A continuing theme here at iSteve is that the top creative guys in popular culture are not quite as politically inane as the mass of liberal dweebs who write about them.
For example, this season on Mad Men, the storyline has reached 1968, and one of Matthew Weiner's themes has been that the late 1960s rise in crime was ruining New York City. And how does he show that? By showing black criminals committing crimes, which is exactly what happened. How can he get away with that? Well, he's Matthew Weiner and a lot of nice liberal dweeb critics have a vast amount invested in the cult of his genius, so why not use it to tell some truth?
One of my more central themes is that the mass of liberals dweeb who frame The Narrative of how you are supposed to think about everything have come to view each question in childish, destructive, brain-sapping Who? Whom? terms.
Here's a microscopic example of these two counter-currents in Slate, in which a minor league kultursmog dweeb calls out a major league novelist for the high crime of Noticing Things. Novelists can't be allowed to go around noticing things that raise even the most esoteric questions about who are the good guys and who are the bad guys.
By Amanda Hess | Posted Tuesday, June 18, 2013, at 12:50 PM
Last week, Frank Bruni devoted his New York Times opinion column to the “puzzling stamina” of sexism in the United States ...
Bruni is the Perfect Gay Liberal Dweeb with an IQ around that of a summer day in Palm Springs. I wrote about his remarkably dopey column in "Cluelessness Is Next to Godliness."
Naturally, Jonathan Franzen was moved to respond.
Franzen is a heavyweight novelist, author of The Corrections and Freedom.
“There may still be gender imbalances in the world of books, but very strong numbers of women are writing, editing, publishing and reviewing novels,” Franzen wrote in a letter to the editor. “The world most glaringly dominated by male sexism is one that Mr. Bruni neglects to mention: New York City theater.”
Or New York City fashion.
A note below his byline clarified that—lest we confuse him with some lesser Jonathan Franzen—“the writer is the novelist.”
I’m wondering why the novelist—according to Time, the Great American Novelist—would be moved to file this limp non sequitur of an argument in the paper of record. ... If Franzen wanted to administer a sweet burn to Frank Bruni for calling out sexism in his profession, he could have criticized the male-dominated field of New York City restaurants. (Bruni served for years as the Times' chief food critic.) He could have dug into the demographics of the Times opinion page, where 10 of its 12 op-ed columnists are men. Instead, Franzen laid into theater with bizarre specificity. Why? I can only conclude that this was a conspicuously ineffective letter from a man considered one of the greatest writers alive. Or else it was a gay joke.
Frank Bruni is gay; Broadway is one of the few American industries that is perceived to be dominated by gay men.
Franzen is smart enough not to explicitly chide Bruni for failing to singlehandedly resolve sexism in the gay community before speaking out against chauvinism in all other corners of the United States, but he may be just self-important enough to imply it. Then again, not everyone picked up on Franzen’s subtext. “I applaud Jonathan Franzen for casting a spotlight on sexism in theater,” Jenny Lyn Bader, a member of the executive board of the League of Professional Theater Women, wrote to the Times this week. In light of Franzen’s little note, “maybe the public will finally take note hearing it from a man, who cannot be accused of speaking out of self-interest.”
I'm not clapping. Instead of leveraging his clout to recognize gender imbalances in his own field (“there may still be, but” is an impressive hedge, but it does not count),
How is Franzen supposed to fix gender imbalances in the field of writing major novels? By not writing major novels?
Franzen deflected responsibility for resolving gender inequality onto gay men. Or maybe he just wrote a terrible letter that makes no sense. I'm not sure which accusation would bother the novelist more.
How much is the spread of this Leninist way of looking at the world a chick thing? Women tend even more toward subjectivity than men do, but women tend to be more individualist in who they like than men do. I guess lesbians tend to have the worst of both sexes intellectually -- they are positively averse to objectivity, and they display male gang aggression urges and the desire to rationalize them with ideology (most straight women aren't ideologues by nature). And then the heterosexual women notice which way the social status breezes are blowing and just get in line.
The big winners in this kind of culture where you aren't allowed to explain things in writing tend to be the most sociopathic men, the cunning guys who understand at a gut level the weaknesses of everybody else.