Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Um, how does one get something so wrong?

From one of the great voices of the internet (and a personal hero of mine), Richard Metzger comes this stinging rebuke to Lee Seigel's piece in the New York TImes Book Review comparing the Beat Generation with the current Tea Party.

From Richard:

“I think I’m going to puke.”
Blowhard asshole Lee Siegel continues to thrash around in the low end of the journalistic cesspool with this utterly idiotic essay in the New York Times comparing the Beat Generation to the Tea Party movement.
The counterculture of the late 1950s and early 1960s appears to be everywhere these days. A major exhibition of Allen Ginsberg’s photography just closed at the National Gallery in Washington. A superb book, by the historian Sean Wilentz, about Ginsberg’s dear friend and sometime influence Bob Dylan recently made the best-seller list. “Howl,”  a film about Ginsberg and the Beats, opened last month. And everywhere around us, the streets and airwaves hum with attacks on government authority, celebrations of radical individualism, inflammatory rhetoric, political theatrics.
In other words, the spirit of Beat dissent is alive (though some might say not well) in the character of Tea Party protest. Like the Beats, the Tea Partiers are driven by that maddeningly contradictory principle, subject to countless interpretations, at the heart of all American protest movements: individual freedom. The shared DNA of American dissent might be one answer to the question of why the Tea Partiers, so extreme and even anachronistic in their opposition to any type of government, exert such an astounding appeal.
Comparing the sexy, druggy, life embracing, progressive culture of the beats to the fascistic, xenophobic, racist, fearful and life-negating Tea Party is absolutely absurd. It’s like comparing fucking to a case of serious blue balls.
The following comment by Siegel not only posits an idiotic argument, it’s morally disgusting:
the Tea Partiers’ unnerving habit of bringing guns to town-hall meetings would have repelled the Beats. But William S. Burroughs fetishized guns, accidentally killing his wife while trying to shoot a glass off her head. Violence, implicit or explicit, comes with the “beaten” state of mind. So does theatricality, since playing roles — and manipulating symbols — is often the first resort of people who do not feel acknowledged for being who they really are.
What the fuck does Burroughs’ wife’s death have to with “manipulating symbols” or some kind of identity crisis?
Read the entire steaming pile of bullshit here.

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