Despite my lower-middle to middle-middle class background, despite my mediocre education, despite my all-too-average IQ, I have somehow become an elitist.
Yes, I confess that I’m one of those insufferable aesthetes who find Forrest Gump, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Dave Matthews tedious, one of those arrogant, pretentious, overbearing know-it-alls who roil the stomach acid of the vulgarians at Fox News, one of those liberals Trumpsters want “to own.” In fact, now that I’ve passed through the gateway of old age, suspending my disbelief has become a mission worthy of NASA. I’m as disdainful of middle brow art and dogmatic ideology as today’s teenagers are of pre-digital special effects.
For example, even though I adore Ray Charles and admire Johnny Cash, I found both of their critically acclaimed biopics unbelievable, not because I doubted the veracity of the depicted events of their lives, but because everything seemed ersatz. I kept looking in vain for some scrap of atmospheric imperfection – a balled-up napkin on the counter, dead moths in a light fixture, a shitty haircut, anything that suggested that I wasn’t consuming a product manufactured in Hollywood.
Oh, to be able to enjoy a mainstream movie! Oh, to be able to finish a John Clancy novel! Oh to be Rupert Murdock!
The tragic truth is that once you become an elitist, it’s virtually impossible to go back. After strolling around Dublin with Leopold Bloom and acquiring a sense of wonder at Joyce’s magnificent mastery of language, seventy pages of ventriloquist dummy John Galt’s lip-synching of Ayn Rand’s theory of Objectivism ain’t gonna cut it. After forty years of listening to Lester Young, you’re not going to find Yanni interesting. Going back would be like trading in your Austin Healey for a Honda Accord.