Re: Conservative Offense at Liberal "Contempt"

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Conservatives and liberals have genuine, important differences. People with one set of cultural opinions (say, a loathing for gay people) are necessarily going to have trouble with people who are gay (and vice versa).

To label one side contemptuous of the other is pretty much stating the obvious. To say that the contempt is largely a one-way street is ludicrous.



Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 8:34 AM
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Or, see David Brook's column today:

Palin is the ultimate small-town renegade rising from the frontier to do battle with the corrupt establishment. Her followers take pride in the way she has aroused fear, hatred and panic in the minds of the liberal elite. The feminists declare that she's not a real woman because she doesn't hew to their rigid categories. People who've never been in a Wal-Mart think she is parochial because she has never summered in Tuscany.

Reading that in context, I honestly can't tell if he's satirizing this sort of BS or participating in it.


Posted by: JH | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 8:37 AM
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As a coastal elite with contempt and ignorance for the base of the Republican Party, I can say with absolute confidence that almost all people like me are Democrats. I, however, am a Republican.


Posted by: OPINIONATED GLIBERTARIAN BLOGGER | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 8:38 AM
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To me this all scans as more of the same in-tribe/out-tribe posturing the Right has done for a long time and was being discussed the other day in the context of public grieving. The Right's only emotional appeal for a long time has been that they and only they understand our society because they are such poor widdwe victims of vicious and overwhelming attacks on their {"culture" of "life," war, heterosexual marriages, religious hegemony, Christmas, scare-mongering politics}.

I don't really buy the argument that the Right is naturally more likely to form close-knit identities (though that argument is made much more skillfully and knowledgeably than any counterargument I could propose) given that their whole deal is supposed to be self-reliance and intuition rather than interdependence and expertise, but I do think the Right have had it hammered into them by their own elite that they have a closer-knit group identity until they believe it themselves and one of the main tools used to accomplish this is assuring them at every turn that they are someone's victims despite their utter dominance of society in nearly every regard.

I am really not trying to slam McMegan personally with the following because I don't know her and could only possibly recognize her on the street but I do find it highly questionable that, given she was schooled in an environment of privilege and she moves in circles the NYT considers cool enough to do whole stories about their living arrangements and she lives on the coast and is a published writer for a recognized publication, she takes it upon herself to explain to the masses how elitist coastal types who enjoy such privileges as hers hold them in contempt. On the other hand, I'm one of those dudes who went to an ordinary state school and I only barely managed that so maybe I'm just asking to be held in contempt by saying anything at all.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 8:45 AM
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I finished Nixonland just last week (and returned it to the library two weeks overdue). Perlstein sort of defines the two sides of the culture war by the resentment that the "Orthogonians"---the strivers, the middle americans, those to whom things don't come easy---feel towards the "Franklins," or golden Ivy-Leaguers. The terms come from rival fraternal groups at Nixon's college: he started up the "Orthogonians" to build himself a power base for student president.

What Perlstein does in his narrative that I find both interesting and a bit suspect is emphasise the unity before the split, as though there were some Platonic America united behind LBJ's Great Society, and then those damn resentniks and Nixon and oh, yeah, Vietnam came along, as though all we had to do was find a way to mitigate the resentments and we'd be back in Eden.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 8:50 AM
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The one kernel of truth in all of that culture war BS, maybe, is that rural (especially southern) culture has a ten-mile-wide streak of insecurity, such that Straw Elite Others are always looking down upon "us regular folks." That's why they don't see Palin's demeanor as it is (relentlessly aggressive and contemptuous) but as a defense against the Straw Elites Who Don't Really Exist (that'll show 'em! Give 'em hell, Regular Woman!). Bush played the Regular Guy well for a while too.


Posted by: rm | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 8:51 AM
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There's three things that come to mind when this comes up:
(1) The contempt directed at the so called Bicoastal Elite by the supposed salt of the earth types in rural America is just as horrible as that directed the other way. The phrase "San Francisco values" springs to mind.
(2) The contempt from right wingers who are members of the bicoastal elite towards their rural brethren is in many cases nastier than that from left wing members of that elite. Try ginning up sympathy on Wall Street for folks in OK who just had a tornado blow through their trailer park.
(3) There is no virtue in being insular, ignorant of foreign lands and cultures, incurious about the lives of people unlike yourself, and hostile towards those who are different. Not all rural folks are like that, but the ones most loudly clammering about the hostility of the bicoastal elites more often than not are.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 8:56 AM
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McMegan is a j.... ah, what's the point.

Yeah I think you pretty much got it, LB. The definitions of "coastal elite" and "down-home NASCAR buddy" are so amoprhous and admit such inexplicable heterogeny that all they really act as is purely social tribal markers. Attempting to read them as anything but is rank concern trolling.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:00 AM
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I forget the name, but a recent book puts this in focus better than anything I've seen in a long time. Genuinely poor people of any race, including rural people, tend to vote Democratic if they vote at all.

The culture wars split is within the well-off. Some have urban tastes, and some have rural tastes. Most of the ones with rural tastes live in suburbs, exurbs, or small cities like Macon, etc. People with urban tastes tend more toward 4-year liberal arts educations, jobs involving credentialization, and jobs involving connections with large non-commercial organizations. The people with rural tastes tend more to practical educations (including, e.g., dentistry), self-employment and small business, and work in the business world.

I'm somewhat divided because the Democrats' domination by technocrats and credentials bugs me. Rather than "reach out" to the quasi-rural and the religious in a fake way, I'd rather see the Democrats become genuinely less technocratic.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:06 AM
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The culture wars split is within the well-off. Some have urban tastes, and some have rural tastes.

This is probably broadly true, but only when you factor out the unreachable homophobes, racists, etc., among the less well-off.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:09 AM
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Am I expressing contempt when I say this?

Con men have been using the ignorance, fear, and self-righteousness for years against people, specifically authoritarian followers, to fleece them.

As long as the victims lost their personal property and what not I didn't really care that much.

Now, though, similar tactics are used by similar men to gain political power and then use that power to hurt me. Now I care.

Catering to people's fears ("they think they're better than you") while conning them is an old tactic but it is used because it works. People who fall for cons are the same people who have difficulty seeing that is happening, which is why they fall for cons.

These people don't listen to reason. In my opinion the only honorable way to take these people away from the GOP is to let them know us, gradually and personally, so we become trusted. This takes a long time though, and frankly I don't like these people and don't want to get close to them.

That is why I espouse a non-honorable method - use what we know about them to throw wedges between the group. Fracture the group and they lose their political power.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:10 AM
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McArdle's nonsense is just another way of working the refs. We know that the media is liberal, therefore any reporting that supports a liberal theme can be discounted. Likewise, we know that the coastal liberal elites are contemptuous of real Americans, therefore any disagreement expressed by someone who can be dubbed a coastal elite can be discounted - and any contempt for liberal opinions (those of the coastal elites) is only natural and appropriate.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:11 AM
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I'm working up my profile of the core Republican voter.

*Family income $40k-80k. Tendency toward self-satisfaction.
*Educated, but without the liberal arts bullshit.
*Non urban, non rural -- exurban or suburban.
*Religious, probably a New Church, probably prosperity theology.
*Homophobic, anti-abortion, socially conservative, but indulgent of personal heterosexual and substance abuse failings.
*"Down to earth" tastes in entertainment -- do it yourself, outdoor sports, country music, cars.
*Resentment of liberals and intellectuals.

Not genius stuff, obvs, but it gets you away from the misleading hillbilly stereotype. Hillbillies may be wingers, but that's not the demographic that's killing us.

I'm not sure how Democrats could approach this demographic. maybe we have to wait for people to fall out of it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:19 AM
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But, wait, there's more of kernel of truth than you're letting on. Most "elites" really do have contempt for NASCAR.* And most "elites" really do trend liberal.

*And hunting. And evangelicals. And suburbia. And Applebees.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:21 AM
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I usually consider the possibility of projection, that I am being accused of what the accuser is doing. If LB's guess, that the commenters on McArdle's post believe that liberals are using a dichotomous choice (participation or contempt), then I wonder if they think that because they do it. (I remember a conservative officemate (that I got along with well) calling the new fancy lettuce mixes "lawnmower mix", which I thought was a great description and still use.)

I don't toggle between participation and contempt myself, because there's the whole other possibility of not caring in the least. But I find that that gets called contempt too.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:21 AM
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The financial elite and oil elite a lower profile than academic and entertainment elites, and they have contempt for poor people but they also are anti-intellectual, also like flashy cars, also like to hunt (maybe in Africa or Mongolia), and so on.

Most rich people are Republicans, but many visibly rich people (Hollywood) are Democrats.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:24 AM
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There was an article in the paper out here (EOTAW still posting the front page?) over the weekend about tough times in Yuba County. Would central California be coastal or Kansas? Anyway, a bunch of houses went up there and the real estate blow up is bad. Jobs are being lost. And one woman featured in the article said, "I'm voting for McCain. I feel that he's honest."

So I'll cop to some contempt here. I felt like the letters to the editor after a story about the struggling single mother of five who is pregnant again. "Why won't she take responsibility for her actions?" they sniff. Well, buying a house in the middle of nowhere with a loan you can't afford and believing Republicans are actions too. Actions with grave consequences.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:27 AM
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Most "elites" really do have contempt for NASCAR.*

Really, no, if I'm a fair example of "elites". I'm not interested, and it doesn't look particularly like fun to me. But I don't have it in a 'contemptible' category different from the hundred million other things people do for fun that I'm not interested in. It's exactly like Megan said: I don't toggle between participation and contempt myself, because there's the whole other possibility of not caring in the least.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:29 AM
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And most "elites" really do trend liberal.

And this is kind of nonsense. The economic elite trends conservative -- wealthy and very high income people tend to vote Republican. You can't say "most 'elites'" and be saying anything true unless you pin down what you mean by 'elite' more specifically than that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:31 AM
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LB, basically 14 is out to lunch.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:36 AM
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The book Emerson @9 is trying to recall is Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State by Andy Gelman and collaborators. (I need to finish my review.) They show pretty conclusively that in every state, the richer you are, the more likely you are to vote Republican, but that this tendency is weaker in over-all richer states, such as California, Maryland, New York, etc. --- the real question isn't "What's the matter with Kansas?" but rather "What's the matter with Connecticut?", where alignment between income and voting is weakest. Less conclusively, Andy &c. take the same line that Tim Burke does --- culture war is a luxury of the richer classes. They have a more complicated and yet more tentative explanation for the geographic separation.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:37 AM
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Someone pointed out awhile back that outside NYC, Boston, the Bay Area, and maybe Minneapolis, Seattle, and Portland, most rich people tend very strongly Republican, and even in those areas there are plenty of rich Republicans.

Even in SF, someone explained that Michael Savage (who got his start there) speaks to well-off people in the Bay Area who are embittered because they have to live there and be teased by their rich friends.

This meshes somewhat with the general idea that most of the political media are located in NYC or DC, and their picture of the country is skewed by that. (Alsoon questions of education: DC and NYC schools are taken as typical.)



Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:37 AM
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18/19: well, that's the point of the scare quotes. I do mean cultural rather than econoimc elites. Although, if we really want to be precise, I suppose I mean relatively high-income democratic voters.

And it's wonderful that you feel no contempt for NASCAR, but I wouldn't believe you if you told me you hadn't heard contempt expressed amongst your peers. (And, again, not just NASCAR: hunting, evangelicals, etc. NASCAR has actually mainstreamed quite a bit in the last decade or so. It used to be viewed with much more disdain.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:38 AM
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And most "elites" really do trend liberal.

Only if you define "elite" as "liberal people who hate hunting. And evangelicals. And suburbia. And Applebees."

Which is, basically, the argument here.

(Last weekend, I attended a wedding where most of the guests were academics, artists, musicians, farmers, small business owners. After the ceremony, gardening and hunting were two of the major topics of conversation and there was lots of organic food, alcohol, a few guns, and sweet, sweet pancetta)


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:39 AM
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24: Sure. Again, scare quotes. Replace it with UMC democrats.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:40 AM
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This post inspired me to click through to McMegan's site again. And once again I was impressed by what a bad blogger she is. So thoroughly captive to an undergrad-level glibertarianism she doesn't even fully understand, so unwilling to question her own beliefs, so condescending to the beliefs of others, so lazy that she can't even be bothered to minimally research the issues she writes about.

In a recent post, I found this gem:

As an aside, we point out that the more lightly regulated hedge fund industry is weathering this storm better than the more heavily regulated banks.

Amazing statement from an "econblogger".


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:41 AM
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And most "elites" really do trend liberal.

What definition of "elites" gets you to this statement? I mean, other than tautological ones.

