In the obscenely overpaid — whether it is actors who make millions for mouthing silly lines off a cue card or athletes who earn more money in a few games than most make in a lifetime — a certain self-loathing must exist. Making so much for doing so little can only generate an unease that gnaws at them. At the same time it seems to fill them with a grotesque sense of self-importance. Their staggering salaries, they evidently conclude, confer upon them a right to pontificate at a society stupid enough to pay them all that money.
It is not surprising that out of this toxic combination of self-loathing and self-importance comes some astonishingly bratty and richly ironic activism: actors, athletes, and other celebrities inveighing against the warped values of society even as their entire status depends upon them.
Occasionally, one even hears a celebrity, trying desperately to sound thoughtful, complain about how “little teachers are paid.” Never mind that his own riches and fame would disappear if America ever returned to the sensible scale of priorities for which he pretends to long. Have you ever heard a celebrity say, “America is a rotten place and I am proof of it”?
Yet perhaps at some deep psychological level the celebrity’s contempt for America comes from his own self-contempt: he is mad at America not in spite of his comforts and riches but because of them. Celebrities will often say that they “struggle with success,” as if their ticket-buying public put a hex upon them.
Of course, all the lackeys and toadies around them, who live off the scraps that fall from their table, work to prevent their thoughts from turning too dark. They exist to prop up their egos and convince them of the rectitude of their causes. This largely explains the sorry spectacle of craven owners, broadcasters, coaches, and various other boot-lickers rushing to the defense of NFL players boycotting the flag. The coddling was akin to witnessing college administrators “protect” student radicals determined to burn their universities down.
With the owners kneeling in “solidarity” with flag-boycotters, the corruption of professional sports is now complete. Having chosen nihilism over the nation, they have no one to blame but themselves when professional football ceases to be a national pastime.
Future chroniclers of America’s decline will no doubt record this moment as a throat rattle in the ruling class’s death wish. For decades, it has been casting traitors as patriots and patriots as traitors. This is the unfolding of Obama’s fundamentally transformed America in which defending the flag becomes “divisive” and trashing it an occasion for “unity.”
Naturally, the Karl Roves participated in this nihilistic pile-on, dunning Trump for his lack of “presidential” behavior, as if the true mark of a leader is not stopping the mob but joining it.
It is precisely Trump’s refusal to cooperate with the ruling class in the destruction of the country that makes him the first consequential Republican president since Reagan. The shame of division falls not on him but on all those supposed “authority figures” who authorize once-unthinkable behavior. They divide the country at its deepest level — from the traditions that enable it to survive.