The far left in America has hit rock bottom. The only remaining question is whether the American left will have a Morris Day moment.
A few days ago, Marc Maron, a guest on Bill Maher’s HBO show “Real Time,” said that he hopes that Michele Bachmann’s husband “f*cks her angrily.” Actually, the entire quote is so vile and important to our discussion that it should be reprinted in full: “I don’t want to be crass,” Maron said, “but I just hope that [Michele’s husband] Marcus Bachmann takes all that, ya know, that rage that comes from repression and denial and brings it into the bedroom with her. I hope he f*cks her angrily, because that’s how I would. And I’ve thought about it.” What brought this on was Maron’s contention that Marcus Bachmann is a repressed homosexual.
As difficult as it may be, it’s possible, after a lot of reflection and some research into sociology and (Freudian) psychiatry, to feel some sympathy for people like Maron. He is the kid on the playground who is so anxiously, desperately in need of being accepted by the cool kids that his rhetoric becomes violent. You know the type: One of the cool kids offers that he doesn’t like some girl at school because she is stuck up. The insecure kid, the Marc Maron, then launches into an aria of insult about just what he would do to that stuck-up bitch. It’s a way for him to gain acceptance. Maron, a coward, was simply playing to Bill Maher, the cool kid, the leader of the liberal gang, who uses violent language when talking about conservative women.
Yet if the desperate, anxious, insecure kid has a conscience, at some point he will feel shame. This is what I call a Morris Day moment. Morris Day is a musician and actor who played the rival of the musician Prince in the 1984 film “Purple Rain.” Throughout the film, Prince and Day fight over music, women, clothes, everything. Then Prince’s father, an alcoholic who beats his wife, commits suicide. Upon hearing the news, Day stops by Prince’s dressing room. “How’s the family?” he says, to the roars of his posse.
What happens next is one of the most memorable moments in the film — indeed it is so powerful I can recall it in detail more than 25 years after watching the film. As his posse fades down the corridor, Day stops and turns so that we can see his face. His face is a poignant mix of shame and despair. He realizes that he has gone too far. Prince was in a sacred space of grief, the spiritual realm where one should be allowed to be with God unmolested. And Day broke past that barrier and defecated in that space. And, to his credit, seconds later he realized it.
Perhaps Maron will have a similar realization. In previous articles in The Daily Caller, I have outlined my theory as to why I think the modern left is so clinically angry, and I think Maron fits this theory. The first part has to do with “the culture of narcissism,” an idea made famous by the great historian and sociologist Christopher Lasch. Lasch used Freudian theory to explain the nuclear rage of the modern narcissist, who, he explained, is not an egomaniac but rather someone with a very fragile sense of self. He is someone, like Maron, who finds his validation in the approval of others.
Compounding this is the psychological problem of uncontrollable infantile rage, the result of poor or absent parenting. According to Lasch, a baby has oversized, monstrous fantasies about the world, and if those fantasies are never brought to heel by parents who usher the child into reality — using proper love, discipline (not hitting) and large helpings of the reality that the world is not made for our convenience — they never go away. Thus the narcissist is a person constantly seeking validation from others and who can explode into apoplexy at the smallest trigger. He also has unhealthy images of women, stemming from his inability to see his own mother as a real person and not a devouring chimera. He is basically Marc Maron — or Dan Savage, the deeply insecure gay sex columnist who was egging Maron on on Maher’s show. Upon hearing Maron’s comments, Savage added that he had thought about “anger f*cking” Rick Santorum.
These comments reveal not only the psychiatric disorders of those who say them, but also the speakers’ realization of the virtue of those whom they attack. Secretly, the narcissistic attacker covets that which he claims to destroy. Eminem raps about having sex with Sarah Palin; hack journalist Matt Taibbi snarkily anticipates the porn movies based on Michele Bachmann; Keith Olbermann calls Michelle Malkin “a mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it.” But it is impossible to separate the act of sex from the love that the act generates. Even in the hottest, most casual encounter, there is tenderness, acceptance, the view of the other as a healer — and as good. And, of course, there is God. Like grief, sex puts us in a place where we can be with God. That’s why it is so despicable to violate that space with the profane. And it’s why conservatives, who tend to be more religious, don’t go there. Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Naomi Wolf and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez are plenty hot. But we don’t respond to their positions by calling them twats (Maher on Palin) or encouraging rape.
Deep down, beneath the coward who craves approval from the crowd, Maron and Maher know that women like Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin are virtuous people. They represent beauty and fertility (Palin), compassion (Bachmann with her foster children) and the irreducible goodness of the heterosexual marriage. Beneath all the rage, the Marons, Mahers and Savages of the world know this. Savage doesn’t have fantasies about Santorum because he hates him. In fact, he probably loves Santorum, a handsome, masculine man who represents Gore Vidal’s paradox of homosexual lust — the craving for strong, powerful men despite the fact that most of those men are straight. On “Real Time,” Maron emphasized, after his “joke,” that he “has thought of” sex with Bachmann. Yet that admission of a healthy male impulse, the desire to be close to an attractive woman, is not acceptable to the fascist left — the cool kids. Therefore, it must be couched in the language of rape. You hear it on high school playgrounds all the time: “Yeah, she’s a bitch, but I’d do her — just to piss her off.”
The other component of the left’s rage has to do with the assassination of John F. Kennedy. As I have noted in TheDC before, the most profound political book I have read in the last several years is James Piereson’s “Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism.” In it, Piereson argues that after the murder of John F. Kennedy, American liberalism was never the same. Because liberals could not bring themselves to admit that a communist killed Kennedy, they performed a magic trick wherein Kennedy became a liberal martyr to civil rights. This was despite the fact that Kennedy dragged his feet on civil rights. Before Kennedy’s death, mainstream liberals had been patriotic and pro-American; yet as they blamed Kennedy’s death on the “undercurrent of right-wing violence” in America, they began to view their own country with suspicion, and even hatred. Since then, absolutely anything that smells mildly of conservatism, from tax cuts to the military, is incipient fascism that must be beaten back. Savage’s generation, which is my generation, grew up brainwashed by the left to think that every time a kid prayed in school or a preacher doubted the virtues of gay sex, it was the second coming of Hitler. This paranoia, fused with the psychological handicap of the narcissist, as well as the demands of ever-escalating rhetoric from the cool kids in the media (Maher), explains Maron’s language of rape.
Without a Morris Day moment or some therapy for the left, this stuff will probably continue to go on. Deeply troubled individuals like Maron and Savage will keep going too far — the clinical narcissist, crippled by rage and needing constant attention, can’t help but do so.
Mark Judge is the author of A Tremor of Bliss: Sex, Catholicism, and Rock ‘n’ Roll.