Sunday, July 30, 2017

Enumerating old themes

Kevin Myers is 70. Donald Trump is 71.

No, that's not a way to let Myers off the hook. But it is a way to point out that what Brexiteers like to portray as a North Atlantic Anglosphere has a public square afflicted with a cohort of people given platforms whose views have not evolved in 30 years.

Myers doesn't realize that a 1980s blend of Jewish stereotyping and pro-Israel political views isn't viable in 2017. Donald Trump still talks about "inner cities" with the lens of the crack epidemic, and his obsession with TV breakfast chit-chat shows and who's on the Time magazine cover is a perfect reflection of that decade. The former has had regular access to newspaper columnist gigs. The latter is President of the United States -- put there by a voting bloc that likewise never moved on from the 1980s TV Trump.

And then there's Brexit. That classic Fawlty Towers Don't Mention the War episode, except without the laughs. The era of Up Yours, Delors. The Irish border as something that the Irish government wasn't properly managing. They've never moved on, and the age profile of their Irish sympathizers is just as revealing -- a group also with access to newspaper columns. They're a combination of what was described by Yeats (ideas that began as a mound of refuse or the sweepings of a street, Old kettles, old bottles, and a broken can) and Keynes (slaves of some defunct economist, distilling their frenzies from some academic scribbler). Unfortunately, reducing their influence is a lot more difficult than sacking a newspaper columnist. 

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