Missing The Mark, Blunt

January 20, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.theguardian.com/music/2015/jan/19/james-blunts-letter-chris-bryant-in-full

 

People seem to be sharing Blunt's Letter to Chris Bryant with applause and adulation... I'm not. I'm not praising Blunt's letter, and I'm not sharing it to spread his 'wisdom' - and here's why...

While I agree that no matter what background you come from, if you work hard at something you deserve to succeed... I am slightly scared by his seemingly complete misinterpretation and 'bigging up' of the American Dream, which is what he's referring to when he says "celebrating success and figuring out how we can all exploit it further as the Americans do". Now, the American Dream was a systematic tactic of the elite in America to make poor people believe they deserve to be poor, and that social mobility is something you should sweat for, rather than believing in a society where all citizens deserve to be on equal social standing, or 'level playing field' as Blunt puts it.

 

This American ideal is something I'm glad we haven't actively adopted (although we have our own versions of it). Simply the fact that Blunt is promoting it completely undermines his entire argument. His ignorance means he's very much wrong-footed himself here, and because of it, frankly this letter is somewhat farcical. If he'd stopped writing 2 paragraph's earlier, I might have been more inclined to agree with him. As it stands, I'm not that convinced. So close to getting it right, Blunty, and yet, the mark was missed quite entirely it would seem. Must be that boarding school education ey?

 

I have recently been asked, in response to the above, why I'm so certain his interpretation of the American Dream (an intangible undefined abstract) is the same as mine...

 

My answer was as follows:

There is no 'interpretation' of the american dream. You either know why it was originally conceived, or you know the rhetoric churned out by spin doctors meant to stop people from questioning it. Breaking down the illusion that the american dream can be 'interpreted' is half the battle. The American Dream is something filled with hope, that can inspire people to accomplish aspirational things, and promises that even if you are from the most deprived neighbourhood you can be rich and successful if you work for it, right? Wrong. Putting aside for a moment the glaringly obvious fact that those who have inherited rich and successful lives never have to work for it if they choose... Hope is the most powerful way of subduing the poor, and therefore maintaining the segregation of upper and lower class societies. Blunt is, very simply, obviously ignorant to this. And while anyone can work as hard as anyone else to achieve a goal no matter what their background, his dismissal of the need for a level playing field by using the american dream as his evidence is highly misconstrued, and in fact invalidates his core argument.

Like I said, I wouldn't have had a problem with what he was saying if he'd stopped two paragraphs earlier. But in the last two paragraphs he tried to validate his argument by using an example he obviously doesn't fully understand, which discredits him.

Lastly... one of my main problems with it and reasons for posting my opinion, was people sharing it saying 'good on you, Blunt', and being horrified by that, wanting to offer a balancing view. 

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