Saturday, April 23, 2005

liberal contempt

I'm currently reading "Last Car to Elysian Fields" a Dave Robicheaux novel by James Lee Burke, whom I consider to be one of the finest and most lyrical crime fiction writers in the United States. Burke combines great story telling ability with the finest traditions of Southern American literary fiction, such as the wealth of sensory detail found in the work of such authors as William Faulkner, Harper Lee, and Flannery O'Conner. I have enjoyed almost everything I have ever read by Burke, and am enjoying this book as well...until I came to this passage on page 165 describing a man of old money in Louisiana by the name of Castille LeJeune who is sitting in the dressing room of a health club, sipping icewater after his game of racquetball, when black and white bluecollar workers suddenly flood the room as they prepare to exercise after their shift:
"There were great differences in the room, but not between the races. The black and white working men spoke the same regional dialect and shared the same political atitudes, all of which had been taught them by others. They denigrated liberals, unions, and the media, considered the local Wal-Mart store a blessing, and regularly gave their money to the Powerball lottery and casinos that had the architectural charm of a sewer works. They were frightened by the larger world and found comfort in the rhetoric of politicians who assured them the problem was the world's, not theirs. And most heartening of all was the affirmation lent them by a genteel person like Castille LeJeune, a Distinguished Flying Cross recipient who, unlike many memebers of his class, showed no fear or lack of confidence in their midst, which told them of his respect for their humanity."

It is subtle and skillfully done, but this paragraph demonstrates an astonishing measure of condescension and contempt for the people he is describing. Notice the message here; it is one you will find repeated ad infinitum by the popular media, including the press, pundits, artists, and of course leftist politicians: conservative views held by the business class is attributable to their vile motivations--greed, pitilessness, and selfishness--conservative views held by the working class is attributable to their stupidity.

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