Friday, February 08, 2013


To follow up on Main Street, here's a little plug for two more novels by Sinclair Lewis (there are several others, too): Babbitt (1922) and Elmer Gantry (1927).

Babbitt is the "respectable" status quo guy who frequently turns out to be a total hypocrite or flimflammer on some level or another. Like Elmer Gantry. Lance Armstrong. Tiger Woods. Civic Leader A. Politician B. Religious Leader C. Sports Figure D. Officer F. 

This is why it's almost always better to present a persona that's more on the Bohemian side of the continuum. I've never heard anyone deride Bob Dylan for maintaining relationships (reportedly) with numerous "baby mamas" or other "special lady friends" along his perpetual tour routes. Why? Because he's a Bohemian, an artist and free spirit, and has never projected otherwise.     

High profile people who proclaim loudly in the "public square" that they are Puritans quite often turn out to be, well, something else -- behind the façade of a conservative status quo.  On the other hand, many of these status quo figures are a joke even on the face of things -- people like Glenn Beck and Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich, Pat Robertson, John Edwards, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and so on (nine out of ten of these hucksters ran for president, come to think of it).

In sum, the moral of these stories: if you want to more freely enjoy yourself without worrying about rightfully being called out as a shameless hypocrite, it's better to present as a Bohemian than as a Babbitt or Elmer Gantry.

Today's Rune: Journey.         

1 comment:

jodi said...

Erik, I've been called worse, and still do not give a fig!