Sunday, April 18

Contempt for the bourgeoisie in general and the United States in particular

[C]ontempt for the bourgeoisie was part of an intellectual tradition dating back to the 19th century, when English aesthetes..., German sociologists..., and French litterateurs... made careers out of flaying the middle class. They defined it as comprising, in the words of the great French historian Francois Furet, “petty, ugly, miserly, laborious, stick-in-the-muds, while artists were great, beautiful, brilliant and bohemian.” Flaubert, for one, argued against democracy on the grounds that “the whole dream of democracy is to raise the proletarian to the level of stupidity attained by the bourgeois.”

It was only in the 1920s...that such contempt for the bourgeoisie—and with it a deep hostility toward the United States’s position as the quintessentially middle-class, democratic, and capitalist nation—found a wide audience in this country through a new generation of writers....
And still today in the academy, there's lots of hostility to the hand that feeds us.

No comments: