Words of wisdom from Manhattan's highest brightest elite: We have never quite figured out who Kurt Andersen is.
Yes, he’s part of the Gotham High Elite. You can see that from this overview, constructed by the foremost authorities on his career:
WIKIPEDIA: Kurt Andersen (born August 22, 1954) is an American novelist who is also host of the Peabody-winning public radio program Studio 360, a co-production between Public Radio International and WNYC. In 1986 with E. Graydon Carter he co-founded Spy magazine, which they sold in 1991; it continued publishing until 1998. Previously he has been a writer and columnist for New York Magazine, ("The Imperial City"), and The New Yorker ("The Culture Industry") and Time ("Spectator"). He was also the architecture and design critic for Time for nine years.You may be getting the picture. In fairness, we’ll assume he’s a very good novelist. His novels have won some awards.
To see his wife's thoughts praised by other foppish "elites," go ahead—just click here.
That said, we’re often puzzled when Andersen sounds off in his thoughtful op-ed columns. On July 4, he asked a good question in a New York Times piece, then offered a very rank answer.
This is the way the upper class thinks—the “intellectual” upper class, Manhattan’s most clueless elite:
ANDERSEN (7/4/12): This spring I was on a panel at the Woodstock Writers Festival. An audience member asked a question: Why had the revolution dreamed up in the late 1960s mostly been won on the social and cultural fronts—women’s rights, gay rights, black president, ecology, sex, drugs, rock ’n’ roll—but lost in the economic realm, with old-school free-market ideas gaining traction all the time?According to Andersen, blacks, women and gays won rights because “selfishness won.” This is “all of a piece” with the financial triumph of the Masters of the Universe class.
There was a long pause. People shrugged and sighed. I had an epiphany, which I offered, bumming out everybody in the room.
What has happened politically, economically, culturally and socially since the sea change of the late ’60s isn’t contradictory or incongruous. It’s all of a piece. For hippies and bohemians as for businesspeople and investors, extreme individualism has been triumphant. Selfishness won.
His boxed sub-headline captures it best: “The ethos of the 60s explains not only social liberalism but greed.”
Only a High Manhattan Elite could reason in such a way. Everyone knows why the upper classes—the Masters of the Universe—have steadily gained on the billionaire front. Starting in the 1950s, they began fighting back against the damage done them by The New Deal.
They created extremely well-funded “think tanks.” These think tanks began churning propaganda. (If we lower the tax rate, we get higher revenue!)
They fought back hard against high tax rates. They fought back against that vile “death tax.” They fought regulation of all kinds. They bought our politicians.
Paul Krugman describes this history in The Conscience of a Liberal. On its face, this history has little to do with that of the civil rights era. With the thought that women should have a full range of choices and opportunities. With the idea that a kid who is gay shouldn't be hounded, tormented.
No one is quite as mentally strange as our Manhattan elites. They’re hopelessly bougie and self-involved; that includes the Famous Manhattan Women who drag around the feminist label even as they waste their lives churning Tinseltown pap and otherwise keeping their traps shut.
Unfortunately, these elites play an outsized role in shaping the understandings of our hapless liberal world. We’re dumb enough to go to their movies; we’re dumb enough to praise their moral greatness. At any rate, by the end of his piece, Andersen is offering this account of the world:
ANDERSEN: People on the political right have blamed the late ’60s for what they loathe about contemporary life—anything-goes sexuality, cultural coarseness, multiculturalism. And people on the left buy into that, seeing only the ’60s legacies of freedom that they define as progress. But what the left and right respectively love and hate are mostly flip sides of the same libertarian coin minted around 1967. Thanks to the ’60s, we are all shamelessly selfish.“We are all shamelessly selfish!” In fairness, that's almost surely true in the sea where this fellow swims.
How insightful! The Enrons and Lehmans were “shamelessly selfish”—just like Rosa Parks was! Who but a creep from our highest elite could churn such ridiculous pap to mark the Fourth of July?
Who did Dr. King think he was kidding? Who but the empty-souled New York Times would put such piddle in print?