Old Geezers Out to Lunch

Old Geezers Out to Lunch
The Geezers Emeritus through history: The Mathematician™, Dr. Golf™, The Professor™, and Mercurious™

Friday, July 26, 2013

Liberals Have Deserted Me.

I'm seriously considering leaving a club to which I've belonged for my entire life—the liberals.

All my life, friends and acquaintances who are moderate in political and social outlook have regarded me as extremely left-wing in attitude—one close friend openly thinks of me blatantly socialist. But lately my liberal sisters and brothers are beginning to piss me off in the extreme, mostly because they project false arrogance and superiority that is just insufferable. The liberals who are bugging me come in several sub-species, among them:

The restaurant and coffeeshop snobs
Lord, am I tired of the aristocrats for whom the only thing acceptable is the newest, most
Seriously?  I asked for a cup o' Joe, black. 
expensive restaurant in town. Very rarely I've found some of these places to be really nice dining experiences, but generally speaking the busiest restaurants have little legitimate to recommend them other than the fact that human lemmings are swarming them for the moment. Fully ninety percent of these trendy places offer fare that has less taste than what you'd eat at a simple Perkins family restaurant. It's entirely false snobbishness that fuels the silly popularity of these places.

Similarly, I'm terribly tired of the coffee boutiques specializing in syrupy fluids with flavor that reminds you of the bottom of an ashtray. Let's face it: old time diners offered coffee with a pleasantly nutty flavor that surpassed most of the nonsense served in the upscale coffee boutiques.

The health food nuts
At various times lately, I've heard it said that virtually all world health problems, from autism to dementia, are due to:
• Gluten
• Sugar
• Lactose
• Statin drugs
• Red meat
• Protein
• Carbohydrates
• Caffeine
• Artificial Sweeteners
• Too many intestinal bacteria
• Not enough intestinal bacteria

Good grief. It's interesting to me that the folks frantically afraid of these health nemeses seem to be the ones who then develop them. (The real health problem is narcissistic hypochondria).  Meanwhile, I know perfectly healthy octogenarians who have consumed liquor and stiff coffee, smoked cigarettes and practiced all manner of debauchery and are are still alive and kicking rigorously.

It wouldn't be so bad if these food neurotics didn't insist on preaching to you their brand of insanity. At a recent neighborhood picnic, one fellow interrogated each person who had brought a potluck dish on whether their recipes were "gluten free" or not. Several were asked to go check labels to find out if he could eat without farting up a storm a couple of hours later.

And I have no need to convince vegetarians and "vegans" that their practices are somewhat against the biological heritage of homo-sapiens. It's no skin off my nose if they want to live this way. So why is it that when you eat a bit of fish and a sour-dough roll in front of them,  they can barely disguise their contempt?

Pseudo hippies
I really don't have anything against the true children of the 60s and 70s who continue to live the
Sorry pal. Abbie Hoffman you ain't. 
principles of that era, though it often seems just a little silly. Most of us from that generation have evolved a bit, or at least become a little more realistic about some aspects of the world, but it seems to me that these folks have earned the right to practice a philosophy that's natural to them. And there is a political genuineness (though perhaps not practical realism) that I rather admire.

But I'm increasingly surprised by the number of young (late 20s to early 40s) liberals who adopt a kind of false hippie aesthetic without any real idea of the underpinnings. On the commuter bus one casual Friday, I heard two young women comparing the quality of tie-dye skirts between Macy's and Nordstroms, one arguing that paying $250 was a good investment, as the designer was much more on-trend.  The idea that such garments were created by hand back in the day was utterly alien to them, I imagine.

These pseudo hippies are frankly as blatantly materialistic as any 1970's yuppie that we used to ridicule. They've just deluded themselves into believing they are superior to other people.

Lords of craft beer
Here's another trend that's starting to annoy me—the obsession with "craft" beer. Surely this has about run its course. It's really nothing more than the latest iteration of wine snobbery. if you ask me. I've nothing again microbreweries—who could be against having more pubs around the neighborhood? But the level of gourmet pretension has become pretty unbearable. Beer is beer, and its the act of tipping back with your pals that is significant, not silly debate on the aesthetics of the decor and furnishings in one microbrewery over the other.

