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Doce me faces voluntarem tuam quia Deus meus es tu

Tuesday, January 18, 2005
There's been a lot of talk over the last year about the idea of South Park Republicanism. The basic idea, of course, being a brand of conservatism in line with the tv show South Park; hip, fresh, politically incorrect. I like the idea, personally. As much as I respect my conservative forebears, readers of this blog know that I'm bothered by the way the traditional conservatives seem fixated with classical literature, classical music and opera and seem very, well...white bread. Sometimes I read National Review and I'm reminded of a black comedian imitating a mousy white dude. The South Park brand of conservatism (SPC) turns this upside down, and I think this is a good thing.

I don't think SPC has to necessarily be vulgar or crude. In fact, I think it's this vulgarity that has hurt South Park's overall appeal. What I like in the idea is a willingness to take on culture. Not just the high brow culture of The New Criterion, but the low culture of crude cartoons, punk rock and comic books. I don't think we should hold those things should rise to any sort of sacred level, but it should be crystal clear that being a conservative doesn't mean the abandonment of them.

Incidentally, I think conservatism is, in many ways, the great hope for the preservation of the classics, be it in film, theatre, literature or music. Indeed there is much to praise about those things, and ultimately, I would choose Puccini and Mozart and Wordsworth over South Park, the Ramones and X-Men. Probably. But conservatives should seek influence in all areas of acceptable culture. And it's important to remember that in a civilized society, crass and vulgarity can only go so far. But I'd like to suggest that what is acceptable for the family is not the same as what is acceptable for a conservative. I'm thinking of the Media Research Center and the Parents Television Council. Family values are conservative values, of course, but the scope of conservatism should be broad enough to make a case to an audience that does not fit into the traditional conservative mold.

As I said above, I would ultimately choose the classic over the contemporary, and conservatism is nothing if it is not a standard bearer for all that is good in our Western heritage. I am merely asserting that conservatives have an opportunity to make a broad cultural appeal. Whatever the flaws of South Park, and lo! they are many, let us cheer the good, and continually encourage. And who knows? Jay Nordlinger may yet take a legion of foul-mouthed South Park fanatics and turn them on to Stravinsky.

It wouldn't be a bad thing.

8:31 PM :: ::
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