Look, the GOP crushes the Dems in the over-$50k population. Except in a few specific industries, the more $$ you see, the more Republicans you're looking at. And wealthy Republicans are just as educated as wealthy Dems, just as plugged-in to old boy networks, etc.

There's no denying that there's a certain profile of person (people who like certain stuff) that very much tracks as "liberal elite." But those people aren't elite in any meaningful sense - the stand mixer is not a symbol of political power. Priuses do not deliver people to the halls of power.

I think that the basic trick that Nixon pulled off - and I get JM's objections to Nixonland - was to convince a lot of frustrated people to point the finger at powerless "liberal elites" instead of any of the actors whose policies actually created the frustrations (setting aside that a lot of those frustrated people were frustrated that black people and women were getting uppity).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:42 AM
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But, wait, there's more of kernel of truth than you're letting on. Most "elites" really do have contempt for NASCAR.*

They don't show it much on the teevee, but if you've ever attended a NASCAR event, you see a whole lot of the Stars and Bars, and other cultural markers of overt racism. Contempt, as I said before, is a two-way street.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:43 AM
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OK, so Brock's got us. Powerless people who dislike NASCAR and guns often disdain those things. And are therefore Bad and Elite. Whereas powerless people who dislike cities and fresh food often disdain those things, which makes them Good and Salt of the Earth.

We're really getting somewhere now.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:45 AM
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One category of conservative Christians absolutely deserve contempt: the evil Christians -- the Armageddonists, racists,self-serving prosperity Christians, and so on. They believe that they can get away with any and all meanness and selfishness as long as they do it in Jesus' name, and they're often very indulgent of their own failings as Christians.

They should be offered forgiveness and redemption if they repent, of course. But Christians can be judged, and at a minimum they have to follow the normal moral rules.

That's pretty harsh, but it's language Christians can understand. Unfortunately liberals are relativists and are incapable of thalking that talk.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:46 AM
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More than anything else the "marker" is whether one goes to church or not. There is certainly a strain of contempt among those who do attend religious services on a regular basis for those that do. "Opiate of the masses", and all that. Religion is a very touchy subject because it is so personal, and yet most churches are more about control than filling the emptiness with purpose. There has certainly been much sport here at Unfogged for the various and sundry denominations that our puny human brains have devised to describe God.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:48 AM
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lots of organic food, alcohol, a few guns, and sweet, sweet pancetta

This sounds like paradise.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:48 AM
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And it's wonderful that you feel no contempt for NASCAR, but I wouldn't believe you if you told me you hadn't heard contempt expressed amongst your peers.

You can call me a liar if you like, but it's true. I can't specifically recall anyone I know ever bringing up NASCAR. It's not my thing, and it's not a topic of conversation among people I know, but it's not singled out for contempt. I do know people who hunt socially, and while I've been in conversations about hunting that have certainly involved a fair amount of ignorant "So, neat. How does that work?" (some from me, some from other people) which is the sort of thing that gets defined in this discussion as contempt, I haven't heard people being hostile or rude about it, or anything that I'd call genuine contempt.

Evangelicals are a slightly different issue. I have been in hostile conversations about the "Religious Right" as a politically powerful group whose positions on the issues are disfavored by the people I know, that have certainly slopped over into generalized cultural hostility. From the inside of those conversations, the way it feels is that the hostility comes from political fear -- that they're using their political power to fuck with us -- and turns into cultural hostility, rather than the reverse.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:49 AM
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Two things which I suspect might be part of the situation:

1. The inference "LB doesn't have cultural marker X, therefore she has contempt for X" makes more sense if you add the premise that the "conservative tribe" is the original and default American condition. Therefore LB must have rejected her rightful heritage. The premise isn't true, of course, but it's widely distributed and there _are_ people who are born into that tribe and do reject it, more or less gleefully...

2. I suspect the equations liberal=intellectual=contempt might be reinforced by the experience of college, where the professors tend to participate more in the "liberal/coastal" tribe, wherever located. Many of us do, actually, think we know more than our students...


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:50 AM
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29: I'm not saying that at all. Of course it's a two-way street, as politicalfootball said. But that's entirely different than LB's argument, which seemed to be that this cross-cultural didn't even exist, at least not in any meaningful sense.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:51 AM
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25: Dude, you just said UMC Democrats trend liberal. Um, sure.

That's the point -- you can't successfully say 'snobbish elites are liberal' unless you can also claim that being a liberal is a defining quality for a member of a snobbish elite.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:52 AM
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What definition of "elites" gets you to this statement? I mean, other than tautological ones.

As bad as the coastal ones are, they are nothing compared to the tautological elites.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:53 AM
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I suppose I mean relatively high-income democratic voters.

Which is an inane definition of "elite". The fact this has some currency shows you how well the right's propaganda machine has been working these last 30 years or so.

Any sensible definition of elite applied to the US trends republican, if anything.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:55 AM
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which seemed to be that this cross-cultural didn't even exist, at least not in any meaningful sense.

You dropped a word there, but assuming it was something like conflict, or distinction, I'm not denying that it exists. I'm pretty much a core member of the liberal/coastal tribe people are talking about, and I know people in the other, red-state, whatever you call it tribe. And certainly there are cultural differences, and different tastes, and each group thinks the way it does things is preferable.

That's just ordinary tribalism, though. It really doesn't get you to the kind of contempt people like McArdle are claiming is pervasive.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:56 AM
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33: well, okay. I won't call you a liar. But I hear this sort of thing frequently. And I'm not in any fashion a NASCAR fan, so it's not as if I bring it up. I'm not sure why our experiences are so different.

I do think you're absolutely wrong that anyone is defining an ignorant "So, neat. How does that work?" as "contempt". That's called interest, and even stupid Republicans can tell the difference.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:56 AM
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Of COURSE some members of the "liberal/coastal" tribe express contempt for markers of the rival tribe from time to time. That's what tribes are FOR, especially if the real differences are very small.

(As a born-and-raised member of the tribe, I can't ever remember having heard much one way or the other about NASCAR. I do remember adolescent conversations mocking monster truck rallies, if that counts.)


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 9:58 AM
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you can't successfully say 'snobbish elites are liberal' unless you can also claim that being a liberal is a defining quality for a member of a snobbish elite

It's not "snobbish elites are liberals," it's "liberals are snobbish elites."


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:01 AM
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One thing that anti-elitists hate is a smarty-pants attitude. Jon Stewart can only preach to the converted, because the people we're talking about hate him as soon as they see him, and not because of his politics.

I think that there's another split between people with liberal arts degrees and with practical degrees. For example, schoolteachers and nurses are much more conservative than you'd think given the work they do, their income, and their professions' dependency on government money. Partly this is because some of them went into those fields for religious reasons, but partly I think it's because their educations were practical and job-oriented. PhDs are more Democratic than MDs.

Roosevelt gave academics high places in his administration, and so did Kennedy. That was the Harvard-Democrat alliance. Galbraith and Shlesinger had middle-rank jobs, and there were PhD technocrats at the higher levels. I think that that stopped working in 1968. Since then the professorial manner has been a big detriment at the national level, and the Democrats really haven't figured that out.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:02 AM
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That's called interest, and even stupid Republicans can tell the difference.

Er, Brock? I'm not calling Republicans generally stupid, and I'm not sure why you are, but this sort of statement leaves me worrying that a couple of comments down the road it's going to look as if I did, rather than you.

And seriously, NASCAR comes up a lot (or at all) in conversation at your Boston lawfirm? Are people talking about NASCAR itself in the sense of actually talking about auto racing, or throwing it in as one of a string of adjectives talking about 'red-staters' or whatever?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:03 AM
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Brock, it's not that we don't understand what you're saying, but you are buying into a framing of the issue that is both irrational, and an active piece of propaganda by one of the political entities you are trying to discuss. So this doesn't make a lot of sense.

As several have mentioned, most of this is tribalism. But as far as I can see, to the degree that `contempt' is the correct descriptor, the right is aiming it at people who don't for the most part exist (while pretending they are common), while the left is aiming it a policies and actions that do (and implicitly the people who hold them).

Fwiw, my personal interactions with many people in both camps (to oversimpfy) have involved a lot more actual contempt from the right to the left, and more frustration from the left to right. Which makes sense, when you consider the policy stands involved.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:03 AM
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If you multiply two imaginary elites, what you get is one real elite.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:03 AM
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What's most awesome about McMegan's stupid coastal elitism is that it's so very up-front about her prejudices. Why yes, if you eliminate black people and Latino people and poor people and genuinely rich people and people who didn't go to a top-fifty school, you can sort of make this equivalence! Which is to say, McMegan's friends are all in relatively high-status jobs and are snooty liberals, so there: it's dispositive. What PGD said in 26, a hundred times.

I mean, Christ, all you need to do is read "Late Night Shots" to know that "contempt for the rubes" is not in fact restricted to liberals. McMegan probably knows some of those people, even! Comic sociology ftw!


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:04 AM
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It's not "snobbish elites are liberals," it's "liberals are snobbish elites."

If that's supposed to be 'all' or 'most' rather than 'some' liberals, this is just self-evidently wrong. An elite is a small group. Democratic voters are half the country, and the poorest among them are the most liberal on some axes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:05 AM
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To put 42 another way, to my knowledge, I didn't meet anyone before I went to college that self-identified as a "liberal". I knew some Democrats, but they considered themselves conservative. The only "liberals" that a lot of people know are the "liberals" they see in the media. And those people are overwhelmingly "snobbish elites".

The scare quotes are all intentional.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:07 AM
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What I've been saying for years is "Republican populism is fake, but Democratic elitism is real".

Bourdieu talks about a split between the dominant part of the elite (finance, business management, the military, engineering, big media) and the subordinate part of the elite (what we call cultural elites).


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:08 AM
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somewhat on-topic: The post-hurricane stuff here has been interesting to watch (if anyone wondered, we're ok, no power & water still though) in that for the first couple of days there's not much large scale interaction at all and it does bring out the best `neighborliness' I've seen here in people. Any political/tribal distrust based on whatever markers was dropped in favor of people helping each other pull trees off yards/cars/roads etc., and checking up on each other.

Now the politicization of problems is starting to gain steam though.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:09 AM
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McMegan and nonsensical bullshit rightwing crap. Together at last!


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:10 AM
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26, 47, remember that McMegan isn't paid to be interested in truth, accuracy, or scrupulous reportage.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:12 AM
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I guess here's what I don't understand about the whole issue: so fucking what?

So what if my friends bike to my urban neighborhood to eat locally-grown food and make jokes about people who drive to Applebee's? In what possible sense does this harm the Applebee's diner? After all, he spends his meal mocking me - if not my black neighbors and gay sister. Yet I don't vote based exclusively on what will piss him off.

So what's his fucking problem?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:12 AM
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I've mentioned this before, and I don't know how it fits in, but (outside of Austin) I get instantaneously categorized as some nebulous north-eastern type. I've had people say things like, "Betcha never been in a pick-up truck before!" and who are surprised that I like to go camping. (WTF? Who has a monopoly on camping?)

My best guess is that it's because I talk faster than other people, and that I'm missing some small-talk cues that I don't even know I'm missing.

It's not unfriendly or hostile or anything, but it is common.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:12 AM
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Any sensible definition of elite applied to the US trends republican, if anything.

O rly? When you have very high profile Hollywood stars, network anchors, newspaper reporters and college professors overwhelmingly in one camp, and the relentless media focus on those people, the message beamed over the airways and received by "normal" folks is that the elite is liberal. Perhaps to diffuse the issue TMZ should take some pictures of the drunk wife of the local plant manager as she stumbles out of Applebee's.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:12 AM
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The only "liberals" that a lot of people know are the "liberals" they see in the media. And those people are overwhelmingly "snobbish elites".

Huh. So what this really seems to come down to is what Emerson says in 50 -- that rich, powerful, liberals are more visible in the culture than rich, powerful, conservatives.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:12 AM
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So what's his fucking problem?

He's a fucking prick, basically.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:13 AM
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Also I strongly suspect that these people who stereotype me are also filtering some of their offensive speech out around me. This comes from Jammies reporting what so-n-so said, or how a group conversation dissolved, and I'll be flabberghasted because that kind of statement and conversation pretty much never happens to my face.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:15 AM
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My best guess is that it's because I talk faster than other people, and that I'm missing some small-talk cues that I don't even know I'm missing.

You're Florida, right? Might be dialectical. People I've met from Florida, if they don't sound Southern, which some do, sound Northeastern to me too -- like a very neutral Jersey accent.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:16 AM
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And seriously, NASCAR comes up a lot (or at all) in conversation at your Boston lawfirm?

