Thursday, September 07, 2006

Friends and Faux.

Who could have guessed that Rod Dreher so liked people who define themselves by their affectations? First there was his defense of Dan Rather -- "Courage" -- and now we learn that Dreher loves Borat.

(Though superficially similar, one can see a stark contrast between Rather and Borat by noting that Borat's comedic value is deliberate and that even Dreher knows that Borat isn't a real journalist.)

In the comments, Dreher asks us implicitly to forget his love of Cuban music and California wines, his disinterest in college football and other sports, and his old job as a New York movie critic when he assures us that he is -- and I quote -- "a Southerner to [his] fingertips."

How Southern is he?
Southerners are really impossibly nice people, but I can understand why it's so difficult for Yankees to deal with us because in general, we will bend over backwards to avoid being unpleasant -- even to the point of not telling you what you need to know. [emphasis mine]

What's the "we" business?

In reading his accusing mainstream conservatives of being godless materialists and his accusing rank-and-file Republicans of being homophobes for holding the exact same position he does, and in watching him first ignore then insult those who offer substantive criticism, it never occurred to me that Dreher was trying to avoid being unpleasant.

On the contrary, it's quite obvious that at best he doesn't care about civility -- and, at worst, he outright indulges in contempt -- when encountering those on the right with whom he disagrees.

But, gosh, he's as Southern as SEC football, and doesn't his genteel demeanor just prove that?

I think I now understand why he defends Rather and loves Borat; he is in awe of those who are actually successful at creating an artificial persona, which is a funny goal for a man who apparently so values authenticity.


Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...


You should be married by now if I recall. If so best wishes and congratulations to you and Mrs. B.. I wish you great prosperity and happiness to you and your family. If I’m mistaken apologies.

I heard about Ali G. at work. When I saw this post today I watched the video out of curiosity. I thought it is was awful. I did not laugh.

I did not laugh because I don't like cruelty and humiliation. You don't know how many of those folks in the crowd were ringers to get the audience singing. You also don't know how many people were laughing at him and not singing with him.

As far as Rod goes, I can’t really say because I am not from the south. I know nothing about the real south. I’ll leave that between you guys.

7:19 PM  
Blogger Pauli said...

We report.

You decide.

9:07 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

Here's what else is faux -- RayRod is constantly justifying his ignorance of things because of his job. "hey man, any inconsistencies here are not my problem, i'm just a writer ... I don't know about [fill in the blank]. " like his being a writer absolves him of having to know anything, or God forbid, learn anything new.

He seems to think it a point of pride that he is paid just to write, while having nothing substantive to say. Like we would all get away with ignorance if only we could get paid to do so. Recently he said, "Hey, I'm just an opinion monger [it's not my job to know X.]" of course, if he is a self-proclaimed know-nothing, then precisely why we should buy the opinions he is mongering escapes me.

does dreher also mean to imply that ignorance a great tradition of the south?

3:25 PM  
Blogger Barb the Evil Genius said...

I've often thought about writing a story, but felt I needed to do a lot of research about the time period I wanted to place it in. So now I can just say, for example, "Hey, it's not my fault I have Charlemagne driving a car! I'm just a writer!"??

4:47 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...


You're absolutely right, I got married August 26th: lovely ceremony, and my beloved was even more gorgeous than usual. It's one of the reasons I haven't been a constant presence here or really anywhere else online. The reason I posted about Rod and Borat is that I glanced at Rod's blog, the Borat post was the second entry, and it and the comments were just too good.

There's "low-hanging fruit" (a phrase I understand but loathe on an aesthetic level), and then there's the apple that falls into your lap.

I myself think Borat is sometimes quite hilarious, but I admit that his humor appeals to our baser instincts, as some humor does. It's one thing to laugh at Frasier Crane's ego (and hopefully recognize that we aren't immune to such preening), it's another altogether to laugh at the well-meaning naivete of Borat.

About being Southern, I'm not sure there's one stereotype that fits. Consider the stereotypes of the Southern gentleman and the redneck: the former is indeed known for going out of his way for people around him, the latter often looks to pick a fight. I'm not sure one is more authentically Southern than the other.

The "University" of Alabama is somewhat infamous for its "Rammer Jammer" cheer: "we just beat the hell out of you." At Rod's alma mater, LSU's fans have been known to pick fights with the away team's marching band. And even my beloved Auburn is rubbing in the fact that we may soon beat Bama for the fifth straight year with "Fear the Thumb" tee-shirts. Behavior like this is obnoxious and usually in poor taste and not indicative of good sportsmanship, but does that mean it's not authentically Southern?

Are those who wave the Confederate flag not authentically Southern because they won't "bend over backwards to avoid being unpleasant"?

Was Johnny Cash -- and are Hank Williams Jr. and Charlie Daniels -- inauthentic Southerners because it's clear that none of them gave a damn about what others thought about them?

(And while I'm on the subject of music, I wouldn't be surprised that, if Dreher appreciates Cash and bluegrass, it's only because it's hip to do so, because of biopics and a movie by the Coens brothers. If Dreher has ever gone to a Charlie Daniels Band concert, it was probably as a multi-culti cosmopolitan enjoying those rustic customs of rural locals, not because Charlie Daniels kicks ass.)

The tension between the Southern gentleman and the redneck ignores other realities about the South, that those two stereotypes do not encompass everyone. Let us not forget African slaves and their descendents, not to mention several waves of immigration from places other than the British Isles. Because of these many different Southern groups, I'm not sure it's useful to discuss what is authentically Southern.

When on a bus, I regularly give up my seat to a lady or to an older man, but I (obviously) don't mind running the risk of offending people or being unpleasant defending my religious or political beliefs. I love the traditional hymns of the Baptist church, but my favorite secular artists are Brits like U2, Coldplay, and David Gray. I adore Auburn athletics, but I'm also a nut for Star Wars, Star Trek, and Batman. So am I "a Southerner to my fingertips" or not?

It's bad enough Rod Dreher's questioned the authenticity and the faith of mainstream conservatives; it rankles me that he's beginning to tell others about what is authentically Southern.

5:05 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

And about Rod's growing tendency to tell others he's "just a writer"...

He's not just a writer, he's a professional writer who is being paid to be a writer, both to write that book of his and to serve as an editor for a major newspaper in Dallas.

He's a professional and he should act more like a professional.

Honestly, I think he's trying once again to have his cake and eat it too. He wants the credibility of being a non-fiction writer but is completely unwilling to earn that credibility by addressing substantive criticisms of what he's written; he wants the credibility of being a professional writer without the responsibility of having to know his trade.

"Listen to me, I'm a writer! But don't make me defend what I say, because I'm only a writer."

5:09 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

One last addendum:

It's bad enough Rod Dreher's questioned the authenticity and the faith of mainstream conservatives; it rankles me that he's beginning to tell others about what is authentically Southern.

It's furthermore irritating that he's not only asserting what is authentically Southern, but that he says he's Southern to his fingertips when he obviously doesn't meet the standard he describes.

Again, in coming into contact with those on the right who disagree with him, it can hardly be said that Rod goes out of his way to avoid being unpleasant.

6:37 AM  

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