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Clowns to the left of me; Metrosexuals on the right…

By Bernard Chapin
web posted January 16, 2006

The phrase, "No enemies on the left," is one familiar to most conservatives as it's hard to miss the hollow silence of pseudo-liberals when it comes to their own crackpots, but unlike the left, the right has never appeared cohesive. In fact, some our best venom is wasted on one another as was the case in the 2003 feud between the neo-conservatives and the paleo-conservatives. I view these self-inflicted wounds with regret so it is with a certain sadness that I must turn my attention to a recent article entitled "Right-Wingtips," by Mark Gauvreau Judge at The American Spectator website. It does the unthinkable as it corrals a great many rightists underneath the metrosexual umbrella.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I admit at outset that metrosexuals are a subset of men I find personally distasteful. And yes, in answer to whatever sophomore self-help major stumbles upon this, they do threaten me as those guys pay attention to Court of Versailles minutia which distractible fellows like your narrator never could.

Our author begins his piece by identifying himself as a metrosexual conservative or a metrocon. He then adds:

As most people know, a metrosexual is a heterosexual man who has good taste in art and music, and likes to pamper himself with nice clothes and expensive grooming.

This sentence is disappointing for many reasons; primarily because he chooses to skew the debate from the very beginning. By defining a metrosexual as one who has "good taste" in art and music he extends the meaning in a direction in which it was never meant to go. A metrosexual is one who possesses a woman's taste, and anyone who has ever cringed at the color pink or had glitter rub off on them knows that female taste cannot always be equated with the word "good."

Another mistake is apparent as metrosexual has never, to my knowledge, been applied to opinions about art and music. The term has always been used in reference to fashion, grooming, habit, and social interest. I have never heard it applied to intellectual interests, but that is an assumption on which the rest of the piece rests.

After being repelled by a country song about redneck women, the author proclaims that it exemplifies everything he cannot tolerate about modern conservatism as it celebrates all which hails from the people. However, Gauvreau Judge's distaste for country music no more makes him a metrosexual than my love for John Coltrane makes me black.

Gauvreau also makes mention of the way "The common man is deified by the right. " This assuredly is an overstatement. While conservatives do respect the common sense of the common man, we do not deify him. He (I, you) is far from angelic and often exhibits behaviors that are, how shall we say, unrefined. Yet most of us comprehend that mistaking slightly fermented water for beer or pasting a picture of a boy urinating onto the back of one's truck are habits of little consequence. More importantly, they have nothing to do with the health of our polis. Affirmative action, the pairing of increased taxes with moral rectitude, racist hate crime legislation, and state coerced equal pay for equal advanced degrees, are not ideas which originated from a desk in an ironworkers local. These are pieces of social engineering which emitted from the pernicious and self-flagellating minds of our pseudo-liberal anti-elite. The author is reminiscent of an "I'm too good for you" conservative which I hoped was a long forgotten relic of the past. I do admit that Boutique Republicans like him are more than welcome within our big tent, but there's no reason to listen to them about our personal habits.

When Gauvreau Judge complains that—" They are the ones who watch the WWF -- a "sport" even apes laugh at -- and who read the Left Behind series of books, which should probably be called Theology for Dummies"—it is hard to imagine that he is being serious. The biggest followers of professional wrestling are neither conservative nor leftist; they are kids. These youngsters are not the type of citizens who deify much of anything that can't be eaten, thrown or turned into a video game.

He goes on to discolor several famous figures with the metrosexual foundation brush. These include the likes of JFK, William F. Buckley, Ronald Reagan (I couldn't believe it either), and George Will. Then he also disparages Wal-Mart and the Rolling Stones. For what reason he would criticize a store featuring fifty cent cans of albacore or one of the greatest bands/experiences of all time is unfathomable.

A poor article morphs into blatant farce when he derides The New Criterion, which is the most challenging and high brow of conservative publications. Inexplicably, he refers to it as "a kind of Bible of the metrocon," yet provides no justification or elaboration behind his assertion. This is a vulgarity far worse than going through life imitating Larry the Cable Guy. The author's matching of a peerless journal with the shallow and the mundane is a crucial misstep. A love for materialism and fashion is not synonymous with an erudite pursuit of the truth in politics, art, and history. Again, what is or is not metrosexual has nothing to do with intellectual pursuits.

In the final analysis, my advice to this writer is to go out and purchase a vial of Midol along with a remastered copy of Exile on Main Street whenever he falls into a similar mood of snark and snit. If he wants to go through life discovering joy via social, dermal, and toiletry issues then that's his business, but there's no reason to impugn the rest of us along the way. The common man and the common conservative are far more practical in their view of life. Accumulating junk and worshipping stuff unnecessarily complicate our existence. What one ate, wore, or watched is of fleeting importance when our time has expired. If Gauvreau Judge wishes to spend the rest of his life going to nail bars, trendy restaurants, and chic shops then that's fine with me, but he is completely wrong to regard these quirks as political expressions.

Bernard Chapin is a writer living in Chicago. He can be reached at bchapafl@hotmail.com.

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