Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thursday, November 25, 2004

The PLO (Philistine Liberation Organization)

Many years ago I became frustrated with pretentious and arrogant put-downs of common, ordinary low-brow culture. I think people ought to be liberated from the pressures and insinuations of inferiority promulgated by the cultural elite, and to that end I wrote a piece announcing the formation of The Philistine Liberation Organization, of which I am the self-proclaimed chair. Here's the introduction to our manifesto:

I have been subjected to the biases and special pleadings of the artsy culture vultures long enough. They sneer at anything which isn't in their own mold (mould?) of avant-gardishness. They perpetuate stupid jokes by laughing at people who quite seriously say, "I may not know much about..______... but I know what I like."
It is time for the rest of us to revolt against this claptrap of self-indulgent behaviour which passes itself off as "the actualization of one's self potential," and which somehow has, unfortunately, [in Canuckland, at least] bedeviled enough politicians that fully 65.7% of our tax dollars go to supporting these alleged artistes through direct grants and purchases of junk [Voice of Fire - - need I say more?] that any sensible person would pay someone else to haul off to the municipal landfill site. It is time for a new organization to be formed to aid this revolution. To that end, I hereby announce the formation of The P.L.O.
Okay. I confess. I made up that number of 65.7%.

This manifesto has been at my personal website for years. It has also been circulated on the internet by a judge from the 9th circuit.

In its November 26th, 2004, issue, the Chronicle of Higher Education published a discourse on Philistinism, which includes references to the PLO manifesto [in the last paragraph] :

[O]ne can find today, on the Net, the manifesto of "The Philistine Liberation Organization." It maintains that real flowers "wilt and need care" compared with plastic ones, that Barry Manilow's songs "capture the meaning of life," that a lot of French paintings "look as if the artist needed glasses."

Thanks to Albie Miranda for bringing that piece to my attention. I expect, judging from the tone of the entire piece, that the author has, at best, mixed feelings about the PLO. In a much more scholarly fashion, Tyler Cowen has written, In Praise of Commercial Culture. I highly recommend it.

Here's the conclusion to the PLO Manifesto:

The purpose of our organization, it must be made clear, is to promote tolerance and open-mindedness -- to lampoon arrogance and self-indulgent pomposity. We don't really care if you like Shostakovich, escargot, and Birkenstocks.

We also don't really care if you like Neil Diamond, pizza, and Kodiak Grebs. We do, however, become disturbed if you try to tell us what we should like; and we have apoplexy if you try to get us to pay for what you think we should like.

Personally, I'm not that keen on Stompin' Tom Connors or Hockey Night in Canada (Canada's two leading cultural icons), but I am delighted they exist.

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