I’ve had a lot of interesting email from readers the last couple days. A reader who is a psychologist wrote in to tell me that I was wrong to say that establishment media’s desire to fuck the middle class over was un-malignant tough love, that it was more likely pure assholery and that I shouldn’t sugarcoat it. I found her arguments pretty convincing.
Another reader wrote in to describe TNC and Sully’s break-up-to-make-up (which I’ve seen people talking about in the comments) as “white man tell black man to stfu”. I’m not sure there is a such a racially loaded angle there, it seems more “Very Serious Person tells second second-tier opinionator to respect his authoritah” (serious question, though: are there are any black Very Serious People and, if not, is their non-existence axiomatic or just empirical).
But there’s not doubt that all this “while I may not 100% agree that I am genetically inferior/we should nuke Iran/the middle-class needs to starve for a while, I still feel that my esteemed colleague is a wise, decent, brilliant person and he makes many wonderful points about why perhaps I am genetically inferior/we should nuke Iran/the middle-class needs to starve for a while” stuff is toxic. It alienates almost everyone, except the tote-bag types who feel privileged to listen to such erudite, civilized discourse, and, more importantly, it will never address the desires of people outside the Atlantic/TNR/PBS bubble.
Establishment media would have us all believe that reasonable people can disagree, that we should all channel our inner Tip O’Neil/Ronald Reagan and vote for Bloomberg/Bayh. That’s just not how things work. The greatest achievement in American politics of the last 50 years was, by any measure, the Civil Rights Act. A war-mongering, womanizing political genius pushed it through, a lot of good people got murdered fighting to get it through, and it created at least 40+ years of southern support for the party that opposed it.
That’s nothing like Gail Collins and David Brooks gushing about each other’s wits or TNC and Sully winning each other’s grudging admiration. People are often assholes and they should treat each accordingly.