As recently as two months ago, this country was run by elites: latte-sipping, liberal arts degree-holding, pilates-skipping elites. Fortunately, the election of Donald Trump and meteoric re-ascendence of the Republican Party has solved all that. Now that the billionaire son of a millionaire is president, America is going to start working for ordinary people again. And you know who will be leading the charge? Conservative pundits. They’ve broken free of the oppression that confined them to think tanks and the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal, and now they’ve taken up the cry of the real American. Today is Friday, and we’re finally going to do something about the elitists who stopped tax cuts for the rich and saddled the country with burdensome welfare programs. Won’t you go sans culottes with me?
Here’s a tip for you Kombat! Kids out there: you can be any kind of asshole so long as you are right and good. For example, I have a bunch of stuff I need to do today, but none of it matters because The New York Times Magazine published an essay I wrote. Monster, undying props to Willy for that one. It’s not that writing an essay is such a great achievement, or even an achievement I undertook today, but I feel like I’m off the hook for the rest of the morning. Today is Friday, and a smug sense of rectitude will compensate for any number of personal failings—from the rectified’s perspective, at least. Won’t you blithely transgress decency with me?
Behold—behear, I guess—“Accidental Racist,” Brad Paisley’s and LL Cool J’s attempt to settle this black/white thing once and for all. Attention white people, particularly those involved in poetry slams: please stop talking about race. There are lots of ways you can do it cogently and inoffensively, but there are also a lot of safe routes through a minefield. Well before LL says “RIP Robert E Lee, but I gotta thank Abraham Lincoln for freeing me,” this song turns into Claymore City. I first became aware of it via Grantland’s Rembert Browne, who argues that the appropriate response is not indignation but smirking disdain. It’s hard to ignore a song from history’s greatest country music singer and today’s hippest rapper, though, which is why Will Shetterly has taken to the New York Times to explain why elitists hate “Accidental Racist.”
Shamus Khan’s opinion piece about “The New Elitists” initially made me angry. Sure, I enjoyed the sweet anecdote about William Vanderbilt getting snubbed by the New York Academy of Music, and I’m always up for a screed against the rich. The rich are given resources out of all proportion to their talent and usefulness, usually by their parents. It’s a peculiar way to run a country that defined itself against inherited aristocracy, although it makes more sense if you think of the United States as the country that defined itself against Marxism. My complaint is that Khan focuses his column on cultural elitism—the “omnivorousness” that passes for sophistication but is often simply the hallmark of privilege. I consider myself a cultural omnivore. I like Sean Paul’s art and Jean Paul Sartre. Must I therefore be an elite?
Despite its manifest limitations, Combat! blog strives to appear fair and reasonable. Our discussions here may be colored by liberal bias, occasional smug atheism and captions about seagulls swooping at Anne Coulter’s vagina, but we try to maintain at least a pose of circumspection. Nobody wants to read blog posts by a person who already knows what he thinks about everything. That being said: today I read about Rick Perry’s declaration that President Obama “grew up in a privileged way” and that “that mentality of ‘I’m the smartest guy in the room and therefore it couldn’t be my fault’ is really hurting America.” And I thought to myself, you craven little ponce. Only for once, I was thinking that about someone else. So today’s Combat! blog post is basically just a rant. Rick Perry is a mediocre man and a bidder for the admiration of the crowd. His campaign for the presidency is important only insofar as it warns us against the legions of men exactly like him who will come after, and who will also be too dishonest and stupid to do us any good.