No, not often. More with other people, outside of my firm. The point is not how often it comes up, but how often contempt is expressed when it does come up. See, e.g., several comments in this thread.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:16 AM
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McMegan's schtick is taunting elite liberals in a knowledgable way, since she grew up among them and knows their habits. She also seems to be a pet conservative for some otherwise sensible people. She's sort of like one of those mimic parasites that slips past the host's defenses. It's a terribly small niche, with David Brooks the other occupant. But Brooks is more into misrepresenting liberals to wavering centrists, whereas McMegan mostly seems to try to annoy the liberals themselves.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:16 AM
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The point is not how often it comes up, but how often contempt is expressed when it does come up. See, e.g., several comments in this thread.

Numbers of the comments? Seriously, what are you talking about?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:17 AM
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55: Nobody likes someone who's always right, Heeb.

It really disarms people if you flutter your eyes and talk about how you're dumb with math, too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:18 AM
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re: 63

Me in 58, maybe? [Although that shouldn't count...]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:19 AM
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You're Florida, right? Might be dialectical. People I've met from Florida, if they don't sound Southern, which some do, sound Northeastern to me too -- like a very neutral Jersey accent.

Hmm, possibly. (Also you wouldn't believe how fucking slowly people around here talk. So many goddamn Foghorn Leghorns. SPIT IT OUT, JUNIOR!)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:19 AM
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The only "liberals" that a lot of people know are the "liberals" they see in the media. And those people are overwhelmingly "snobbish elites".

Also, Dan Blocker used to remark on the number of people he met who believed he was actually Hoss Cartwright.

This sounds like paradise.

Maybe as close as I'll ever come.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:20 AM
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65: Well, if straightout hostility is contempt, then you're clearly the problem. I wouldn't have characterized it that way, though.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:20 AM
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I just think that the contempt should be targeted more selectively. Contempt is a good thing.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:20 AM
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I'm not sure I'm understanding the distinction people are trying to draw between "ordinary tribalism" and "contempt." It's very possible I mean something more like the former than the latter, and maybe that's where we're missing each other, at least in part.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:20 AM
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The post-hurricane stuff

As with Katrina, production of images of devastation is being actively discouraged. Distributing water and ensuring shelter, that's a big deal, maybe soon. But a news blackout of Galveston Island can be done fast.

We're reverting to a preliterate society-- write what you want, but unflattering images are forbidden.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:21 AM
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O rly? When you have very high profile Hollywood stars, ...

Yes, "O rly". As I said, any sensible. What you are talking about is the successful presentation, GOP driven mostly, of the `elite' in the media. Just because you may have bought the propaganda doesn't mean it makes any sense. Look to Wall street, your CEO's, big Ag., big military and industrial producers. Add to that a good chunk of the politicians and policy wonks, and a far larger chunk of the national media than people like to pretend it is. Look to you sports-franchise owners, your Ivy business & Law types.

There's your elite. It's not a bunch of rich and visible Hollywood types and a few cranky tenured profs. That group's visibility is all out of proportion to its power, and this situation is encouraged.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:21 AM
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I remember Foghorn Leghorn talking fast, just not ever getting to the point through all the "Ah say Ah say"s. But a high word-velocity.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:21 AM
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For the height of irony, while commenting I am simultaneously reading a student's rather charming memoir on his high school football team. He is from a small town in Texas, and no one thought they would go very far, but so far they have won districts and are headed to Waco. Before the game they all dipped to calm their nerves in the parking lot.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:22 AM
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that rich, powerful, liberals are more visible in the culture than rich, powerful, conservatives.

Yep- and in this media centric 21st Century stretching out one's fifteen minutes of fame is the be all and end all. I blame tv.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:22 AM
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Brock, we're mostly arguing about your Republican definition of "elite".

Heebie, do the ever mention the poisoning wells thing? That would seem to be hardly when you're dealing with large centralized water systems.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:24 AM
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Well, when I was growing up I was resentful of the dominant people who controlled the discourse, who, like in every small town, were interested in hunting and driving cars really fast, and had contempt for other things. But reading national media quickly clued me in that my family was part of the elite, though nobody like us has controlled anything in the country since the LBJ administration.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:24 AM
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JRoth,

So what's his fucking problem?

Assuming you mean why do people care about the imagined "liberal elitists" the answer is fear and self-righteousness.

To authoritarian followers fear and self-righteousness are innate. It is not about who they fear. It is innate within them.

Social dominators direct that fear and self-righteousness towards liberals in order to gain political power.

Homos are the new liberals who were the new blacks who were the American version of the European Jews (sort of) going back to who knows how far.

The process is not rational. It is emotional.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:24 AM
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34.1 is correct. I've run into this with my multi-millionaire but still working class identified uncle on multiple occasions. The fact that I don't give a damn about football* indicates that I hate America.

* That's the version with the testosterone poisoned ectomorphs in tight pants jumping in a big pile and then slapping each other on the ass kind, not the kind the rubes call "soccer"


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:24 AM
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63: 28? 54?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:24 AM
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re: 68

FWIW, the hostility isn't to people from some 'tribal' grouping or other, it's to the whole paranoiac touchiness and fucked up defensiveness based on idiocy that make someone a fucking prick rather than whatever cultural tastes they may have.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:24 AM
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Follow up to 74: Turns out they won state!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:27 AM
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80 63: 28? 54?

Hike?


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:27 AM
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This whole "debate" is premised in right wing propaganda garbage, but....you have a lifestyle conflict between rooted localisms, with an emphasis on family, and urban anonymity, with an emphasis on individuality and career. Sex and the city vs. the white picket fence. Individual gratification vs. investment for family. This has little to do with the parties actual political positions, since Republican free-market economic policy is actually more destablizing to family and community than Democratic policy is. But the Republicans grabbed the flag of tradition against the liberatory cultural individualism of the 60s and have cleverly kept hold of it since using cultural politics. The marriage gap is key here -- family strikes me as a key indicator of traditionalist vs. individualist orientation. (Small towns and rooted communities are sentimentalized, but they're just a tiny portion of the American electorate these days -- family and to a lesser extent church are the major real communities people still belong to). I guess this is pretty obvious stuff, droned on about at length.

Any political/tribal distrust based on whatever markers was dropped in favor of people helping each other pull trees off yards/cars/roads etc., and checking up on each other.

not surprising, since at some level everybody secretly understands that politics is bullshit. But it still works to manipulate us.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:27 AM
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Follow up to 74: Turns out they won state!

How touching. Maybe HBO should make a show about it.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:31 AM
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70: "Ordinary tribalism": I like doing errands on foot, and cooking fussily 'authentic' food, and take a certain amount of pride in eating anything no matter how weird and enjoying it, and I read nineteenth century novels for fun, and I'm a moderately lousy driver due to not having driven all that much in my life, and I don't mind big crowds or street noise, and on some level I think anyone who's different from me on any of those axes is peculiar and vaguely comic. And pretty much everyone else in the world has a similar list of attributes of what makes them an ordinary, normal person in their cultural group, and thinks that anyone who's not an insider in that same group is peculiar and vaguely comic. That's just how people generally feel about outsiders, and everyone's an insider somewhere and thinks of the rest of the world as outsiders.

For 'contempt' you need more than that. Not just 'you're not one of us', but 'the things that differentiate your group from my group make you a worse person than me'. I feel contempt for white supremacists (to the extent they exist, I've never met any) -- the defining characteristic of their group isn't just something that I find peculiar, it's something that I find evil. I don't feel contempt for NASCAR fans.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:32 AM
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To make the claim that liberals are "elitists" who think they're better than you, the trick is to define "elite" by urbanization & education & region instead of wealth. It's a whole industry of which Brooks is a leading member to marginalize another part of the Democratic coalition. Racial minorities & the poor already being marginalized & unions shrinking, you also have to marginalize white liberals. I'm sure people convince themselves it's actually true, but it's basically an organized bullshit compaign.

Ta-Nehisi Coates has pointed out several times how this is exactly the sort of behavior that is labeled a unique cultural pathology when black people do it--doing too well in school is "acting white," etc. etc.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:33 AM
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Look to Wall street, your CEO's, big Ag., big military and industrial producers

These guys are not overwhelmingly Republican. If you went down the Fortune 400, you would find more Democrats than Republicans. I still say the difference is mainly in church going, yea or nea.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:34 AM
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I want to back Brock up on this narrow point:

I hear this sort of thing frequently. And I'm not in any fashion a NASCAR fan, so it's not as if I bring it up. I'm not sure why our experiences are so different.

I wouldn't say I hear it frequently, but I've certainly heard it on a number of occasions. Sometimes literally about NASCAR, but often about other markers. (Like being religious. I have definitely been in conversations where people say something derogatory about stupid people who go to church, and everyone else laughs knowingly or rolls their eyes, and I have to decide whether it's worth pointing out to them that they're talking to one of those stupid people.)

That said, contempt definitely runs both ways, and it's a lot more about power dynamics than it is about some handwavy political marker of who is "elite" or "liberal" or a Real American.

Our national vocabulary is so parched when it comes to class that we have to flail around with all of these other code words instead. This serves some groups well, because the nature of a code word is that people can project their own biases on to it.

And as someone said upthread and Brock affirms in 49, the visible elites in this country are coded as liberals. They make a handy target.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:34 AM
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I wouldn't say I hear it frequently, but I've certainly heard it on a number of occasions. Sometimes literally about NASCAR, but often about other markers. (Like being religious. I have definitely been in conversations where people say something derogatory about stupid people who go to church, and everyone else laughs knowingly or rolls their eyes, and I have to decide whether it's worth pointing out to them that they're talking to one of those stupid people.)

This is true, but you know, those people are assholes.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:35 AM
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These guys are not overwhelmingly Republican. If you went down the Fortune 400, you would find more Democrats than Republicans.

I say your first sentence is right and your second sentence is wrong. If you went down the Fortune 400, you would find 75% Republicans.

Prove me wrong!!!!!!!!!


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:35 AM
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81:

the whole paranoiac touchiness and fucked up defensiveness based on idiocy that make someone a fucking prick rather than whatever cultural tastes they may have.

That is one reason I keep using the term "authoritarian follower."

I think the term is precise and we need to know that authoritarian followers seem to always be a part of the human population regardless of the current culture.

So when we smear the GOP or 'conservatives' with the authoritarian follower characteristics the authoritarians themselves won't see that we mean them and the others will get resentful because they know that doesn't mean them.

Authoritarian followers, when told authoritarian followers exist, will admit that they do in fact exist and will absolutely fail to see that they have those behaviors and that the term refers to them.

For these reasons I think "Authoritarian follower" is a useful term for us to use and that is why I keep harping on it.

I'm sorry that may annoy some people but I do think it is a useful thing to do.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:36 AM
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As a member of the media elite (I used to work at FORTUNE, which is very tense about being spelled with ALLCAPS), I'd like to point out that there is no Fortune 400, it's the FORTUNE 500, and that they're all corporations, which means calling them Democrats or Republicans is a little weird. Are we talking CEOs, board members, or what?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:38 AM
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These guys are not overwhelmingly Republican

I didn't say overwhelmingly I said trends republican, and as far as I can see, it does. The point was more that the typical media/cultural representation in this country of who the "elite" actually are, is laughably inept, and intentionally so.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:40 AM
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but you know, those people are assholes.

Well, yeah, but I generally try to hide that side of myself until a little further in to the conversation, if you know what I mean.

93 is making me laugh. Now I have a new reason to dislike Fortune.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:41 AM
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94: For example, one might think that the president, for example, is a member of the elite. However, he is not, even though his father was a member of the elite and also was president..

Also, one might think that someone with hundreds of millions of dollars who grew up in the middle of the Washington establishment, where his father and grandfather were admirals, would be a member of the elite.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:42 AM
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Are we talking CEOs, board members, or what?

I was a little vague when I brought it up, but yes, I was thinking board and top executives, by no means Fortune 500 specifically since some corporations and organizations are big, but not politically powerful, others the other way round.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:42 AM
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80: 54 doesn't demonstrate contempt for anyone. It expresses frustration in accordance with the point I've been making -- JRoth is saying that he's got his set of culturally marked behaviors, and doesn't take the fact that not everyone shares them as an affront, and is cross that his culturally marked behaviors do, on the other hand, appear to constitute an affront to the people who don't share them.

28 is a little more complicated, and I'm not sure how to talk about it because I don't know enough about NASCAR to know if the fact claim in there, that Confederate memorablilia is a common sight at NASCAR events, is non-contraversially true.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:42 AM
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My personal experience is that resentment against elite taste can be reduced to the sincere belief that nobody elite really likes what they like--they're just doing this to put you down.

