In my last full post, I expressed some anger that regular joes are getting short shrift in our popular fiction. Thanks to an ensuing Facebook conversation, it has come to my attention that such a polemic could easily be misinterpreted as leftist-style special pleading. Be assured that this is not the case.
Fiction is not a zero-sum game. That's actually what the SJB identitarians get so horrifically wrong in their various representation crusades. Depicting queer lives or black lives or Asian lives or whatever does not actually require that "straight, white cis-men" "get out of the way." Thanks to Amazon and the indie scene in general, literally anyone can write a story about literally anything and sell it on the open market. The only catch is that this requires work. First, you must sit your butt down in front of a screen and actually start typing something. Then you must put in the effort to connect with your likely audience and persuade them to part with their beer money -- which, generally speaking, demands you skip the hectoring lectures and actually craft three-dimensional characters and strong, sensible plots that speak to universal human concerns. Tough, I know, but everyone faces that same standard, and I think that's what true fairness entails.
So no: I'm not a Marxist, and I'm not asking for affirmative action for yet another so-called victim class. Read that last post as a general cri du coeur against any ideology that seeks the erasure of the American average from modern American books and from modern American screens. Yes, there are stories that can still be told about the derisively-termed "Podunk USA" and its working-class citizens, and I hope that other writers will agree and subsequently get down to business.
That Being Said...
I think it's a mistake to outright deny that we have class issues here in the US -- or to poo-poo any of the subsequent resentments. There's a lot of solid scholarship out there that shows the growing reproductive, geographic, and cultural isolation of the managerial class, and this phenomenon is having a deleterious impact on our national solidarity. It's not good that the people who are, for the moment, in charge of our mainstream media, our universities, and our bureaucracies all seem to come from the same incestuous milieu. It's not good that, as a consequence, the working class is hardly ever portrayed positively - or even accurately - by the same.
Mike Rowe has it right: If you see a guy on TV with a working class job, the probability approaches one that he will be unattractive and/or flashing butt-crack. And that has knock-on effects down the line. Suddenly, we can't fill perfectly decent jobs because welders are just not our kind, dear. Suddenly, kids are taking on student loan debt to pursue credentials they may not even need.
Am I upset that this is happening? Yes. Do I understand and sympathize with the grumbling about "those out-of-touch elites and globalists"? Actually, I'm guilty of such grumbling myself. Does this mean I hate rich people? Not at all. I'm not bothered by the relative material wealth of the managerial class; I'm bothered by their blindness to the legitimate concerns of the folks they seek to rule.
Speaking of Which...
We can add Manchester to the long list of reasons why I don't trust the ruling class in the West. Once again, these fools failed to protect their constituents and are now trotting out the same tired, patronizing rhetoric in response:
"Don't let this change us!" But you see, you are letting it change us; our Western societies used to be bastions of free speech, but now we're increasingly being told to stuff our feelings and keep our mouths shut because Muslims might get offended.
"#NotAll!" Yes, we know that. We also know that those who are terrorists make up a minority that is far from insignificant, and that many more hold beliefs that are antithetical to Western liberalism -- which makes circumspection on immigration from the Muslim world a wholly reasonable course of action.
"Combat hate with love!" Are you twelve? That's not how it worked when Hitler was gassing the Jews or the Japanese were perpetrating equally atrocious crimes in China. ISIS and other Islamic terror outfits have essentially declared war on us; the proper way to respond is to declare war right back. Pacifism has never, ever worked against totalitarian ideologies; retribution has.
Sigh. I don't know what it's going to take to get these numbskulls to accept the truth. But I hope it happens before a dirty bomb goes off in one of our cities.