a window on a derelict culture
Solway is a Canadian poet and essayist (Random Walks)
and author of The Big Lie: On Terror, Antisemitism, and
Identity and Hear, O Israel! (Mantua Books). His
editorials appear regularly in PJ
Media. His monograph, Global Warning: The Trials of
an Unsettled Science (Freedom Press Canada) was launched
at the National Archives in Ottawa in September, 2012.His latest
book is Notes
from a Derelict Culture. A CD of his original
songs, Partial to Cain, appeared in 2019.
Like many people, I’ve been watching House Hunters
and its cousin House Hunters International on HGTV
with considerable interest, though perhaps not for the usual
reasons. I understand the charm the program has for its viewers:
the pleasure of visiting houses and their locales, the ideas
one may get for redecorating one’s own dwelling, the information
about places one may wish to visit or move to, the guessing
game regarding which of the inevitable three houses the purchasers
will settle for, or simply abundant material for one’s
I do wonder how many viewers realize that the whole business
is largely a scripted hallucination which may even be hazardous
to one’s future decisions if taken seriously. And as we
will see in the ensuing, it partakes as well of a progressivist
rage for leftist queer and gender politics.
begin with, House Hunters et al. paint a scrubbed and
prettified picture of the subject. I recall several episodes
dealing with the lovely Greek island of Paros, featuring gorgeous,
well-appointed villas replete with lavish amenities including
ample showers and impressive fireplaces. I lived in Greece for
several years and know the island well -- well enough to know
that, like most Aegean islands, it suffers from critical water
shortages and an equally critical lack of firewood owing to
centuries of forest denudation. Showers will be few and winters
will be rheumatoid. And unwary buyers will be sucking lemons.
is only one instance of the HGTV lie. Cabo San Lucas is another
popular HGTV fable, focusing on gleaming condominiums and stunning
views. The hagglers, cheats, swarms of importunate vendors,
heavy traffic, sewage treatment problems and evidence of extortionate
prices are left on the cutting-room floor. Caveat emptor.
dialogue and character must rank the program at the lowest end
of the entertainment industry scale. The dialogue is cloyingly
banal with its ceaseless empty chatter, and the prospective
buyers/renovators are generally among the most vapid and unattractive
cast of characters one could ever hope to avoid.
are people whose major interest in life seems to consist of
countertops, backsplashes and double vanities; whose speech
garbles with wow, awesome, omigod, beachy feel, open concept,
price point, lots of natural light, I love it, I’m not
a big fan of, we like to entertain, it’s a little tight,
I like to grill, and so on, a shrunken lexicon tirelessly repeated.
are obviously coached to behave like puppets, but one wonders
what self-respecting person would agree to so demeaning a charade.
And practically every one of these people apparently possesses
a degree of personal taste one would associate with a connoisseur
of the fine arts. Couples are expert in architectural distinctions,
whether Ranch, Craftsman, Colonial, Cape Cod, Cottage, Farmhouse,
Contemporary, Georgian, Art Deco or what have you. This, too,
is part of the HGTV lie.
may once have appealed to family viewing but that is rapidly
changing. The participants remain no less fatuous and predictable
but now they are gradually becoming same-sex couples as the
producers try to “get with” the progressivist trends
of the day. These couples are no more intellectually interesting
than their normative predecessors and, indeed, are often given
to a frisson of theatrical posturing, which seems to go with
But HGTV has clearly decided to break even newer ground, featuring
its first throuple searching for a home in Colorado Springs.
The word “throuple” is hammered in to practically
every conversational passage as the woke threesome prances around
considering furniture and appliances.
arises the significant issue of a triple vanity, a triple bed
or a three car garage. We are treated to a joking reference
to a three-way fireplace, accompanied by scads of phony laughter.
nuclear couple have two children who will, apparently, happily
adapt to the current orthodoxy of deviance. One shudders to
think what lies in store for them. Ben Shapiro has made the
argument regarding the welfare of the children, which here amounts
to the sacrifice of the innocents or, in his words, “No
one gives a crap about the kids.” I see all kinds of trouble
-- or is it throuble -- ahead and would not be surprised if
the two women -- the wife is bisexual -- hive off into a relationship
of their own while the beta husband is left footing the alimony
bill. O brave new world that has such people in it, to quote
Shakespeare’s ingenuous Miranda.
course, HGTV has plenty of company, as we would expect. Sherlock
Holmes and John Watson may be a squeeze. Batwoman is a lesbian.
The film Spider-Man: Far From Home includes an openly transgender
actor and a new film will reportedly show Spidey with a boyfriend.
According to actor Haaz Sleiman, the new Marvel movie The
Eternals will highlight “a beautiful, very moving
kiss” between two men. All the diversity and inclusion
one could wish for!
social world is obviously becoming increasingly grody with same-sex,
transgender, polyamorous and sologamous infatuations -- sologamy,
or self-marriage, is now an “item.” The normalization
of polyamory, as Princeton University legal scholar Robert P.
George remarks, is less a “slippery slope” than
the “unfolding of the logic of social liberalism.”
of February 2015, HGTV reached 96,620,000 American households,
near the top of the cable food chain, not counting its foreign
broadcast range. The number has surely grown. And this is why
I watch HGTV, when I can stomach it. It provides a bay window
on the culture as it seeks to normalize what is abnormal and
destructive to the traditional way of life, loosening the glueterium
that keeps a culture whole and intact. In its own way, HGTV
is a kind of fake news, what James Bridle in New Dark Age
calls the “democritisation of propaganda . . . an amplifier
of the division that already exists in society.”
triviality and disingenuousness which are its stock-in-trade
are bad enough as a sign of cultural decay, but do not necessarily
portend social collapse. It is, rather, the incursion into the
bizarro realm of contra naturam, of all that is freakish and
grotesque in the surrealistic world we are preparing for our
children, that is plainly visible in what was once a silly but
family-oriented production. The corrosive logic of “social
liberalism,” that is, of postmodern relativism and gender
anarchy, is on full display, forcing viewers into a new frontier
of social engineering and presenting a family tragedy-in-the-making
as a piece of benign frivolity and revisionary adventure. Indeed,
we are witnessing a form of what poststructuralist French theorist
Michael Foucault called biopolitics, explained in his collected
lectures The Birth of Biopolitics as “a new body, a multiple
body, a body with so many heads that . . . cannot necessarily
the home survive the moral wreckage of the time? Will the average
viewer eventually twig to what is going on? After all, a majority
seem fine with the prefab drivel that engulfs them, so perhaps
the response to the radical upheaval on offer will be one of
assent, however grudging.