Pop Culture Snobs on the Right

I admire him. But he's got some larnin' to do.

I admire him. But he’s got some larnin’ to do.

This morning I had the misfortune to hear Powerline guru John Hinderaker guest host for Laura Ingraham on her show. I’ve read and learned from his blog, which is especially acute on legal issues. He’s clearly a good lawyer and a very smart man. But he threw me a curve when he announced that the first hour would be a victory lap following the Washington Post’s announcement that “The War on Christmas is Over and Jesus Won.”

Okay. He had a producer in studio to prop him up as an inexperienced talk show host. No problem. But Hinderaker’s idea of celebration was slightly off-color Santa jokes. Mostly unfunny Catskills type comedy, but, you know, okay. He was trying to honor the season in a humorous tone. Except that his exchanges with the producer disclosed that Hinderaker had no knowledge of, or interest in, Christmas movies as a genre. Or, in fact, of movies and pop culture in general. He was unaware, for example, of the phenomenon of marathon broadcasting of A Christmas Story, a movie he was delighted to concede he had never seen except for a clip about a tongue on a frozen flagpole. Beneath him.

Really? What country does he live in? Not mine. Make no mistake. I’m no fan of Christmas movies. My wife actively hates It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street, and she didn’t recall having seen White Christmas with Bing, Rosemary, Vera, and Danny — until I reprised the plot for her and she reluctantly remembered.

My point — sorry I’m taking the long way round — is that we’ve all seen, even grown up with, these movies. Who do you have to be to know nothing of any of them?

More importantly, who do you have to be to assume you have the right to comment on American life without knowing anything about what everyday Americans regard as part of their annual, monthly, and weekly cycles of life? Who the hell do you think you are?

As with so many questions that keep cropping up in the current (oh so puzzling) meltdown of American civilization, I’ve written about this before.

So here are three links to the first Instapunk blog, written when I thought there was still something to be done.


That one was an ass-kicking of the blogger Patterico. (Followup here.) He gave me enormous grief in defending his pop culture ignorance. My own readers gave me equivalent grief for similar charges against conservative icon Victor Davis Hanson. Which you can read here.

I Don’t Know, Victor…

The New Video Counterculture.

Interesting, though. Since then, VDH has published numerous columns referencing pop culture. Not claiming it’s my influence. Rather, that as a gifted and insightful man, he sought out more knowledge about what’s going on in America. Why he is still one of my most esteemed sources of wisdom.

But Mr. Hinderaker needs to do some homework. I’ll stand by that at least. And so would Laura Ingraham. She’s the one who opened her last broadcast with a song from the “James Brown Christmas” album. If she’s not publicly embarrassed by Hinderaker’s sexist Santa jokes (Why is Santa smiling? He knows who all the naughty girls are), she is embarrassed in private.

As all we conservatives should be.


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