Sunday, May 31, 2015

What do David Letterman and Kurt Cobain have to do with Hillary Clinton?

Matt Lewis explains:

A girl I went to high school with spent a semester in Australia. She must have blossomed there, for when she returned home, she magically had an Australian accent. Predictably, we would have none of it. Kids might be cruel, but they also have great bullshit detectors. Nobody likes a phony — not even in Middletown, Maryland. The accent receded; the mockery endured.

This, I suspect, has always been the case. But at least since the invention of Holden Caulfield, phoniness has been the unpardonable sin. Meanwhile, authenticity has become our greatest virtue. . . .

We just spent a week celebrating the career of David Letterman, a man whose entire raison d’ĂȘtre consisted of being the first post-modern late-night comedian — a guy whose humor hinged on being in on the joke and ironic (not like all the phonies on TV at the time!).

This, of course, brings us to Hillary Clinton, and her fake Southern accent. There might have been a Southern accent where Tom Petty came from, but there wasn’t one in Illinois or New York (you know, the places where Clinton grew up and represented in the U.S. Senate?) . . .

The revolt against the phoniness of American life goes back to at least the 60s, which is why it’s odd that Hillary Clinton is so transparently engaging in “show business.” But for Generation X, in particular, the ethos of authenticity practically defines our generation. It’s why Kurt Cobain in a cardigan was cooler than KISS in makeup. It’s why single camera sitcoms with laugh tracks (once wildly popular) now feel so damned cringeworthy. It’s even why John McCain, with all his flaws, seemed much cooler than George W. Bush in 2000. . . .

[T]he GOP (should they nominate someone like, say, Marco Rubio) has a chance to actually “out-cool” Hillary.

(That video is from 2007.)