Fit in, be absurd 16

Some cultures are superior to others. To be specific, Western culture is superior to others.

But, as everyone knows, it is not politically correct to say this.

The reliably funny Fred Reed writes (in part):

I am done for, and damned. Yes, a poor sinner who has strayed from the path of righteousness, and now sits brooding over a bottle of Padre Kino, Mexican rust-remover marauding as red wine, for I have done the unpardonable: I have said – I cringe with shame – that some cultures are superior to others.

It gnaws my soul.

Please don’t misjudge me. I am in most respects a good American. I have nothing against brainless, passive-aggressive, narcissistic sanctimony, nor preening academic mediocrity, nor intellectual vacuity. No. I tell you, I love all of these things. I am devoted to our traditions. I believe to the roots of my teeth that bovine complacency is the bedrock of democracy. Indeed, the only criticism I can make of our national intellectual life is that it would embarrass a microcephalic box-turtle.

Oh god. Wait. I didn’t mean to imply that microcephalic box-turtles are in any way inferior. They are just otherly abled. I apologize, and acknowledge my Vertebrate Privilege.

Let me recount my fall from grace as a warning to those that will hear. Long ago, a callow youth, I was reading the Huffington Post (this column has no respect for chronology), which informed me that no culture is superior to any other: They are just different. To think otherwise, it huffed, was to concede oneself to be among the Fallen, and perhaps a Republican.

I read this and the scales fell from my eyes (though I had no interest in going to Damascus, where they were using nerve gas). I thought, Yes! It’s true! Hosanna! All cultures are equal! Jewish culture is not superior to Nazi, just different. Why hadn’t I seen it before? The culture of Switzerland is not better than that of North Korea, and the South of Bull Conner was in no way inferior to the most dappled, liquid-eyed liberalism of Massachusetts!

For years I believed this, enraptured, and prattled like a jaybird. I was among the Saved. Then … Woe! Woe! … Padre Kino got the best of me. Oh, Demon Rum! Drink has ever been my downfall …

I was in my cups and, prompted by the Devil, thought: All cultures equal? Exactly how is a pack of nekkid savages in the rain forests of Papua-New Guinea, who eat weird pasty white grubs and each other, who speak a language consisting of seven words none of which means anything … how could they possibly be the equals of Europeans who brush their teeth and wrote Hamlet’s soliloquy? Equal how? In the eyes of God, maybe. If so, I figured the Old Boy must need glasses.

So low had I sunk.

Floating in the vile effluvium of the corrupting grape, I engendered worse thoughts. Regarding Islam, for example. How equal was this medieval horror? Here is a faith that will not let its girl children learn to read, and indeed holds them down screaming and mutilates their genitals with a razor blade and no anesthetic. Equal? To what?

You see. Wine. Booze. The Great Purple Father was making me lose all devotion to equality. Shun strong liquor, I implore you, lest you start to favor the death penalty for such victims of intolerance as Ted Bundy, who was misunderstood by society.

But back to Islam. Before, alight with the equality of all cultures, I had thought clitoridectomy to be a minor surgery, not much different from sending girls to Wellesley. Actually, Wellesley had seemed worse, as on campus girls underwent forced exposure to oppressive dead white men like Plato, while Moslem girls faced nothing worse than gangrene.  But suddenly I wasn’t sure. My Huffington-flavored faith wavered.

I even reflected at one point that European culture had invented everything that kept many of the rest from living in the animal shelter. Where they would probably eat the animals. …

Why was it, I wondered, that all cultures were equal, but that all cultures were superior to white European culture? This seemed illogical. In my earlier state of virtue, I had understood such considerations to be the result of Male Linear Thinking, which had earlier been called “thinking” until it was noticed who was best at it.

Having decided that some cultures were superior to others, I fell deeper into error, and wondered whether maybe being smart was better than being stupid. Before, I had understood from the Washington Post that being illiterate and borderline retarded was a sign of Authenticity. Well, I certainly wanted to be Authentic, though I thought I would pass on eating the pasty white grubs. (Authentic what was never mentioned, but it didn’t seem to matter. If Salon was for it, it must be good.)

I began dressing like the contents of a dumpster, with butt-hanger pants and a baseball cap on sideways so as to look like an idiot. I petitioned the Educational Testing Service to have my SATs lowered, and began Vocabulary Limitation Therapy. I considered lobotomy. Such was my desire for Authenticity.

It did not work. No. No amount of abasement, no embrace of degradation can overcome Vertebrate Privilege. But, like a sociologist, I could revel in being an earnest aspirant to degeneracy. Small compensation, but better than nothing.

But alas! Alack! I am ruined. Having lost one’s faith in the transparently absurd, one may never go back. I will never again believe the Iroquois the equals of the Finns. I am lost.

 

(Hat-tip Frank)

Posted under Commentary, Humor by Jillian Becker on Sunday, May 25, 2014

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