November 30, 2019

"[Y]ou could classify Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders as the pugilists in the field, whereas Mr. Buttigieg, he of the earnest manner and Midwestern zest for consensus, fashions himself a peacemaker."

I'm trying to read "2020 Democratic Candidates Wage Escalating Fight (on the Merits of Fighting)/For all the emphasis placed on the various divides among the candidates, the question of 'to fight or not to fight' might represent the most meaningful contrast" by Mark Leibovich (NYT).

I have a little trouble with "Midwestern zest for consensus."

I don't think these coastal elites who characterize midwesterners know much at all about them/us. (Should I say "us"? I've only lived in Madison, Wisconsin, a special island in the sea of the midwest, and I didn't begin living here until I was 33 years old, past my formative years, which were spent in Delaware and New Jersey, but I did grow up with a midwestern mother, though her midwest was that other college town, Ann Arbor, and I did go to college in my mother's midwestern hometown.)

It's partly my annoyance at the blithe stereotype of midwesterners as blandly nice. Is that even true? And what is this interest in superficial getting along really about? Would it really make you want a leader who acts like that too, or would you want a leader who's willing to take on the hard fighting that you won't do yourself?

Anyway... "zest" bothers me too. "Zest for consensus" — seems like too wacky a state of mind to be present throughout an entire region.

The original meaning of "zest" is the outer peel of a citrus fruit, the bright-colored part that you use to make a "twist" for a drink or grate into some dessert recipe. From there comes the figurative meaning: "Something which imparts excitement, energy, or interest; a stimulating or invigorating quality which adds to the enjoyment or agreeableness of something... Enthusiasm for and enjoyment of something, esp. as displayed in speech or action; gusto, relish" (OED). Here's the highest peak of usage, from John Keats:
O! let me have thee whole,—all—all—be mine!
That shape, that fairness, that sweet minor zest
Of love, your kiss,—those hands, those eyes divine,
That warm, white, lucent, million-pleasured breast,
Yourself—your soul—in pity give me all,
Withhold no atom’s atom or I die
Or living on perhaps, your wretched thrall,
Forget, in the mist of idle misery,
Life’s purposes,—the palate of my mind
Losing its gust, and my ambition blind!
Compare the zestiness of consensus to the zestiness of a warm, white, lucent, million-pleasured breast. Oh, no! This just popped up in my head:



There's your million-pleasured breast. There's your pugilist in the field.

ADDED: Can you beat the fighter with the nonfighter? There's this fantasy that what we need now is Mr. Rogers and that Pete Buttigieg is Mr. Rogers....



(That's just one of many articles you'll find if you google Buttigieg is Mr. Rogers.)

52 comments:

Amadeus 48 said...

Heh.

Seeing Red said...

I thought the same, Amadeus.

tim in vermont said...

My impression of the Midwest is niceness, but also a kind of militant unionism I never saw, even in New York State. Probably because militant unionism had basically denuded my hometown of its large factories. Or at least that was the lore of why they left, and a couple of the more renowned ones did turn up in the non union Carolinas. I remember being in St Louis and the car dealers’ mechanics were all on strike. It was like being in France to me.

rcocean said...

Haha. Good post. Midwesterners aren't "Nice" they simply normal. People in the Northeast who write for newspapers are usually assholes, so they think being a "not asshole" is weird. The mid-west didn't always "nice" politicians. You had:

Fighting Bob La Follette.
John Thompson - who threatened to punch the King of England if he came to Chicago.
Wiliams Jennings Bryan - Who railed against "The Cross of Gold"

It was the natural home of the Populist Party too - who wanted peeps to "raise less corn and more hell,"

madAsHell said...

Let me guess.......he’s homosexual!

tim in vermont said...

Oh yeah, if you worked in telecom, there was never a bigger bunch of crooks than those small town Iowa phone companies, looking for every loophole in the law to slam other carriers with 900 number class charges for completing a customer’s simple long distance phone call. It’s like the con man Professor Harold Hill settled into the telephone business after the whole band uniforms and instruments scam.

madAsHell said...

