I have exactly no time for pundits — conservative or otherwise — talking popular culture today. What with Rush misinterpreting Beyoncé and Hannity talking Honey Boo Boo, I feel fit to stroke out. I know, I know — Rush maintains that he was merely repeating a misinterpretation of Beyoncé’s stupid new song as part of his “low information voter outreach” or whatever, but it was so incredibly stupid and annoying, I turned the radio off. I listen to Rush almost everyday, and as much sentimental affinity as I have for him, his pop culture commentary is like listening to your dad attempting to remain culturally relevant. I don’t have to do that, because my dad isn’t worried about appearing “cool,” but you know what I mean.
Why do we do this to ourselves? The only pop culture commentary I can handle from right or left is Mark Steyn’s, and do you know what his secret is? He wears sous and pocket squares and spontaneously breaks or into show tunes and doesn’t give a f*ck if you think he’s cool. But he’s relevant because he pays attention to the undercurrents of culture, not the surface trappings. He knows what it all means without getting bogged down in the pointless particulars. And I’m not trying to turn this into some Steyn asskissing festival, because that ship has sailed; I’m just trying to put into words that nebulous knack for getting pop culture commentary right. Remaining “relevant” isn’t the goal. Interpreting the smoke signals should be.
Now, Rush doesn’t seem to think he’s trying to remain relevant, and perhaps everyone is reading it wrong. I’m not even concerned worth that. It’s the overarching belief on the right in general that we can somehow regain pop culture when we never entered the fight. Winning the culture war was never about making concessions to relativism, it was about standing diem against it, while still exhibiting grace and acceptance, something neither show has done. Multiculturalism and moral relativism are two of the most intolerant, intellectually lazy and oppressive mindsets foisted onto Western culture as a whole. And we have done nothing on the right to counter that. And now that it seems apparent that we have lost the culture war, the right scrambles to water down the core message of conservatism or make fart jokes and talk about Beyoncé, who seems to be a little worried about remaining relevant herself.
It’s not a younger tone or fave we need. Honestly, I’m not sure what we need. I’m of the mind that we have lost, and that we should attempt to make our decline as uncomfortable as possible for its architects. I know that’s an awful place to be, but what hope can you have in a country that elected Obama twice? I mean, Carter only got one term. I think that by opting or of the culture war, conservatism allowed this country to become a place where 35 year olds are still in college, living off the government, having kids occasionally and patting themselves on the back for being so much more tolerant than those racist, homophobic, sexist, anti-intellectual flat earthers on the right. Sadly — almost comically, really — my peers can’t see that they are but the latest standard bearers for a centuries-old philosophy that has brought nothing but death and decline everywhere it has been implemented.
But we — conservatives — gave up on entertainment, art, music, and literature, abandoning the things that historically shape culture without much of a fight. And then we complain about it and offer up feeble, “Christian rock” caliber alternatives when it becomes apparent that the game is lost.
You don’t regain that kind of ground by “articulating your message” more clearly. We’ve got 40 or 50 years of decline, of the infantilization of successive generations of potential adults to deal with. Telling them that they’re going to have to start paying for their own condoms and taking responsibility for themselves isn’t going to cut it.
Do you know what to do? Yeah, me either. I’m just planning on holding the architects accountable and making this decline as uncomfortable as possible. That’s really all I know how to do.