Andrew Magrath (biggrumpy) wrote,
Andrew Magrath

"The Sahara of the Bozart" and Stephen Colbert

South Carolina denied Stephen T Colbert's presidential "ambitions" by denying him a possition on the ballot. I am reminded of the great H.L. Mencken's quotation about the South:

"Between [Georgia and Virginia] lies a vast plain of mediocrity, stupidity, lethargy, almost of dead silence. In the north, of course, there is also grossness, crassness, vulgarity. The north, in its way, is also stupid and obnoxious. But nowhere in the north is there such complete sterility, so depressing a lack of all civilized gesture and aspiration. One would find it difficult to unearth a second-rate city between Ohio and the Pacific that isn't struggling to establish an orchestra, or setting up a little theater, or going in for an art gallery, or making some other effort to get into touch with civilization. These efforts often fail, and sometimes they succeed rather absurdly, but under them there is at least an impulse that deserves respect, and that is the impulse to seek beauty and to experiment with ideas, and so to give the life of every day a certain dignity and purpose. You will find no such impulse in the south. There are no committees down there cadging subscriptions for orchestras; if a string quartet is ever heard there, the news of it has never come out; an opera troupe, when it roves the land, is a nine days' wonder. The little theater movement has swept the whole country, enormously augmenting the public interest in sound plays, giving new dramatists their chance, forcing reforms upon the commercial theater. Everywhere else the wave rolls high--but along the line of the Potomac it breaks upon a rock-bound shore. There is no little theater beyond. There is no gallery of pictures. No artist ever gives exhibitions. No one talks of such things. No one seems to be interested in such things."

Comedy is a pure and wonderful expression of ideas and ideals. It is what separates us from this nebulous "enemy" that we are fighting both from within and without. It is what confirms that we are so comfortable with our hopes and fears that we can step back, smile, and laugh at them. So long as people like Stephen Colbert cannot be allowed to raise awareness of the hypocrisies of our system and make us laugh in the process, is it a system worth believing in?

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