by Brad Nelson
I’ve had the Pina Colada Song going through my head all morning. I figure there must be a reason for it. If not, I’ll put that song to some use anyway.
There are two main reasons for the existence of StubbornThings. One is to reinforce the idea of an American culture apart from stifling political correctness, identity politics, grievance politics, and the usually insufferable environmentalism-as-a-religion.
There are other ways to be. Maybe some are just as stupid, but we needn’t don the garbage that Karl Marx and the axe-grinding cranky activists of the Left have tried to straight-jacket us into. If you are not embarrassed by a president giving speeches in front of Styrofoam Greek columns, then all I can say is, “Have a nice life. See ya later.”
The other main reason for StubbornThings is to hear from real Americans. As much as I sometimes respect what the talking head professional commentators on Fox, National Review, or other media outlets say, these are not real people for the most part.
Again, I generally like these people. I like Jonah Goldberg. But he is Jonah Goldberg Inc. And one of my favorites is Mark Steyn. But, again, it might be more apt to call him “Mark Steyn Inc.” These people are book sellers. And God bless them for doing so. They often share a lot of good ideas. The books I find myself recommending more than any are Steyn’s “America Alone” and Goldberg’s “Liberal Fascism.” These are great books.
But for all the talking and bookselling, the country keeps titling more and more Left. You can go to National Review and read the most eloquent defense of some minute, but important, principle. But it will most likely be written in the language of intellectualoidism. It occurs to me that top-down — even in a good cause — isn’t working. We need to get average Americans speaking their minds once again.
This is one reason that the chattering class doesn’t tend to like Sarah Palin. Palin is more of a plain-talking straight-shooter. Yes, without a doubt she is also “Sarah Palin Inc.” She has turned herself into a commodity. But the point stands. The chattering intellectualoid Washington DC beltway class has assumed there is only one proper way to address the topics of the day and that they own this method. And they get very defensive if you don’t genuflect to their style of intellectualoid-mannered BS.
“So, Brad,” you’re no doubt thinking. “What the hell does all this have to do with the Pina Colada Song by Rupert Holmes?”
Actually, by writing the above, I was hoping to finally get that song out of my head. It hasn’t worked. But that song does remind me of something great about America. It is the land of expression. Sometimes that expression, as with the Pina Colada Song, is a mixture of the vapid and the sincere. But it is intrinsically, and almost uniquely, American not to sit quietly while our would-be masters tell us what we should do and how we should think.
“But, Brad,” I can hear you thinking. “Even if Charles Krauthammer is sometimes full of intellectualoidism, he writes his intellectualoidism so eloquently. Who is going to care what I say when these days it is style that matters most, not substance?”
And I say, Throw that bit of psychological tea into the intellectualoid harbor. The oligarchy-like political class ought not to be allowed to set the rules.
One of the things that has saddened me most is to see my fellow Americans lose the ability to express themselves. And, no, Facebook is no substitute for that. In fact, it’s like many things in our vapid culture (what Jonah Goldberg calls “Satan’s Urinal”). It is a poor substitute for the real thing. It’s akin to people watching “reality TV” (which isn’t real anyway) instead of engaging in the real thing, no matter how humble or mundane.
So let’s return to Rupert Holmes and the lyrics that got me to thinking about this subject matter:
So I wrote to the paper
Took out a personal ad
And though I’m nobody’s poet
I thought it wasn’t half bad
“Yes I like Pina Coladas
And getting caught in the rain
I’m not much into health food
I am into champagne…”
Yes, that’s right. It wasn’t half bad. It’s a song sometimes that I wish that I had never heard. It occassionaly gets stuck in my brain like one of those velcro-like seed pods that get attached to my socks when I’m hiking in the woods. But, Rupert, your lyric indeed wasn’t half bad.
And that is not a plea to reach for mediocre. But it is a plea to reach. Anyone and everyone has a story to tell. It needn’t be particularly profound. It needn’t be perfect. But it should be your voice and not the voice that you suppose you should don in order to fit into the reigning narrow view of “legitimate conversation.”
Just remember, a very bad man got elected as president because of his ability to lie and to make it sound nice. We ought not to restrict ourselves to the rules set by those who set them, in large part, to shut the rest of us up. So speak up, no matter how innocently naive, crude, or homespun you think it is. Then send it to email@example.com. If it’s real, if it’s not “half bad,” we will publish it. And it will be your way to stick your finger into the eye of those who suppose themselves to be your betters.