Posts Tagged ‘Culture’

This here is mah last post.

Though Stuff White D-bags Like hasn’t been nearly as successful as its hero Stuff White People Like, I will flatter myself by saying that long after Christian Lander has become a footnote in a Wikipedia entry of the 22nd century, your humble Chunque will be revealed as the most insightful social critic of the Silver Age of American empire.

Over the last five months and the course of one hundred posts, I came to learn a little about myself and a lot about American d-baggery. What follows is the accumulated wisdom of that journey, search, and trial.

I was born into a typical American family of d-bags: My people are mid-Westerners, petite bourgeoisie, and low-grade professionals. Our family business has been in operation for four generations. My father was a lawyer. Me and my siblings got late model cars when we turned 16, took road trips, engaged in recreational intoxication, saluted the flag on the fourth of July, got some college (or maybe all of it), got a job, got a spouse and some kids, got a mortgage, had aspirations to move someplace cool, but settled down to “real” life.

Those of us who saw more than half of the 70s thought we were post-political. To me, American greatness was a no-brainer. Reagan was right to make us feel good again after the shame of Vietnam and Watergate, even if he was a little crazy. Me and my friends, we weren’t religious, but we liked to think we were “spiritual”. We scoffed at religious crazies, new age crazies, ROTC crazies, and the Betas who (where I went to school) were rich date rapists.

When I got my first “real” job in late 90s, the world was my oyster. The internet made it possible to see more porn than I ever dreamed existed. We played the stock market a little, but not enough to get really burned. We were disgusted by Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky (in front of our girl friends and mothers), and we did what we could to scrape together enough money for a sweet ride, a nice place to live, and money to spend on drinking and trying to seduce women. (I was largely successful in that mission.) Most of my friends wanted to be upstanding members of the community, but with a drink in one hand and the other wrapped around the waist of a bubbly blond.

But that changed in 2001. I always kind of thought of myself as a conservative. I admit — the only time I ever voted was for George Bush 1 in 1992 (the first presidential election I was old enough to vote in). After that I thought politics was for losers or zealots — people who won’t change their mind and won’t change the subject. I thought rich people ruled the world, and that seemed OK, but that didn’t make them better than me. Maybe just a little more motivated, or maybe they came from money. It’s easy to be somebody when you come from money. George Bush is spoiled brat, but so is Al Gore. I had no love for either of them. Then the world trade centers fell in New York, and everyone went crazy.

I’m not against war, but it was obvious to me from day one that Saddam didn’t have WMDs. This is also a no-brainer: when a problem isn’t a problem until all the talking heads on TV are telling you all at once that death is near if you don’t let them do whatever they want, you’re getting bamboozled. I couldn’t believe that most of America had never tried to buy a car. If they had they’d know what a “hard sell” is, and they’d know why salesmen do it — to fleece you. I’m a conservative because I don’t like to get fleeced, and I couldn’t believe that so many people in America, the land that I love, called themselves conservative when they were really sheep, bleating to get fleeced — or wolves looking to fleece their fellow countrymen. And the wolves did it by appealing to the sheep’s worst natures. I started to rethink my own life, and I concluded that proudly being a d-bag, reveling in my ignorance, resenting people who were interested in the world outside our borders, and hating stuff I didn’t know because it made me feel insecure was the reason why the Bush/Cheney clusterfuck happened in the first place. What made me proud to be “conservative” was that being conservative meant being strong, but the way people who call themselves conservative act is to prey on the weak, pick on the helpless, and call it strength. That’s not conservative. That’s despicable.

And then a friend sent me a link to Stuff White People Like. I recognized Lander for what he was immediately: a Canadian Rush Limbaugh. A movement conservative. His writer’s persona is an effete, liberal snob, but that’s not who he is. He’s a hater who dropped out of grad school because he wasn’t smart enough to hack it. And he blames people who are smarter than himself for his failures. He is the latest and last symptom of our national moral and intellectual decline. I wouldn’t care if work like his hadn’t been part of the cultural movement that has impoverished us with a jingoistic war, made us hated around the world, and given China and Russia the opportunity to usurp us as the richest and most powerful nations on earth.

The basic argument of Stuff White People Like is that wanting to think smarter is snobbery. And thinking smarter is what made America strong and kept it that way. A secondary argument is that you can’t take “white people” (really political liberals) seriously, and sadly, that’s true. Because as the success of his site shows, liberals would rather let douche bags like Lander insult them then stand up for themselves and what they believe in. If you identify as a “white person” and you laughed at Stuff White People Like, you deserve four more years of Bush/Cheney, high gas prices, no medical coverage, a shitty, dead-end job as a corporate drone, and 15 second celebrities like Lander.


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Who is Christian Lander? He is the the reason for the rant, the hero of American d-baggery in 2008, a beacon to those feeling lost in a sea of Obamamania.

