The Corner

No, We Can’t

“Spengler” hits Susan Boyle out of the park, and the rest of the Anglosphere, too. Self-congratulatory mediocrity isn’t going to cut it much longer, he says, in a world stuffed full of people who spend grueling years mastering difficult skills.

At some time during the 20th century, the people of the West elected to identify with what is like them, rather than emulate what is above them.

Churlish resentment of high culture comes from the slacker’s desire for reward with neither merit nor effort: the sort of artistic skill that requires years of discipline and sacrifice is a reproach to the indolence of the popular audience of the West …

A generation of Americans learned the wrong jobs: selling real estate, processing mortgages, and selling cheap imports from China at shopping malls. The cleverest among them got business degrees and learned to trade derivatives. Their services will no longer be required … Not long from now, they will be lucky to find employment getting coffee for a Chinese (or Indian) boss …

The day is gone when a smile and a shoeshine will get you a shot at the American dream, but a smile and a song still will get you a chance at instant stardom. That is the message of hope that Susan Boyle bears to the beleaguered audience of the Anglo-Saxon world. In fact, her own little corner of Britain is living proof that hope may be entirely in vain. Whole parts of the industrial world never will come back …

I love Spengler. You just can’t out-gloom the guy. I feel a tad cooler about him though, just a tad, since reading Steve on Spengler on Steve the other day.

[And of course, should you want to read a novel based in part on Spengler’s theme avant la lettre, I can offer a perfectly impartial recommendation.]

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