the picture of style, erudition, dignity, and grooming. He's more Polo than Gillette, goes to the symphony, and would look lost at a rodeo. Buckley is representative of the older conservative order, people like Jeane Kirkpatrick, Norman Podhoretz and Irving Kristol who can speak about Beethoven and Brahms more than Alan Jackson and Jeff Foxworthy. They read the New Criterion -- a kind of Bible of the metrocon -- and buy Christmas presents at Brooks Brothers instead of Wal-Mart. There hasn't really come up a younger generation of metrocons to take over.

I would argue that what made Buckley vital to the conservative movement had nothing to do with any of this, and at some point his "style, erudition, [and] dignity" actually risked doing the growth of that movement some harm. Americans are, as the author notes himself, passionately anti-snob, and they can't stand to feel talked down to, and I will admit right now that for years I didn't have the slightest use for anything William F. Buckley wrote or said because he was nothing but an obscenely wealthy, pompous old goat to me, and that was sufficient to make his ideas unworthy of my consideration.

I would further argue that two guys whose personas appear more approachable--even though they are both well-educated, well-mannered, and well-groomed--have done as much to boost the conservative movement in recent years as stuffy ol' WFB. And they didn't do it with the Word of the Day; they did it with humor and an I'm-just-a-regular-guy demeanor.

3. The obsession with the material:

If there is one message I would like to club through the heads of this so-called younger generation--actually now in its 30s and 40s--that the author identifies himself with, it is this:

"YOUR STUFF" does not equal "YOU."

Your Brooks Brothers suits do not add to your worth as a person. Your organic vegetables do not add to your worth as a person. Your Blackberry does not add to your worth as a person. Your expensive cologne does not add to your worth as a person.

It is all just stuff. You will take exactly none of it with you and p.s., Mr. Judge, as you both profess yourself a Christian and consider your purchase of a bottle of Truefitt and Hill a necessary part of your spiritual growth, I thought I might remind you that Jesus made it very clear once how he felt about that sort of thing.

Also, I have searched my Biblical index and I cannot find reference to Nordstrom's anywhere. Not even in the Apocrypha.

No. I am not giving this guy a cookie for his stunningly brilliant observation that rednecks are annoying. I might have, but he couldn't stop there, could he? No, he had to go on and on about how buying fabulous things and going fabulous places and appreciating fabulous art made him spiritually a better person.

And then, on top of that, he had to come up with that moronic label. I swear everyone's David Brooks anymore. It makes me tired.

(Via Ace of Spades.)

Posted by Ilyka at January 4, 2006 05:28 AM in hell is other people
I went from Levis and punk rock to Saks and swing dancing. I poured out the Old Spice and went to Nordstrom's for a bottle of Truefitt and Hill of London (founded, the bottle reminds us, in 1805, when Lord Nelson won the great battle at Trafalgar).

This is what passes for positive growth these days? Going from old outdated music to even older outdated music. The rest isn't worth talking about but Old Spice was my grandfather's scent so a return to it may be in that metrotwit's future. I kinda like adding metro to everything, though.

Posted by: Rob at January 4, 2006 11:01 PM

The dude is way too excited about that cologne for me to take seriously, least of all on the subject of personal growth. I'm gonging his ass.

Posted by: ilyka at January 4, 2006 11:39 PM

I've decided I'm a Futurama Conservative.

That means I... Uh. Dunno, really. It's like being a centrist, only with snappy one-liners.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 6, 2006 03:12 AM

JerkyCon... I love that. I might have to riff of that later, 'cause that certainly describes me to a "T"... just finished up some last night.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at January 6, 2006 06:18 AM