The writer is homosexual.

Unknown said...

I've seen Buttgieg speak—He reminded me of a clean-shaven Nixon, and his stump speech was a confection of platitudes. He seemed to be taking stands when, in reality, he promised nothing about nothing. He does, though, seem to hate Christians.

Spiros said...

Mr. Trump as Rocky!! Is Mr. Trump seeking to project an image of power and youthful virility or is it something more sinister?

Char Char Binks said...

I have a zest for consensus, a zeal for radical moderation, and a fetish for cruel neutrality.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Althouse's dream candidate. Gay and boring affect.

Paco Wové said...

"the blithe stereotype of midwesterners as blandly nice. Is that even true?"

Speaking as someone who has lived on both coasts, the mountain West, and the Midwest, I would say the stereotype is generally true. Midwesterners are blandly nice, and they want you to be blandly nice, also. If you're not, you get shunned, to a greater or lesser degree.

Mingus Jerry said...

Chicago: Midwest nice with a bullet!

Michael K said...

Mayor Buttplug is somewhat like Mr Rogers as I always wondered if MR Rogers was gay,.

Mingus Jerry said...

Chicago: Come for the zest for consensus; Stay because you get murdered.

MAJMike said...

Mayor Buttplug is going for the "Breeders" vote.

Ken B said...

Is the writer stereotyping gay men?

SGT Ted said...

Mayor Pete is the Mr Rogers of the contest? Funny, I don't remember Mr Rogers talking like a fascist.

SGT Ted said...

"Chicago: Come for the zest for consensus; Stay because you get murdered"

At least you can keep voting afterwards.

Sebastian said...

"I have a little trouble with "Midwestern zest for consensus.""

Hits a little close to home, doesn't it? I mean, it's almost as phony as cruel neutrality, and wanting "serious" and "competent," and waiting to "see what happens."

"It's partly my annoyance at the blithe stereotype of midwesterners as blandly nice."

Don't worry, we know better. When push comes to shove, blandly nice turns into standard progressivism right quick.

Seeing Red said...

U.S. Posts First Month in 70 Years as a Net Petroleum Exporter

Via Insty.

FINALLY!

Tomcc said...

Mayor Pete can be characterized as "reasonable" as compared to "polarizing" (see Trump, Sanders, Warren, etc.). But what does the electorate want? I approve of the policies of our current President and, failing something extraordinary, will likely vote for him in 2020 despite the drama.

chuck said...

I'd describe Buttigieg as "flexible". Who knows what he would fight for? His calculated positions remind me a bit of Romney, but the turning gears aren't as visible.

Tom said...

If Mayor Pete were straight, would we even be talking about him? Maybe - in about 20 years.

Right now the candidate who the dems have to run isn’t in the race - Hillary.

mccullough said...

Blacks didn’t watch Mr. Rogers. That was a Wypipo Show like Game of Thrones.

Nominating Mayor Pete would allow Trump to peel off a lot of black votes.

Would be an interesting realignment if the GOP with America First populism Soccer Moms for Blacks. Would be a great trade.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Thing about these over-promoted "debates," starting so early with such a bloated chorus of candidates, all shuffling leftward into insanity then clumping back like a herd of wildebeast - simply showcases what an immense pack of pandering liars they are.

Idiots, too - to let themselves get sucked into such a charade by the media.

Matt said...

Mr. Rogers was not a degenerate faggot.

How insulting.

TJM said...

Peacemaker? LOL. Little Pete trashed Vice President Pence's religious faith. Ya, some peacemaker

Bilwick said...

Red Diaper Petey is a statist, and "blandly nice" does not accurately describe statists or the nature of statism. Nice people, bland or otherwise, do not plant their jackboots on other people's necks, lift their wallets, and/or point guns at them.

MayBee said...

OMG Althouse you are so right about the Mr Rogers thing. Genius!

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

Always been one of my favorites.

