44 years after The Beatles film ‘Yellow Submarine’ depicted the ‘Nowhere Man’ himself we finally have the nowhere man, in the flesh, in the form of Mitt Romney. But whereas The Beatles parodied something akin to the academic/journalistic ‘view from nowhere’, Romney and his cadres of 1%-er ultra-rich capitalists, are the future of displaced persons – though by choice and opportunity, rather than because of political, economic, or climate ‘push factors’. Matt Taibbi makes the point in a lengthy section at the conclusion to his utterly depressing profile of Romney, and it’s worth quoting at great length:
Listen to Mitt Romney speak, and see if you can notice what’s missing. This is a man who grew up in Michigan, went to college in California, walked door to door through the streets of southern France as a missionary and was a governor of Massachusetts, the home of perhaps the most instantly recognizable, heavily accented English this side of Edinburgh. Yet not a trace of any of these places is detectable in Romney’s diction. None of the people in any of those places bled in and left a mark on the man.
Romney…is a perfect representative of one side of the ominous cultural divide that will define the next generation, not just here in America but all over the world. Forget about the Southern strategy, blue versus red, swing states and swing voters – all of those political clichés are quaint relics of a less threatening era that is now part of our past, or soon will be. The next conflict defining us all is much more unnerving.
That conflict will be between people who live somewhere, and people who live nowhere. It will be between people who consider themselves citizens of actual countries, to which they have patriotic allegiance, and people to whom nations are meaningless, who live in a stateless global archipelago of privilege – a collection of private schools, tax havens and gated residential communities with little or no connection to the outside world.
Mitt Romney isn’t blue or red. He’s an archipelago man.
It’s a depressing state of affairs, yet we aught to refuse to be depressed – a conclusion I’m borrowing form Nicholas Merzoeff, who mentioned at last weekend’s ‘Sense of Planet, Sense of Place’ Symposium that the amount of SSRI anti-depressants prescribed in New York is so much that traces are detectible in fish that swim in the harbour. If for no reason other than to push back against Big Pharma, we aught to remain hopeful. I found the following bible passage encouraging for obscene, personal reasons:
“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed…” – Romans 4:18