Monday, October 19, 2009

The Modus Operandi of the Living Dead

Coming from someone who likes to toss about examples of right-wing self-unawareness and conservative lack of self-awarness, one has to wonder if Enormous Thriving Plants is an ironic exercize in that very same zombie-like lack of self-awareness.

In her ideologically-motivated quest to prove the alleged death of conservative intellectualism, Audrey has dug up an interesting piece of minutiae: a Jonah Goldberg blogpost on NRO musing about differing strategies to survive a Zombie apocalypse.

In the post, Goldberg dicusses some amusing email conversations he's had about the notion of a zombie apocalypse, and how best to survive. Apparently, Goldberg thinks the best way to survive a zombie apocalypse is to hide out on a boat.

The post reveals precisely how much thought certain groups of people have put into the idea of zombie apocalypse preparedness.

More than anything, Goldberg's post is clearly a light-hearted jab at something that has become something of a pop cultural obsession -- the rapidly-proliferating crop of books, video games and movies on the subject address topics as diverse as biological warfare (Resident Evil) to a zombie Eddie Van Halen (Zombieland).

But for Audrey, the matter really seems to be finding something that she desperately wants to find. Considering the width and breadth of her quest to declare conservative intellectualism dead, it isn't terribly surprising that Audrey would attempt to conflate a facetious fluff bit into a full-time intellectual preoccupation.

After all, it's what individuals like Audrey do. It's their modus operandi: zeroing in on marginal thoughts, traits or individuals, and attempting to treat them as representative as the conservative intellectual whole.

This is seen in the effort to use individual racist expression to attempt to "prove" that all of those opposing Barack Obama's health care reforms are racist, inflate the importance of fringe lunatics, or attempt to discredit Meghan McCain with her cleavage or taste in entertainment.

It quickly becomes apparent what the true project of Audrey's blog is: the refinement of the ad hominem attack against conservatism in general, and declarations that conservative intellectualism is dead merely a prematurely-played endgame.

It would be an amusing enough shtick if there were anything original about it. But that entire modus operandi has been ripped off from another group of fringe lunatics, going to show that, much like the undead, the virus of intellectual vapidity spreads far too quickly to be contained.

This, amusingly enough, has become the state of the left-right intellectual discourse as Audrey and her cohorts have come to see it: that the matter of the debate has no longer become about ideas, but rather the attempts of individuals on either side of the "debate" to try to prove that the ideas of the other side simply aren't worth rebutting.

What else should one think of the insistence that the ideas of Jonah Goldberg prove the death of conservative intellectualism in lieu of any attempt to actually refute them? What else should one of think of the claim that Meghan McCain's breasts or taste in music and movies renders her intellectually unthreatening?

Then again, perhaps this is giving individuals like Audrey far too much credit. Even as they attempt to cherry-pick examples of the death of conservative intellectualism -- a task rendered all the more quaint by their evident inability to even define the term "intellectualism" in anything but a self-serving manner -- Audrey herself can only seem to do so in posts of one sentence or paragraph at a time.

This is what has rendered Audrey's intellectual endgame so premature: if anyone had sufficient credibility to declare conservative intellectualism dead, one would have to imagine that person would have to be more accomplished and significant than the author of a blog that itself is less an intellectual opus and more a collection of invective-riddled thought fragments -- a blog that sounds much less like The Shock Doctrine (itself produced by a troubled example of left-wing intellectualism) and more like the banal moaning of the living dead.

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