29 feb. 2008

The supercilious urbane twit is dead. Precursor of college republican twits of generations to come. He was wrong on segregation (supported it), wrong on Senator Joseph McCarthy (thought he was a good guy), wrong about God, wrong about Man, and wrong about Yale. He was wrong about Vietnam and wrong about Greece. Wrong about Generalísimo Francisco Franco, another guy he thought was swell. Probably wrong about virtually everything else too.

He wasn't a better man because he was urbane and supercilious. Those two qualities, in him, were just another way of being wrong. His intellect was vastly overrated because of a cultivated accent and a knowledge of polysyllabic words and a few debater's tricks. He only looks good now because the cultivated air makes him seem unthreatening. Tired of being wrong about just about everything, he decided not to be wrong about Iraq in the end. Once he was no longer influential, once he had no power to help or harm, no role to play, he could take the right position. Thanks a lot!

Don't tell me he was genial person in private life sailing his sailboat and writing his detective novels. Why should anyone care? Remember WCW's poem about the yachts? Hugh Kenner should have quoted that to him some time. I don't really see why upper class privilege (the yachts, the fucking accent, the nauseating raising of eyebrows, the condescension) should make us feel more kindly toward him. It's like saying, "he was a reactionary elitisit" and then someone objecting, "Yes, but he was rich!" (as though those were two unrelated facts).

We'll probably have to read tributes by Garry Wills and Joan Didion. We'll hear liberal voices in the New York Times bending over backwards to tell us how intelligent and urbane he was, now he is safely dead and even more irrelevant than he was during the last ten years or so. We can feel nostalgia for the good old conservatives, like Barry Goldwater and Generlísimo Francisco Franco. Not like those bad new ones who kill and torture, right? The good old days of the Latin mass and Senator Joseph McCarthy, segregation and gays in the closet...

3 comentarios:

John dijo...

Wasn't Kenner extremely conservative politically too?

Jonathan dijo...

Yes, Kenner was conservative too. They should have read that poem and thought about it a bit.

Annandale Dream Gazette dijo...

couldn't agree more. could not stand him ever, dead or alive.