Seeing Red said...

He’s a scold.

Never trust a commie using Christ to scold a Christian.

Freeman Hunt said...

No one from the South would describe Midwesterners as generally nice. I like the Midwest, and I like Midwesterners, but it's probably the least friendly region in the United States.

traditionalguy said...

Buttigeig has perfected faking sincereity. That is deception, which is #1 war tactic. No body with any real world experience will ever trust sweet talking Pete.

Phidippus said...

What they heck is Buttboy doing with that breeder woman and her crotch goblin in that picture? Talk about creepy. Was it photoshopped? It's hard to take anything on the internet at face value.

Personally, I put orange zest (a whole navel orange's worth) in my cranberry sauce, along with the juice. And a pinch of good cinnamon.

My cranberry sauce is legendary.

Lemon zest is good in the parmesan cheese gratin topping I make for asparagus, too. Lidia's recipe is recommended as a starting point.

That's about it for me and zest, though.

mockturtle said...

but it's probably the least friendly region in the United States.

Freeman, that has been my observation, as well.* I've always chalked it up to German/Scandinavian origins of many in the Midwest. They may in fact be 'nice' but not particularly friendly. At least, not to strangers. Southerners and Westerners are the friendliest, by far.

*My time in New England has been very limited and I've heard that New Englanders are not especially nice.

mockturtle said...

Texans win the friendly-to-strangers prize. They are also the most polite drivers.

Michael said...

I know! How about a rule that no media outlet can devote more than 50 column inches (or some broadcast equivalent) per issue to the election? It might spare us from all the articles written for no apparent reason but to fill space.

mockturtle said...

Bill R of T asserts: Althouse's dream candidate. Gay and boring affect.

I think it's the 'gay' part that's pivotal. If he were a straight Christian with a wife and kids she wouldn't be so enthused.

Rusty said...

mockturtle said...
"Texans win the friendly-to-strangers prize. They are also the most polite drivers. "
Georgia and Alabama.

mockturtle said...

Georgia and Alabama.
Maybe if you don't count Atlanta...

gilbar said...

Freeman Hunt said...
No one from the South would describe Midwesterners as generally nice. I like the Midwest, and I like Midwesterners, but it's probably the least friendly region in the United States.


Well, as the song says...

Oh, there's nothing halfway
About the Iowa way to treat you,
When we treat you
Which we may not do at all.
There's an Iowa kind of special
Chip-on-the-shoulder attitude.
We've never been without.
That we recall.
We can be cold
As our falling thermometers in December
If you ask about our weather in July.
And we're so by God stubborn
We could stand touchin' noses
For a week at a time
And never see eye-to-eye.
But what the heck, you're welcome,
Join us at the picnic.
You can eat your fill
Of all the food you bring yourself.
You really ought to give Iowa a try.

Jim at said...

The fact the mayor of a town known for its college football team is being seriously considered as the Democratic nominee reveals just how decimated The Light Bringer left the party.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

"Midwestern zest for consensus." = Law of Jante.

mockturtle said...

OT, but Go Badgers! Boy, the earlier games were real laughers!

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Of course one possibility shouldn't be overlooked; a Mayor Pete/Plugs Jr. ticket!

Maybe someone should clue the DNC in on this....

Michael said...

So Mr. Rogers was a power bottom?

Crazy World said...

My Wisconsin cousins are nice but I would not want to mess with them.
I will take the guy from Queens for the win!

Freeman Hunt said...

A guy in New York was complaining to my husband that in the village he emigrated from, he could walk around and chat with people all day, but he couldn't do that in New York. My husband advised him to go south.

Clyde said...

Not one of the Democrats is fit to wield a narwhal tusk.

Birkel said...

Wouldn't it be neat if Freeman Hunt admitted her part in encouraging Democratics to tear down monuments?
The slope is slippery and Freeman Hunt was helpful...
Gave a nice complicitous push to get started.

Greg the class traitor said...

The kid looks bright, because he looks uncomfortable being there