June 1, 2010

Things watched just now.

There's this really cool Mickey Kaus ad:

I found that via Mickey's Twitter feed, where he thanked Instapundit for embedding it, so why didn't I see it on Instapundit too? Must have been that, scrolling, I got sidetracked by the monitor lizard. Anyway, I was over on Twitter to write:
Got M to watch the movie "Slacker," which made us look up "Growing Up Absurd" in Amazon, which recommended we buy the movie "Slacker."
We almost never watch movies. We're too fragmented. But "Slacker" is fragmented, and, thinking we could put up with that, we ended up watching the whole thing. In the end of the movie — and I realize I've watched the beginning many times and the end only a few — the camera flashes on the book "Growing Up Absurd." We were trying to remember the author's name, and Meade got it right. We were talking about what a verbal tic it used to be to call everything "absurd."
Thanks for coming over to the other side of the line? What did you think you'd find here? It turns out, it's a passage from an essay by the big old conservative Roger Kimball about Paul Goodman's "Growing Up Absurd":
Goodman said virtually nothing new in Growing Up Absurd. But somehow, his method of recycling received opinions about the problems of youth culture in what he liked to call the “Organized System” struck a chord. His success was due partly to the way he combined the radical clichés of the moment with a traditional language of virtue. “My purpose is a simple one,” Goodman wrote in his first chapter: “to show how it is desperately hard these days for an average child to grow up to be a man, for our present organized system of society does not want men.” (Girls and women do not figure much in Goodman’s scheme of things.)

In other words, Goodman cannily blended rhetoric appropriate to a Marine recruitment poster with portentous fantasies about America being an “unnatural system” that warps young souls. Given current conditions in America, Goodman wonders, “Is it possible, being a human being, to exist? Is it possible, having a human nature, to grow up?” But the pertinent question is whether it really was “desperately hard” for an average child to grow up in the United States in the 1950s—an era of tremendous prosperity, excellent public education, potent national self-confidence. Was it true, as Goodman insisted, that “the young men who conform to the dominant society become for the most part apathetic, disappointed, cynical, and wasted”?

Part of Goodman’s purpose was to sympathize with and exonerate those elements of youth culture that had chosen not to conform to “the dominant society”—the Beats and other fringe groups who believed that “a man is a fool to work to pay installments on a useless refrigerator for his wife.” (Not so useless if one wishes to keep food from spoiling, of course, but Goodman never acknowledges that side of things.) 


Rialby said...

Love the ad. I'd love to see Mickey win.

Seven Machos said...

I love Mickey Kaus. He is absolutely Ronald Reagan if Ronald Reagan was substantially tougher on illegal immigration. He is hands-down my favorite candidate for public office.

You didn't leave the Democratic party, Mickey. The Democratic party left you.

It would be so cool if he could pull this off.

HKatz said...

"It ends your political career... but I don't have a political career."

Love that.

And here's hoping that maybe he will have one, after all.

Irene said...

"We were talking about what a verbal tic it used to be to call everything 'absurd.' "

And we used to say, "abzurd."

Meade said...

Irene: Ha ha! That's right -- sounded more sophistiqué.

Paul said...

Mickey Kaus is one of the few politicians to whom I sent a donation.

Over the years that I've followed him on blogging heads I haven't agreed with him on every issue, but he is an honest and sincere person who thinks seriously about issues and forms his opinions without regard to the party line.

Also, as unlikely as it sounds, he has star quality. He's fun to watch.

TheGiantPeach said...

So, Althouse does not remember who Paul Goodman was. Perhaps, Goodman himself anticipated the evanescence of his fame, when he wrote a poem that began:

If I were still more industrious,
and didn't get so sick and tired,
instead of half a column,
my obituary in the Times would run a column,
with an anecdote, and a quotation
from "Growing Up Absurd."

I read the poem three decades ago, so it may not be exactly as I transcribed it, but that's the idea.

The topic (or one of the main topics) of "Growing Up Absurd" was the problem that was referred to in the fifties as "juvenile delinquency." Since the phenomenon was an almost exclusively male one, quotations from the book, wrenched from context, are going to appear objectionably gender-specific.

The thesis of the book was that the delinquents were right, that there was something essentially wrong with the way the life-options that were being presented to these young men. We were failing to provide them with "man's work."

The economy was booming in the fifties, there was work for these young men, if they would choose to do it. But Goodman drew a connection between economic roles and masculinity and his thesis was that for these kids acceptance of the economic roles that were available to them meant betraying their masculinity. The gangs offered a way to actualize their masculinity that the workplace failed to offer.

Once again, it's been decades since I read "Growing Up Absurd," and I may be misrepresenting it, but that is how I remember what I learned from the book.

