Monday, November 09, 2009

Waking the (Un)Dead, Part 2

When a blogger insists that they're reaching to to an "intellectually mature" audience, one also imagines that it isn't too much to ask for that blogger to actually discuss the ideas they would like to critique.

It seems like a perfectly reasonable expectation.

Such is the expectation that an intellectually mature audience should expect of Enormous Thriving Plants proprietor Audrey, who has apparently taken quite the exception to the ideas of Jonah Goldberg.

Unfortunately, the problem for Audrey is that she continues to neglect to offer any kind of a cogent criticism of Goldberg's work, and has instead simply opted to ridicule it (possibly not understanding that ridicule is actually not an argument).

As mentioned during a previous attempt to coax Audrey into offering a more cogent critique of Goldberg's work by sharing with her some details of what his book actually contains, Goldberg also offers a critique of some fascist elements within conservative thought, including noting the fascist characteristics of some movies typically enjoyed by conservatives.

One of those movies is Death Wish. Like Dirty Harry, Death Wish spawned a whole series of sequels, creating a film franchise in which a vigilante exposes the inadequacies of the social order.

In Death Wish, Paul Kersey (Charles Bronson) is an ordinary man whose wife and daughter are both killed during a home invasion. The police prove incapable of brining the guilty to justice, so Kersey doggedly pursues the guilty on his own.

Like in Dirty Harry, the social order in the Death Wish franchise has been subverted by weakness, and that weakness allows violent outsiders to flourish.

Moreover, these outsiders -- very often (but not always) members of racial minorities -- excel at turning the weakness of the system against itself. In Death Wish IV an elderly man uses a gun to drive home invaders from his apartment. His assailants call the police, who come and seize his gun under a handgun ban in the city. The very same night, his assailants return and murder his wife.

Dirty Harry's Harry Calahan can at least defend himself under the pretext of being an authority of the system. Paul Kersey is a vigilante, pure and simple.

His actions are even more threatening to the system than Calahan's, as he operates entirely outside of it. As a result, Kersey's actions may have even greater potential to be truly transformative.

Neither Dirty Harry nor Death Wish seem like films that liberals would enjoy. Jonah Goldberg admits as much in his book. Individuals like Audrey may have known about this if they had read the book.

But they evidently haven't. It's the kind of thing that should seriously call into question their ability to criticize his work.

It should, but considering that the best rhetoric they can muster to date is to accuse him of "doubling down on dumb", one shouldn't expect an argument that demonstrates any actual knowledge of Goldberg's arguments. At least not until after a lot more coaxing.

...And speaking of "doubling down on dumb", this is an individual who apparently thinks that the proper way to approach Goldberg's work is to mock him for ignorance of "astrological phenomonon" like the Jovian gravity well. And presumably, Taurus.

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