This belief is completely transferable into subsets of highly specialized and truly elite groups. Classical music, for example, is occupied by the suspicion that pleasure in Schoenberg and what comes after is a pretentious affectation.


Posted by: Modulo Myself | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:44 AM
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88: see my 92

These guys are not overwhelmingly Republican. If you went down the Fortune 400, you would find more Democrats than Republicans. I still say the difference is mainly in church going, yea or nea.

Close but not exactly it. Also, much of the "rulers" in our country are Social dominators and not also authoritarian followers. The double dippers, the authoritarian dominators do exist, and they are double bad, and they may also be Democrats, but for the most part today they are drawn to the GOP because so much of the GOP base are authoritarian followers.

We need to think in terms of social dominators, authoritarian followers, and then the authoritarian dominators, the really dangerous people.

Examples of authoritarian dominators - Delay, Falwell, others. Once you think in these terms the authoritarian dominators are pretty easy to spot.

And I will reiterate - these traits exist throughout human history, they are innate, and while we are seeing how they are expressed in our current culture this is not an anomaly.

And this was my synopsis of the book "The Authoritarians" so I may have some things wrong but I recommend the book to everyone to make up their own minds.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:44 AM
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And of course "elite" is by no means restricted to execs and board members, but hopefully the original comment was clear about that.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:44 AM
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Another question is what flows from "cultural tastes." Look, if I like fresh fruit and vegetables, it doesn't hurt anybody. If I think that transfats should be outlawed....uh-oh, we've just moved over from my cultural taste to policy.

If I think it's the height of hilarity to make cracks like "The vagina: It's not a clown car" in response to people with large families, I'm a jerk. If I vote for policymakers who express similar sentiments, I'm likely to be endorsing policy changes that will penalize those families.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:45 AM
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Tripp, would you suggest that the only authoritarian followers who vote Democratic are members of racial minorities? Not trying to put words in your mouth, but it sounds logical.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:46 AM
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I have contempt for NASCAR. But where I live, its friggin' everywhere. The house across the street from me has two flags out front. One is NASCAR and one is Mickey Mouse. I alternate between which flag I have more contempt for.

I suppose that makes me elitist.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:46 AM
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Prove me wrong!!!!!!!!!www.forbes.com/lists/2007/54/richlist07_The-400-Richest-Americans_Rank.html

Well, on page one, of the twenty five listed people the only Republicans are the Waltons and Michael Bloomberg. The rest are Democrats. The problem with this, before doing the actual research, is that to be in the 400 one needs $1.3 billion. That insulates from any policy, and will trend toward the liberal, because let's face it, as Americans we are liberal politically, in the classic sense. Social Democratic, not so much.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:49 AM
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86: I don't view "evil" as a necessary component of contempt. In this context, I think "contempt" is just the combination of "difference" plus the belief that the difference reflects some inferirity of the other party. So, your preference for "'authentic' food" means you have better taste than those who eat microwave dinners, that your reading nineteenth century novels reflects better culture than reading popular romance novels (or just watching tv), etc.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:50 AM
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Well, yeah, but I generally try to hide that side of myself until a little further in to the conversation, if you know what I mean.

Oh wait, I didn't mean "those people" as in "they're talking to one of those people", sorry Witt. I meant the people who make snide remarks about people who go to church—the snide remarkers are assholes. As far as I know you are not an asshole.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:51 AM
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Maybe TLL meant the Forbes 400? The list of the richest people? Even there, I dunno - just looking at the top 20, you've got Warren Buffett (a rich liberal guy), Bill Gates (a rich guy whom I'd guess is probably liberal except on anti-trust law) and the Google founders (are they particularly politically active, as opposed to philanthropic?), but also right-wing attack-ad-funding asshole casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, the Walton family (who have dedicated themselves to single-handedly funding the school privitization movement, as far as I can tell), Abigail Johnson of Fidelity (a prominent Massachusetts Republican) and members of the Mars family who are big Republican backers. Once you get out of the multi-billionaires into the reaches of the ordinarily-staggeringly wealthy, I suspect that they skew even more heavily Republican. Why shouldn't they? Zillionaires want to overturn the estate tax forever; other things are likely to be secondary.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:51 AM
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23, 89, 102: Yeah, I shouldn't overstate my case. I'm not claiming, and don't need to claim, that there are no 'coastal liberals' with unpleasant and undeserved disdain for people they think of as outsiders. People are people, and in any large group of people lots of them are jerks, and an ordinary type of jerkiness is to be actively disdainful toward outsiders. I just don't see it coming from 'coastal liberals' toward conservatives or 'red state' types at more than an ordinary background level, and where I see people reacting to specific instances of what they're calling contempt from 'coastal liberals', it mostly seems to be things like Kerry being implausible as a NASCAR fan.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:52 AM
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106: But Brock, that's just the point LB and Megan were making upthread. There are neutral spots along the continuum in between "contempt" and "participation." I feel contempt for people who want the president to be Daddy, but I don't feel contempt for people who love swimming. I'm just sort of vaguely mystified by it, if I think about it at all.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:53 AM
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I don't know enough about NASCAR to know if the fact claim in there, that Confederate memorablilia is a common sight at NASCAR events, is non-contraversially true.

I don't think there's any question this is true, although, in line with 23, it's lessened a bit over the past decade or so.

I'm not sure how this is relevant, though.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:53 AM
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"richest" people is a lousy proxy for "the elite" too. There's overlap, sure, but that's missing far too many people.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:53 AM
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erm "richest people", even.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:54 AM
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Zillionaires want to overturn the estate tax forever; other things are likely to be secondary.

Where are the zillionaires who want to see their offspring pull themselves up by their bootstraps, the way the zillionaires themselves did, and therefore don't give a hoot about the estate tax?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:54 AM
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114: That'd be Bill Gates. Well "by their bootstraps" is maybe a bit strong.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:56 AM
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the belief that the difference reflects some inferirity of the other party.

Yeah, this is the part I just don't get. Indifference, live-and-let-live, call it what you will, but I only assess other people if I have to work with them or live with them, and then only as far as shared interest requires. I would basically ask "what do you really think" of immediate family. Wanting to know what my neighbors or some actors really think-- yuck.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:56 AM
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84 is correct. It's odd to me, because I come from a huge family of staunch Democrats, married young, always planned to have kids, have tended to live in the same city as my sisters given the choice, etc., but the poll numbers presumably don't lie. I've always thought the Dems should spend more time wacking the GOP as anti-family, anti-mother, & anti-child for things like opposing S-CHIP, opposing paid sick days & family leave, etc.--instead, while the Democrats generally take the right positions on those issues, they're regarded as niche women's issues & not given any prominence.

It's not like I've never encountered the sort of contempt for large families & religion that Witt describes, either, but never from Democratic politicians & almost never from anyone I've met in real life--mainly in blog comments, & as far as the family stuff it comes more from annoying young male glibertian sorts than actual liberals. (The sort of people who comment at McMegan's, actually).


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:56 AM
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Well, on page one, of the twenty five listed people the only Republicans are the Waltons and Michael Bloomberg. The rest are Democrats. The problem with this, before doing the actual research, is that to be in the 400 one needs $1.3 billion. That insulates from any policy, and will trend toward the liberal, because let's face it, as Americans we are liberal politically, in the classic sense. Social Democratic, not so much.

Wait, what? Are you claiming that Abby Johnson, one of Mitt Romney's prominent fundraisers, is a Democrat? Are you claiming that Sheldon fucking Adelson, who has spent tens of millions of dollars financing attacks against Democrats (and trying to bring down the Israeli government for being insufficiently hawkish) is a Democrat?


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:56 AM
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106, 110: What Witt said, and also, Brock, the situation you describe in 106 is inherently symmetrical. Someone who likes different stuff than I do, does so because they think their taste and judgment is better than mine. You can't tar one side of that difference with being contemptuous with tarring both sides.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:56 AM
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No worries, ben, my 95 was mostly tongue-in-cheek.

The problem with saying the snide remarkers are assholes is that presumably I don't want to associate with them. And if I really act in accordance with that, then I'm cutting out a broad swath of my colleagues, friends, family, and others that I have to interact with on a daily basis.

I can't go around thinking that poorly of that many people. It already grieves me that I have to do that about truly important stuff like torture apologists; I'll be darned if I'll do it over my place of worship.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:57 AM
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Oh, shit, now I've dug myself in deeper.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:59 AM
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110: There are neutral spots along the continuum in between "contempt" and "participation."

Yeah, but I'm not talking about a neutral spot. I'm talking about the "my way is better than your way" spots. Which I'd call "contempt". Perhaps something like "mild contempt" would be better? Or someone offer another suggestion.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 10:59 AM
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111: It's relevant because there's a fair argument that display of Confederate memorabilia is often (not always, but often) an active statement of contempt and hostility toward African-Americans and anti-racists generally. At which point 28 seems hostile, but fairly well supported and not what I'd call contempt.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:01 AM
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I'm not sure how this is relevant, though.

Because feeling contempt for people who consciously support a revisionist version of history that misrepresents and romanticizes the circumstances under which an entire group of human beings was formally defined as 3/5 human is categorically different than feeling contempt for people who like a different sport than you do.

I realize that sounds really snappish and rude, and I'm actually about to go to lunch, so I'll say in advance that it is meant to be sarcastic but also to point up the difference between something relatively innocuous and something much more painful and consequential.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:02 AM
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122: Like I said in 119, it's all about the symmetry. To the extent that differing tastes necessarily imply the sort of mild contempt you're talking about, it's necessarily mutual -- it isn't anything other than a mutual recognition that "You and I do things differently, and I think my way is best". At which point taking offense at it is kind of loony; there isn't anything to it beyond a recognition of difference.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:04 AM
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119: Someone who likes different stuff than I do, does so because they think their taste and judgment is better than mine.

But this just absolutely isn't true. Someone can prefer tv without thinking that those who prefer books are worse off for it. (And vice-versa.) Somone can prefer the convenience of microwave meals without thinking someone who cooks "authentic food" is worse off for it. (And vice-versa.) Someone can prefer golfing without thinking that those who prefer NASCAR are worse off for it (and vice-versa).


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:05 AM
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At which point 28 seems hostile, but fairly well supported and not what I'd call contempt.

Okay, well if "fairly supported" is exculpatory then we clearly mean very different things by the word "contempt."


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:06 AM
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14: What you probably mean when you're trying to talk about "cultural elites" is intellectuals. Who, yes, on the whole do trend somewhat liberal (with significant exceptions, especially in the academic disciplines with real political clout like Economics)... and who, as always, are a useful punching bag for authoritarian propagandists, because most of them will have at some time -- just by existing -- have committed the sin of making followers feel stupid or inadequate.

The trick is pretending that the "cultural elites" have any meaningful power. The irony is that the economic and political elites have far more real, raw contempt for red state attitudes and culture; the Republicans among them just happen to have sussed out that many of these people will forgive them almost anything if they talk about God and dress up like a cowboy once in a while. To people like the Bushes, the "poor" are the tacky mediocrities who summer at Martha's Vineyard; they live in a completely separate world.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:07 AM
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28? 54?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:07 AM
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FORTUNE, Forbes, who can tell the players without a scorecard. And handwaiving will have to substitute for research, but it's not like you can go down the list and find only the occasional Democrat.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:08 AM
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Witt/LB, to be clear, I think we as a society should show contempt for racist memorabilia. But I don't think the fact that we should means we're somehow not showing contempt.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:08 AM
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Sorry, I skimmed past 98. LB, of course, gets it right.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:09 AM
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114: Andrew "the man who dies rich dies thus disgraced" Carnegie comes to my mind. Otherwise, not so much.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:09 AM
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To the extent that differing tastes necessarily imply the sort of mild contempt you're talking about, it's necessarily mutual -- it isn't anything other than a mutual recognition that "You and I do things differently, and I think my way is best".

But it's not at all necessarily mutual. Plenty of people stop at "You and I do things differently." I'm sure you yourself do for plenty of things: a preference for jazz vs. classical music, for indian vs. french food.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:12 AM
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126: You've lost me. First you said (or I thought you said) that if you have one set of preferences, you're necessarily going to think that other preferences aren't as good, and you're going to have mild contempt for people who don't share them. And while I wouldn't have called that emotion 'mild contempt', there's something to that on a non-rational level, so I went along with it.

Now you're saying that there's no reason for someone with one set of preferences to think that someone with another set is worse off for it. Which I can also agree with, if you discount the mild "but the stuff I like is good! how could anyone disagree?" feeling that anyone's going to have.

