Apes in the Agora, Trump as a Totem and what the Presidential Debate was really about

 

It is quite noticeable how much the two Presidential candidates hate each other. Sadly, I think this is one way the candidates do represent the two major American political parties.

Andrew Klavan, in about seven minutes, tells a revelatory story of why Trump is so hated by the elite.

Klavan went to a musical at the Kennedy Center. There, Seth MacFarlane did some singing and told jokes. Klavan quite liked the music as it came from the 1950s, which he considers the best time in American music. Sadly the jokes were anti-Trump, anti-religious, anti-flyover country. There was constant cursing by MacFarlane, which disturbed Klavan as there were kids everywhere. The Kennedy Center is incredibly beautiful but it was as incredibly expensive. (A glass of white wine cost fifty bucks.)

So while in wealth and splendor, there was an elite without any manners but with disdain for the middle-class folks who grow their food and build their houses but can’t afford to go to the Kennedy Center. It was as if in Ancient Rome, the forum, with all the beautiful pillars and noble sculptures, became occupied by gorillas wearing togas.*

I prefer the metaphor of monkeys wearing top hats.

At about the time JFK died, there developed an attitude of contempt for middle America by the ‘right-thinking people’ in the media and the arts. The elite has said for over sixty years to the Americans in the middle, “Your religion stinks. Your preference for nice houses in the suburbs is ignorantly conformist. Your way of life is ugly and dumb. Your appreciation for family and tradition is barbaric.”

Trump is a totemic representation of middle America’s response to elite condescension. And that totem is a particular finger defiantly rising upward.

I would prefer a more Lincolnian or Reaganesque totem. Someone classier, with nicer manners, who could quote Thomas Jefferson, the Bible and Thomas Sowell from memory. But when Trump goes away, that hatred will remain. It will remain aimed at you and at anyone else who advocates for what you believe in.

While the debate might push Trump into victory come November, it still represents a sad state of affairs because it accurately depicts what this election is about. I would prefer it be about the Constitution and the best policies to provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare. But until the elite gives up its enmity for the middle people of America, the debate will be about men and totems.

*I prefer the term Apes in the Agora for the alliteration.

P.S. These images are AI-generated and free to use under law. Also, the chimp is wearing a sari and not a toga, but he looked very cute so I went with it. 

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 11 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    My post The Phobia(s) That May Destroy America is relevant to this topic.

     

    • #1
  2. Globalitarian Misanthropist Coolidge
    Globalitarian Misanthropist
    @Flicker

    Good article.

    I’ve been thinking lately about hockey.  I know nothing about hockey and don’t even know players’ names.  But I once heard an interview in which a player said that his team (apparently all teams) had, I think he called him an “enforcer.”  When a teammate got high-sticked the enforcer, who had the skill and inclination, would throw down his gloves and beat up the offending player.  Apparently this was considered acceptable in hockey.

    I view Trump as one such enforcer.

    • #2
  3. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):

    Good article.

    I’ve been thinking lately about hockey. I know nothing about hockey and don’t even know players’ names. But I once heard an interview in which a player said that his team (apparently all teams) had, I think he called him an “enforcer.” When a teammate got high-sticked the enforcer, who had the skill and inclination, would throw down his gloves and beat up the offending player. Apparently this was considered acceptable in hockey.

    I view Trump as one such enforcer.

    I wrote something like that as well. 

    I heard a story from my martial arts instructor about how to deal with biased referees. In one tournament, one of the referees was biased towards his own school. In a light contact sparring match, the other guy was whaling on my instructor’s student. My instructor objected and appealed to the referee, but his protestations fell upon with deaf ears. My instructor then took his student aside and advised him to return the violence in kind. The referee broke up the match and both parties agreed to abide by the rules.

     

    • #3
  4. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Globalitarian Misanthropist (View Comment):

    Good article.

    I’ve been thinking lately about hockey. I know nothing about hockey and don’t even know players’ names. But I once heard an interview in which a player said that his team (apparently all teams) had, I think he called him an “enforcer.” When a teammate got high-sticked the enforcer, who had the skill and inclination, would throw down his gloves and beat up the offending player. Apparently this was considered acceptable in hockey.

