The Corner

Booty Versus Beauty

I deeply appreciate Rich Lowry’s column celebrating Paul Harvey’s powerful Super Bowl ad. Shortly after Beyoncé’s performance — the most intense booty-shaking ever seen at the Super Bowl; the pure physical strain of the effort was written all over her face — a minor Twitter battle erupted over whether social conservatives who immediately blasted the whole strip-club flavor of the performance (followed soon after by an ad for 2 Broke Girls that featured actual pole dancing) were putting further distance between us and the pop-culture-worshipping masses. After all, Michelle Obama was hip enough to immediately tweet her congratulations to Beyoncé.

Then came the Paul Harvey Dodge Ram ad. And it stopped us in our tracks.

I was home alone with the flu (wife and kids were off attending the annual Super Bowl party), and I’ve got to admit that it may have put a tear in my eye. There’s an old saying amongst First Amendment lawyers that the proper cure for bad speech is better speech, and that Paul Harvey ad was, without doubt, better speech. To be clear, I’m not opposed to some good, old-fashioned cultural hand-wringing when the occasion demands it. Indeed, it’s important to call out the wrong, but calling out the wrong without providing a compelling right will ultimately get us nowhere.  

It is far more difficult to cultivate artistic talent — and to navigate young artists through a pop culture as heavily dominated by the Left as academia — but it’s a project that deserves at least as much attention as we give to finding young political stars like Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz. Otherwise, the booty will overwhelm the beauty, and hand-wringing will be all we have left.

David French — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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