Recently at The Week, right-wing author Matt K. Lewis penned a provocative column called “The Culture War Is Over, and Conservatives Lost.” He was echoing what many rightbloggers have been saying since the recent election — that after two consecutive victories by the Kenyan Pretender, conservatives ought to consider that the average America might not actually hate homosexuals, contraception, and Big Gummint, and that the right’s “culture war” (Wikipedia entry here, for those fortunate enough never to have heard of it) might be a losing proposition.
But we’re skeptical. Maybe they’d give up if the culture war were really meant to sway ordinary Americans, since in that regard it’s apparently no longer useful. But in the Age of Obama II, it would seem that culture war is actually a sort of make-work project for rightbloggers. And if they do it right, they can even get people to pay for it.Conservative hearts have been observably sagging since November 6. You can see it in the increasingly glum columns of George F. Will; in his latest, “Our Decadent Democracy,” Will mourns that America is going the way of Japan because it wants its Social Security and Medicare, the lazy bastards, and also is experiencing “its lowest birth rate since at least 1920” (as we have observed before, birth rate is a perennial concern of culture warriors).
Maggie Gallagher, that longtime implacable foe of marriage equality, has actually thrown in the towel, at least as far as producing a regular column that people pay for goes.
Gallagher acknowledges in her valedictory column that the world hasn’t been listening to her — or , as she puts it, “the power of porn and Hollywood to create our norms for family life is more triumphant than ever.” But she still believes what she’s always believed, though she only talks about the Gee Ay Why part in code now (“If it is true that sex makes babies, then that is clearly the most important thing about sex, the thing around which a decent person or society will organize sexual values, behavior and norms”).
To keep hope alive, Gallagher calls for “a next generation of culture creators, of storytellers, with the credentials to name reality: empirical social scientists, novelists, poets, preachers and filmmakers.”
But where would these empirical artists come from? Glad you asked! “We need donors to invest in building the networks and communities through which such voices are born, flourish and give meaning to the lives of millions,” she writes.
One could go to MaggieGallagher.com, then, and hit the PayPal to keep the culture war going. But there are plenty of other ways to contribute.
One could, at a minimum, contribute one’s attention and/or place on a mailing list, via bulletins and e-mail messages that bulge with Obama conspiracy messages. A widely circulated “I’m Hearing Strange Whispers About Obama . . .” e-mail, for example, tells readers about “gossip, likely very innocent in nature, that Obama will ultimately go down in history as the ‘Greatest President Ever.'” Readers might give the lie to this intolerable assertion by taking part in a linked poll that requires that they give their e-mail address to the author’s website. Well, at least it’s not going to the damned Lame Stream Media!
Or one could go bigger. As you might have heard, some of the brethren are so heartbroken that they are willing to entertain the idea of secession. But talk is cheap. For the serious separatist, there’s something called The Citadel, sort of a secessionist housing development in Idaho, which we are promised “will house between 3,500 and 7,000 patriotic American families who agree that being prepared for the emergencies of life and being proficient with the American icon of Liberty — the Rifle — are prudent measures.” Want in? Send them a form and some money. “If your application is not accepted,” they say, “your application fee will be refunded (minus a $33 administrative fee).”
This may be too hardcore for most. But there are secession-lite options.
Instapundit and other rightbloggers have promoted a book by one Thomas Sawyer called The Two State Solution for America. Sawyer starts by explaining the problem: “Those on the left REALLY HATE the right for not supplicating to the desires of the statists,” while “those on the right REALLY HATE the left for trying to destroy the values that built America.” Having thus assured that only conservatives will take him seriously, Sawyer proposes ‘the reorganization of the federal government into two new entities — the federal and the Regional . . .” Sawyer’s plan “creates two parts — the national and the domestic — out of the whole of our current federal government, and splits the responsibilities between the federal level and the Regions. Then it splits the domestic level into two parts — Region A and Region B,” etc.
The main impediment to this plan, says Sawyer, is the liberals, who won’t go along because it would “prove to the world that their goal, like all good socialists throughout history, is to achieve a centralized, all-powerful government, with THEM in charge.” Think how silly they’d look then! Thus the only real options left for conservatives are either to “accept their chains freely,” or to “try to secede . . . what if those [Red] states were to act on this idea, allowing them to effectively institute the Two State Solution for America unilaterally, thereby forcing the liberal states into this new ‘compact’ by default?” See, you’re not a traitor — liberals are forcing you to start your own alterna-confederacy. The book isn’t printed yet, but “as soon as they can tell me specifically which day the books will be ready to ship, I will post it here,” the author assures us, “and also on the ‘Buy the Book’ page.”
If you haven’t given up on bringing America around to a rightblogger way of thinking, you can join with those who still hope to win the culture war. But we warn you: These brethren are not as strong on product as they are on the pitch.
At NewsBusters, Matthew Sheffield complains that “many of the top-dollar donors on the right do not seem to understand” the role of culture in turning the tide. “Too often,” he laments, “conservatives have viewed the idea of inspiring the masses as somehow beneath their intellectual gifts. This attitude must come to an end.”
