the non-conforming rebel reactionary

The mistake of confusing authenticity and populism. The kind of sentimental lynch-mob mentality that desires to wind back the clock in a misbegotten assumption of returning to a form of innocence, of untarnished simplicity that characterized America; a kind of idyllic, pastoral America that is a fictional construction of course. The creative destruction intrinsic to capitalism to which the populists ascribe means their protestations are purely circular; the kind of permanent revolution we experience is sign of a healthy society, and the populism of the Right can only find itself bogged down in ideological centered economic theory and at the nexus of political correctness, multiculturalism and ultimately a destructive reactionism. From Andrew Potter:

Irving Norman.---Norman's monumental paintings reflect a troubled and turbulent world. His works teem with detail and are populated with swarming, clone-like humans. People are constricted by small urban spaces and modern technology, caught in the crunch of rush hour, and decimated by poverty and war. Shocking, revealing and profound, the paintings aim, as Norman himself described, "to tell the truth of our time."--- Read More:

In a column last week for the Ottawa Citizen, my colleague Kate Heartfield makes a similar point on the way to shredding Ottawa’s former Mayor, Larry O’Brien….

George Tooker. Read More:

O’Brien had caused a bit of controversy over a few tweets he wrote during the debate over the Florida primaries, including one that said ““the spics are getting way to much airtime.” Citizen reporter David Reevely jumped on this remarkable case of a former mayor tweeting racist remarks, which promoted O’Brien to play the role of the non-conforming rebel, sticking it to the lamestream elites: He tweeted, “Thanks to the Citizens ‘David Reevely’ for raising my profile on Twitter. The OC is just so MAIN STREAM, and so irrelevant.” Heartfield proceeds to Fisk the life out of O’Brien’s self justification, … here’s the key graph:

What exactly is elitist — or socialist, for that matter — about not calling people “spics” in a public forum? The implication is that using a racial slur, because it’s “politically incorrect,” makes O’Brien a regular guy, someone who tells it like it is. O’Brien told a Citizen reporter a couple of years ago that he likes being a multimillionaire because it “feels secure” and gave him “the freedom to be a mayor,” never mind live in a luxury condo and drive a Porsche. But in the Bizarro World of populist-speak, he’s a regular joe, because he’s openly racist….

---Soyer developed his subjects from New York City's poorer sections. Unlike the painters of the Ashean School 25 years earlier, Soyer and his contemporaries did not view the city as a picturesque spectacle. Instead, they dwelt on the grim realities of poverty and industrialization. Soyer's work, however, is less issue-oriented than that of fellow social realist artists Philip Evergood and Ben Shahn.---Read More:

…But as she laments, this schtick works — for Sarah Palin, for Rob Ford, for Newt Gingrich. Which serves as a double reminder: That populism is not authenticity, and to the extent to which we conflate the two, authenticity serves the forces of reaction, not progress.Read More:

So, the question is why  this nostalgia for places and times that none of us have experienced? The dissatisfaction with the status-quo is usually most apparent on the cusp of important changes pushing people to expound fire and brimstone discourses using vague rumors of social plagues and calamaties as a beckoning call for a return to an artificially constructed innocence- to Norman Rockwell and Happy Days- and repeat the mantras of the gilded age when populism railed against the monied interests controlling America.


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