Monday, July 29, 2013

Zach Galifianakis

I was watching the DVD of Zach Galifianakis's stand up routine and he mentioned that he hates 'the right' because of what happened to his uncle when he ran against Jesse Helms in 1984. His uncle was ahead until Helms ran an add with the tag-line, "he is one of us." To Galifianakis this was a reference to his uncle's foreign name and that his uncle lost the race because of Helms' appeal to xenophobia and bigotry among ordinary Americans.

I think there is an alternative interpretation. I think that part of what Helms was appealing to was the resentment that many Americans feel towards elites who have contempt for traditional virtues such as patriotism. Just after watching the DVD I ran across this item which provides a convincing example of the kind of contempt our elites have for ordinary Americans and their sentiments.

Fight at WTC Memorial over iconic flag-raising photo being overly patriotic -

"This iconic picture of firefighters raising the stars and stripes in the rubble of Ground Zero was nearly excluded from the 9/11 Memorial Museum — because it was “rah-rah” American, a new book says.

Michael Shulan, the museum’s creative director, was among staffers who considered the Tom Franklin photograph too kitschy and “rah-rah America,” according to “Battle for Ground Zero” (St. Martin’s Press) by Elizabeth Greenspan, out next month.
“I really believe that the way America will look best, the way we can really do best, is to not be Americans so vigilantly and so vehemently,” Shulan said." 
Here is a moment that makes most Americans swell with pride and patriotism. And yet, to a museum director charged with using public funds to commemorate our history and this terrible event in our history, it is a cause for embarrassment. And his sentiment came close to carrying the committee of elites charged with making this decision on behalf of those ordinary, "rah-rah" Americans. It is typical of our elites that what ordinary Americans see as a source of pride is, to them, a source of embarrassment. 
I suspect that it was this attitude on the part of our elites rather than a distrust of people with 'funny sounding names,' which explains the effectiveness of Helms' appeal. 

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