Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Jonah Goldberg, Again

I finally read Jonah Goldberg's ode to the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day, thanks to Sadly, No!. This paragraph stands out:
Ultimately, the story is one of redemption, so it should surprise no one that it speaks to those in search of the same. But there is also a secular, even conservative, point to be made here. Connors's metamorphosis contradicts almost everything postmodernity teaches. He doesn't find paradise or liberation by becoming more "authentic," by acting on his whims and urges and listening to his inner voices. That behavior is soul-killing. He does exactly the opposite: He learns to appreciate the crowd, the community, even the bourgeois hicks and their values. He determines to make himself better by reading poetry and the classics and by learning to sculpt ice and make music, and most of all by shedding his ironic detachment from the world.
Poor Jonah. I want to sneer but it's more sad than funny. Putting aside his thinking (wishful) and definition of postmodernity (confused), he is still wrong. To act according to your wants, to listen to your inner self, to be the architect and engineer of your own life, is practically a sin to Jonah and his ilk. They must do--and want--what their parents want. Despite all they say about the voice of God acting as a conscience, they must never listen to their inner voices. To do so would kill their souls, cut them off from God, sentence them to eternal damnation. So Jonah, who loves popular culture and comedy and anarchy, shuts himself into a little box, twisting and compressing himself into a small corner of his own life, in the service of his conservative parents and world.

What does it cost him to become a person who finds joy in using his talents to make un-funny insults at liberals? To see everything from a conservative lens that demands only one possible interpretation of popular culture? To cut himself off from a world of creative people who could never respect what he has let himself become?

It doesn't matter; Goldberg has found his joy in life by being mama's little man, although sadly without the equipment that greased so many wheels for Lucianne.

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