Wednesday, January 11, 2006

More on JT Leroy, Class Hatred, and Great Art

To continue my thoughts on JT Leroy:

I said:
"The "Aren't Southerners Creepy?" sort of porn really is class-conscious in the ugliest way."

Again, not much has changed from de Sade's time in that isolated, upper-class, urban elites still get a certain frission from sexual fantasies about the abuse and degradation of an otherwise invisible lower class.

But, what is different is that the sort of upper-class ridicule of "white trash" (really just class resentment) is readily accessible by those "rednecks" it ridicules. I mean, you read about how willing Madonna and all these literati are to believe that West Virginians really are pimping their children out to child-molesting truckers and it just smacks of class hatred. You see them constantly ridiculing the fashions and tastes of poor whites and it just makes you cringe if you're from that background.

Of course, Southerners don't do themselves any favors by voting en masse for bullshit homophobic laws. Nor do they help themselves by buying into the minstrel acts of yankee carpetbaggers like Larry the Cable Guy who differ from downtown hipsters only by flattering Southerners a bit more while ridiculing them. "Sure, you are simple people, and racist queer-bashers, but gosh you're morally superior." But, notice how willing Southerners are to pay back respect to people like George Bush or Git-R-Dun that pay them respect? Ever wonder why Democrats can't break the South?

I don't think that NYC/LA needs to bend over backwards to flatter the white lower-class. But, Jesus, they don't have to be so ready to insult them at every turn. Great art is fundamentally sympathetic. Even Shylock is a deeply sympathetic character. Maybe this isn't a time of great sympathy- but, artists should, at the very least, be interested in other people. For some reason, that interest seems to have been lost.

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