Thursday, October 06, 2005

Old World, New World, Third World

Phil Johnson has a knack for attracting carping critics. It has more to do with style than substance, but you can predict that when he writes a certain way on a certain subject, he’s going to provoke a certain reaction. The critics are going to say what they always say the way they always say it.

I find t his amusing because the critics are so clueless. They act like Martians. They act as if they have no knowledge of American culture.

Phil’s brand of humor isn’t distinctive to Phil. I have the same sense of humor. So does Frank Turk. So does James White. So does the Pedantic Protestant. So does Peccadillo. So does Theologically Correct. So does Fide-O. The list could go on and on.

This is America humor, folks. It is a reflection of national character. The hyperbole. The satire. The larger-than-life persona. The lowbrow contempt of highfalutin’ airs.

Hey, guys, why is this such an alien concept to you? Did you just get off the boat? Were you born and raised in a Swiss finishing school?

To a large extent this is a red state/blue state thing. Phil has a red state sense of humor, while his critics have a blue state sense of humorlessness.

Liberals can’t afford a sense of humor, because humor might offend someone, might hurt their feelings. A liberal is the most uptight, inhibited creature on earth—like a girl caught wearing the wrong color dress to the prom. Oh the shame! Oh the humiliation! Of the stigma! Oh the scandal!

Have you ever noticed that right-wingers have all the fun? We say what we think—the way we want to say it. We call a spade a spade. But a liberal is a certified crepe-hanger.

BTW, this is an aspect of the Catholic/Protestant divide. Traditionally, Europe is Catholic while North America is Protestant. Blue staters look to Europe for inspiration. They look to their social elders and betters for approval. A pat on the head. They look longingly to the dying monarchies and aristocracies and the Jamesian novel of manners.

Red staters don’t define themselves by European values. They’re content to be American. They aren’t wracked by this gnawing inferiority complex. Think: Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.

This also plays into the current dust-up between Phil and theBlueRaja. Now, to judge by his blog, the BlueRaja is an okay kinda guy. His heart is in the right place. And he has a good head on his shoulders.

But he has a real chip on his shoulder where America is concerned. And this is driving his pacifism.

This isn’t disinterested theology. It’s seething with Third World resentment of America as a big rich bully swaggering across the world stage, of America as a war-mongering, whore-mongering rogue state bent on world domination. Evil capitalism. Evil republicanism. Evil neocons conspiring to spread Zionism. Blood for oil.

It doesn’t once occur to him that by savaging American "nationalism" in classic UN-speak, theBlueRaja is merely replicating his own national character, mirroring his own social conditioning, reflecting his own Third World envy and rage and covetousness.


  1. Whoa, remind me to never get on your bad side. Now I'm glad I stayed out of that one. Even though there were some questions about the Shabbat. Hard to resist those type of requests.
    I'm sure though that it was one of the funniest series I've ever read.
    Phil would be great at a Messianic barbeque. We could laugh our kippas off!


  2. You're welcome to raise Sabbatarian questions here.

  3. BTW, your fear of getting on my bad side charitably assumes that I have a good side!

  4. Oh, you definitely have a good side.

    And I mean that in a totally non-Pelagian sense.

    Thanks for this. You saved me some time and encouraged me on a seriously crummy day.

  5. Somewhat relevant to this post, and to the previous one as well ("Mired in Miers"), folks might like to check out the following article "Getting In: The social logic of Ivy League admissions" by Malcolm Gladwell:

  6. Phil,

    Your reply to the theblueraja (I assume this is Sharad - a fellow TMS graduate) in the comments section of yesterday's blog entry were well done - keep up the good work!

    And you absolutely killed me with the whole frozen ground beef thing!

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