Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My last post may have been offensive to causcasoid members of the underclass, but I'm actually in their corner( I come from the same poor agrarian turned working class that they do and I so remain, not ashamed.). The major beef is when they get parvenu and uppity when some extra money comes their way and they have more than what Gramps and Granny had, and think that extra il dinero actually makes them somebody, when they aren't well-rounded fellows or care about being good citizens. Gramps&Granny may had been as poor as dogsnot, but they were probably better human beings?

Jim Goad wrote a sociological masterpiece regarding said white underclass , The Redneck Manifesto. Goad neither took a typical leftist path on it as Barbara Ehrenreich did, and neither is he a 'white power' advocate as some may initially think. Rather, said book is a balanced and well-researched text(and funny as hell, to boot) regarding America's historical attitudes to the White Trash, and the panache of the White Trash themselves. The sum of the book's message is that the white underclass has always been the convenient group to pick on, because they've always been so powerless, and they don't care that they are, really.

I've felt like 'getting Moe Howard' on HL Mencken lately, so I will continue. Many hail Mencken as muckraker for civil liberty and personal dignity such as his long campaign in the 1920s bashing the Ku Klux Klan in print. That's noble on the surface, but Mencken adorers(found today in the 'libertarian' ranks) need to realize that his hatred for the Klan, other white supremacy groups, and religious fundamentalism was motivated entirely from his classist snobbery: Mencken was a rare bird who hated both Jews and what he dubbed to be White Trash. His upbringing in Baltimore was high-bourgeoisie and he had that typical Southern upper-class distaste for Hillbillies and Hayseeds. 'Distaste' is a mellow word for it; Mencken believed that the underclass of Appalachia was fitting for extermination. His later opposition to the TVA New Deal program was in lieu that he didn't believe that these folks deserved any help. His championing of civil rights for Black Americans was only because he hated the white underclass more. Mencken was not a 'humanist' by any wild stretch, and Blacks were okay just as long as they worked in his daddy's cigar factory or served as cleaning help and chauffeurs.

The Mencken family married into the Hohenzollern aristocracy; Henry Louis's branch of this DNA left Germany in 1848 not because they felt that the democratic Republican revolutionary movement there would be gunned down in the streets(what ultimately happened) - but because Opa Mencken thought that they would win. The Menckens were not the liberal Forty-Eighters as was typical of German immigrants here in the 1850s and 60s; Hank wrote esoterically as if he had been deprived of his aristocratic heritage in America, and sought a way to get it back. Therefore, his attraction to Nietzsche, and he had the standard misreading of Nietzsche's thought - except the Master vs. Slave morality thingy - and Mencken undoubtedly felt himself to be a Herrenmensch, when Nietzsche himself wouldn't had liked him (there weren't too many that Nietzsche did like anyway). Though Mencken's personal politics contained those Jeffersonian memes, he had no love for even representative democracy and a biting and vicious rancor of anything smacking of populism and/or having an energetic citizenry from all walks of life promoting civic nationalism....

'Digression' is my middle- name. The message can be NutShell'd as this: There is nothing wrong with the underclass steppin' up in the material world, but when they forget where once both feet were planted, there is the problem. Having more $$ than your parents did, doesn't make you a better person if you also do not work on being. And please, do not confound it more by adopting a hyphenated surname, and pretend that you are part of the jet-set because of your admission into the local Elks Club, or that the Masonic Lodge wants you(they'll take anybody these days...even I was approached once by one of their recruiters), and you go into further debt by buying a house or vehicle that shows status, but is nevertheless beyond your means...

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