Friday, July 15, 2005

Klosterman II

Still working on course prep, still working on Klosterman. Read his article in Esquire about / with Britney Spears, including his McLuhanesque line that Britney's image is so contradictory and ill defined that everyone and anyone gets to assign her the meaning they most desire: hero to 12 year olds, porn star to their older brother, the reason young women hate themselves to young women, and the slightly creepy line that explains why the guy who hates Chuck thinks he has the mind of a childmolester: dads wish Britney would come to a sleep over with their 12 year old daughter.

But to the point. I read another article about Guilty Pleasures where CK starts out decrying the evils of anti-intellectualism (which surprised me a bit), but he followed it up with his more familiar criticism of feinged intellectualism. He goes on to attack the catch phrase "guilty pleasure" because he thinks guilty pleasure should be reserved for sleeping with your ex-girlfriend's roommate, and it should not be used for things like enjoying the Patrick Swayze movie Road House. Prented intellectualism, he seems to argue, is the result of not enjoying the enjoyable things in life. "It never matters what you like; what matters is why you like it."

He also says that pretend intellectualism leads to anti-populism, which is maybe what he is always arguing for: a ND retrieved populism that does't mean bucking the corporate master in the way good old ND populism did, but it means something like "let me enjoy my pop culture because I take great pleasure in it, and don't try to make me feel like a dumb-ass (i.e. guilty) for liking this pop culture." I am starting to hear in his tone a lot of ND defensiveness--and perhaps that defensiveness plays everywhere because he is usually making an argument for the most popular, the best selling, the most mass of the mass culture. ND is everywhere.

Possible formula: "Liberal" media (hipsters) makes the masses feel stupid, "conservative" media makes the masses nervous about their sins, the "masses" consume but do not produce the mass media. 'Cept CK. Probably wrong again.

Oh, and what would JR do with CK's obsession with coolness?


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