    I view Trump as one such enforcer.

    I wrote something like that as well.

    I heard a story from my martial arts instructor about how to deal with biased referees. In one tournament, one of the referees was biased towards his own school. In a light contact sparring match, the other guy was whaling on my instructor’s student. My instructor objected and appealed to the referee, but his protestations fell upon with deaf ears. My instructor then took his student aside and advised him to return the violence in kind. The referee broke up the match and both parties agreed to abide by the rules.

     

    A story about physical bullying that comes to mind and serves as a parable about Trump and his Sun Tzu approach to life.

    After the Vietnam war, many who served were against bullying.

    One man I knew was in the habit of telling his three sons that under no circumstances should they respond to bullying with any type of physical reaction. The guy punches you, turn and run.

    But his youngest son was getting hit hard by a bully. His dad’s advice rather sucked.

    This was happening during a miserably cold winter so the 4th grader was always bundled up in a parka.

    The dad took the son aside one morning and said, “I gathered these for you.”

    He then filled up  his son’s parka’s pockets with a bunch of large flat rocks.

    “Now when he hits you, turn so his fists hit the rocks.”

    That was the last day the bully picked on that kid.

    ####

    • #4
  5. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    What has been interesting to me is the reality that many on the right also feel this contempt. Trump’s emerging reveled that.

    • #5
  6. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    You’ve ably identified the frustration flyover Republicans have had with the party that Donald Trump is meant to satisfy. Republican politicians have been acting as if the Reagan era never ended and politics can be conducted by Robert’s Rules of Order during the day while sharing a cocktail and some backslapping with their political enemies opponents in the evening. Meanwhile Democrats threw off the constraints of civility at the first opportunity (once they’d captured the commanding heights of power in our institutions) and operate by the Law of the Jungle. Namely, there are no rules, just opportunities to exert power, and it’s might that makes right.

    Democrats perform outrageous acts of injustice and incivility because they can. I’m thinking of the unequal application of the law. We live in a society where the Mitt Romneys and John McCains just want to be loved by their peers and seem to believe we can all just get along. Ordinary Americans understand the outrages perpetrated by the Left are meant to intimidate and control us. And it’s largely working. If they can jail Donald Trump. . .

    But, at least there are no more mean tweets!

    • #6
  7. Susan Quinn Member
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Great post, Henry. I especially like all the images (metaphoric and graphic)!

    • #7
  8. Nanocelt TheContrarian Member
    Nanocelt TheContrarian
    @NanoceltTheContrarian

    Trump has been saying this at his rallies for years:  They’re not coming after me, they are coming after you. I am just standing in their way.
    His base has understood this from the moment he descended the golden elevator. 
    They understand it now more than ever.

    A growing number of Americans are starting to realize this. They are coming after us all, unless we submit. I for one am not inclined to submit. And it looks like our elites may have an actual voter insurrection (Jan 6 was not an insurrection despite what you have been told by your Media Minders) on their hands. It’s going to take a lot of ballot box stuffing to pull this one out. But Obama, Clinton, et al appear confident, even with Joe remaining on the ticket.

    • #8
  9. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    You’ve ably identified the frustration flyover Republicans have had with the party that Donald Trump is meant to satisfy. Republican politicians have been acting as if the Reagan era never ended and politics can be conducted by Robert’s Rules of Order during the day while sharing a cocktail and some backslapping with their political enemies opponents in the evening. Meanwhile Democrats threw off the constraints of civility at the first opportunity (once they’d captured the commanding heights of power in our institutions) and operate by the Law of the Jungle.

    That is the difference between the hard left and the working class FDR democrats who still liked G-d and the flag. The 60s left was not yet in charge of everything during Reagan’s Presidency. 

    • #9
  10. Jim Kearney Member
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    Henry Castaigne:

    Andrew Klavan, in about seven minutes, tells a revelatory story of why Trump is so hated by the elite.