But I'm not sure what point you're making at all now.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:12 AM
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Oh, and now I see that I fucked up my 129. Suffice it to say that 132 is doubly correct. The only thing I wanted to add was that 28 is not actually contemptuous: even if the claims are false/exaggerated, it's still descriptive, rather than explicitly judgmental.

I think it really comes down to insecurity - "liberal elites" like things that are supposedly better than the things red staters like - what if they're right!? Fuck them!

Normally, for me to say that A is better than B doesn't lead to anything stronger than a little back-and-forth with B fans. But if B fans worry that A really is better, or have other frustrations, then the back-and-forth can get heated. If A fans really don't give a shit about B, that doesn't placate B fans at all. Dismissal is worse than contempt. "Why, B, I don't think of you at all."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:15 AM
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128: As I was trying to say upthread, one place where intellectuals and academics do have power over other people is in colleges and universities. These aren't experienced by most people, and most students don't stay there long (those who do become further academics), but still a fairly large fraction of the population now gets some post-secondary education, and they tend to be unusually influential people. Add in the fact that they're generally still young and malleable, and it's not inconceivable that resentment of professors looms large and lasts long, coloring later political attitudes. Of course I have no actual evidence of any kind to back this up.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:15 AM
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First you said (or I thought you said) that if you have one set of preferences, you're necessarily going to think that other preferences aren't as good,

No, you said that. And said this attitude wasn't contempt. I said this attitude wasn't at all necessary and was exactly what I'm calling contempt.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:16 AM
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131: Okay, but showing deserved contempt for racist memorabilia is a different phenomenon from the 'all snobbishly elite coastal liberals feel contempt for all red state conservatives'. While I can't claim to be entirely innocent of racism myself (and doubt that many people can) I'm openly contemptuous of people who are obviously racist, or willing to casually express racial hostility.

If I were saying "all Southerners are racist assholes", that would be the contempt McMegan's talking about. Saying "People flying Confederate flags are probably assholes", on the other hand, is a different issue and something I'm not uncomfortable about saying at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:16 AM
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If I were saying "all Southerners are racist assholes", that would be the contempt McMegan's talking about. Saying "People flying Confederate flags are probably assholes", on the other hand, is a different issue and something I'm not uncomfortable about saying at all.

Those are two extremes. I think the more common expression is the middle-ground: "People who like NASCAR are probably racist assholes. There are a lot of people flying confederate flags there."


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:19 AM
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138:

Oh, you're disagreeing with this:

And pretty much everyone else in the world has a similar list of attributes of what makes them an ordinary, normal person in their cultural group, and thinks that anyone who's not an insider in that same group is peculiar and vaguely comic.

?

There, I think you're just wrong. I don't mind it, and we get along fine, but my rural heartland inlaws think I'm pretty much exactly as peculiar and comic on this sort of dimension as I think they are. That's what cultural differences are like. It's not necessarily a hostile emotion, and unless you're very touchy it doesn't have to get in the way of being friends. But if you find someone who looks at other people who don't share his culturally determined preferences about what's normal and enjoyable and valuable and doesn't find them at least a little peculiar and funny, you've found the latest avatar of the Buddha.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:21 AM
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This is eerily reminiscent of the debate over whether Megan was disrespecting other places than California simply by giving her opinion that California was the best place to live and anyone who lived anywhere else probably just didn't know California well enough.

The disagreement seems to be "Are people who have interests other than mine making a tragic mistake, or do their minds work in a different way such that what is suboptimal for me is optimal for them?" And just about everyone believes the latter, because to believe the former would be disrespectful.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:21 AM
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140: But 28 didn't make the middle-ground statement you're identifying. It noted that NASCAR events include people showing hostility and contempt for anti-racist values, to make the point not that they're all or mostly racists, but that, as the comment said, "Contempt is a two-way street."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:23 AM
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Aesthetics is a low-stakes, or perhaps no-stakes, version of ethics. In both ethics and aesthetics, we have preferences that we want others to share. In aesthetics, we recognize that things really aren't that important, and we at most proselytize our favorites to our friends. In ethics, we recognize that the stakes are very important, and we try to universalize. (We also make sure that the ideas we are promoting make sense when universalized.)

Looked at this way, the culture war is just the standard political trick of inverting priorities. There is the added touch, which LB emphasizes in her post, of blurring together categories, so wealthy=liberal=intellectual=coastal.

I'm not sure there is much else to say here.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:23 AM
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141: I don't disagree with that at all. "Peculliar and vaguely comic" aren't the same as "inferior." I'll repeat 86: In this context, I think "contempt" is just the combination of "difference" plus the belief that the difference reflects some inferiority of the other party.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:25 AM
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There seems to be a hierarchy of preferences here:
1. "I like X";
2. "I like X and I think you should like X, too";
3. "I like X, and I think that you should not only like X too, but should also want other people to like X";
... etc. to transitive closure/categorical imperatives.

It would seem to be easy to slip up or down the hierarchy more or less by accident.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:26 AM
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145: But are you making any claim that any group of people generally feels contempt for any other in this fashion to an asymmetrical extent, or are you just defining terms?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:26 AM
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Err, 144 seems to be a clearer version of what I was trying to say in 146. I'll shut up now.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:27 AM
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147: I'm defining terms, but only because there seemed to be a lot of confusion about how these words were being used.

I did say in 35 that cultural contempt is definitely a two-way street, and I haven't made any claims about asymmetry at all.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:29 AM
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148: Actually, I like the way you put it in 146, because you emphasize the different degrees and methods by which we universalize our preferences, with the categorical imperative at the outer extreme.

I'd like to read more Kant on the universality of aesthetic judgment.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:31 AM
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You could read all of it in a day.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:34 AM
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What I have contempt for is lies. And the problem is that the Republican noise machine lies, repeatedly and with impunity.

I mean, look at McMegan's post. If she's illustrating anything about political partisanship, what she's illustrating is the comtempt that *libertarians* have for the working class. (Which imho is probably about right.) The lie is in the pretense that her contempt is representative of Democrats.

The only reasons that kind of lie gains any traction at all are that (1) Fox News and like organizations perpetuate it; (2) there *is* a strain of liberal condescension that talks about the poor/working-class in terms of "our" helping "them," which grates; (3) there's a parallel strain of working pride and independence that bristles at the idea of needing charity.

Which, y'know, that "charity" thing is actually the Republican and Libertarian answer to poverty, but their tone isn't condescending, it's aggressive. And as we all know, condescension is by far the more irritating of the two.

(And no, not all liberals are condescending.)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:34 AM
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137: It's certainly true that in most University settings, someone who's been raised at home to believe that evolutionism is a lie and abortion is genocide is in for something of a rude awakening. This would certainly be experienced as "liberal" contempt for "conservatives," and there will be plenty of people on hand to reassure the offended party that it has nothing to do with their views being false on the merits, but instead being snooty "elite" contempt for their lifestyle. Enter David Horowitz.

140: There's a general North American cultural stereotype of redneck-ism -- Robin Williams was playing on it when he joked about the South having discovered cloning long ago ("it's called cousins" har har har) -- but it doesn't overlap with "liberal" attitudes so much as it does with middle-class attitudes towards po' white trash. Of course movementarians like to conflate the two.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:35 AM
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"White picket fence" An archaic East Coast elitist calumny. Disgraceful, like the poisoning wells thing except directed at a different target. For shame, PGD!

Family strikes me as a key indicator of traditionalist vs. individualist orientation.

Hence my progressive no-relationship policy. Sexual relationships lead to marriages which in turn lead to aggressive wars against helpless third world villagers.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:40 AM
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I did say in 35 that cultural contempt is definitely a two-way street, and I haven't made any claims about asymmetry at all.

The trouble is that one side of the street wallows in this cultural contempt, using it to justify (explicitly and implicitly) all sorts of extra-cultural behavior. Sarah Palin is a viable candidate this year solely because of this phenomenon. It is impossible to imagine a Democratic politician achieving national prominence based solely on his displayed contempt for red state cultural cues. Not only because Dems are desperate to suck up to these people, but also because that's not the Dem mindset.

When we say, "Give 'em hell, Harry," we don't mean, "Call them beer-swilling, pickup-driving, varmint-hunting freakshows." The other side means this quite literally.

The bottom line is that it's projection - for whatever reason (authoritarianism, insecurity, etc.), cultural conservatives feel active contempt for cultural liberals, and therefore assume that the reverse is true, and get angry about it.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:41 AM
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I have to decide whether it's worth pointing out to them that they're talking to one of those stupid people.

You're such a nice person otherwise. It's sad, really.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:48 AM
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I would agree with everything in 155 if we changed the last sentence to read "The bottom line is that it's projection - for whatever reason (authoritarianism, insecurity, etc.), cultural conservatives feel active contempt for cultural liberals, and therefore assume that the reverse is truelatch on to the (often more passive) contempt cultural liberals feel for them, and get angry about it.

My only initial point in this thread was that it's not all in their imaginations. LB's post came close to suggesting it was.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:49 AM
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I pretty much agree with Brock's edit in 157, although I'm not sure the active/passive distinction captures the gulf between the two sides (I think you'll find everyday racist and homophobic humor on the right side a lot sooner than you'll find rube-mocking humor on the left).

LB may have gone too far in suggesting no liberal contempt exists (I don't know that she'd say that was her intent), but I think her fundamental point - that "liberal contempt" is blown out of all proportion, and moreover often coming from nonliberals - remains sound.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 11:55 AM
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Hamlin Garland's Up the Coulé covers this sort of culture conflict for the late 19th century. A man who left Wisconsin for New York and had success in the theater comes back to his family's farm where his brother isn't so happy to see him. If you're into that old not quite great author but good and interesting historically kind of thing, it's worth a read.

(In this collection.)


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 12:08 PM
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To be completely off-topic: behold the Mineshaft.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 12:08 PM
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I really think we're lost in the weeds. When people like Brooks or McMegan talk about elitism, they're niche operatives trying to convince a few potential Democratic voters that Democrats and liberals are all metrosexuals who hate them and want to screw their sons and daughters.

The answer it to come up with a stronger Democratic message, not to blame metrosexuals for being what they are and feeling the way they feel, or to try to convince hardcore Republicans that we respect them.

A lot of Democrats feel cultural contempt for a lot of Republican voters, and for the small-town demographic, and for Christians, and for Southerners, and to a certain extent wrongly so. I don't think that this is an argument we can win, because it's a dog-and-pony have-you-stopped-beating-your-wife freak show, and rather than try, we need to get people thinking about other, more important things.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 12:10 PM
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Garland is honored by the Wobegonian literati.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 12:12 PM
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87: It's a whole industry of which Brooks is a leading member to marginalize another part of the Democratic coalition. Racial minorities & the poor already being marginalized & unions shrinking, you also have to marginalize white liberals

and various people who've remarked on anti-intellectualism, e.g. 128, 137 (I've not quite caught up with the thread yet), are smart.

For a politically divisive strategy, one that generates actual voting behavior, you need to capitalize on people's resentment. One thing that serves that purpose quite well is a gesture toward sheer influence; people can easily understand intellectuals and celebrities as harboring seemingly superior attitudes that accompany their apparent influence. It becomes rather easy to encourage them to consider intellectuals members of the out-group, and thus to divide Democrats against themselves.

That actual influence should be identified more in the economic and policy-making realms is much more difficult to make clear; we have a long history of anti-intellectualism in this country, and it's much closer to the surface.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 12:14 PM
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Also, what ever happened to the phrase "beneath contempt"? I bet that's where all you so-called "don't have an opinion" people actually hold NASCAR.

I don't really have any interest in watching car racing. When I did I was more interested in NASCAR than in the Indy or Formula One* type cars.

*Which I associate as an upperish-class taste in Europe. Is this true, or just a reflection of the fact that the Formula One fans I've met who are European are disproportionately upperish-class?** Who, incidentally, were not often also big fans of soccer football.

**Sample size extremely small.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 12:14 PM
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F1 is highbrow in Europe. Not sure why, but it could very well be that cars are much more expensive and less widely owned there, so "car drivers" is a highbrow demographic.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 12:20 PM
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Since each F1 racetrack hosts what, one race per year?, I suppose only the local fops can afford to actually go to the things.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 12:23 PM
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On the other hand that's also true of NASCAR. I am stupid.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 12:23 PM
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28 is a little more complicated, and I'm not sure how to talk about it because I don't know enough about NASCAR to know if the fact claim in there, that Confederate memorablilia is a common sight at NASCAR events, is non-contraversially true.

As best as I can reckon, Brock's point is not that 28 was false. Brock's point was that it was an expression of contempt.

