OKAY, so: apparently as a result of the Sui-Generis Teabag Movement™'s laserlike focus on economic issues
Wait, I'm sorry. The convulsive laughter always stops in a minute or two. Clear blue ocean. Clear blue ocean. Okay.
APPARENTLY as a result of the Republican leadership's insistence on tabling social issues
Fuck it, I'll never get through that. The Court recognizes the guy in the gratuitously anachronistic neckwear:
Concern for children's sensibilities is admirable. The coarsening of the culture is a fact with many causes, but its consequences are unclear. And it can bring out a Puritan streak in progressivism.
This, by the way, in defense of videogame depictions of young girls being set on fire. At least when we can pin the law on California "progressives".
And let's not mistake each other here. It is perfectly defensible to, on the one hand, bemoan the Coarsening of Culture while on the other defending the First Amendment rights of your fellows to speed the process along.
And if that was what Will was about here we'd be good.
It's a little different, though, when you and your party have been milking the cow of rustic moral outrage for the last thirty years. I apologize if I missed the George Eff Will column condemning the Constitutional violation of children by the MPAA ratings system, or of Court decisions which have held that schoolchildren have limited rights of free speech and little, if any, protection from unreasonable searches. Will's spirited defenses of 2Live Crew and Harry Reems seem to've gone right by me. (And, sure, Will objected to the abuse of FISA courts and the use of the Iraq War Resolution to justify unlimited wiretapping of American citizens. Forgive me for not falling all over myself to thank him for saying what every decent American should say. And what, in the end, cost him nothing while shoring up the illusion of independent thought.)
Incidentally, over the past twenty years the city of Indianapolis has twice tried to ban violent video games, without ever being denounced by George Eff Will or being mistaken for being progressive.
Hypocrisy is certainly something we've come to expect from Will *; let us direct the Court's attention to the second count of the indictment, Will's implication of the hypocrisy of "Pecksniffian progressives". Like Brooks of a week or so back, Will finds progressives in the thrall of Science, particularly the Social Sciences, and their blasphemous Faith in the improvement of Man, which progressives apparently imagine to be inerrant. Maybe this is a recent development. Maybe I slept through it. Or maybe I just have a little different perspective on the outfit which brought you The Tuskegee Experiment, incontinent lobotomies, electric shocks and pharmacopeias dedicated to keeping unruly children in line, and alternative cash cow institutions for wealthy drug felons. The people I know who swallow this Improvement business up to the sinker aren't progressives; they're parents, and most of 'em are about as apolitical as you can get.
Will's evidence, by the way, is classic: a guy who opposed comic books in the Fifties defended Ethel Rosenberg. And the law in question was enacted in California. Q.E.D.
Of course, of course, there is a certain "progressive" thread which runs though the entire enterprise from the campaign to get manipulative advertising off children's teevee programming to the crusade against videogame violence. Just as there is a certain thread of authoritarianism that runs from the Marihuana Tax Stamp Act through those ludicrous (in retrospect, for some) anti-comic book and race record crusades, through the MMPA (a movie'll get restricted a lot quicker for sex scenes than scenes of violence), to the attempts to turn public schools into prisons. Both sides seem to agree on child pornography, though one of 'em seems okay with child labor.
I'm not sure where the hypocrisy is supposed to lie in this, unless with the people who denounce the other side for doing exactly the same thing, and who exempt their own defense of any activity that turns a profit and wasn't banned before 1980.
* Who helped prep Candidate Reagan from Jimmy Carter's stolen briefing books, then went on ABC to declare Reagan the obvious winner of their debate. I realize that the moral failure here is not hypocrisy, but dishonesty, with notes of greed and hubris in the bouquet. I just like to work Briefingate into every piece on Will one way or another.