Tuesday, December 13, 2011


A country was once accused of being a "Nation of Shopkeepers" by a bad man.  This sobriquet was not well thought of at the time, but, like most unwanted nicknames and descriptions, it rang pretty true.  But what causes my gorge to rise even more is that we are now a nation of poseurs and consumers.  A nation of shopkeepers at least had some value, we cannot even claim that.

Russell has been somewhat somewhat fascinated recently about my admission that I am a "person of mass".   He seems to have misconstrued my being miffed at Cuntsler (sic) for his ongoing denigration of anyone who likes their vittles a bit too much.  He mistakes my distaste for Mr. Kunstler's ongoing tirades describing his revulsion for the less-than-svelte who inhabit his perfect world for the self-flagellation for being a big ol' corn-fed boy.

But Russell did make me think, and for that, I am truly grateful.  His links to Chuck Robb's articles about dentistry made me think even more.   Seeing my documented distate for cosmetic orthodontia

Our consumer driven economy, with Madison Avenues flickering images of perfect people laughing merrily in perfect settings are now part and parcel of our national self image.   When you read Mr. Robb's description of the prerequistites for the "Global Middle-Class", it reads to me as a lengthy infomercial for the American Dental Association.  I do agree heartily with his recommendations about taking care of one's teeth yourself, but the description of teeth the size and color of white porcelain saucers rang quite true.

For some reason, as a country and a culture, we are so shallow as to believe that what a person looks like is somehow indicative of their worth as a person.  Actually, it is a two-headed monster, with the other head being the idea that wealth is a indicator of a persons value.  I have recently been indoctrinated into the cult of the Kardasians with a hysterical laugh-filled primer by Rita, the clerk at Safeway's on Main Street.   No wonder these bimbos are so popular, they are rich, shallow, and beautiful.  Everything that the bulk of America strives to be.

I am now coming to the conclusion that the things that Mssrs. Kunstler and Robb speak of are our biggest problems.  Where the Brits may well have been a nation of shopkeepers, we are a nation of shallowness, with our needs and desires defined by people who wish to sell us shit and enslave us with debt\, with success being defined by appearances.

I doubt if our descendants will think too highly of us when they review our actions and our morals.  But, I think that they will be too busy trying to put back to right the extraordinary mess we are leaving to obsess too much over our shallowness


russell1200 said...

Robb tends to posit grand theories based on very little information. He comes up with a lot of ideas. Some of them are pretty good, and some of them are real stinkers. He also tends to post links, etc. without at least trying to give credit to where he got them from.

However, there are a handful of basic body shapes, and physical features that are hard wired into our brains as being positive. Good looking teeth just happen to be one of them. But it is typical of Robb that he doesn’t even seem to understand the biology. Posture is probably just as important, and he makes no mention of it.

I think your point with Kunstler was that he was a hypocrite. I left a comment on my take on K at that post.

I don't think I said you were beating yourself up over your weight? But if I did, I stand corrected.

Degringolade said...


There was no need for anything resembling an apology. No offense was taken.

I do disagree about the Hard-Wired" aspects you posit. Throughout history, there has just been too much variation in what is considered the "ideal" to support any such assertion. Hell, Marilyn Monroe is now considered chunky. Rubenesque is not just a quaint saying. President/Justice Harding wasn't

I posit instead that the current fads and obsessions with weight and appearance are more due to temporary fashions than any biological imperative

russell1200 said...

There is a scientific basis for it. For a not too painful article (which maybe I should post on sometime):