A few weeks ago during the discussion of Rod Dreher’s Crunchy Cons, someone posted a rather irritated comment complaining of the way Dreher sneered at NASCAR and Gretchen Wilson (a country or country-pop singer whom I’ve never heard her as far as I know). I was pretty sure that the commenter was confusing Dreher with someone else, as I had heard the blogosphere echoes some time earlier of an attack by a conservative on conservative populism, as exemplified by a taste for NASCAR and Gretchen Wilson’s music. But since I hadn’t yet finished Crunchy Cons, it was possible that I was wrong, nor had I read the piece which I thought was actually the culprit, so I didn’t go any farther than suggesting the possibility that the commenter was mistaken.
I thought of this after I finished CC, which indeed contains nothing at all about NASCAR or Gretchen Wilson, and went looking for the anti-populist piece. Turns out it’s by Mark Gavreau Judge, who writes for the American Spectator and is also the author of a well-regarded book (which I have not read) called God and Man at Georgetown Prep. Here’s the article in question.
Now, let me say first that I have some sympathy with Mr. Judge’s fundamental point, which is that there’s nothing admirable about crudity. I even share some of his opinions about the militantly sloppy way people tend to dress these days, and I haven’t even owned a pair of jeans since the ’70s, when I suddenly realized I was sick of seeing them and they weren’t really even all that comfortable. (This does not make me well-dressed. My mode of dress can probably best be described as nondescript, with a tendency toward shabbiness.) I have zero interest in NASCAR, and I prefer my country music straight up.
But, man, does he ever choose some bad ways to make that point. So I have to say:
–To hear a man talk about "pampering" himself is a bit creepy to me–to say nothing of his calling himself a "metrosexual."
–A young mother with a baby on her hip is one of the sweetest sights this world has to offer, regardless of whether she’s wearing shoes or not.
–If I thought being a conservative had anything whatsoever to do with "pour[ing] out the Old Spice and [going] to Nordstrom’s for a bottle of Truefitt and Hill of London," I would never stand for having the term applied to me, much less apply it to myself.
UPDATE: Mr. Judge revisits the topic and makes a much better job of it.