(Note: Scotch snobbery is not to be criticized, under severe penalty)

Parents who "befriend" their children 
This isn't all that new; some fellow liberals back when we started having kids were also practicing this way.  What I'm speaking of are those parents who have no ability to distinguish between the adults and the children. They treat their kids as friends, sometimes even encouraging kids to address mom and dad by first names. And in the homes of these folks, you'll find no distinction between spaces for the kids and those for adults—toys and games are scattered everywhere, and the entire family culture is dominated by the needs and wishes of kids. These are the folks who will never leave kids with a baby-sitter in order to go out and get stinking drunk and screw in the backseat. Because they are ordained by god almighty to raise supermen and superwomen, they are likely to home school their kids, because of course contact with other people is not necessary for a growing kid. They are the ones who insist that you need not discipline kids; only "reason" with them. (One fellow preached this to me, then in the next breath lamented that his 10-year old son had begun stealing from the neighbors after breaking through their windows).

Spare me. Parents should have no fear of being parents and making sure their kids understand that that they are the kids. Give the kids some space; your constant presence in every aspect of their lives is not very healthy.

The bicycle frauds
I work with some of these folks, who exhibit an insolent moral superiority in the fact that they
Got news for you. This ain't the tour de France. 
ride bicycles everywhere while others drive automobiles. Does a 50-year old bicycle commuter really have any reason to where spandex biking togs with racing numbers on the back?   In cultures where bicycling is far more ingrained (England, for example), folks ride bikes in comfortable clothing, not ridiculous costumes.

And I'm entirely weary of the indignant, defiant way that bicyclists now treat traffic laws, living in constant deliberate combat with automobiles. Now, I have no problem if bicyclists want to run a stop sign or red light, frankly, Generally, it's no skin off my nose, and I frankly am ready to offer some social leniency to those who are saving gasoline.  But at the same time, you do this at your own risk, and running a traffic stop means you must be willing to take responsibility for the consequences. Everywhere today I see bikes whizzing through intersections as though they have god-given right of way, paying no attention to cross traffic, and then filing lawsuits if they plow broadside into a car.

The television snobs
I know quite a number of educated liberals who sniff with superiority if you mention that you enjoy a particular television program or frequently watch ballgames on the tube.  Apparently they only read greek literature and study classic music for entertainment in the evenings. These are the folks who deny their kids television viewing or access to computer games due to a sense of moral superiority: it's the "we practice arts and crafts at our house rather than watch TV" group.
Yup. That's me, Mercurious. And proud of it. 

This is just horse crap. Television is inherently no more corrupting (and likely less so) than reading romance novels, or listening to Taylor Swift on the ipod, which is what a lot of these holier-than-thou sorts do on the sly. Steven Spielberg acknowledges that he watched television constantly as a youth, as did any number of creative and famous individuals. Probe a little bit and you'll find that these folks who claim to have never watched television can sing you the theme song to most every 1970s sitcom.

So I'll just say it: the big-screen, high-def television is illuminated and talking quite a bit of the time at our house, and we kind of treat it as a window that can be looked through when you want. As Joseph Campbell noted, studying a society's  popular culture tells you far more about it than scholarly tomes.

I read three books a week, on average.  But I also can't wait for the next episode of "Hillbilly Handfishin'" on the History Channel. It airs right before "Say Yes to the Dress."

.....I clearly need a new club. Time was when liberals were a 'live and let live' crowd, not a bunch of moralistic namby pambies.

 I wonder the entry requirements are for the Libertarians.


  1. "I wonder the entry requirements are for the Libertarians."

    I always thought Libertarians require little, if anything.

  2. Agree on every point here, but I'm not sure "liberals" are the problem. Pretty sure you'll find some conservative coffee shop and craft beer snobs. As someone who rides to work on a beach cruiser in my work clothes, I can assure you that many of the Spandex-clad cyclers are Fascists, not liberals.

    The problem is posers of all stripes and political leanings.

    1. I suppose you're right about this....it's just that I hang around liberals, hence it feels to me like this is a new liberal phenomenon. Or maybe it just irritates me more when it comes from liberals.

