"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I'm Not Down with the Christian Metrocon Thing

Mark Gauvreau Judge is a good writer, but I think he should have left this one in the unsubmitted file. His basic thesis is that the red state identity basically celebrates cretinism. I disagree with that, despite not really loving NASCAR, Bill O'Reilly, and some of the other targets he picks.

But what is really offensive is that he somehow conflates wearing the right clothes and discriminating consumerism with advanced spirituality in the Christian sense.

I don't think so.

At the risk of repeating myself, I'll include my letter to the editor on the piece:

Dear Editor,

I've always liked Mark Gauvreau Judge's work, but I find at least part of his central thesis about the superiority of being a metrocon questionable and maybe even objectionable. While I agree that there is nothing to celebrate about being tacky or willfully ignorant (which I'm not sure his target group really is), I disagree vigorously that the "second growth" of spirituality involves learning how to purchase and wear the right clothing and accessories. Natty apparel has never been a sign of spiritual maturity as far as I can tell. Were it so the fashionistas would be the deepest folk on earth.

It is one thing to argue that many of today's conservatives don't hold a candle to William F. Buckley on style points (surely, they do not), but to conflate that point with spiritual maturity and depth evokes a Christianity of which I'm not aware. Certainly, a preference for Brooks Brothers over Wal-Mart does little to inform one about the nobility of a particular soul. In fact, the good book might make the opposite case.

Hunter Baker
Contributor to The Reform Club
Athens, Georgia

8 comments:

Francis J. Beckwith said...

Cretins unite!

Hunter Baker said...

Let's just say, non-fashion plates with a good spiritual compass . . . UNITE!

Matt Huisman said...

Does this mean that Mark Gauvreau Judge is an ex-cretion?

Hunter Baker said...

You're taking up the Jay Homnick beat!

The Classic Liberal Anonymous said...

Sounds like Judge is trying to make himself look better by denigrating others; as if he is trying to distance himself from a stereotype.

I must say that I am guilty of the same at times. I get bothered when I get pigeon-holed as a "Republican" by the far-left Democrats around here.

The problem isn't the label, but what the far-left Demo's think the label means, and I am not that.

Thus I get defensive (slightly) and state (correctly) that I am not a Republican, but an Independent.

FWIW ...

Kathy Hutchins said...

Rod Dreher at NRO seems to be making the same sorts of category errors with his whole "Crunchy Con" thesis, a vapid and derivative couple of ideas that he has somehow persuaded Crown Forum to release in book-length form. I don't think sound conservative impulse has any more to do with being so sensitive you insist on free range brown organic eggs than it does with wearing cashmere.

Hunter Baker said...

I think Rod found something kind of interesting, which is the idea that some conservatives have granola tastes in this or that, and transformed it into a miniature industry. A cute article, but not for me in book form.

JMahan said...

What amazing arrogance. How incredibly elitist. Everything he waxes on about is from the ideals the left holds so dear. If you grew up wearing velvet knickers, good for you. If you like classical music, good for you. If you like dressing like a primp, and having your pedicure, good for you.

Who made having soft hands and feet, wearing $1000 suits, and going to the opera the height of societal evolution? The ability to convince oneself that a certain type of music sounds good, and inherently uncomfortable clothing feels comfortable doesn't make one superior. It makes one a sheep.

Personally, I prefer to be with non-pretentious people who are comfortable being themselves.