Frank on Class

Thomas Frank, author of What’s the Matter with Kansas? has published a very interesting article in The New York Review of Books looking at another aspect of the class wars – although class is the great unmentionable in terms of economic issues, the right wing cultural warriors routinely stir up class resentment over “liberal elites”:

The reason conservatives are always thought to be tough and liberals to be effete milquetoasts (two favorite epithets from the early days of the backlash) even when they aren’t is the same reason Americans believe the French to be a nation of sissies and the same reason the Dead End Kids found it both easy and satisfying to beat up the posh boy from the luxury apartment building: the cultural symbolism of class. If you relish chardonnay/lattes/ snowboarding, you will not fight. If you talk like a Texan, you are a two-fisted he-man who knows life’s hardships and are ready to scrap at a moment’s notice. This is the reason conservative authors and radio demagogues find it so easy to connect liberals and terrorists. It is the same reason, by extension, that old-time political nicknames like “the Fighting Liberal” make no sense to us anymore and that current foreign policy failures like North Korean nuclear proliferation do not bring lasting discredit on President Bush: in the face of such crises one is either a wimp or a hard guy, and we’ve already got a hard guy in there.


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6 responses to “Frank on Class”

  1. cs

    A terrific essay again from Franks, who has this meme down so pat I’m sure he’ll get sick of writing it up soon, and seems to largely have the field to himself. Have you read the book itself yet Mark?

    [Loved this one: “While at this [GOP] party I was handed a Band-Aid decorated with a purple heart, stapled to a note mocking John Kerry’s war wounds.”]

  2. cs

    A terrific essay again from Franks, who has this meme down so pat I’m sure he’ll get sick of writing it up soon, and seems to largely have the field to himself. Have you read the book itself yet Mark?

    [Loved this one: “While at this [GOP] party I was handed a Band-Aid decorated with a purple heart, stapled to a note mocking John Kerry’s war wounds.”]

  3. Mark

    I’ve dipped into it, Chris, but I haven’t had a chance to read it all the way through yet.

  4. Mark

    I’ve dipped into it, Chris, but I haven’t had a chance to read it all the way through yet.

  5. Evil Pundit

    The Left invented “class” in politics, and now it’s used to defeat them. Beautiful.

  6. Evil Pundit

    The Left invented “class” in politics, and now it’s used to defeat them. Beautiful.