And that is the whole problem with this whole conversation. Under the terms that McArdle (and Brock) set, objecting to flying the Confederate flag a comment-worthy act of contempt, but flying it is not.

(And I haven't read any further than the post I quote, so I apologize for having no-doubt missed other responses to this.)


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 12:24 PM
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Garland is honored by the Wobegonian literati.

I've only read the collection I linked, but with the exception of the first story, I remember thinking they were all quite good.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 12:24 PM
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Shit! I have a pic similar to 160 that I've been meaning to post for a month. I am so not in the Flickrey habit.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 12:26 PM
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On the other hand that's also true of NASCAR. I am stupid.

There are races for other types vehicles too, aren't there? I thought there were pickup truck races on NASCAR tracks that may or may not have been NASCAR-sanctioned.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 12:28 PM
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There are races for other types vehicles too, aren't there? I thought there were pickup truck races on NASCAR tracks that may or may not have been NASCAR-sanctioned.

Yup. Tracks and race series are more or less independent. Your typical "premier" series will visit a track once a year, but there are always less popular series, local amateur or semi-pro races, etc.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 12:38 PM
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A lot of Democrats feel cultural contempt for a lot of Republican voters

Yes, and heaven knows the reverse is also true. We're a very divided country and, for the most part, the two sides do hate each other. The eternal Republican strategy is to encourage its base to hate Democrats and then condemn Democrats they are bad people for hating "regular Americans," which ever and always means Republicans.

Whenever some GOP pinhead like McArdle starts their predictable bleating about the base incivility and condescension of liberals or elites or whatever the epithet du jour is, go back and re-read Newt Gingrich's 1996 GOPAC memo, and then this list of titles I assembled in Nov '04.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 12:47 PM
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157: Yeah, if you look at my 109 I do agree that I'm not claiming there's no contempt or hostility from 'coastal liberals' to 'NASCAR fans', or whatever you want to call them, just that there's not unusually more than you'd expect from any two culturally distinct groups, and that to the extent it exists it's not asymmetrically directed from liberals to conservatives.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 12:48 PM
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to my knowledge, I didn't meet anyone before I went to college that self-identified as a "liberal". I knew some Democrats, but they considered themselves conservative.

I'm not entirely sure what work the scare quotes around "liberal" are doing here, but these circumstances seem remarkable to me. I've spent most of my life in the deepest parts of deep redstatia and by the time I was in high school I'm sure I had encountered at least a dozen people (dozens probably) who not only identified as Democrats, but who also either identified as "liberal" or who behaved in some way--opposed the Vietnam War, voted for McGovern, supported the ERA, voted for Carter in '80, owned a Saab--characteristically associated with liberals. I knew a lot of gun-toting, NASCAR-watching, Reagan-voting, Posse-Comitatus-joining conservatives, too. Where does one grow-up where you never meet one or the other?


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 12:50 PM
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174: right, and if that had been more clear in your post, or in the first hundred comments, I wouldn't have said anything. My comments after 109 were directed towards your bizarre claim that a sense of superiority is necessarily imbedded in any lifestyle/preference differences. Which you've since backed off of, I think.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 12:55 PM
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the two sides do hate each other

And that's OK. It's just that public Dems are crap at expressing it. Which is to say that Dems never seem to be able to credibly "condemn [Republicans] they are bad people for hating "regular Americans," which ever and always means [Democrats]." Instead, there is always some sort of argument to be made. I think it's the universalizing instinct among public Dems, and maybe that instinct is, as Haidt suggests, a function of the limited roots of liberal notions of morality.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 12:56 PM
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My comments after 109 were directed towards your bizarre claim that a sense of superiority is necessarily imbedded in any lifestyle/preference differences. Which you've since backed off of, I think.

While you may not have known the word 'tendentious', you've got the concept down.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 12:59 PM
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175: you're right that I didn't need scare quotes there. I'd just been using so many in this thread that I got overexcited.

I'm sure that in my life pre-college I met plenty of people self-identify as liberal. I just wasn't aware of their politics. Everyone whose politics I knew were either democratic "conservatives" or republican "conservatives."


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 12:59 PM
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175: you're right that I didn't need scare quotes there. I'd just been using so many in this thread that I got overexcited.

I'm sure that in my life pre-college I met plenty of people self-identify as liberal. I just wasn't aware of their politics. Everyone whose politics I knew were either democratic "conservatives" or republican "conservatives."


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:00 PM
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Go to Apo's links in 173. This debate is a hoax and a fraud. The people making it are operatives. Taking this issue at face value is wrong. We're lost in the weeds.

What we need to do is to get people talking about something else more important and more favorable to Democrats. As long as we're talking about this shit, and as long as Democrats are thinking about it, we're losing.

A very large number of the people who swallow the "elitist" argument are, and will always remain, our enemies. And they hate us worse than we hate them, as Apo shows. Our job is to split them from their allies, defeat them, and to make them miserable as possible. Not to understand them or conciliate them or get them to like us.

At some lower level there may be specific things that can be done to appeal to specific swing demographics of the "'"Nascar"'" sort, but we can't win an election that way. We need to push other topics to the front.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:00 PM
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So Brock (now that I've caught up with the thread), we've established that we more-or-less agree on the factual accuracy of 28 (your experience seems more current than mine, though). What do you have to say about Emerson's 69:

Contempt is a good thing.

I mean, gosh, I've been to a lot of racing events, but only one actual NASCAR event, and I enjoyed it a lot - I'd go again if the opportunity arose. I also noticed that, of the 100,000 or so people around and inside that track at Talladega, I couldn't identify one black person, and the reason for this was pretty obvious.

So, given my overall experience and reaction, is the proper term to describe my feelings contempt? Yeah, I guess so, at least for parts of the experience. But why is that a bad thing?

Again, this brings us all the way back to comment No. 1: It sucks to frame the debate in such a way that a loathing of homophobes becomes not merely the equivalent of loathing gays, but actually worse.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:03 PM
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177: Please leave off the Haidt-generated notion of the limited roots of liberal notions of morality, unless you want to have a much, much broader discussion about cosmopolitanism.

Dems wish not to flatly condemn Republicans in enemy-inducing terms because that furthers the dynamic we need to get away from. Pluralism? Or are we just not interested in doing anything broader any more, because, you know, black hole, we're all gonna die anyway? That may be the case.

In any event, in order to win an election, as noted above, we can either divide and conquer, or we can ignore and attempt to supercede the narrative frame as given. These may amount to the same thing.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:11 PM
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Apo, none of those book you link are any good. They're hack jobs, not serious works. I haven't read any of them, but I'm fully confident this is true. Each and every one is designed solely to make money selling books or to score political cheap shots (or both). That makes them fundamentally different even from someone like Michael Moore, whose polemics generally are at least intended to make serious points.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:11 PM
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Our job is to split them from their allies, defeat them, and to make them miserable as possible.

Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, hear the lamentations of their women.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:12 PM
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182, see 131.

And for the record, I despise NASCAR.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:14 PM
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Apo, none of those book you link are any good.

Do you think I was compiling a recommended reading list?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:16 PM
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And that's OK. It's just that public Dems are crap at expressing it.

Interestingly, Tim, I've seen you express uneasiness with liberal populism. Yet an expression of loathing for those who would shit on the common folks is pretty much the definition of populism.

The Democrats are bad at expressing this sort of thing because they've decided to forego populism, which I think is a big mistake.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:17 PM
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Apo, yeah, what's with those books? They're crap!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:19 PM
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Apo now stands revealed as an eager follower of Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, David Horowitz, Michael Savage, and the rest of that crowd. (All of whom I admit to feeling contempt for). He only posts here to find a libertine audience who will welcome his frequent links to semi-pornographic material. I demand that all posts from this sophisticated troll be deleted forthwith.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:23 PM
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John is right in everything he's said on this thread. McArdle relies on the fact that liberals love a good hand-wringing session. She knows absolutely nothing about redstatia, but she does know how easy it is to make liberals feel guilty. I'm guessing conservatives don't spend a bunch of time feeling guilty every time some Republican operative calls it "Taxachusettes".


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:26 PM
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She knows absolutely nothing about redstatia

This much is painfully obvious to anybody who actually lives here and, in that, she is just like David Brooks and every other Beltway Republican who extol its virtues.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:28 PM
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Reading between the lines, I think we can safely deduce that Cosma has a grant proposal due tomorrow.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:29 PM
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187: well, no, I just meant those books can't be taken as representative of serious thought. They might be influential among certain limited segments of the right, but they aren't in themselves reflective of the thinking of "regular Americans" (whatever the hell that phrase is supposed to mean). They probably represent the genuine beliefs of their authors (and readers), but that's a fringe element.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:29 PM
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Interestingly, Tim, I've seen you express uneasiness with liberal populism. Yet an expression of loathing for those who would shit on the common folks is pretty much the definition of populism

Because I don't think there are "common folks," and as a result we get models based on the detritus of prior populist language, which is often unfriendly to Dem regions and sub-populations.

This seems true generally (I don't know about in McArdle's case): relies on the fact that liberals love a good hand-wringing session.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:32 PM
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194: But Brock, look at your 49: The only "liberals" that a lot of people know are the "liberals" they see in the media. And those people are overwhelmingly "snobbish elites".

Likewise, the "conservatives" that a lot of people know are the "conservatives" writing the books with the titles Apo links to.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:32 PM
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They might be influential among certain limited segments of the right, but they aren't in themselves reflective of the thinking of "regular Americans" (whatever the hell that phrase is supposed to mean).

Thousands of library patrons and bestseller lists beg to differ, Brock.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:32 PM
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Is, 196: true? That would be interesting to me, and revealing. I hadn't thought of that.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:34 PM
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86

"... I feel contempt for white supremacists (to the extent they exist, I've never met any) ..."

My first reaction was, this can't possibly be true, but of course this is dependent on your definition of "white supremacist". So what is your definition?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:35 PM
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Massachusetts is a horrible elitist state!


Posted by: Mitt Romney | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:36 PM
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Massachusetts is a horrible elitist state!


Posted by: Mitt Romney | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:36 PM
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thinking of "regular Americans"

Go back and look at the authors on that list. Many of those are HUGE names in conservative media. To say they're only speaking to a fringe element, when they are regulars on the most watched cable news network in America seems questionable at best.

(whatever the hell that phrase is supposed to mean)

Right, as a middle-class, middle-aged, football- and UFC-watching father of three living in a North Carolina suburb and carrying a BA from the state university, I'm as regular American as the next guy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:38 PM
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197: oh, I'm not claiing that the Right hasn't irredeemably tarred the term "liberal"--I think they probably have, at least among discouragingly large swaths of the populace. Just that I don't consider any of those books Apo linked to be anything other than pure entertainment--they're not serious.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:39 PM
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they're not serious

Most of the country isn't serious, Brock. I guarantee you the number of people who read Sean Hannity's book dwarfs the number of people who have read anything by Jeane Kilpatrick or William F. Buckley.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:41 PM
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Brock is basically arguing that the Republican Party is intellectually bankrupt.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:41 PM
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59

"Also I strongly suspect that these people who stereotype me are also filtering some of their offensive speech out around me. This comes from Jammies reporting what so-n-so said, or how a group conversation dissolved, and I'll be flabberghasted because that kind of statement and conversation pretty much never happens to my face."

This seems possible. Many people do censor themselves (at least some of the time) to avoid offending the PC police. They often resent having to do so. This is one source of animosity towards liberals.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:41 PM
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Was 202 sarcastic? Other than your penchant for animal deformities, I'd say you are very much stereotypically "regular American".


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:42 PM
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193: Teaching statement, actually.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:42 PM
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She knows absolutely nothing about redstatia

what bugs me is how little she knows about economics. It sucks when posters here to link to her, because if I click through I get pulled back into that vortex of horrified fascination I get when reading her stuff. She's no Anne Coulter, she's not visibly wacked out, but she's actually more terrifying. It's like she channels the congealed essence of all the most annoying right-wing establishmentarian conventional wisdom.

From her latest:

America's regulatory structure is mostly the child of the Progressive Era, when well meaning, well educated protestants thought that they could save the world by putting bright technocrats from the right kind of families in charge of the messy, sprawling economy and make it clean and tidy and safe....The first great victory of the Progressive Era, the major revolutions in public health, did just that....Before Hayek, we didn't have all that much reason to think that this feat couldn't be repeated elsewhere. But now we have had Hayek, and the failure of the Soviet Union, and a hundred other ways to learn that in any sizeable economy, the information problem is simply too big....a well-intentioned bureaucrat cannot know enough about what's going on in the world to thoroughly manage even a static economy, much less one that has to cope with millions of constant changes, from hurricanes to new babies. Yet our regulatory model still works on the assumption that the technocrats can figure out what is safe, and then let the public buy it, and nothing will ever go wrong.

