Quick and easy political symbolism is as American as election season itself, so obviously the aspect of Scott Brown’s massively significant win in Massachusetts most in need of dissecting analysis is his truck. The reflex appears to be one of mocking wealthy Republicans for continuing (remember Fred Thompson?) to fake working-class economic values and down-home cultural ones by repeated recourse to the pickup truck. But I wonder if the truck actually trades in another sort of symbolic: manliness. I could launch into a bit concerning the relation between self-reliance and manliness, and another bit about the sort of conservative democratic individualism that’s paradoxically low on the ‘individuality’ you get out of liberal democratic individualism (I’d work in a meditation on the word ‘generic’)…but I’d rather hear your ideas.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010, 9:32 AM