    Klavan went to a musical at the Kennedy Center. There, Seth MacFarlane did some singing and told jokes. Klavan quite liked the music as it came from the 1950s, which he considers the best time in American music. Sadly the jokes were anti-Trump, anti-religious, anti-flyover country. There was constant cursing by MacFarlane, which disturbed Klavan as there were kids everywhere. The Kennedy Center is incredibly beautiful but it was as incredibly expensive. (A glass of white wine costs forty bucks.)

    Thanks especially for the link to Andrew’s narrative of several months ago at the Kennedy Center, which I had not seen. 

    [Andrew’s pamphlet The Crisis in the Arts: Why the Left Owns the Culture and How Conservatives can Begin to Take it Back could be the most important $.99 value on  Amazon.]

    The Macfarlane clip was interesting. In an era when the best of American popular music has been replaced and debased, here’s a major Hollywood guy reviving it in a kind of Steve and Edie act. Then off he goes into his political convictions with a side of raunch, where he certainly lost Andrew. 

    The Klavan Show episode continues on, and Andrew veers into a listener question about biblical interpretation. I’d met Andrew a couple of times and he mentioned his religious perspective, but I hadn’t realized how learned he was about it (e.g. reading a bit in Greek.) He discusses the topic with the engaging passion and gestures one might associate with a Rabbi, which he is certainly not.

    Klavan felt like a fish out of water when Macfarlane brought the leftist homilies and cursing into his Kennedy Center act. Is this Andrew feeling out of place in another man’s temple of worship? Some on the Left hold their social values and intent as close to their core as a Christian does the teachings of Jesus.

    A brief focus on our similarities …

    Seth Macfarlane, the music performer, understands what Andrew Klavan does, that the Great American Songbook is a precious treasure which must be sustained and handed down in a civilized culture.

    Then, in this dignified venue, the moment of artistic universality becomes a lead-in.

    The crowd is thus primed for a crude attack on Trump’s Middle America, spoken as if all were in agreement. With conservatives mostly absent from our coast-based cultural institutions, Seth might well believe that those present share his beliefs. 

    Of course Andrew feels the dissonance. Without excusing it, I just note that religions (and so, unrelgions) do translate into the popular vernacular, and harshly scorn opposed moral forces. This is not so much to convert but to shore up the base. And Seth, Executive Producer of a long-running network hit, surely understands the value of a good lead-in.

    The Kennedy Center is a cultural temple for all, left and right, rich and almost, but it’s named after a Democrat. Revolving Presidents get to pick its honorees, but everyone includes Seth Macfarlane and it was his night. As for the $40 cup of wine in the cafe, well, ya gotta love free markets.

    Twenty years ago we visited the Vatican. Our inside tour was conducted by an entertaining, outspoken self-described pagan, and she kept pointing out little corners of naughtiness in the paintings. I guess no one’s high temple is a safe space these days.  

    • #10
  11. Rightfromthestart Coolidge
    Rightfromthestart
    @Rightfromthestart

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    You’ve ably identified the frustration flyover Republicans have had with the party that Donald Trump is meant to satisfy. Republican politicians have been acting as if the Reagan era never ended and politics can be conducted by Robert’s Rules of Order during the day while sharing a cocktail and some backslapping with their political enemies opponents in the evening. Meanwhile Democrats threw off the constraints of civility at the first opportunity (once they’d captured the commanding heights of power in our institutions) and operate by the Law of the Jungle. Namely, there are no rules, just opportunities to exert power, and it’s might that makes right.

    Democrats perform outrageous acts of injustice and incivility because they can. I’m thinking of the unequal application of the law. We live in a society where the Mitt Romneys and John McCains just want to be loved by their peers and seem to believe we can all just get along. Ordinary Americans understand the outrages perpetrated by the Left are meant to intimidate and control us. And it’s largely working. If they can jail Donald Trump. . .

    But, at least there are no more mean tweets!

     Not the first to say it, Republicans are playing  country club golf against an opponent swinging chains at their heads. 
      I was at an Adam Carolla comedy show over the weekend in Levittown NY , ground zero of the 50s suburban house movement, while not political he did throw in a few digs at the left which were very well received, we were all of the same mind that Andrew speaks of as being hated by the elites. 

    • #11
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.