Saturday, November 04, 2006

On Tweety

From a reader:

I grew up not far from Tweety in Somerton (far Northeast Philadelphia). The neighborhood's certainly tougher than Radnor or Princeton, but it is not especially blue-collar. Most of the residents are Catholic and work for the city. My neighbors were a judge, a police captain, and an aide to Councilman Cohen. Down the block was Billy Meehan, the Republican boss of Philadelphia. Across the street was the Trainer family, the owners of American Roller Bearing Company, who owned a huge estate with a flock of sheep and a mule (now a Catholic retreat called Cranleith).

So it's not just Tweety's macho fetishism that bothers me. It's the pretense, common to Matthews, Russert, O'Reilly, Hannity, and Limbaugh, that they're the underdog. They believe that their white male bitterness is legitimate because they're descended (often at a great distance) from immigrant laborers. It's working-class anger divorced from the actual material conditions that justified it.

Of course, Brown, Casey, and Webb _do_ represent a return to New Deal liberalism. Brown made his name by opposing trade agreements like NAFTA. But television commentators like Tweety always have trouble distingushing between policy, persona, and biography.


Andrew Cohen