May 27, 2003

Neo. And I Ain't Talking

Neo. And I Ain't Talking Matrix, Here.

So in this whole post 911, Republican in the White House, dusting off the military and getting involved in furrin affairs world, it seems like writers and pundits are trying to define and redefine the shift in American sensibilities from "laissez-faire, hey let's hug a tree or whatever" politics to "don't make me come over there, grow the hell up and let's get moving" politics. In other words, the chattering classes can't seem to figure out why being attacked might cause some folks to re-examine their world view, so they start doing what they do best--parsing words. The latest example is the neo-con kerfluffle. What is a Neo-Con? Hell if I know. I've heard every explanation from "term that was in vogue for 15 minutes in the seventies and is being dusted off again," to "Eeeeevillllle! Pure Eeeeeeeevilllle!" So I took the liberty of consulting some friends of mine...

Me: Thank you all for coming. I had nowhere else to turn regarding the meaning of the whole "Neocon" thing.

Irony: Don't look at me.

Hyperbole: Nope, me neither, although there is some fun hysteria out there that I must modestly take credit for.

Irony: (Rolls eyes.)

Similie: It's kind of like a conservative, only new.

Irony: Thank you, Captain Latinate.

Metaphor: It's merely a mask, a cover, if you will, for the new brand of conservatism--fiscally conservative, socially pretty liberal.

Me: Not according to this chick, it's not.

Metaphor: She misunderstands the basic premise. For her, conservatism is a noxious cloud, preventing those she sees as fun-loving and morally superior from raising taxes, pooh-poohing SUV owners, and feeling smug.

Similie: Noxious cloud? More like a wet blanket.

Metaphor: But you cannot extend the wet blanket comparison as well as you can the noxious cloud. With noxious cloud you can make allusions to "piercing the veil," "drawing a breath," and other...

Me: Ooookay, let's reel that in and get back on topic, shall we?

Irony: Can I go home?

All: NO!

Me: Frankly, if I have to be here, you all do. So metaphor thinks the neo-con label is a smear?

Metaphor: A smear. Yes, yes, I could do things with smear.

Similie: Yo, metaphor. We're not writing a novel here. We're defining a term.

Hyperbole: So why didn't you, like, consult a dictionary? Helloooo! Shiny book on shelf? Lots of pretty words?

Me: It's talking about a movement that started in the 60's, and leaves me as confused as ever about WHY people are so obsessed with it now. I need my labels to be definitively defined and to make sense, dammit, not just be whatever the pundit of the day wants them to be. Look, do any of you have ANYTHING helpful to add?

Irony: It's stupid and needs to die on the vine.

Metaphor: I can get behind that.

Simile: It's like this--yeah, I guess Irony's right.

Me: Okay, so the term neo-con has been hereby banished from our collective consciousness?

All: Hear, hear!

Hyperbole: Great! Now can we talk about this Eagle stuff from Andrew Sullivan?

All: NO!

Posted by Big Arm Woman at May 27, 2003 08:04 AM