Dullness Leads to Power

September 9th, 2012 at 10:09 am

It is the time of year when we find ourselves reaching for Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72.

“The assholes who run politics in this country have become so mesmerized by the Madison Avenue school of campaigning that they actually believe, now, that all it takes to become a Congressman or a Senator – or even a President – is a nice set of teeth, a big wad of money, and a half-dozen Media Specialists.” -HST

But before you contemplate the prescience of 1972 political literature, consider this. We now know what Mitt Romney was studying when he was dodging the draft and camping out in Paris. He was getting back to his roots.

Back in 2000 there was a bestselling book by David Brooks called “Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There.”

Early on, Brooks gets to talking about France in the 1830s. The Bohemians (the artists, intellectuals) did not appreciate the Bourgeois (the merchant middle class).

These Bohemians, like Gustave Flaubert, were infuriated by an abundance of obvious shortcomings exhibited by the corporate middle class. These bourgeois were materialistic. They valued money and productivity instead of creativity and imagination. They were unheroic conformists.

Despite the fact that the French corporate middle class in the 1830s was a bunch of dull, joyless, prosaic, punctual philistines, it was these very drawbacks that led to the group’s success.

I will quote extensively. It’s worth recounting:

“It was the merchants’ petty-minded efficiency that allowed them to build successful companies and amass riches. It was their icy calculation that enabled them to devote themselves to the bottom line. It was their mechanical tinkering that enabled them to build the machines and factories and so displace the craftsmen and artisans. It was their concern for money that allowed them access to power and position. Nowadays we are used to the fact that sometimes the people who devote their lives to, say, marketing soap or shoes get to amass fortunes, live in big houses, and attract dinner party flattery, but in the 1830s all this was relatively new and shocking. It was the bourgeoisie’s dullness that led to its power.”

Dullness leads to power.

It’s the world we live in.

“A man on the scent of the White House is rarely rational. He is more like a beast in heat: a bull elk in the rut, crashing blindly through the timber in a fever for something to fuck. Anything! A cow, a calf, a mare – any flesh and blood beast with a hole in it.” -HST

Be Sociable, Share!


Leave a Reply