      So happy there are others who prefer a civilized cruiser bike.

  3. This was good, funny and written like a true conservative. Here are two of the reasons I say that.

    If there has ever been two more mutually exclusive terms than Liberal and Aristocrat, I've never heard them. A liberal would never have said that.

    You ended by referring to liberals as "moralistic namby pambies." A liberal would NEVER use that term! Rush Limbaugh does, Bill O'Reilly does, Sean Hannity does, and so do many others in similar positions. It's a very popular term right now among ultra-conservatives to describe liberals and our current president.

    I vote issue and candidate specific and have no problem voting across party lines. I know staunch supporters of both parties and I also know all the buzz words.

    You don't need to find a new club grasshopper, just move towards the center. Only in the center will you bask in the golden light of political enlightenment.

  4. Excellent essay that I completely agree with, even though I'm not now nor ever have been a "liberal". I think Jerri was spot on: "The problem is posers of all stripes and political leanings." All those things you mentioned are not exclusive to liberals.

    I will admit to now being firmly in "the middle" after seeing the wreckage conservatives without adult supervision have left us with. I'm just trying to figure out what has happened to our collective common sense?


  5. Absolutely captivating post! I was either grinning or chuckling through all of it. I too have witnessed much of the behavior you describe and have had similar reactions.
    Let me wade a little deeper in here. I'm not so sure the behavior you are seeing is necessarily hinged to liberals. I've noted similar behavior from conservatives and even" Randians" (devotees to Ayn Rand). Rather I think you are seeing variations of the new
    "ism" that threatens us all-consumerism. Consumerism knows no political boundaries. All of us are vulnerable. We become snobs, based on a product or logo, i.e. wine, beer, coffee, phone, phone apps, riding togs, running togs, tennis togs, carpets, grills, cars, etc., etc. Practicality or utility, which should be at the core of our relationship with "things," or taste and appreciation which underscore our choice of beverage-hot or cold-have been supplanted by our loyalty or allegiance to a brand.
    Do we really need to jam into spandex to ride? Of course not, but we've been marketed to and conquered by one of the agents of consumerism, advertising. As Vonnegut said, "so it goes." But it ain't right. Maybe political liberals love to croon about the hippest, neatest, latest, newest great restaurant, because in that they can savor a kind of victory they rarely savor in the political arena. Still out front, you know!
    And so I wade a bit deeper. Wondering if mid-west and even upper mid-west atmospherics (values, climate, exposure to the sun,
    sense of tradition and propriety) don't also intervene. I'm conjecturing now, but I wonder if what you are fed up with is a lack of authenticity. Perhaps what you seek from those liberal friends and club mates is just that-a genuine or authentic ethos.
    Maybe it's OK to stake a political ground left of center, but enjoy the biscuits and gravy at Bob Evans, or ride a bike in blue jeans, or enjoy a Strohs (do they still brew it?).
    I spent most of my life in the mid-west and measure that now by the some what goofy, flaky, touchy feely, old bohemian, "it's all good," sustainable, enjoy the day, new bohemian and the other affectations of my new home in California, notably the central coast and sense what is truly a lack of constraint and/or "the need to measure up or fit in" standards that seem so dominate in the earnest mid west.
    Out here we don't call it an inconsistency, as much as an authenticity. I'm not saying California does not have it's phony's, consumers or flakes. But many of us, of a certain age, have sort of drawn the line on what others think or say about us. If our blend of views and lifestyle is, say, odd, eccentric, out of the norm, off the chart--we don't care. Because our pals may be just as much a batch of contradictions as we are. But, hey...it's all good.

  6. Now, don't take Tom's comments (above) too literally. I happen to know that he is not only a wine snob but also a restaurant and cooking snob. And he's still one of my best friends!

    But more to the point, your essay is right on, my liberal brother, and it's high time someone shook up the #1 rated Vitamix blender full of all those misguided liberals, conservatives and middle-of-the-roaders.

  7. Re: I wonder what the entry requirements are for the Libertarians.

    A dear friend went back to college and got a degree in it. Now she shushes talkative people so serious patrons can concentrate in the librar...oops never mind.