Paleo Retiree writes:

About Paleo Retiree

Onetime media flunky and movie buff and very glad to have left that mess behind. Formerly Michael Blowhard of the cultureblog Now a rootless parasite and bon vivant on a quest to find the perfectly-crafted artisanal cocktail.
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6 Responses to Linkage

  1. agnostic says:

    Interesting to note that genius worship flourishes in a climate of rising competitiveness and inequality — French Revolution / Napoleonic era, the Gilded Age through World War I, and the past 30 or so years.

    When competitiveness becomes taboo — the first 4 or 5 decades of the 19th century, and the Great Compression from roughly 1920 to 1980 — people become more skeptical of genius worship. Not trying to topple those who everyone can tell are exceptional, but having an aversion to exalting mere mortals to god-like status.

    The usual story about why genius worship, eugenics, and heredity fell out of favor during the Midcentury is that they became tainted by association with the era’s biggest losers, the Nazis. But it seems to have been underway already, part of the era’s egalitarian norms, which favor a “blank slate” ideology over a hereditarian one. Behaviorism had already taken the world of academic psychology by storm during the 1920s.

    Graying critics of the genius religion can’t help but sound dated to the 1970s, the low point in inequality. All the hip young people worship their geniuses of choice, take genetic influences for granted, and are likely to view the sinking of the bottom of the social pyramid as survival of the fittest weeding out the stupid and the lazy.


  2. agnostic says:

    Pulp Fiction is the (pen)ultimate attempt to cram as much shower novel masturbation material for film students into a single film. But at least it didn’t leave much of an impact on the broader culture. The Guardian author lists a string of short-term imitators, none of which were successful at the time, and which have been duly forgotten by 2014.

    That weakens his silver lining argument about Pulp Fiction taking us away from the John Grisham potboilers of the early ’90s, if nothing else. The 21st century’s hit movies tell even less original narratives (all adapted from existing “franchises,” and sinking lower than potboilers into comic book storylines), and boast even more bombastic scores.

    Outside of the mainstream as well, Pulp Fiction’s influence could not be more invisible. The trend has been toward a tone of detachment rather than frenzy, ironic rather than enthusiastic references to pop culture, and underwhelming songs you’re not cool enough to have even heard of, rather than chart-toppers from 20-25 years ago.


  3. agnostic says:

    The Spectator author is right to single out the “right side of history” and “vibrant” as grating PC watchwords of the neoliberals, but the neoconservatives have their own versions about “dynamic” economic growth and “agile” business strategies. Anyone preferring things to slow down, stop growing, or even go back to earlier levels, is a loathsome free market denialist (topped off with some idiotically glib remark such as “It’s like you never took Econ 101…”).

    To the neocon mind, the skeptic of radically new experiments in corporate expansion and monopoly (M&A), off-shoring of labor, opacity of economic governance, mainstreaming of debt (multiple credit cards, student loans, mortgages), and so on and so forth, is not merely a Luddite to be laughed at, but a dangerous saboteur who threatens to unravel all the dizzying Progress that’s swept us into our Brave New World over the past 30 years, and send us back into the Dark Ages.


    • agnostic says:

      To put it another way, if you could only choose one, which “right side of history” faction would you rather exterminate — the SJWs or the Big Business cocksuckers?

      I’d rather go back to the 1960s and ’70s. Sure, you’d have to put up with race hucksters, dingbat feminists, and SDS loons if you were close to or tuned into the chattering classes (and remain blissfully ignorant of them otherwise). But small-town American ways of life were still preserved, the country was overwhelmingly native-born whites, and wages were good.

      Your economic, political, social, and cultural lives were not being meddled with, let alone chewed up and spit out, by the forces powerful enough to do so — namely, agile and well-funded big business interests, not the sclerotic and debt-burdened federal gubmint. Hollywood, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Walmart were not trying to radically alter the human ecosystem, and would have felt it shameful to try.


  4. Will S. says:

    Interesting that male escorts are becoming more popular in Australia. I guess Aussie women are increasingly ’empowered’, as the progs say.


  5. Pingback: American Thanksgiving Day Mini-Linkfest | Patriactionary

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