America is Going to Hell All Over Again

Hamilton Nolan eviscerates the purple prose and the oh-my-God-I'm-out-of-ideas stance of Kathleen Parker's latest column. It really is funny to see people, year in and year out, tell us everything is turning to shit before our eyes when it really isn't and when history repeats itself, and Parker gives us laughs a-plenty.

This is what I wanted to talk about:

From Miley Cyrus’s naked cavorting on a wrecking ball — well, one can at least admire her metaphoric succulence — to Anthony Weiner’s Twitter projections of His Very Own Self, we have lost all sense of decorum, that voluntary commitment to behavior that combines a willingness to consider others first (at minimum keeping our clothes on), enforced through the exercise of self-restraint.

Anthony Weiner does not hold elected office; Representative Trey Radel does. Radel is a sitting Congressman and he got caught buying cocaine in Washington D.C. and he got away with going to rehab because he's a rich white man. Weiner is splay-legged and hanging from a leather strap covered in cream cheese in his living room with his underwear knotted around his forehead, jacking it to the ceiling for all anyone cares, and the voters were smart enough to hold him accountable. Will Parker and the voters remember to hold our hard-drug using Republican Congressman to that same standard when Radel wins re-election in November? Because he probably will come back to Congress and he probably will keep using recreational drugs and telling people to go eff themselves when they politely suggest that he maybe isn't fit for elected office.

I'm sorry to have to explain this to anyone older than forty, but Miley Cyrus is just Madonna with a little Prince thrown in. Remember when Madonna and Prince were the End of Western Civilization? Remember when Led Zeppelin was going to destroy the culture and pervert everyone and everything? Remember when Elvis and his hips couldn't be shown on television? That's what they wave in the air, like an old bloody shirt, when they're stealing all the money, raping the land, and screwing the poor. The coarse, vulgar methods used to entertain the masses become the issue when, ahem, the issue is that people don't have money, jobs, food or shelter, goddammit.

Our elite media is a dismal, rat-fucking failure. The American dream is under water because the homes people can't afford to buy are under water. The criminals who ruined the housing market in this country are running around with money spilling out of their pants. They destroyed the American dream for profit. They were the "best of the best" and they ruined the economy. They betrayed the trust of the banks they worked for and the investment firms that bought up debt, sold that debt, traded it for worthless paper, and crashed the dreams of millions into the abandoned swimming pools that litter the suburban American landscape.

Parker thinks envy is the problem. No, envy isn't the problem. Getting away with messing things up is the problem. No one envies a man who works hard his whole life and builds something; Americans have always admired that. They envy their immediate neighbors, not the abstract lives of the rich. Envy will always exist but gangsters posing as bankers and robber barons is the corrosive chemical that is breaking down trust in the system. If you steal a dollar, you go to jail. If you steal a billion dollars in mortgages, you go to Gstaad for a vacation.

The incompetence of people like Parker--unwilling to hold anyone responsible for things being bad accountable while pretending that pop culture and envy are the driving factors in the decline of America--is the story of our age. They aren't telling anyone anything useful anymore.

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