Ressentiment Defines Them Best

Hell, we can translate the the basic beef of the Tea Partiers into faddish 90s jargon easily enough: They’re reacting against a hegemonic discourse in the centers of power that constructs them simultaneously as a bearers of class privilege and as a bestial Other. The elevation of figures like Palin represents an attempt to reappropriate an oppressive stereotype, akin to the way some hip-hop embraces a caricaturish racist vision of violent black masculinity. To be sure, most of what gets cast as “oppression” here is just the decline of privilege, but the perception is what matters for the social dynamic.

[Source: The Politics of Ressentiment]. One of the best pieces I’ve read in a while on explaining the Palin phenomenon that for most of us goes against everything that is rational. What is even more delicious is that I learned a new word – ressentiment – to describe sentiments of Palin and her no-so-merry band of fans and which is not surprisingly defined in the language that would anger the same people it defines:

Ressentiment is a sense of resentment and hostility directed at that which one identifies as the cause of one’s frustration, an assignation of blame for one’s frustration. The sense of weakness or inferiority and perhaps jealousy in the face of the “cause” generates a rejecting/justifying value system, or morality, which attacks or denies the perceived source of one’s frustration. The ego creates an enemy in order to insulate itself from culpability.

Too bad that the beauty of English language destroys those who insist that we all should be speaking it.