Friday, 2 July 2010

Does edginess have to fail?

Today in the Washington Post is an article in which Michael Gerson argues that the political division in America is not between the Democrats and the Republicans, but between what he calls:
  1. the “Ugly Party”, consisting of people who cannot keep their views private and rudely denigrate their opponents. They view rivals as less than human and do not believe there can be a common purpose to anything.
  2. the “Grown-Up Party”, not so edgy and likely to look at the practical implications of everything from energy policy to the September 11 terrorist attacks. It is said by Gerson to be more responsible and less willing to wish curses on its opponent.
I myself admit I can often have negative wishes about people like Robin Underwood - and even as I have changed with age some things about me - such as my antagonism towards one cent of public money being used to destroy the environment by building a freeway. However, the way in which the extraordinarily grown-up outer suburbs thrive whilst inner cities dominated by edgy groups that Gerson and David Weigel are extremely critical of. Rod Dreher’s blog does offer a very comfortable model, as does the work of people like Sharon Astyk.

It seems, indeed, that only trying to live a truly countercultural lifestyle and resisting any sort of consumerism or even the addiction to impossible quality that I have often had when gadgets go wrong (I recall ranting about a “50-year warranty” when a cassette player and again much later when an iPod both failed). I try to buy something that is traditional but functional - and have experimented with building my own furniture - and it at least with the little furniture I need, works. Clothes are something where I look for the same thing, and the problem is applying it to more modern technology where I know obsolescene is an unfortunate problem.

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