Sunday, August 23, 2009

No, Woodstock, No


As I recall, it was Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias who unwittingly started the "dirty fucking hippie" thing. They admitted to having been early supporters of the Iraq invasion in large part as a knee-jerk reaction to what they saw, in turn, as the knee-jerk leftism on their respective campuses. As always with precocious brats, they decided to show their elders what's what.

Retardo Montalban, now HTML Mencken, was one of the few actual leftists in the blogosphere who was enraged at the way people like Klein, Yglesias, Kevin Drum, Robert Farley, and so on, managed to be so utterly wrong on some of the most important issues of our day, and for such puerile reasons, yet managed to keep failing upwards into paid writing gigs for what pass for liberal/left publications (and since that post was written last year, Klein has started blogging at the Washington Post. Not bad for a guy who admits he only started paying attention to politics after 9/11.) Retardo/HTML started sarcastically referring to people who didn't accept the milquetoast, squishy, moderate, sensible liberalism as dirty hippies in angry, ironic tribute, and soon after that, Atrios picked up on the theme. Now it's everywhere, and I don't even remember where I saw it most recently, but I finally felt like expressing my annoyance with it.

Problem is, many of the people who proudly refer to themselves as DFHs simply...aren't. I don't doubt they're all for peace and love and all that groovy stuff (maybe even an occasional smoking of the devil weed!), but there's nothing radical about them (not that the hippies necessarily were either, but just for the sake of argument, let's accept the popular image of them as such). Hell, I even have to wonder if they're simply being ironic as well: "Here I am, a well-groomed, middle-class professional with a degree and a mortgage, and I get treated like a hippie just because I questioned the invasion of Iraq?!" I guess there's no way to know.

But still, these are the kind of people who think boycotting a grocery store (to no avail) over an op-ed is direct action. These are the kind of people who never have a thing to say about the increasing concentration of media ownership, but can complain all day about this journalist, that pundit or some radio blowhard and how unfair they're being to the left wing of the Big Business party, as if getting any of them replaced would change a single thing about the way news is presented. These are the kind of people who race to assure Democrats that there's no way in hell they'd consider not voting for them in the next election - which is always more urgent and important than any that came before - and then wonder why they get completely taken for granted. These are the kind of people who pay attention to George Lakoff and Paul Krugman while ignoring Chalmers Johnson and Noam Chomsky (I recall the middle-aged Digby even saying a few years ago that she had never heard of Chomsky before), and would never dream of using their blog-pulpits - which they claim are being ignored by the powers-that-be anyway - to try to advocate for huge slashes in military spending; that might compromise their potential to be taken seriously by the MSM they profess to hate so much, I suppose. And Quetzalcoatl forbid that they should ever stop cringing in terror at the thought of being accused of insufficient genuflection before The Troops. (Those two brave examples aside, most efforts to address the issue have to hide behind "satire".)

They're moderates, nothing more, nothing less. It doesn't matter how many curse words they use. And besides, we all know what the hippies turned into fifteen to twenty years later, don't we?