It seems so long ago now, but Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal wrote a terrific commentary piece before Christmas entitled The Adam Lambert Problem. In it Noonan discusses the alienation and sense of pessimism that Americans now have about the primary institutions of this nation.
She opines that the national disquiet isnt only about money, jobs, health insurance and material security. Noonan writes, Americans are worried about the core and character of the American nation, and about our culture.
For those of you lucky enough to not know much about Adam Lambert go to Wikipedia or read Noonans description:
This was behind the resentment at the Adam Lambert incident on ABC in November. The compromise was breached. It was a broadcast network, it was prime time, it was the American Music Awards featuring singers your 11-year-old wants to see, and your 8-year-old. And Mr. Lambert came on andagain, in front of your children, in the living room, in the middle of your peaceful eveninguncorked an act in which he, in the words of various news reports the next day, performed faux oral sex featuring S&M play, bondage gear, same-sex makeouts and walking a man and woman around the stage on a leash.
People were offended, and they complained. Mr. Lambert seemed surprised and puzzled. With an idiots logic that was nonetheless logic, he suggested he was the focus of bigotry: They let women act perverse on TV all the time, so why cant a gay man do it? ....
Enough said about the former American Idol finalist, but the background sets up Noonans theme of alienation:
It is one thing to grouse that dreadful people who dont care about us control our economy, but another, and in a way more personal, thing to say that people who dont care about us control our culture. In 2009 this was perhaps most vividly expressed in the Adam Lambert Problem.
Here Noonan seems entirely correct. While there used to be an unwritten pact by the artistic elites and the entertainment-industrial complex to refrain from assaulting American families in their homes, that norm is rapidly breaking down. And the sorts of folks who run Comcast-GE-Universal-Disney-CBS-whatever dont care about staying in their boxes. Now they are going to make you watch smut (and pay for it) on your TV and in your house, on your new TV-iphone-GPS-camcorder, and on whatever else they can force on you. Lets be honest: unless something changes it is only a matter of time before basic cable has soft porn and then real porn on it. The FX channel is only a stones throw away now.
And, yet the libertarian conservative political class in Washington doesnt get what Noonan does that there is political gold in the hills for the political leaders who understand that being free entails not being compelled to buy things that offend us morally. Why is that? Too many political contributions from the cable industry probably.
But note this: NONE of the libertarians who founded this country would have disagreed with the proposition that freedom rests on the ability to reject morally objectionable ideas and art. Anything less is tyranny. A mans house is his castle, Mr. Otis observed.
Perhaps, it will take a woman, a mother, to ride this political horse to victory someone like Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmann. When shes ready, she should call Peggy Noonan to write the speech. There is a nation waiting to hear it.