Friday, January 1, 2021

The State of the Zeitgeist

May you live in interesting times

                                                 Image by Pierre Blaché from Pixabay 

This is: A weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandkids and my great-grandkids — the Stickies — to advise them and haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.

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Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"My conservatism is fairly avant-garde, and it is a kind of rebuke to conformity." - Roger Scruton

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies and Great-Grandstickies (and Gentlereaders),

Once upon a time, there was a (self-styled) columnist who titled some of his columns The State of the Zeitgeist

He thought this would be a regular feature, that there would be, eventually, a whole series of columns of the same title helpfully followed by a number that would distinguish one from another. 

He only wrote three of them and at some point declared that the series would now be called May You Live In Interesting Times. He wrote a half dozen or so of those but then apparently had a mild stroke and forgot about the whole concept.

Feeling much better now, and being triggered by the approach of one of the Republic's more absurd traditions, the annual State of the Union Show, my faulty memory was jogged, research ensued, and like the blind man who peed into the wind, it all came back to me.

[A more refined writer would've used spit into the wind.]

Perhaps, Dana, but I'm striving for edgy. Edgy is cool. Edgy is how one goes viral. Edgy is...

[You're not, and never will be edgy. You're just... odd.]

In the land of the contrived controversy, allegedly cutting-edged, and deliberately downright disgusting, an odd, Neoneoconservative is the truly edgy one. 

[I guess that's one way to look at it, but... Hey, you've yet to explain exactly what a Neoneoconservative is, now that you mention it. ]

I'm working on it... Regardless, going forward, I shall combine my State of the Zeitgeist concept with my May You Live In Interesting Times concept.

[On behalf of a grateful world, I thank you. Have you alerted the media?]

Historically speaking, Zeitgeist is a concept that has meant different things to different people. A solid ten minutes of exhaustive research confirmed my notion that it's a word that originally referred to, as Wikipedia puts it, the "...spirit of the age. It refers to an invisible agent or force dominating the characteristics of a given epoch of world history."

Nowadays, it's often used the way I use it, much more narrowly, to describe a fad on steroids/the existential crisis of the moment/...because Trump/etc.  

Ironically, historians of the future may declare that the spirit of the age we're living through was an obsession with the crisis/fad of the moment fueled by the tireless efforts of the Purple Press who regard objectivity and perspective as quaint notions.

Anyways... Since I like the word for its own sake...

[Word lover!]

And since in the course of my exhaustive research I accidentally discovered that in German all nouns are capitalized, a convention I endorse and an obvious sign that God endorses my use of Creative Capitalization.       


I'm stickin' with: 

The State of the Zeitgeist
   May you live in interesting times

The upcoming State of the Union show has devolved into a State of the Zeitgeist extravaganza. 

The Constitution says that the president should, "from time to time," provide Congress with info about how things are going and make recommendations as to what sort of "measures" the people that we the people send to the Swamp should take to keep the Republic shipshape. 

Until Woodrow Wilson came along, this was usually accomplished by the Prez sending a written message that was read out loud in Congress. 

Wilson, who ironically regarded the Constitution as an outdated impediment that stood in the way of rule by well-meaning experts leading the Deplorables to the promised land, began the current tradition of addressing Congress in-person to promote his agenda.

...As opposed to Jefferson who thought that a president speechifying to the legislative branch was too much like a given monarch's "speech from the throne."   

Long story short, we now have The State of the Union Show, a carefully staged  "reality" show featuring seemingly endless applause/ignore lines, a handful of guest stars, live coverage chockablock with talking heads, and the anti-speech by the party not in control of the White House. 

[Applause/ignore lines?] 

If you and the Prez are of the same party you're supposed to jump up and applaud at all the scripted moments (I'll bet Nancie Antoinette will be sore for days). If not, you're supposed to sit and look like it's all you can do to keep from walking out.

Virtue signaling by wearing the right color outfit and/or sporting some sort of lapel pin or other forms of virtue advertising is not quite de rigueur but encouraged.

[Wait, why are you picking on Mrs. Pelosi?] 

Mostly because it's so easy. Anyway, now that I'm officially a Neoneoconservative it's almost my duty to pick on rich Progressives. And it's edgy. Mrs. Pelosi's net worth is $100,000,000 more or less.  

Of course, his Royal Orangeness is worth... Well, who knows. But it's a lot, right?

The current state of the State of the Union Show is a snapshot of the current State of the Zeitgeist here in our Republic -- all showbiz, all the time. 

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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