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George McGovern, 1922 — 2012

Few men in history have been as completely vindicated in the aftermath of total defeat as George McGovern. Richard Nixon was the walking incarnation of the dark side of the American dream: a man who lied as easily as he breathed, a boot-licking toady to those with more power than him and a backstabbing thug to all those with less. McGovern had more decency and honor in his fingernail trimmings than in every aggregate cell of Nixon’s body, and his entire life of service in the aftermath of the 1972 election is testimony to that bedrock fact.

The fact that the United States elected Richard Nixon president over McGovern proves just how far from our ideals we fall. The fact that we are capable of generating men like McGovern in the first place is the only reason to have any hope that we could yet come closer.

Crossposted from: blahg.blank.org

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(Hoisted from, of all things, a discussion of the cultural significance of Def Leppard’s “Hysteria”, and slightly expanded for clarity.  Reposted here mostly because I’m amused by the idea of a deep metaphysical similarity between Bret Michels and Camille Paglia.)

On the one hand, there may be no argument in the world more intrinsically tiresome than “who is/is not metal?” On the other hand, props to UMD [another commentor] for making the case against Def Leppard without being a douche about it.

My 2 cents: if you don’t have an original manifesto to calibrate subsequent adherents against, you’re pretty much screwed when you talk about a “true” heritage of any cultural movement. This is why you can sometimes talk at least semi-intelligently about whether so-and-so is a Marxist or not, since Marx laid out his philosophy in a nice easy-to-digest way. Do you support worldwide revolution leading to control of the means of production by the class of industrial revolution, a dictatorship of the proletariate and an eventual fading away of the state?  If yes, congratulations, you’re a Marxist. If no, you may well be influenced by Marx’s ideas, but a Marxist not so much. 

But much like feminism, metal didn’t have one single initial starting point, it had many overlapping ones: as a result, Andrea Dworkin and Sasha Grey could both credibly claim a legacy of “feminism”, and like it or not a whole bunch of wildly popular bands with ripped jeans and glossy production values could legitimately lay claim to a poppier “metal” sensibility that had its roots in Alice Cooper, AC/DC and Blue Oyster Cult in just the same way that Metallica grabbed the legacy of Sabbath, Accept and Motorhead and pummelled the mainstream into liking it…

Crossposted from: blahg.blank.org

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