‘Humanize’ This

by Jay Nordlinger

Below, Andrew Johnson links to a video about Mitt Romney, and quotes someone as saying that this video “is more humanizing than anything Romney’s campaign did for him.”

Quite possibly, my least favorite word in American politics today is “humanize.” (I’m sure I could list you ten words just as bad, if I thought about it for a minute.) What “humanize” means, I think, is, “We demand that you be a doofus like everyone else.”

I’m reminded of a world I spend a lot of time in, as a critic — the music world. About 20 years ago, musicians took off their concert tails and started wearing these solid-black pajamas. They are Mao-like jumpsuits. And they are positively de rigueur today. Musicians also started talking from the stage, essentially repeating what was in the program notes.

These moves are supposed to “humanize” the concert experience. They are examples of “outreach” and making concerts “audience-friendly.” Concerts used to be “audience-friendly” by supplying good music. But that isn’t enough, apparently, for a doofus-ized society.

(What freedom, to say what one thinks! Thank you, First Amendment, and thank you, National Review.)

P.S. Bill Buckley liked to tell a story about Mrs. Robert A. Taft — possibly apocryphal, but wonderful all the same. She spoke at a ladies’ luncheon in Ohio. And, in the question period, a woman said, “Mrs. Taft, would you say that your husband is a common man?” “Why, no,” said Mrs. Taft, “he went to Yale and Harvard.”

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