Babbittry is the idea that the average Joe lives within the passionless routine of marriage, the tyranny of consumerism, and the regimentation of small-town civic life. Babbittry judges Joe to live in a benighted, blinkered spiritual state, a gay-bashing, beer-drinking redneck whose Taliban tendencies want to ban dancing, rock-and-roll, and R-rated movies. People who don’t live in New York, Hollywood, or divide their time between Virginia, Hyannis Port, or Nantucket estates and their Georgetown mansions view the rest of us as Babbitts. Who can blame them? When was the last time, say, Tina Brown, spoke with anyone not famous? (Not for at least 30 years, since she was an unknown Jewish girl sucking up to Oxford Dons and Fleet Street journalists.) Tina comes to mind because of a recent name-dropping column of hers about dining with a bunch of heavyweight media types discussing how to get rid of Bush. The only one who objected was the Hispanic busboy serving them drinks.
As one who did not endorse Bush, I was delighted with his victory, if only for the outrage it caused the New York Times and other “nattering nabobs of negativism,” as my fellow Greek Spiro Agnew once called them. Let’s start with the by now infamous headline of the London Daily Mirror, “How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?” For any of you who have never heard of the Mirror, it is a leftist British tabloid daily that sells in the millions and features keyhole exposés of minor celebrities, porn-star confessions, and traditional Elvis sightings. Here’s how it described the 59-odd millions who voted for Bush: “The self-righteous, gun-totin’, military-lovin’, sister-marryin’, abortion-hatin’, gay-loathin’, foreigner-despisin’, non-passport-ownin’ rednecks, who believe God gave America the biggest dick in the world so it could urinate on the rest of us and make their land ‘free and strong.’”
Well, it might not be very elegant—alas, there’s nothing less elegant than British tabloids—but it’s sure to the point. Babbittry lives, or at least that’s how filthy-haired, yellow-teethed, whiskey-breathed, mostly queer, raincoat flashing British journalists see it. (Gee, it’s catching.) Mind you, most of Europe went ape over the election, and it doubled my fun. There is nothing that gives me more pleasure than to listen to Europeans say “and if the Americans refuse to … we will have to …” Have to do what? Have Brussels declare war? Cut off diplomatic relations? Refuse to sell weapons? European threats can make a man laugh out loud during a rainy Sunday evening in Belfast.
Mind you, smug Europeans have nothing on smug American so-called elites. My friend Liz Smith described the post-election atmosphere as “The New Civil War! The East and West coasts break off from the red states and form their own more perfect union made up of intellectuals, show-biz and poor folks.” (Surely the latter is a mistake, dear Liz. You meant poor in morals and manners rich folk.) It is as rare for showbiz and media folk to know any poor folk as it is to find a man who went to bed with Paris Hilton and did not videotape it.
The New York Times felt it had to help its readers get over their depression by running an advice piece on how to cope with a second Bush presidency. “After all, medical studies have shown that anger can lead to heart disease …” Well, here’s some good news at last. Times columnists like Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd are soon to be diagnosed with heart trouble, that is, if the paper of record has it right for a change.
Garry Wills, writing in the Times, took the high road under the title “The Day the Enlightenment Went Out.” Wills muses that Muslim zealots and those who voted for Bush are one and the same. “It is often observed that enemies come to resemble each other. We torture the torturers, we call our God better than theirs …” Good old Garry Wills, he does have a hell of a point. Harvey (disgusting) Weinstein, Whoopi (foul-mouthed) Goldberg, Michael (slob) Moore, George (schemer) Soros, and the rest of what John Tierney called the “Water versus Earth” people, do resemble the imams preaching hatred and intolerance—certainly where physical ugliness is concerned. (If you put a towel on Michael Moore’s head he’d look like any fat slob preacher in Saudi.)
My favorite was “Coping,” yet another New York Times advice column, by one Anemona Hartocollis. “For some parents, the urge to leave the country was a gut feeling, like the one that tells people it’s time to move to the suburbs.” Anemona, I feel for you, and I agree. If only some of your bosses would skip the place it would make for a better country. But leave it to Hollywood to have the last word. Susan Sarandon claimed on a nincompoops’ TV show that Bush won because there was massive electoral fraud. The election was stolen, according to Ms. Sarandon, which I guess proves that 59 million people are not only dumb, they are also a cheatin’ bunch of no-goods who deserve what they’re about to get in the next four years. Go figure, as they used to say in Brooklyn before the Taliban took over.