What this has to do with Mickey Kaus is somewhat obscure.

LonewackoDotCom said...

Meanwhile, here are my comments on Mickey Kaus running for Senate. It's not surprising that he'd get support from those who are also probably Insty fans, but that's not going to win him anything or move him beyond a small blip on the radar. He could be a contender, but instead he's choosing to just waste everyone's time with a vanity candidacy.

P.S. For a sampling of what I've been covering in thousands of posts since 2002, here's my list of immigration advocacy groups, with each number in parens being the number of posts involving that group. Compare that to those who simply encourage you to go throw tantrums and wave loopy signs.

Seven Machos said...

So, Growing Up Absurd is Fight Club. I like it.

Anyway, on to Wacko. Let's think about this, dude.

Mickey Kaus rakes in lots of money writing and he has a blog that generates millions of hits despite the irritating fact that he so rarely updates it.

You, Wacko, must stoop to posting in a blog comments section to troll for readers of your inane spoutings.

Who's really the small blip here?

Ann Althouse said...

I remembered the book but not in detail. Looking something up doesn't necessarily mean you never heard of it. It just means you want to read more about it.

TheGiantPeach said...

It's not just you. Everybody seems to have forgotten Goodman, or has only a vague recollection of him. During the sixties, I think he was at least as well known as Saul Alinsky.

LonewackoDotCom said...

Seven Machos: as I told you, write everything as if it's going to turn up as the #1 hit for your real name in Google. That's something you're really going to want to think through.

My criticism of Kaus is to a fair extent constructive; your comments about him are those of an enabler. If he takes your advice and does what he's going now, he will be just a vanity blip. If he takes my advice he could have a greater impact. If your goal is to do something about this issue, the "Seven Machos" way is the way of failure.

And, the fact that Kaus is more popular than I am (although not anywhere near as popular as others, based on metrics I'm familiar with) is more an indictment of him and his fans than anything else.

I invite the reader to take a glance at, for just one recent example, my coverage of Luis Gutierrez. If your goal is to oppose him, ask yourself why others won't link to that page. Is the fault with me, or with them?

If your goal is to do something effective about this issue, should you side with the ineffective enablers like "Seven Machos", or with those who are actually trying to do something effective.

P.S. Once again: write everything like it's going to turn up as the #1 hit for your real name in Google.

Seven Machos said...

There's a good joke here, commingling Rules for Radicals and the rules of Fight Club, but I am too tired to be able to put it together,

TheGiantPeach said...

A little poem by Paul Goodman (in honor of our hostess):

"Man, I'm shook to see you in a commercial.
I thought you was opposed to advertising."

"This isn't advertising,
This is newscasting, dammit.
These are good.
National Biscuits Triscuits.
Not so good as nooky or Vivaldi
(crunch, crunch)
But better than Ingmar Bergman
(crunch crunch)
or any of my academic friends
(crunch crunch crunch crunch)
at the University of Wisconsin."

((I've seen two versions of this poem. One was published in a book of his poetry and one in a posthumous collection of his collected poems. The other version ends
"or any academic friends that I
(crunch crunch crunch crunch)
ever made in Milwaukee."))

LonewackoDotCom said...

If you're a 'partier, those like "Seven Machos" are, as we say, faux amis (false friends). They're like yes men, on the Titanic. Instead of telling you to get in the lifeboats, they tell you everything's OK even when it isn't.

Don't trust the faux amis like "Seven Machos" and its ilk.

Seven Machos said...

the "Seven Machos" way

I like that. It has a nice ring to it.

You are an annoying gnat, Wacko. I have told you already that I encourage you to put together a website and a book about my ideas. I will take my royalty cut, and we will both be happy.

Also, I can't let this go...

And, the fact that Kaus is more popular than I am (although not anywhere near as popular as others...)

So as long as someone, somewhere is more popular than you are, you are a failure. This is just terrible, terrible argumentation.

Finally, I want to be the first to report to you, Wacko, that more illegal immigrants just entered the country. Shalom!

Seven Machos said...

P.S.: I have nothing to do with Tea Parties.

LonewackoDotCom said...

Seven Machos: I've posted almost 10,000 posts since 2002. Meanwhile, last I checked, you had a handful of posts on your blog. Whatever ideas you have are hidden away; let them free and also tell us your real name (and possible bar # to save time) while you're at it.

And, it also didn't get my point: the fact that I don't get more links to my Gutierrez page, or the NCLR page, or all the rest is more an indictment of those who are generally on my side than anything I'm doing. They prefer low-grade demagogues like Insty or Gateway Pundit (note: I think of the latter as more a naif than anything else) instead of those who are intimately familiar with an issue. And, that's despite the fact that linking to me - or at least doing things in the ways I suggest - would help them resolve the problems they pretend to care about.