Most commentators in the press incorrectly tag Lander (or as I affectionately call him, Chandler) as a satirist. Satire (as opposed to, say, polemic) seeks to correct people’s vices and follies by getting them to laugh at themselves. You might think that Lander’s send-up of “white people” practices like worrying whether or not a couple is compatible based on shared literary tastes, or gathering socially to play “kids games” is proof that he is writing satires of people who have more money than sense. Making fun of rich people who are socially awkward has a long and venerable tradition reaching back to ancient times. From Mennipius to Juvenal, to Dryden and Swift, to The Onion, making fun of people who confuse their wealth with their personal worth has an honored place in our culture. If he were a satirist it would make him a traditional moral conservative, someone who believes that foudational values like modesty, charity, honesty, justice, temperance, patience, courage and fortitude are being corrupted by selfishness, laziness, smug complacency, and a falsely inflated sense of self-worth (also known as pride).

But is Lander a moral conservative? No. He is a movement conservative. What’s the difference?

Where true social conservatives decry deteriorating morals, movement conservatives in the past half century have reconceptualized values (making them “values”) in an attempt to fuse free-market ideology with more traditional d-bag philosophy. Then they give it ideological cover by claiming their greed, fear, and pride is really thrift, prudence, and pluck. By making greed a virtue and power an end in itself they reject traditional conservatism for a revolutionary critique of traditional morals. Being modest, kind, honest, just and temperate becomes a sign of weakness. Being skeptical is spun as indecision and lack of spine. They gave up dispassionate critical thinking for revolutionary zeal. When moral conservatives became movement conservatives they morphed into the very thing they used to hate.

Lander himself is a paradigm of this kind of d-baggery. Leaving the sangfroid of his native Canada for greener ideological pastures in the United States, Lander found himself in a graduate program in English at Indiana University. There he realized his intellectual gifts were modest at best, and being a movement conservative he considered this someone else’s fault. (Conservatives are big on self-reliance — in others.) Having more sense than some other disaffected d-bags (VA Tech, etc.) he decided not to invest in AKs and Glocks, but rather to invest in a menial, low-paying job in Southern California, one that gave him enough free time to pursue his interests: fantasy football, getting turned down by girls, eating Taco Bell, blogging, and being a complete douche. The anti-intellectualism of his writing is covered with the emotional scars of being too dumb to compete with smart people.

It was easy for Lander to find a voice for his d-baggery: It was developed for him by his spiritual forebears from Irving Kristol to David Brooks. And it didn’t hurt that his sullen, resentful temperament and self-loathing alienation resonate with d-bags all over the English speaking world, who think they are twice as smart as they are and three times smarter than everyone else. Being vicious, voyeuristic and smugly superior to the culture that produced you is de rigueur for d-bags, so Lander only had to speak from the heart to express the Britney/Paris, reality TV, fake-tits-and-porn, post-racial, globalized worldview and its critique of “inauthentic” (i.e. European high) culture.

But the key to his success with Stuff White People Like is the fact that Chandler does not identify as “white” — though his skin tone appears to say otherwise. Being a fan of power for its own sake and worshipping in the Cult of Masculinity (that is, loving anything corporate no matter how bad it is, thinking war is fun, and idolizing sports figures as heroes though they may be the biggest sociopaths on earth) is a trait common to all d-bags from all races and nations. But it’s the hypocrisy of pride endemic to people who believe they come from an ancient and venerable people but who have in fact been colonized and treated as outsiders for so long that they are self-loathing that separates the movement conservative from your average knuckle-dragging jerk. Who are these people? In the United States, these are off-white d-bags: Asians (Chinese especially, but also Filipinos, Koreans), Jews, Indians (from India — not “Native Americans”) — basically anyone who comes from a place where England planted a colony.

Racist discourse (like fascist discourse) relies on myths of purity, authenticity, and priority. “White” Americans are not just rich and foolish, their culture isn’t as old or pure as the cultures of off-white d-bags.  “White” Americans don’t know if they come from a colonizing people (didn’t the Germans rape the Congo?) and therefore they repudiate their past, which makes them posterior and inauthentic. And worst of all in the eyes of a d-bag, they still have the power — the skin privileges — their colonizing forebears worked so hard to bequeath them, but they just don’t seem to appreciate it. And this, in a d-bag’s eyes, is the greatest sin imaginable, because a d-bag wants that power so badly they can taste it, but they still don’t feel like they have it. And so a d-bag like Chandler will do everything in his power to belittle those more powerful than himself, but not from a noble impulse to correct human vices. Chandler is really just a hater.

Why is Chandler’s racism particularly dangerous in 2008? As Charles Blow points out, racism is very much alive in the minds of voters this year. Stuff White People Like tells us if you are non-white you have the right to be as racist, intolerant, and supremacist as any conservative WASP redneck shooting up churches in Tennessee. It’s time to call a shvartser a shvartser. Chandler is telling you it’s OK to hate your enemies based on the color of their skin — especially if they’re “white”.

