Wednesday, December 06, 2006

culture pacifist

One of the people mentioned last week in regard to radio talk shows, Bill O'Reilly, has a new book out entitled "Culture Warrior". I know this because I've heard him talk about it - several times. The subject of "culture wars" is kind of a touchy one for me because I have so many friends and family who think of themselves as enlisted in the army of good guys arrayed against the hordes representing bad taste, vulgarity, sleaziness and debasement. And I'm right there with them on a number of things: Children should have active fathers, tatoos on women are kind of scary, much of hiphop should hop back into its hole, illegal drug use is dangerous to society, and certain athletes really ARE just immature, self-centered dopes. You get the idea. Common complaints you hear from common folks who can't help thinking that somehow things used to be better, or at least safer.
Do I stand when the roll of culture war combatants is read? Ah, I don't. My fear of being numbered in the American Taliban of the self-appointed culture cops still overpowers my sense of wanting everything to be "nice". Once you get on the side of the Enforcers, you can never be satisfied. Sooner or later you want Big Government (or new draconian rules of some kind) to make sure you never see a lewd ad, a sick laugh-track sitcom, a tasteless end-zone dance or someone ignoring the national anthem. I believe instead that it's just as the old song said: "No two ways about it, people got to be free." When there's a better way, we need to show it and invite others to join, but we can never force people on things as subjective as good taste, even when we "know" what's best.
One thing I know I'll NEVER join is the thing cooked up by FOX News having to do with the season. It's the "right" to demand to be greeted with "Merry Christmas!" as opposed to "Happy Holidays". The latter phrase, according to (there he is again) Bill O'Reilly constitutes a "war" on Christmas, even though people have used it in stores for decades.
Just as everything was economic to Marx, everything is political to the grouchy white men at FOX and their White House allies. Are they doing this to promote Jesus and His message of peace, love and understanding? Not on your life, baby. Not when there's anger to be stirred up that can be exploited somehow in the next election. Heck, I doubt that O'Reilly has ever been IN the local Wal Mart roaming the aisles looking for just the right cordless drill. He (and I admit I'm guessing here) gets someone ELSE to do the mundane errands of life that most of us have to put up with ourselves. I sure don't drive down the street choosing the stores with the most p.c. conservative greeting. I bet NO ONE does, which is what makes the whole thing a non-issue no more meaningful than flag-burning. But making someone ELSE squirm in their presence is the goal of the American Taliban Right. They do it because they CAN. And the hyperbole ("Christmas Under Attack!") is meant to anger people enough to get them to vote against their own interest. Yes, you CAN fool some of the people all of the time.
But not me. With all due respect to my conservative pals, I'm a culture pacifist.


Anonymous marla said...

hey does this mean you "didn't" want me to get a tatoo? hahaha
... I hate the bell ringers at all the stores, lets start a war on them ;) love ya dad

7:45 AM  
Anonymous Laura said...

Excuse me, but why would a tatoo on a woman be any scarier than a tatoo on a man? I have to say in females' defense that (on the whole) women tend to choose more esthetically pleasing skin artwork, and stay away from grim reapers and whatnot.

6:22 AM  

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