Like I said: if you actually want to do things that are effective, watch out for the faux amis like "Seven Machos".

Mark Daniels said...

Clever ad. Despite the "homemade" feel, it's obviously professionally done.

It may not buttress his "outsider" approach to show BHHS as his alma mater though.

Seven Machos said...

Wacko -- You are an obsessed loon, and you clearly have some resentiment issues to work out with regard to Glenn Reynolds and others.

Go away. I'm sorry I ruined the thread by making fun of you and your foolish existence. I will be more circumspect the next time you come here promoting your bizarre hatred of immigrants.

PatCA said...

Apparently you can ask for a party ballot in the primary here if you're a decline to state, so I'm going to do it and vote for him.

fivewheels said...

I've never contributed to a political candidate. I'm not exactly made out of money.

But I've been a Kaus reader and fan since the beginning of Kausfiles, pre-Slate. At this late date, is there anything he could do with $20 or even $50 from me? Would it just be a waste? Would I be better off spending it on a nice ribeye?

If I was going to donate, I probably should have done it last month.

Fred4Pres said...

Ace made this observation about Mickey:

I knew of a very, very gay dude in college, who claimed he was straight for most of his life. Hear tell, in his senior year, he announced to his friends -- exclusively women -- "I'm coming out; I've thought about this a lot, and I've realized I'm gay."

One woman hugged him and said, "Stephen! You were the last to know!"

One day, Kaus is going to have an epiphany about his political orientation and... last to know, dude.

Paul Snively said...

I had no idea why "The Plant," a whopping five miles from my house, was called what it is. Now, thanks to Mickey, I know.

TheGiantPeach said...


One day, Kaus is going to have an epiphany about his political orientation and... last to know, dude.

That reminds me of one of my favorite bloggingheads, where Mickey tells Bob Wright that he's decided to become a Republican, and Bob flips out. The bloggingheads was recorded on April 1, and the viewers can see Mickey holding up a sign that says "April Fools" while he's making his announcement.

roesch-voltaire said...

Peach thanks for your summing and poetry from Goodman that old self-described anarchist and rebel. Reminds me of the time I interviewed him during his stay in Milwaukee where he claimed: "The school system doesn't work. It doesn't meet needs and is irrelevant to future jobs..." And he went on to claim schools only "baby-sit" students and that sometimes the institutions kill individual initiative. Funny how things remain the same, just yesterday a student in my class did a presentation on how some professors stifle creativity. I guess I have been "crunched :)"

Kirstin said...

Hey, anyone but Boxer.

Mickey's father, Otto Kaus, spoke at my law school graduation.

LonewackoDotCom said...

"Seven Machos" is, of course, lying.

I don't promote anything like it says I do; what I promote here are commonsense solutions to things like massive political corruption. Because of that, it's not surprising that I'd get smeared.

And, some of my issues with Glenn Reynolds are at the link. To the extent that he's had an impact, it's mostly been negative. That's just my opinion, others may disagree. However, his supporters might want to consider that he can't figure out effective tactics, preferring instead to encourage his supporters to engage in less effective tactics.

Larry J said...

The ad was pretty good. It looks like the walking and talking fast gimmack was lifted from an early Paul Wellstone ad.

JorgXMcKie said...

Boy, I've known a single-minded nutjob or two in my day, but I despair of Lonewacko ever figuring out why he's "lone".

Get a day job, dude.

wv: enceph -- inside one's own head, where Lonewacko spends all the time he's not actually commenting at Althouse.

OSweet said...

With California as messed-up as it is, making voters inclined to prefer anyone new and different, an independent candidate could show up late and win.
But Kaus won't run as an independent, because he fears incurring the wrath of dogmatic Democratic Party types, like Bob Wright.
Ideal candidate would be Star Parker.

blake said...


You must be new here, then?

The Plant is just one of many, many defunct industrial sites in the Valley. Hughes used to be in the west valley (now a DeVry's), and I think it was Lockheed-Martin that was out in Burbank (also a mall).

There's part of Rocketdyne left in Canoga Park, but it's down to a mere block in size.

Paul Snively said...


Seven and a half years, so yeah, in the grand scheme of things, guilty as charged. And sad to hear so many other examples of industry fleeing the valley. :-(

blake said...

The Plant hosted the After Dark Horror Fest for a couple of years, which is the only time I've been there. Though I went to school in Van Nuys for a few years and studied martial arts there, too.

I prefer to avoid that stretch of Roscoe (well, any E/W street) between the 405 and Van Nuys Blvd, though.

I've visited Lambda many times over the years. Nice to know someone's out in my neck of the woods.