This is related to a kind of phony class consciousness. Daniel Cohn-Bendit, once a leader of the Paris “Events” of ’68, famously said in those days that he wanted a revolution where everyone could “drink capuccino at the Cafe Royale.” Nice thought. Actually, in retrospect, what he really wanted was a world where he didn’t have to feel guilty for drinking his capuccino.
And that is how Vogue relates quite directly to modern liberalism. ML is primarily for show.
Now admittedly I am talking only of part of the liberal scene here, the elites. But those elites determine liberal opinion and ideology, which is decidedly top down. Forget McLuhan and “the medium is the message.” In the real world we live in, the media creates the message. And one of the most important is that to be conservative is to be out of style.
This makes an especially strong impression on the young and is part of the explanation for why they vote the way they do (if they vote). But more importantly the dominance of “chic” in our politics makes us blind. Bashar Assad may be a “strongman” but he has a lifestyle like any good citizen of West L.A. or Manhattan. Sure, there are servants — or in his case security goons — lurking in the background, but he is one of us, playing on the floor with his kids, therefore okay.
The determined embrace of Barack Obama — though not nearly as odious as Assad, of course — comes from the same form of blindness, a kind of sexualization à la Vogue magazine of our political leaders. Coolness is all. Substance is nothing. Who cares what Obama really thinks? He’s in vogue (small and capital v). Who cares about the content of the healthcare legislation? Nobody knows what’s in it anyway, but it doesn’t matter. After all, it’s also in vogue.
This also accounts for the obvious fact that many of our entertainment elites live like conservatives (or even robber barons) while talking like liberals. Style, style, and more style. It’s all in vogue.
Meanwhile, the rest of us suffer, stuck looking at the glitzy models on the runway. The middle class has no style.