Mark Gauvreau Judge is a good writer, but I think he should have left this one in the unsubmitted file. His basic thesis is that the red state identity basically celebrates cretinism. I disagree with that, despite not really loving NASCAR, Bill O’Reilly, and some of the other targets he picks.
But what is really offensive is that he somehow conflates wearing the right clothes and discriminating consumerism with advanced spirituality in the Christian sense.
I don’t think so.
At the risk of repeating myself, I’ll include my letter to the editor on the piece:
I’ve always liked Mark Gauvreau Judge’s work, but I find at least part of his central thesis about the superiority of being a metrocon questionable and maybe even objectionable. While I agree that there is nothing to celebrate about being tacky or willfully ignorant (which I’m not sure his target group really is), I disagree vigorously that the “second growth” of spirituality involves learning how to purchase and wear the right clothing and accessories. Natty apparel has never been a sign of spiritual maturity as far as I can tell. Were it so the fashionistas would be the deepest folk on earth.
It is one thing to argue that many of today’s conservatives don’t hold a candle to William F. Buckley on style points (surely, they do not), but to conflate that point with spiritual maturity and depth evokes a Christianity of which I’m not aware. Certainly, a preference for Brooks Brothers over Wal-Mart does little to inform one about the nobility of a particular soul. In fact, the good book might make the opposite case.
Contributor to The Reform Club