Sorry, well-intentioned liberals, Megan truly regrets to inform you that regulation can never work!


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:43 PM
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Was 202 sarcastic?

No. I'm agreeing with you that "regular American" is an utterly meaningless phrase in a country this big and is only used to (falsely) signify "Republican".


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:43 PM
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Growing up my experience wasn't too far off yours, reversed -- there were kids in my high school who were Republicans, but the impression they gave was that it was kind of a put-on. But grown-up conversations about politics were all about internal disagreements within liberalism; I didn't hear an adult seriously arguing a conservative political position until college sometime.

Honestly, Brock, do the math. If the country's close to a 50-50 split, which it is, and there are areas like the one where you grew up where there simply were no liberals, doesn't it make sense that conservatives would be thin on the ground in other areas?

199: The 'to the extent they exist' was a silly way of putting it, but I in fact have never met anyone face to face who I know to have straightforwardly espoused a belief in the superiority of the white race, or whatever white supremacists believe exactly. I've heard people say racist shit, but not "I seriously believe X", where X is something that I'd call white supremacy.

What I was vaguely attempting to indicate there was that while I was willing to feel contempt for white supremacists, I didn't have any specific ones in mind to direct the contempt at.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:44 PM
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The beginning of 211 was to 198.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:46 PM
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But now we have had Hayek

If my eyes roll any harder, I'm going to have to retrieve them from under my desk.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:46 PM
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Many people do censor themselves (at least some of the time) to avoid offending the PC police. They often resent having to do so. This is one source of animosity towards liberals.

Damn, it really is horrible having to pretend to be polite to those fucking subhumans, isn't it?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:46 PM
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209: It sucks when posters here to link to her

I've come to see it as an echo of Ogged's old habit of trolling the blog.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:46 PM
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You're missing my point, Apo. Sean Hannity is a hack. He may or may not be an idiot, but almost everything he says is idiotic. Those books are all rough analogues to Al Franken's books, except a little less funny and far more mendacious. They're intended primarily for entertainment.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:46 PM
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Before Hayek, we didn't have all that much reason to think that this feat couldn't be repeated elsewhere.

Doesn't Hayek get even a teeny credibility problem from Sweden's failure to develop into a totalitarian hell?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:47 PM
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Right, as a middle-class, middle-aged, football- and UFC-watching father of three living in a North Carolina suburb and carrying a BA from the state university, I'm as regular American as the next guy.

And yet, that exlax endorsement eludes you. a crime, I tell ya.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:47 PM
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209: True. Her economic comments are simultaneously dumb and expressed with the certainty she is expressing the definitive conclusions of the science of economics.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:47 PM
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216: But the point doesn't make any sense. If we're talking about contempt and hostility from liberals to conservatives and vice versa, what does saying that all the conservatives being hostile and contemptuous toward liberals are just hacks doing it for entertainment get you? Limbaugh's a hack doing it for entertainment, but he's a popular and influential hack.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:49 PM
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217: Like you've been to Sweden.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:49 PM
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almost everything he says is idiotic

Of course. Same with Rush Limbaugh. But the United States is filled with idiots, and they listen to those guys. You and I don't take it seriously, but if you think *nobody* does, I don't know where we can take this conversation from here.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:50 PM
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They're intended primarily for entertainment.

It's too bad that the most prominent conservative writers in America today are primarily entertainers. It's too bad that the conservative talk radio and conservative cable news are also just entertainment.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:50 PM
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220: Have so. (admittedly, only to change planes. But I came this close to getting bumped and having to spend a day in Stockholm.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:51 PM
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220: it would be like a conservative pointing to Franken's book as evidence of that the liberal coastal elites have contempt for real americans. I don't think you'd see that. Or, at least, it would be silly if you did.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:51 PM
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Limbaugh has any influence on politics? Please. He's just JOKING!

And 223 was me.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:52 PM
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225: It certainly is silly. What do you see conservatives pointing to as evidence of liberal contempt and hostility that comes from more respectable liberal spokespeople than Al Franken?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:53 PM
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I'm not saying they're not influential. I think I admitted in 194 that they unfortunately are.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:54 PM
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Limbaugh is no worse than Jon Stewart as far as playing to the crowd. The fear is that most of Rush's dittoheads don't know that it is entertainment, and that he did not spring forth from WF Buckley's forehead.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:54 PM
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it would be like a conservative pointing to Franken's book

Sigh. Franken's book was a parody *of those very books*.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:54 PM
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I wasn't aware of Al Franken's book: "Why Liberal Coastal Elites Need to Put Real Americans in Concentration Camps."


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:54 PM
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Jon Stewart would be another good example: roughly comparable to Apo's list.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:55 PM
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I have no idea at all what point anyone thinks they're making by now. But you're all wrong.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:56 PM
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230: Right, I know. But those books themselves *aren't* intellectually serious. Again, they may be influential. but that's different.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:57 PM
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232: No, he wouldn't. Stewart makes fun of conservatives but does not in fact try to make the case that they are the enemy and should be stamped out. This is untrue of the books on Apo's list, which are all about mainstreaming eliminationist sentiment.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:58 PM
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Jon Stewart wrote "Conservatives are Evil Traitors who Hate America and Undermine Our Values" and "Why Conservatives Like to Molest Babies."

He also has a LA Times op-ed spot and writes occasionally for prominent liberal political magazines.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:58 PM
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Jon Stewart would be another good example: roughly comparable to Apo's list.

Brock, I can only assume you're trolling at this point. Jon Stewart has a political slant that he doesn't try to hide, sure. He's a more pointedly political PJ O'Rourke. But he doesn't spend his show saying that Republicans around the country are traitors trying to destroy Christianity.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:58 PM
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I do agree completely with 233. I have no idea what we're talking about anymore.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 1:59 PM
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But those books themselves *aren't* intellectually serious.

Of course not. Nor atre the people who buy them. But the intellectually unserious' votes get counted just the same as yours and mine.*

*Offer may be void in Ohio and Florida.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:01 PM
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Brock, you're nuts. Those authors are popular writers read by enormous number of people. At least half of them appear in the major media, some of them regularly. They represent an enormous chunk of American public opinion, perhaps a third.

I have no idea what you're trying to say any more.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:01 PM
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I think the original post is correct but, I was just thinking, I'm not sure it's that simple. I'm not sure that the description of liberal elites as visible but weak is completely accurate.

Wasn't there someone who recently commented on unfogged that the Republicans are winning the politics of the "Culture Wars" but that liberals are doing relatively well in the culture wars themselves.

Is that part of the reason why there's a sense that there is something behind the stereotype of liberal elitism. There has been an active project by large numbers of people in this country, over the last 80+ years, to change the cultural dynamics of race and gender. The backlashes to this effort my be both toxic and poorly constructed, but it doesn't mean that people who are attached to "traditional" race and generder stereotypes are wrong to feel like there is a nebulous "other" who wants to shift the cultural ground in this country.

Thinking about it that way, it is disengenuous that the exerpted passage from the McArdle post focused on class -- while liberals and conservatives have very different attitudes about class, it is not nearly as central in the culture wars and, where it is contested terrain it is more frequently conservatives actively trying to undermine the institutions of class solidarity.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:02 PM
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Scrolling back, I think if I understood Brock's 184 the thread would make more sense. Stipulating that the linked books are unserious, what argumentative purpose does that fact serve in the context of this thread?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:05 PM
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237: but look, all that's just an attempt to turn liberals into a group of "others" and a phantom enemy. It has very little to do with real disdain for any real poeple. And the average Jon Stewart skit has a hell of a lot more truth to it than any three or four books off you list, put togther.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:05 PM
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242, see 225. It's not representative of real disdain.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:09 PM
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Limbaugh is much worse than Jon Stewart. He lies a lot, he constantly skirts the edge of gross racism, sexism, and homophobia, and he repeatedly makes eliminationist jokes.

I realize that in your mythic universe, everything bad about your side is exactly balanced by an equal and opposite bad thing on the other side, but that's not true. And the world doesn't rest on the back of a large turtle either.

Franken isn't that bad either, in what I've read, nor is Michael Moore. A lot of the rightwing spokesmen are extremely nasty customers.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:09 PM
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that's just an attempt to turn liberals into a group of "others" and a phantom enemy

YES. THAT IS MY POINT.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:09 PM
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242: I believe that Brock is saying that while conservatives may give off more contempt, liberals/Dems give off more justified contempt, and it's the justified contempt that hurts.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:10 PM
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Jon Stewart Bob McManus would be another good example: roughly comparable to Apo's list.

Of course, Bob is more intelligent than they are.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:10 PM
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an attempt to turn liberals into a group of "others" and a phantom enemy. It has very little to do with real disdain for any real poeple

What? What?

Brock, what planet do you come from? An attempt to turn liberals into a a group of others and a phantom enemy doesn't involve disdain for real people?

I'm not real people? When did I stop being real people? I don't understand this even a little bit.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:11 PM
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I make eliminationist jokes too, but where's my national exposure? Where's my millions?

Brock, you should seriously consider not having opinions about this kind of topic.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:12 PM
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Brock, you should seriously consider not having opinions about this kind of topic.

Emerson, I wish you wouldn't do this. When it's not trolling (or is at least only light trolling), I like knowing what people are thinking.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:16 PM
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Brock, do I have your argument right?

Mitt Romney made fun of Massachusetts elite snobs during the Republican National Convention, and the crowd went wild.

But because Mitt Romney is a filthy rich former governor of Massachusetts, this doesn't make any sense at all. It's absurd.

As a result, we can conclude that the disdain for liberals indicated by Romney's speech doesn't really count (because it's absurd), while Jon Stewart's mocking of Romney's absurdity is an example of genuine liberal snobbery.

In the final analysis, the RNC speech is basically vindicated -- liberals are snobs who really look down on conservatives. Ironically, the very absurdity of the speech leads directly to its validity.

Chew on that, Godel.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:18 PM
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Let me restate: I would be surprised if many liberals felt that the books to which Apo linked were showing personal contempt towards them. The "liberals" in those books are caricatures that bear little resemblence to liberals in the real world. The books are infuriating, because people far too many people read them and believe them and vote based on them, but that's different. But they're not personally insulting--liberals don't really eat babies.

In contrast, a lot of liberals have contempt for real flesh-and-blood conservatives, which they pick up on and are offended by. (And the reverse is perfectly true as well, of course--I just don't think the books Apo linked are especially good examples of that.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:19 PM
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I think Brock means that it doesn't involve contempt for any particular identifiable people: the contempt is for liberals-as-an-imagined-group, not for LizardBreath. I don't think this makes it better.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:21 PM
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247 gets it right.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:21 PM
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I shouldn't have posted 255, which was partly tongue-in-cheek, since I'm already at such high risk for misinterpretation.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:22 PM
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I see I got it wrong.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:22 PM
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No, 254 is sort of right.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:23 PM
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I would be surprised if many liberals felt that the books to which Apo linked were showing personal contempt towards them.

I haven't read the books Apo linked, but Yes, Brock, Yes You Hopeless Nincompoop, Yes, I Do Feel That Plenty Of Conservative Rhetoric Expresses Contempt And Hostility Toward Me Personally And People Like Me As Urban Liberals. I don't blame rank and file conservatives for it unless they're parroting it, but it does feel personal.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:24 PM
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But we need justified contempt, as one of the drivers of Progress. Justified contempt is, like, justified.

(I do also get a twinge when I see titles of books that propose offing liberals. Hey! That's me. I also completely gave up on Lenny Kravitz after American Woman. OK, dude. I'll keep away from you. I have a literal streak.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:24 PM
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Yes, Brock, Yes You Hopeless Nincompoop, Yes, I Do Feel That Plenty Of Conservative Rhetoric Expresses Contempt And Hostility Toward Me Personally And People Like Me As Urban Liberals

That would be a great book title.

And, okay, you're one data point.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:26 PM
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LB, you have that firm principle, but what Borck has been saying is utterly unintelligible. What he says seems to be totally wrong, except that it's hard to tell what it is. It's like we need to call in a forensic literary critic before we can argue with him. Nobody has to have opinions about everything.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:28 PM
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I want to know if 252 gets it right.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:29 PM
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LB, you tell me what 253 means.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:30 PM
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But what's your data on the other side, Brock? When you're saying 'seems to me', dismissing disagreement as anecdotal is odd.

I'd say there isn't as much encouragement from liberal opinion leaders whipping up liberals to be offended at how conservatives hate us, but that doesn't mean the nasty, slanderous, eliminationist rhetoric aimed at urban liberals isn't shitty.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:30 PM
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263: no. I thought it was a joke.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:30 PM
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But what's your data on the other side, Brock?