But Sheffield doesn’t have any actual culture-type suggestions, other than a change in the hearts of conservative moneymen. John Daly is more creative. At Bernard Goldberg’s site, Daly suggests that conservatives should go after the “clueless, unprincipled vote” — yeah, we know, but he means people who voted for Obama — and that “dumbing down the conservative message through the pop-culture world may just be the way of doing it.” He then runs a campaign up the flagpole to see if anyone will say the Pledge of Allegiance:
“Imagine a series of television commercials,” Daly writes, “in the format of public service announcements, featuring actor Vince Vaughn.” (Vaughn’s “one of the few, outed fiscal conservatives in Hollywood,” he explains.) “In his trademark comedic, dapper style,” Daly goes on, “Vaughn throws out some metaphorical explanation of how screwed up our nation’s spending problem is, and how that problem affects each and every one of us. The presentation should be simple, but it should also get across a point that people can relate to — much like the Apple vs. Microsoft commercials from a few years ago, or the ‘this is your brain on drugs’ campaign from the 1980s. The series could expand to cover over-regulation, over-taxation, and more. They should be aired not on cable news networks, but during some of the popular, prime-time reality shows.”
How can it miss? Except it has to get made first, and Vince Vaughn ain’t cheap. “If wealthy, conservative donors truly want to make a difference in public perception and support,” says Daly, “they might want to consider backing such a shift rather than just the politicians themselves.”
Celebrity endorsements seem to be a popular idea among these folks. “Politics follow pop culture” says Jason Mattera on Fox News, but when challenged by his host to “get the youth vote on your side,” Mattera replies, not with a sitcom pitch, but with this: “I would identify every libertarian, right-leaning person in Hollywood” (Vince Vaughn, are you listening?) and have them tell young people how Facebook and Apple are “the result of capitalism in action.” Also, he would point out to the kids that if they wouldn’t want “Uncle Sam” telling them “how many friends you can have on Facebook . . . why would you want them telling you what retirement program you can be in?” Mattera also suggested that if he’d had a role in the 2012 Republican campaign, “every time there was a concert with Bruce Springsteen with Barack Obama or Bon Jovi and Barack Obama, I would have had young people going out dressed as fake farmers, because both of those individuals classify themselves as farmer so they can write off a jaw-dropping 98% of their property taxes . . .” Take that, Lena Dunham!
Are there any rightbloggers who’ve thought of fighting the culture war with actual culture? Bill Whittle of PJTV has been thinking about it for a long time, and talking about it, mostly in videos, which may be why you haven’t heard of him. In one of his classics from a few years back, Whittle explains the problem: Hollywood hates the American people. “You know who the reliable standby enemy is in Hollywood films today?” he says. “You are! If you’re pro-business, pro-military, pro-Christian and for limited government and individual rights and responsibilities, then you and everything you believe are the enemy of Hollywood films today. And they are determined to brainwash the entire country into believing it, regardless of how much money they have to lose at the box office in order to do so. It’s really just that simple.”
If you can swallow that Hollywood is content not to make money, you will be interested in Whittle’s plan to “fight back against such a massive wall of disinformation” via culture war: “In WWII,” he goes on, “the United States faced the problem that half of the entire planet, the Pacific Ocean, was home turf to the forces of imperial Japan, who had swept over an entire hemisphere undefeated. Rather than trying to conquer every single one of these fortresses, U.S. planners devised a strategy called ‘island-hopping.’ They would fight and fight hard with everything we had, but only for key strongholds, bypassing the bulk of enemy forces, and leaving them in the rear to wither and die from lack of supply. We’re gonna have to do that as well . . . we mean to take the fight to downtown Tokyo! We mean to hit these anti-American suicidal elitists right where it hurts the most and where they expect it least.”
But how? Whittle explains that he has a company called Declaration Entertainment. While Hollywood gets its financing from foreigners (as do other American businesses, but for some reason what made Mitt Romney a patriot makes the Weinstein Brothers traitors), Declaration plans to make patriotic films with money from, as PBS might say, Viewers Like You (“How do these pro-American movies get funded? That’s the most amazing part! Your membership fees will be placed in a production fund . . .”). So if you want some culture to go with your war, you know what to do.
Well, at least he has the idea of making movies, and we look forward to seeing the result (as far as we can find, Declaration hasn’t released a finished feature, though a trailer from last summer promises one is coming soon). But we worry Whittle’s restless intelligence may distract him from these efforts. Asked in a more recent video, “what aspect of the culture, movies music books etc., do you think holds the best hope for conservatism?” Whittle answers, “I think it’s video games. I think things like Call of Duty and Medal of Honor and so on which basically glorify our military, glorifies ’em for the reasons they should be glorified . . . these first-person shooters get better and better and better, and nowadays you get into these first-person shooters and it gives you pretty immersive idea of what it is our guys actually have to go through, minus the actual terror and blood and all that other stuff. And the ability to respawn is a nice thing, I’m sure a lot of guys out in the field like that respawn idea a lot . . .”
There’s your new frontier, culture warriors! Now, which of you wants to put up the Kickstarter page?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 6, 2013