Saturday, January 19, 2008

Lee Siegel on steroids

After having been reminded what a "narcissistic sockpuppet" and "failed fathead" Lee Siegel is, I returned to examine a December column by a man desperately in search of his own legend. Mistaking himself as the punditry equivalent of Mount Vesuvius, he huffed and puffed but, poor thing. He could only y-a-a-a-a-a-w-w-n:

Authority in America is something like the picture of Dorian Gray. As democracy stretches its muscles, as increasing numbers of people have "access" to just about everything, as more opportunities are created for resentniks and mediocrities to hurl excrement at niches they covet but cannot breach with talent alone, the face of authority grows more and more decrepit. But a scandal a day keeps honest analysis away.
This, dear readers, is the lede minted under the banner of Arts&Letters as Commentary about steroids. WTF, you say? Aye, mateys, steroids. Author Lee Siegel mysteriously transformed the steroid abuse in professional baseball into a spectrum of cultural malaise as threatening as the Frankenstein monster lumbering willy-nilly, terrorizing the villagers. A Siegel metaphor, you see, stumbles during its earliest steps then slithers akimbo to wallow disgusted.

Shall I cut to his bogus contention?

[Keep reading... more after the jump.]

We have been ravaged, consumed with sundry indulgences under the pressures of a modern, permissive-driven society to ride the painted pony on the merry-go-round until we're staggeringly drunker than Cooter Brown.
Just about everybody, it seems, is on one kind of steroid or another these days. They're trying to find a way around reality with steroids that boost their career, or conceal their motives, or propel them into a crowd that magnifies their personal power.... ...The religious fundamentalists have the steroid of fanatical self-righteousness, and the scientific fundamentalists who react to them have the steroid of, well, fanatical self-righteousness. The political bloggers make use of the steroid of implacable outrage. The libelous, or seductive, or predatory Internet user rides high on the steroid of an "avatar."
Someone, please, remove the obtuse-colored crayon from Lee Siegel's hand before he scalds his palm with a fireball of furious scribbling. Please, before he manufactures another cubic zirconia as valuable as blogofascism. Readers, beware.

This is your brain on drugs.

This is your brain on Lee Siegel.

What took hundreds of words -- if you managed to sift the fines of Siegel's meandering excavation -- distills into some people cheat, lie, even kill to get ahead, a modern story as ancient as Cain and Abel.

Hat tip Wolcott.

UPDATE: Thanks to Avedon for the Roger Ailes link.