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  • Are you violently angry when you see someone driving a Prius? If you are, you might be a d-bag.
  • When you hear people speaking in ching-chong or Mexican and they aren’t working in a kitchen, do you do your impeccable imitation of Lou Dobbs? If you do, you might be a d-bag.
  •  Does it bother you when people get a good feeling because they bought something that they thought was quality, instead of just cheap? Then you might be a d-bag.
  • Do you like every moment of your waking day to be hammered by ear-splitting noise, for example from a hemi V-8 engine, a blasting PA in your local sports bar, or a fart ripping out of your ass? Then you might be a d-bag.
  • Do you see nature as one giant toilette for you to shit in? Then you might be a d-bag.
  • Are other people means to your ends? If they are, you’re a d-bag.
  • Have you ever accused a teacher, a writer, or artist of being stupid because they said something you didn’t understand? If you have, you’re a d-bag.
  • Is the only reading you do in bullet points or on the ticker at the bottom of a TV screen? If it is, you might be a d-bag.
  • Do you have loud, private conversations in public, either when using a hands-free mobile device or even with just yourself? If you do, you’re either a d-bag or schizophrenic. (Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.)
  • Do you have a gnawing feeling that the world was once your oyster, but now the white people are getting the upper hand? If you do, you might be a d-bag.

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Nothing gets on God’s nerves like hypocrites, falsifiers, syndicators and and slanderers. And he gets really mad when you tell his worshipers their pious moralizing is in bad taste.

Back in the 60s Malcolm X said we had to call Negroes “African-Americans”. In the 70s we had to learn what “environmentalism” meant. In the 80s — the greatest decade in the history of the United States — Liberal wingnuts told us it wasn’t “politically correct” to call Barnard College a girls’ school, throw our styrofoam Big Mac cartons out the window of our cars, or create a shadow government. In the 90s we made a comeback thanks to our d-bag heroes in the House and on the radio, giants of d-baggery like Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh. By the time our dark lord of d-baggery was elected to the highest office in the land it had become PC to be anti-PC!

The physics of it are as simple as the plot of a Tom Clancy novel or an episode of 24. If someone thinks you are an ass for being an ass, they are an ass; if you are an ass you are an honest, freethinking, moral, courageous, hero — but only so long as you accuse someone of being an ass because they accused you of being an ass because you were, in fact, being an ass. It’s a no-brainer.

When someone tells you you should be ashamed of yourself for being such a selfish, mean, sneaky, lying, smug, irritating blowhard, they’re being PC. When you tell someone they should watch what they say about America or else they might end up in Gitmo, you’re being a patriot. Be a free thinker. When someone points out your hypocrisy, accuse them of being PC!

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Nothin’ says d-bag like letting your clothes do the insulting. (Thanks to the SkepTick at www.wayofthewoo.blogspot.com for the heads up.)

Once a long time ago d-bags were content to wear T-shirts that said “I’m only 2 girls short of a 3-some”, “I’m not a gynecologist, but I’ll take a look”, and “It’s not a bald spot; it’s a solar panel for a sex machine”. That was a simpler age, when the threat of communism had worn off but before Islamofascism and autism had taken its place.

Not only is it OK in d-bag America to say things that would have been condemned by our grandparents, it is obligatory to wear them on your chest as a way of identifying yourself to other d-bags.

The charm of d-baggery isn’t joining a junta, persecuting innocent people just because you think you’re bigger, or even exploiting those who nurture and sustain you to prove you’re a pimp (though those are perks). No, the icing on a d-bag’s nuttsack is the ability to insult people to their faces, daring them to fight back.

And when they do fight back, you can accuse them of breaking the rules of social decorum.

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D-bags are fond of accusing others of being Nazis. We live for it. We also like to accuse white people of it. The difference is when we’re not accusing someone of being a Nazi, we’re accusing them of appeasement.

Winston Churchill was a monarchist, suspicious of democratic institutions, who railed against  the abdication of prince Edward. His thorough self-knowledge was an advantage when he saw Hitler’s absolutist ambitions. Churchill correctly identified how big a d-bag Hitler would turn out to be.

Then again, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

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Some d-bags have suggested that regular white folks like to compare people they don’t like to Hitler. That may be true, but white folks have absolutely nothing on d-bags when it comes to throwing around terms like Hitler, fascist and anti-Semite.

The argument goes something like this: If you’re nice to other people you’re a liar and hypocrite. Deep down people are not nice — not at all! At least I (the d-bag) am honest about being a pompous, overbearing, selfish ass, and this means I am a freedom loving Republican. If you help people you actually take away their freedom by obliging them to yourself. Because we are all d-bags deep down we all resent being helped and put under an obligation.

Now, we d-bags love power. We love conspicuous displays of waste because it shows off our power. We love torturing children to show off our power. We love putting limits on what citizens can do and say to show off our power. We especially love signing statements.

The most straightforward definition of fascism is “authoritarian nationalist political ideologies or mass movements that are concerned with notions of cultural decline or decadence and seek to achieve a millenarian national rebirth by exalting the nation or race, and promoting cults of unity, strength and purity.” And the most straightforward exposition of such an ideology can be found in the mouths of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter, and Michele Malkin. But because these d-bag philosophers are Americans who love their country and hate people who don’t love it as much as they do, they aren’t fascists. No, it’s the liberals who want to help the poor, build public transportation, and protect the rights of all men and women who are the real authoritarian heirs to Hitler.

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