The headliner of this year's Arkansas Literary Festival in
Mr. Waters has never fit in with that crowd or any other. Happy and indeed proud to offend all the current gods of art criticism and American respectables in general, Mr. Waters just keeps firing away with both candid little quips and full-scale production numbers. He still lives in old
He's been delighting his fans at least since "Hairspray" was all the rage, though he's been keeping them waiting all too long for his next Feature Attraction, stirring fears that there won't be one. Maybe today's pop culture is already so outrageous it can't be spoofed, not even by
Call him a cultural saboteur, and American culture -- high, low and especially middle -- needs sabotaging regularly, just to let us more staid types know the thing is still alive. And will still jump when needled. And needling it has been something of the
Mr. Waters is the latest in a distinguished line of such cultural provocateurs going back to H.L. Mencken of the old
It's not easy to describe
"I'm for you," he explained, "but I can't go to riots when I own three homes."
There you have the essential and telling critique of all such economics. Once it dawns on an American that there are people out there out to take a slice of his income or property or hard-earned wages or cultural stature or whatever they have their eyes on this time, a whole new light is shed on the subject. And on just what economic equality means when it ceases to be a slogan and threatens, if only vaguely, to become reality. When that light comes on in our little gray cells, it tends to be far more revealing than any abstract lesson out of Economics 101.
In only a few words,
Americans are and should be free to share what is theirs, but not to take what is others' and give it a nicer name. Like income equality or income distribution or whatever the current term-of-art may be in left-speak. Surely many an American would like to get rich, but in the main the Occupiers seemed out only to get the rich. The community organizers who led them were full of highfalutin rationalizations for their basic idea (which might be summed up as What's Yours Is Ours) and could scarcely be blamed for their screwy economics. After all, their specialty was organizing, not thinking. And they crossed the line from social protest into cliche long ago, just as our once popular president did.
It'll be good to have