A Supreme Court justice once famously stated that he couldn’t define pornography but he knew it when he saw it. I’m not sure he could get away with saying this today. Vulgarity and obscenity are fast moving targets in our culture, and often what is obscene in the morning news is proudly advertised, monetized and broadcast in 1080p HDTV the same night on the same network. We’ve become a much more vulgar country than we were when that Justice made his comment, but we’ve also become a people who’ve been told so often by the country’s ruling class of policy and opinion makers that what is plainly obscene is not obscene that we are not always able to keep our bearings. We are dealing with a flood of vulgarity, but we are also dealing with a selective definition of vulgarity; a definition that is often used to shame us on the one hand and provoke us on the other. We are asked to accept any form of sexual dalliance or political maneuvering or coarse language when it suits the establishment elites, and we are told we must reject the same dalliances, maneuverings, and language when it is exposed among us commoners.
This is not a Trump era phenomena, it’s been going on forever. No one in the common class could have lived the open secret debauched lifestyle of JFK and been treated like a hero. The real issue is not about WHAT is common, but WHO is common. Vulgar used to mean simply “common” or “ordinary.” It came to mean “course”, “ugly” or “unacceptable” as the elites of the Victorian era became more and more detached from regular people. Vulgar behavior was whatever vulgar people did. You see the point? Isn’t that enlightening? The reason Bill Clinton’s behavior is tolerated isn’t because it’s not debauched, the reason Bill Clinton’s behavior is tolerated is because he isn’t vulgar. The reason Hillary Clinton can lie about mishandling thousands of classified emails is because she isn’t vulgar. On the other hand the reason a four star general is going to jail for a one time off the record talk about classified material with a reporter is because he is vulgar.
If nothing else, the candidacy of Donald Trump has exposed the Victorianism of the small group of people pulling the switches of influence and their utter contempt for the majority of the county, the Vulgarians. Trump is a strange representative for the commoners. He is rich and born into it. He is actually coarse and ugly in many ways and the common people are not generally coarse and ugly. But the contrast between Trump, a rich, coarse man who has lived his life and run a presidential campaign touching and reaching toward commoners, and Clinton, a truly common unaccomplished woman who has lived her life and run a presidential campaign attempting to obtain wealth, power, and status and with it distance herself from commoners, is striking. It is amazing to see it. The Victorian versus the Vulgarian. When you see the array of opposition to Trump’s candidacy you should see this and learn something: our opinion and political leaders find you despicable. Think of them this way; they are like the pop star who hits the big time and draws huge crowds and makes enormous amounts of money and then spits upon and curses the people who come to their shows and buy their albums. They want the fame, power, influence and money that comes from the commoners to them, but they themselves no longer want anything to do with the crowd that brought them out of common-ness. When Hillary Clinton uttered the most obscene words spoken during this whole unutterably long and obscenity-laced campaign, it escaped notice by most and was brushed aside by many. She said Trump supporters were “deplorable” (bad), and “irredeemable” (worse). She said it off a prepared statement and she said it more than once. This is what she believes. Of course it is. She is a Victorian. I prefer a Vulgarian. At least I know he’s trying to get out of the throne room onto my street.