Monday, October 11, 2004

Things that make you go hmmm...

Excerpt from What's the Matter With Kansas: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America by Thomas Frank:

... we recall that the great goal of the [anti-liberal] backlash is to nurture a cultural class war, and the first step in doing so, as we have seen, is to deny the economic basis of social class. After all, you can hardly deride liberals as society's "elite" or present the GOP as the party of the common man if you acknowledge the existence of the corporate world -- the power that creates the nation's real elite, that dominates its real class system, and that wields the Republican Party as its personal political sidearm.

The erasure of the economic is a necessary precondition for most of the basic backlash ideas. It is only possible to think that the news is slanted to the left, for example, if you don't take into account who owns the news organizations and if you never turn your critical powers on the section of the media devoted to business news. The university campus can only be imagined as a place dominated by leftists if you never consider economics departments or business schools. You can believe that conservatives are powerless victims only if you exclude conservatism's basic historical constituency, the business community, from your analysis. Likewise, you can only believe that George W. Bush is a man of the people if you have screened out his family's economic status. Most important, it is possible to understand popular culture as the product of liberalism only if you have blinded yourself to the most fundamental of economic realities, namely that the networks and movie studios and advertising agencies and publishing houses and record labels are, in fact, commercial enterprises. (page 128-129)

Just a mini review of the book: It's a little hard reading at time, and I'm never quite sure where Frank is going. However, there are some very intriguing ideas and well-worth reading. It's a lot less angry in tone than some of the anti-conservative/liberal tomes out there, and the writing tends to be sharp and intellectual. Uh oh, an intellectual liberal! There goes the library...

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