Posted by The Happy Tutor
Long Story Short Pier, responding to How to Write like a Liberal Sack of Garbage: "How do we knock the scales from one another's eyes?" A Koan, as he suggests, is a good technique, but none are included. To write well, even as teachers of the liberal arts, we have to match form and content, right? Or form to purpose? As in The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People.
Wit has always been part of the liberal arsenal, and humor and a light touch. We become serious and foregound our studiousness, in this liberal baiting, pointy-head baiting, culture at our own risk. Art conceals art, or falls short of art, as Horace noted in the Ars Poetica, an urbane defense of moderation coupled with a brutal satire of excess. You can't win in these bouts with only one hand. The earnest plodding liberal striver, rising only to prep schooled irony, wrotomg for sequestered and polite peers, is an odds on loser against a Horowitz or Limbaugh who fights exhuberantly with both hands, his head, his breath or even his all-smotherng rump, to the delight to the ignorant and brutal crowd - our fellow citizens in the public square, forming a circle and clapping for blood.
The style of Long Story Short Walk could not have survived Paul de Man in 1975. It is a handmedown from that of Wimsatt or E.B. White. How can it survive those whose postmodern, post-Nietzschean, post-reality-based, world-making derives from the noble lies of Strauss? Sincerity and Authenticity (in the style of Lionel Trilling) are today the mark of a Dupe, or as Strauss would have called them, a Gentleman, like my consort, Dick Minim.
To impersonate Seriousness earnestly, not to decieve but from behind a mask to drop the scales from the eyes, or the lead weight from the tongue, is art - in the ancient sense of a rhetorical ploy which like a spanking is meant to delight and instruct both victim and audience alike. Yes, like a Koan, or a Zen Slap, (or the games of Diogenes in his Dumpster) to which the reader/writer comes in huff, furious that he is being traduced. The Bear I meant to bait was Horowtiz, not the Liberal Lapdogs, mumbling the game they dare not bite. Poodles are not quarry. To torment them is simply sadism. They don't fight back; they lick the hand that beats them, mine, Horwitiz's, that of the goon at the door. As Horowitz knows. Hence his gloating in advance.
I am truly sorry that those who are reacting to this critique - or writing/reading lesson - are my fellow liberals, my well-meaning well-schooled, well-housebroken, friends, rather than those who are throwing us into the Dumpster out back of Wealth Bondage like sacks of garbage. The time to defend the style of Trilling was 1975 or earlier. Time to get in the game, folks.