12 September 2006

Not Since Monty Python Summarized Proust...

...has someone so succinctly encapsulated the mass of compromises and idiosyncracies represented in our psyches. James Lileks summarizes his political views and explains why The Bleat is not a political site:

If I really ran a political site I would end up disappointing everyone, since I am a mess of superficially contradictory opinions (hands off regulating cable because of adult content; stop marking slut dolls to my little girl) and old-style liberal notions, like the primacy of individuality over race. I have zero objections to homosexuality but balk at redefining marriage. I recycle and abjure waste and live light as possible and dislike Hummers but I’m unimpressed by environmental scaremongering. I believe women are the intellectual equal of men but emotionally and psychologically different. (I don’t want to outweigh the firefighter who attempts to carry me down the steps, and I don’t want a 37-year old man leading my daughter’s Girl Scout troop. No Harvard jobs for me!) I would rather hang out with Iggy Pop than Frank Sinatra. I love the 50s but, if I lived there as a 20-something I'd be the sort of person who annoys me now, railing against the very symbols of artifice I prize today. I hate the 60s, but know full well I would have been a pretentious stoner antiestablishment wannabee until the pose cost me money. I think light rail is a money pit sinkhole beloved by New Urbanists, but support public subsidies of large-scale bus systems to move inner-city people to wherever the jobs may be. I dearly love the inner city but don’t care if people move to the burbs for nice houses and good schools. (I support the public schools. I support school choice.) For that matter I support the New Urbanists, except when they get high-mindedly pissy about people’s free choices. I believe in God, but I’m not throwing away my Coop books because he had a hot time at a Black Mass. I can’t stand everything Islamicists stand for, despair of the tide that seems to swamp a religion for which I have, despite my efforts, no empathetic connection whatsoever, but I celebrate the first Muslim in space. I dislike most TV, most modern music, and most movies, but love the big messy hot throbbing blob of Western pop culture, partly because I connect with part of it like a dog biting on a live wire, and partly because the loud rude crass mess spells freedom, and that is the root word at the heart of the American experiment. We can always learn ! from others, but they’ve much to learn from us. Unless they have a 200+ year track record of expanding rights and unimaginable prosperity as well.

If only our political candidates would provide us such illuminating thumbnail sketches of their views, we would... well, never elect them, but we would be appreciative.

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