COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., April 10, 2016 — Graydon Carter, Editor of Vanity Fair magazine, wrote in the April issue of GOP candidate Donald Trump, “even he knows that he doesn’t stand a chance of reversing the now global realization that he is a vulgarian. It’s a word that aptly describes his outlook, his taste, his appearance, his vocabulary, and his hate-fueling rallies.”
Regardless of one’s feelings about Trump, Carter’s words are hot, extreme and personal, surprising for a magazine whose content is known for being lively and interesting, not vindictive. Carter’s attack is ad hominem, meant to take a man with whom he disagrees down several pegs—not for what he proposes to do, but for who he is.
To so dismiss a man who, like him or not, has stepped up time and again to help make their shared home into a world-class capital city; to mock the looks, grooming and speech patterns of a man who doesn’t fit your elitist, finishing-school notions of what a leader should be; to criticize him for living in a luxury building he made with his own drive and energy seems petty, to say the least.
Were Trump just another wealthy New Yorker hob-nobbing with New York’s liberal glitterati, making society small-talk at the soirees and fund-raisers he and Carter no doubt regularly attend, he might not merit such snide vitriol in the pages of Carter’s magazine.
“Vulgarian” suggests an unschooled, unwashed hick, someone from fly-over country with his hair in a mullet who smacks his lips over pork rinds and beer while he watches NASCAR on TV. The elitism of that aside, Trump is far from unschooled, unwashed or a hick. So whence the slam? Partisan politics raised to the level of personal loathing.
A President Trump would be an enemy to many of Carter’s liberal shibboleths. He might continue speaking in real English, speaking clearly to relay what he actually means rather than using progressive, mealy-mouthed cant to attack free speech while pretending to praise it.
Carter can’t help himself. As a liberal journalist, one of the bottom-feeders among the intellectual class, he is prickly about his reputation. Vanity Fair—a magazine filled with timely interviews, reviews of art and architecture, and touching on all the elements of style important to an urban audience—grants its editor entrée to upscale progressive circles that he must defend.
But the attractiveness of Vanity Fair can occasionally hide its political agenda, an agenda that appears to coincide more with democratic socialism than with conservatism’s bugaboos.
In a word, he has a political agenda. It owes much more to “democratic socialism” than to “conservatism.”
In thrall to liberal media, Americans have been muzzled and divided. We are on the slippery slope to thought-policing and thought-crime. Toe the line or risk public censure, firing from your job, expulsion from school and social-media hell.
U.S. college professors of a liberal persuasion—the vast majority in the humanities, social sciences and liberal arts—also among the hangers-on of that liberal intellectual class, have joined in leading students down a politically correct garden path to totalitarian thought. Honest debate and free thinking are encouraged, so long as they lead to the correct conclusions; conservative views are merely the expression racist, genderist, privileged interests.
These professors are turning out easily shocked young people, kids who register every slight to their young feelings as a politically-based, personal assault. They have helped create a new “victim class” of relatively economically privileged white kids who think they feel the pain of 1930s black sharecroppers, having suffered numerous microaggressions themselves.
Cue the contempt of Donald Trump, and the rage of his army of young supporters who are sick of this post-modern idiocy.
Everyone should be sensitive to others’ true pain or diminished circumstances. But that admirable characteristic has been turned on its head to create an aggressively servile America. That America is in no mood to fund national defense and is quick to apologize to dictators of the right complexion for its capitalistic successes. It’s an America that believes the West deserves anything the world does to reject its values, including terrorist decapitations, child crucifixions, ethnic cleansings and mass drownings.
The poor aren’t responsible for their misbehavior. They are misunderstood. They only want jobs. The West is to blame for all that’s wrong in the world.
These observations may seem tangential to Carter’s editorial remarks in this month’s Vanity Fair, but in fact he attacked Trump as a “vulgarian” precisely because Trump is antithetical to this progressivist view of the world. But to attack Trump’s views requires admitting his own ideology, which is still noxious to Americans when it is made explicit. It is much easier to attack the man.
When you can’t defend the indefensible, make fun of the other guy’s hair, accent and interior design sense. When words fail you, call names.
No, don’t. Criticize candidate Trump for his policies. Rage against his party affiliation. Mock his ignorance of facts. But leave the man alone, and stop worrying that your readers might have political opinions other than your own. If you’re really an intellectual at a magazine devoted to the life of the mind (and clothes), that isn’t a bad thing.