We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Throughout the opening decades of the 20th century, American liberals engaged in a spirited critique of Americanism, a condition they understood as the pursuit of mass prosperity by an energetic but crude, grasping people chasing their private ambitions without the benefit of a clerisy to guide them. In thrall to their futile quest for material well-being, and numbed by the popular entertainments that appealed to the lowest common denominator in a nation of immigrants, Americans were supposedly incapable of recognizing the superiority of European culture as defined by its literary achievements.
This critique gave rise to the ferment of the 1920s, described by the literary critic Malcolm Cowley as the “exciting years…when…the young intellectuals seized power in the literary world almost like the Bolsheviks in Russia.” The writers Cowley referred to—Sinclair Lewis, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sherwood Anderson, and Waldo Frank especially—had “a vague belief in aristocracy” and a sense that they were being “oppressed” by the culture of Main Street. But they believed America could be rescued from the pits of its popular culture by secular priests of sufficient insight to redeem the country from the depredations of the mass culture produced by democracy and capitalism. They were championed not only by leftists such as Cowley, but also by Nietzscheans such as H.L. Mencken, the critic and editor whom Walter Lippmann described in 1926 as “the most powerful influence on this whole generation of educated people” who famously mocked the hapless “herd,” “the imbeciles,” the “booboisie,” all of whom he deemed the “peasantry” that blighted American cultural life.
It's not that difficult to understand, people:
America was founded for the people, for the average Joe and Jane.
It was not founded as another locus of aristocrats desirous of lording it over hoi polloi.
If that's your desire, powder your wig and hop the next flight to Europe, where the infrastructure knows all too well how to defer to people with taller piles of metal.
Heh!! Well, I don't know for sure but I don't get the idea he was the type to get all bent out of shape just because you disagreed with him, so long as you disagreed with some verve and style. Maybe like Chris Hitchens.
I admire him with many qualifications. For instance, he labeled much of the deep South as IIRC the "Bible and hookworm belt" which is at once unfair, cruel, and funny. But being from the South I know how unfair and cruel his attitude towards the region was.
On the other hand, his "The American Language" is a wonderful book - he really did love the American form of English and all its logical and illogical divergences from British English.
Have any of you noticed, as I have, that nobody whistles a tune any more? Workmen and postal persons used to hum or whistle when they came to our house, the latest pop songs or show tunes made their way through our lives that way. It's no doubt because of there being no Broadway musicals worth the name, no pop tunes that can be sung by other than the tone deaf. Heavy metal so-called music is impossible for individuals to reproduce by vocalizing. The world is a poorer, grimmer place because of this.
Of course, the news of the day doesn't much comfort us either.