1. "Reactionary centrism" is a bulls-eye description of a powerful political faction that is claims to be trying to save the Biden presidency but is actually working to capsize it: Manchin, Sinema, Friedman, David Brooks, many flying the "popularist" banner.
2. This Brooks tweet is a nice encapsulation of the project of reactionary centrism, which is to get Biden to throw overboard the progressive agenda & govern as a center right president.
3. There's a lot to be said about reactionary centrism, one of which is that these are sore winners. They've gotten everything they wanted: Biden as president, Machin as veto on agenda, national unity & norms rhetoric. If things are a mess, maybe look in the mirror?
4. Also reactionary centrists are a big part of the reason why the world is the way it is: Brooks & Friedman were both big advocates of Iraq War & unlimited globalization that produced the current anti-systems politics. So we should listen to them?
5. Brooks to be sure does a show of his characteristic chin-stroking remorse about his conservative past, but its only superficial and neglects his own responsibility for the rise of authoritarianism. @bellye66 & I talk about this here: jeetheer.substack.com/p/podcast-davi…

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More from @HeerJeet

11 Jan
1. A lot of twitter jokesters had a field day a New Yorker critic named The French Dispatch as the best film of 2021 -- it seemed a mite self-congratulatory for The New Yorker to celebrate a film celebrating The New Yorker.
2. There have been movies about The New Yorker & its writers before -- Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, Joe Gould's Secret -- but none have been as polarizing as The French Dispatch, in part because its not just about the magazine but the myth of the magazine.
3. The myth of New Yorker was actually discouraged by the two editors who dominated the magazine for its first 60+ years, Harold Ross & William, both in their way men of the shadows who wanted editing to be invisible. They resented myth-making of Thurber, Brendan Gill, etc.
Read 7 tweets
5 Jan
1. Mailer pseudo-kerfuffle follows a pattern: there's a type of male writer who tends to be a star when alive & then goes into reputational decline soon after death: macho, two-fisted, sometimes substance abusing: Hemingway, Hunter Thompson, Mailer, Harlan Ellison, Hitchens.
2. A commentator on my substack calls this literary school "penis-writing" and suggests it's fallen out of fashion. Hemingway has enjoyed a partial revival based on strength of his short stories, but it's hard to imagine Thompson, Mailer, Ellison or Hitchens doing same.
3. Hitchens is a particularly interesting case. The 10th anniversary of his death (Dec. 15, 2011) was last month and there is a flurry of attempts to reevaluate, shore up or restore, notably a @graydoncarter piece & @BenBurgis' new book.
Read 6 tweets
1 Jan
1. Looking back at 2021, very pleased with the movie podcasting I did, particularly this conversation with @klion about Dune: jeetheer.substack.com/p/podcast-the-…
2. Prior to the movie coming out, @DavidKlion and I talked about Frank Herbert's novel, it's historical origins and influence jeetheer.substack.com/p/dune-bugs?r=…
3. The French Dispatch was also a good occasion for talking @DavidKlion about both the movie and the history behind it jeetheer.substack.com/p/podcast-well…
Read 5 tweets
22 Dec 21
1. Peter Sellers has an awkward cameo in Get Back. He showed up at the studio while the Beatles were uncertain of their fate after George Harrison briefly left the band. His appearance is a reminder though of how the band is part of the history of comedy as well as music Image
2. We all know about the British Invasion as a musical story: the Beatles, the Stones, the Who. But, less visible in North America, this efflorescence overlapped with the great flourishing of English comedy: The Goon Show, Sellers, eventually Python.
3. There were multiple links between the comedy explosion & music explosion. Both owing a debt to musical hall & nonsense literature, records as a major venue for comedy in that era, George Martin as a producer for Goon Show & other comedians before becoming Beatles impresario.
Read 6 tweets
19 Dec 21
1. As Spider-Man leaps to top of box office charts, worth remembering so popular a character was created by a true eccentric. Steve Ditko, the primary creator, shunned the spotlight (unlike credit-hog Stan Lee), living in overlapping covert worlds of fetish porn & libertarianism
2. As I discussed earlier, from 1958-1968 (which encompass years he created Spider-Man) Ditko shared a studio with Eric Stanton, a specialist in fetish art. The two artists influenced each other & a fetish flair shaped Ditko's character design. jeetheer.substack.com/p/the-sexual-s…
3. During the years where he collaborated with Stanton and co-created Spider-Man (not just drawing the art but plotting stories, designing characters & providing first draft of dialogue), Ditko became Ayn Rand devotee. Which reinforced the fetishist proclivities.
Read 6 tweets
18 Dec 21
There's a lot of talk of post-liberalism but surprisingly not much discussion (as far as I've seen) of Matthew Rose's A World After Liberalism, a really good intellectual genealogy. Reading it now and learning a lot. yalebooks.yale.edu/book/978030024…
Rose's book shrewdly traces to post-liberal Right to the Conservative Revolution in Germany of the 1920s (Spengler, Schmitt, Heidegger), an intellectual variant that overlapped with but was distinct from the Nazis. That's a useful frame.
Post-Liberal Right is confusing because it includes a bunch of wildly conflicting traditions (Catholic theocrats, neo-pagans, neo-confederates). But perhaps best understood not as a doctrine but a situation: the right that confronts decolonization & end of global white rule
Read 6 tweets

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