Thursday, October 20, 2005

Mark Morford: Purple prose for a blue city

As I started to read Mark Morford's column in the SF Chronicle yesterday---on the Arkansas woman who's given birth to 16 children---I wondered how long it would take him to bring in a sneering reference to President Bush. Only until the fourth paragraph, as it turned out. Bush- and Republican-bashing is Morford's main move intellectually, after all, as he reflects the "progressive," blue state version of self-righteousness:

It's wrong to be this judgmental. Wrong to suggest that it is exactly this kind of weird pathological protofamily breeding-happy gluttony that's making the world groan and cry and recoil, contributing to vicious overpopulation rates and unrepentant economic strain and a bitter moral warpage resulting from a massive viral outbreak of homophobic neo-Christians across our troubled and Bush-ravaged land. Or is it?

No, it's not wrong to be judgmental, unless your judgments are banal and predictable and you write like a bush-league Hunter S. Thompson.

Morford's sense of the cultural alternatives in the US today:

Why does this sort of bizarre hyperbreeding only seem to afflict antiseptic megareligous families from the Midwest? In other words---assuming Michelle and Jim Bob and their massive brood of cookie-cutter Christian kidbots will all be, as the charming photo suggests, never allowed near a decent pair of designer jeans or a tolerable haircut from a recent decade, and assuming that they will all be tragically encoded with the values of the homophobic asexual Christian right---where are the forces that shall help neutralize their effect on the culture? Where is the counterbalance, to offset the damage? Where is, in other words, the funky tattooed intellectual poetess who, along with her genius anarchist husband, is popping out 16 funky progressive intellectually curious fashion-forward pagan offspring to answer the Duggars' squad of uber-white future Wal-Mart shoppers? Where is the liberal, spiritualized, pro-sex flip side? Verily I say unto thee, it ain't looking good.

Those pitiable Duggars kids---no designer jeans or good haircuts! Accusing a couple with 16 children of being "asexual" seems off the mark. I'm not a Christian, but Morford's homophobia and racism slurs against this group are nothing but bigotry. If the alternatives really are what he thinks they are, I'll take the Wal-Mart shoppers.

All this Blue State versus Red State rhetoric is the kind of thing that any semi-literate skateboarder in the city can do. Why doesn't Morford give the pseudo-hip windbag routine a rest and lend a hand with some tough local issues, like, say, affordable housing in San Francisco? He's evidently too much of a Big Thinker to do that, and, in any event, his precious progressive ideology would availeth him not if he deigned to deal with a single real issue facing SF.

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