Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Break down the walls

If there's one thing the death throes of the Republican Party is teaching me, it's that clearly there are a lot of conservatives out there that I would actually love to be friends with [emphasis added]:

"Hi gentlemen," [Poulos] began. "Um … in the interest of fun I’m going to taunt the panel first, and then try to justify running the gauntlet by phrasing it as a serious question." Poulos was wearing a charcoal suit and a brightly colored tie, which stood out in the ballroom’s sea of navy blue and khaki but was subdued by his standards, which tend to run toward things like monochromatic three-piece suits and velvet jackets. (He also has sideburns that are shaped like New Hampshire and almost as big; the combination of muttonchops and fine tailoring suggests a character in a Victorian political cartoon, or one of the white guys in Superfly.) [...]

"In the interest of being more than provocative," he said, getting to his serious question, "are we ever going to be able to address the question of cultural necessitarianism without being confident that we’re getting our cultural criticism right?"

Stripped of its woolly academese, what Poulos was asking was, can conservatism properly push back against a popular culture that it doesn’t really understand? How does a movement that yearns for the values of the past confront a culture that prizes novelty? This was a problem that had bedeviled modern American conservatism since Buckley first inveighed against the Beatles in his syndicated column. It was something that Poulos, who had dabbled in screenwriting and indie rock (his band was called the End of History) in Los Angeles before moving to Washington, had kicked around in his own writing.

This individual sounds, as Posh would say, MAJOR.

The piece, by the way, is about the demise of Culture11, one of the more interesting experiments in conservative journalism to have popped up recently. I was initially sad to see it go--well, I still am, somewhat--but Homans makes a good point about the potential value in its demise. Let's end the echo chambers and set everybody writing in the same publications together, with the standard being the quality of their journalism and their thinking rather than the purity of their beliefs.

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