A Defense of Ding Dongs
Et tu, Rod?
I’m not, really not, trying to make a case that Thomas Kinkade or the manufacturers of Ding Dongs (think of that, “manufactured food”) are on the side of the True, the Good and the Beeyootiful. I’m simply pointing out (as Minute Particulars does) that the contempt and pride that undergirds the Arts Elite is basically just, well, contempt and pride and denote an insular little culture that has even less interest in and love for the Herd (as we hoi polloi are viewed) than Kinkade has. Call it my “Dickens instinct” if you like. When the great mass of ordinary people like something that is essentially harmless (chocolate box art or Dickens or fiddling about with model trains) then my first impulse is to think that withering critics like the little malignant dwarf I linked to below are the ones who are warped, stunted and truculent. I like ordinary pleasures as well as extraordinary ones, Ding Dongs as much as Dilettante Chocolates. Yes, the mass of humanity can be fools sometimes. We are all fallen and Bill Clinton was elected twice. But I tend to side with Chesterton and Dickens in thinking that the unvarnished preferences of ordinary people are usually to be preferred over the contempt of elites. Satire directed by the weak against the powerful (see Swift, Jonathan “A Modest Proposal”) can indeed be a work of genius. Satire directed by the elite against the simple loves of ordinary people can be a very cruel and contemptible thing indeed.