Thers is developing a veritable Barnum Museum of conservatarian bombast. Get a load of this specimen:
Unfortunately, I don’t have time enough right now to give these thoughts the treatment I think they deserve. The importunate urgency in our age is very strong: it militates against my inclination to let them marinate for awhile, in the hopes that a structured essay may issue from the marinade.This is entertaining, God knows, but it's also educational. In the first few decades of the 20th century, one of the things that made blacks so comical to regular people was their alleged fondness for big words, which was supposedly an attempt to gain status by acting white. The historian Ronald L.F. Davis evocatively describes that era's frenzy for songs and plays that showed blacks "aping white elites to comic effect, trying to ice skate, clumsily walking along a high fashion boulevard, haplessly trying to ride horses in the manner of an English gentleman, and strutting proudly in exaggerated dress at parties and 'darkey' balls."
Reading Cella, it struck me that these stereotypes are much more true of bone-ignorant conservative whites than they ever were of the blacks for whom they were invented. What is Cella doing if not "aping white elites to comic effect"? Der Kulturkampf is essentially a cakewalk, in which hard-right bullyboys vie to represent "civilization" by strutting around in tuxedos made from its scraps. Dime-a-dozen phrases from Plato and Burke, tin-eared attempts at antique eloquence, and metric assloads of earnest exhortation...these are the rhetorical equivalents of the traditional cakewalk contestant's ludicrously oversized top hat.
The difference, obviously, is that cakewalks mocked white elitism; the haughty prancing of Cella & Co is an absolutely humorless celebration of it. It all has to do with monocles, mint juleps on the veranda, and the pleasure that comes with perceiving oneself as a thinker of Elevated Thoughts. Movement Conservatism is a sort of endless Renaissance Faire for people who think saying "prithee" makes them Sir Philip Sidney.
And now, having distilled these lucubrations into a true aqua divina, and served it in nuce lest this too-puissant spirit should overmaster your own, I must away betimes.