It doesn't bother me.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:31 PM
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261 - I'm another data point, supporting LB on this.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:32 PM
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It's like we need to call in a forensic literary critic before we can argue with him.

What kind of pay are you offering?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:32 PM
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And I don't think conservatives really hate you, LB. That's my point.

And I just noticed 246, which is think is comity? I can't be sure, because I still don't know what we're talking about.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:34 PM
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There are plenty of people around who think exactly like Ann Coulter, no irony, no twinkle in the eye, no hyperbole. Liberals are traitors who should be prosecuted or beaten up.

In many situations I avoid talking about politics at all just to avoid nastiness. Even so, I look like a liberal and sometimes people will bait me.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:34 PM
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267: Dude, whatever your politics now, from the way you talk you're hardly culturally identified with urban liberals. You grew up a speaking-in-tongues evangelical, I assume someplace rural, you never met a liberal until college, and you're now a committedly pro-life Catholic. Liberalism is a big tent, and I think you're great, and I'm happy that you agree with me on lots of political issues, but are you really puzzled about why personal, culturally based attacks on urban liberals don't feel personally directed at you?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:35 PM
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Jesus, does someone have to write a book with my name in the title before I'm allowed to perceive hostility?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:35 PM
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266: it's kind of a joke, but that's because your comments seem like a joke.

Romney gave a speech at the RNC mocking liberals. By your criteria, it doesn't count as real disdain towards liberals because it doesn't make any sense (because no real liberals could identify themselves as the targets of his speech, because it was ridiculous and just entertainment). But if Jon Stewart makes fun of Romney and the conservatives in his audience, then that's a substantive mockery directed at real people.

Isn't that what you're arguing? I agree that it sounds ridiculous and absurd.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:36 PM
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And I don't think conservatives really hate you, LB. That's my point.

I'd sure as shit like them to stop writing books saying they do, then. That's all I've got to go by.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:36 PM
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And I don't think conservatives really hate you, LB. That's my point.

Your point does not stand. If a Hannity reader met LB he would think "Uh-oh, one of those people who are destroying America. She might be a good person, but I'm going to assume the worst for now." That's the goal of the Republican movement.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:37 PM
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If a Hannity reader met LB he would think "Uh-oh, one of those people who are destroying America. She might be a good person, but I'm going to assume the worst for now."

This would only be true if her politics came out.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:39 PM
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277: Good thing LB doesn't take her politics very seriously then.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:41 PM
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277: I'm a NYC litigator whose husband does 90% of the child care, with no makeup and flat shoes. I think most people who meet me are going to make a pretty solid guess at my politics first crack out of the box.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:41 PM
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Seriously, I would talk more about politics around here if I were bigger, younger and a boxer and if I enjoyed hostile face-to-face confrontations. And this is by no means a reactionary area here: 50-50 R/D, and a lot of the Rs are fairly mild.

Against that, Megan (who has suggested applying 2x4s to demonstrators) has to deal with snootiness, shunning, withering sarcasm, etc.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:41 PM
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Dude. She's a chick lawyer who lives in New York. Someone who could be swayed by those books knows what her politics are from the get-go.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:42 PM
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My patient attempts at explication appear to have failed. I can only assume at this point that my thesis is too subtle to be conveyed through this medium. I think you're all going to have to wait for the book, which I promise will make everything much more clear.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:42 PM
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I send my kids to a majority minority public school in Upper Manhattan.

What do you envision me talking about with anyone for more than thirty or forty seconds that they're not going to have a good guess at my politics? My politics are, one might say, demographically overdetermined.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:43 PM
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Brock, if the right wing hategasm over gay rights (or, hell, just go read Little Green Footballs or Free Republic comments to any post on any topic any time) hasn't convinced you that hatred of liberals is genuine, you're a lost cause.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:44 PM
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273 gets it right.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:44 PM
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211

"The 'to the extent they exist' was a silly way of putting it, but I in fact have never met anyone face to face who I know to have straightforwardly espoused a belief in the superiority of the white race, or whatever white supremacists believe exactly. I've heard people say racist shit, but not "I seriously believe X", where X is something that I'd call white supremacy."

Ok, you have never met anyone who was openly white supremacist. Actually neither have I (that I recall) but I am reasonably certain I have met lots of people with white supremist beliefs.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:44 PM
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277: Jesus. Yes, liberals who don't seem to be liberals and don't talk about politics are not hated.

My guess, though, is that if LB drove through Mississippi or Wyoming she'd be spotted as a liberal even if she kept her mouth shut about politics.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:45 PM
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As far as I can tell, liberal pop-politics books are supposed to make the reader hate plutocrats and Republican politicians, and feel confusion and sympathy for the people who are fooled into voting for them. And conservative pop-politics books are supposed to make the reader hate everyone who plays any role in keeping Republicans out of power, or sympathizes with those who would keep Republicans out of power.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:45 PM
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LB drove through Mississippi or Wyoming

I get pretty obvious in upstate NY.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:46 PM
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Jesus, does someone have to write a book with my name in the title before I'm allowed to perceive hostility?

"How John Emerson is Ruining America"

As the internet allows more narrowcasting to precisely defined audiences, everyone will get to be the target of their own hate screed. Ex-wives will become a huge vanity publishing market.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:46 PM
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I'm still puzzled by this idea that the books mentioned are somehow influential are also just entertainment and don't have real-life consequences.

Look, when a white person comes up to the library desk to check out a whole stack of those titles, and then confides that they Just Don't Understand why the library has to allow "those people" (homeless) in, or why Some People don't raise their children with better manners (as they eye the boisterous black children playing unsupervised on the Internet terminals), I tend to think that the books they read are reinforcing and validating a view of homeless/nonwhite people as other and problematic. And I find that problematic.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:48 PM
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291: Puzzlement along those lines runs rampant.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:48 PM
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LB, we could do a makeover and train you only to talk about appropriate topic. You'd have to learn to drive a pickup, become an Amway dealer, and read middlebrow lady novels. You too can be normal.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:49 PM
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When my parents found out that my younger sister listens to NPR in her minivan as she drives her three adorable children around, they were worried. "Isn't that what Bave listens to?" They have been told that we are dangerous.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:51 PM
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Well, you do have to admit that NPR made you gay, right?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:53 PM
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re: 295

Buttseks makes you gay, LB. I thought you knew that?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:54 PM
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||

Our Werewolf got an Atrios link. Score one for analytical philosophy and act utilitarianism!

|>


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:56 PM
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You too can be normal.

Not according to Knecht's experience.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:57 PM
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Brock,

Wow. I don't know how to convince you. I've tried a couple drafts and I can't see how to convince you that in this case you are wrong.

If Sean Hannity is merely an entertainer then why does he get Sarah Palin's second interview as a VP candidate?

I see a contradiction. Is Biden's second interview being given to Moore, or Fonda, or whoever you want to choose as the insult comic on the left?

Can you see how these cases are not symetrical?


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:57 PM
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I'm really near giving-up, because I don't think this is going anywhere, and I'm not sure why I'm (apparently) being so unclear. Of course the right-wing "hatred of liberals" is geniune. Of course. But they've stolen that word from you and twisted it beyond recognition. The right wing has been fed a lot of lies about liberals and liberalism. The liberal you are and the liberal they hate are not the same things. I would have thought this was clearly perceived by most liberals (who would therefore not take personal offense, even though of course it's politically infuriating), but maybe I was wrong about that.

The only reason this came up was to say that all of this seems pretty far removed from the ealier topic of the thread, which was real disdain for real people on the other side of the aisle. Which also has both real and perceived elements and goes both ways and everything else that was said before, but seems to me to be an entirely different phenomenon.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:58 PM
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Buttseks makes you gay, LB.

Me, personally? Because I hadn't thought it worked that way.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:59 PM
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298: At a certain point, you just can't go home again.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 2:59 PM
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300: The liberal you are and the liberal they hate are not the same things.

Whereas the conservatives Stewart mocks and the conservatives that exist ARE pretty much the same thing, and therefore trying to compare people like Stewart or Franken to people like Limbaugh or Coulter is stupid. See how that works?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:01 PM
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who would therefore not take personal offense

Brock, if we had just met and I called you a cousin-fucking snake-handler upon learning your religious background, would you not take personal offense simply because it wasn't true?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:03 PM
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re: 300

What you say seems bizarre.

Getting all philosophical and shit, the descriptive properties used to pick out the reference class 'liberal' in right-wing propaganda may be largely lies but the reference class picked out is co-extensive with actual liberals. Who are still the people being hated.

If I hate black people because I believe they are descended from lizards rather than mammals I'm wrong about the properties of black people. I'm still a racist prick who hates black people. I'm just a crazy racist prick.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:03 PM
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Fuck. Pwned by 304.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:03 PM
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The liberal you are and the liberal they hate are not the same things.

I always have a good time when I comment on right-wing blogs. Because I don't hate America and want us to surrender to terrorists, conservatives don't even recognize that I'm liberal. They're always like "wow, it's so interesting that a Barack Obama supporter is a real American."


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:04 PM
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300: It's your belief that there are two distinct phenomena which is so puzzling. (This is actually reminding me of Ogged's hauteur at the implication that he might favor torture-for-information, when he had actually been musing about the possibility that execution-by-torture was a good idea.)

Where are you getting this idea that media disseminated, stereotype-based, expressions of hostility to liberals (or conservatives) are absolutely unconnected to real interpersonal feelings about actual people who are liberals (or conservatives)?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:04 PM
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303: but they're all just entertainment. (Striving for political effect, sure, but fundamentally entertainment.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:04 PM
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Politics is just entertainment, people. Obama, McCain, Palin, Biden -- it's just show business.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:07 PM
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309: If they're striving for, and having, political effect, what does it mean to say that they're 'fundamentally' entertainment?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:07 PM
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NPR is a gateway drug. Morning Edition -> Car Talk -> buttseks -> Performance Today.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:07 PM
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but they're all just entertainment

Dude, I'm torn between admiration for the fact that you are sticking around and doggedly trying to explain your point, and complete exasperation that you apparently didn't read my 291. Not to mention everyone else's more eloquent version of the same things.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:08 PM
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Suppose you're a gay man with refined tastes who makes a lot of money, never goes to church, has an active sex life, votes Democratic, travels to Europe, and is unenthusiastic about neocon militarism.

In that case you are exactly the person that all those people hate. You're not all of those people, unless you're also black and collecting a welfare check. But you can be absolutely sure that you're hated.

I don't meet all the criteria, but some of them hate me too. Just voting Democratic and not being a believer can be enough.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:09 PM
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304: talking to me personally? I'd honestly probably find it humorous in most circumstances, but sure, if I thought you were really serious, and especially if you genuinely disliked me for that reason, I'd be offended.

But if you wrote the same thing generically in a book that was intended as entertainment? It wouldn't bother me, no.

308: "absolutely unconnected" is too strong. They surely feed into one another. But they spring from different wells.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:10 PM
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The liberal you are and the liberal they hate are not the same things.

Bullshit. They just spent eight years raping the country's basic norms, or cheering the same, and justified it by reference to their hatred of liberals and Dems. Or maybe you're right: they don't hate real living liberals, specifically; they hate Americans, of which real living liberals are only one species.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:10 PM
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You know what can be kind of fun, if done safely? Confronting some of the GOP idiots with a real living person.

I was driving home this summer (true story) and saw the car in front of me had a couple bumper stickers that slammed liberals. I don't recall exactly what the slurs were but they were the equivalent of saying "Liberals are stupid idiots."

The car pulled into a restaurant parking lot and I followed it. It was a guy in his twenties. He looked safe, it was during the day, so I approached him and said pleasantly "Hey, is that your car?" He said "yes' because he thought maybe I'd say "nice wheels" or "where do you change your oil" or something like that. I then asked "Are those your bumper stickers?" in a pleasant tone.

He instantly became cautious because he didn't know if I was going to complement him or nail him. So he said cautiously "yes."

I said "You know you are talking about me, right? When you say "Liberal" you mean me."

He said "No he didn't mean me it was just a joke" and "he didn't mean a guy like me he meant those other people, those liberals."

I think he was pretty sincere at that point. I can usually size people up pretty well, so I told him that his bumper sticker was talking about "me" and people like me, real people who are probably around him more than he knows, so he should think of me the next time he thinks of a liberal.

I have no idea if I had any affect.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:12 PM
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You're just wrong that no one takes Coulter et al seriously. She herself may be tongue in cheek, but a lot of people take her straight.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:12 PM
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The liberal you are and the liberal they hate are not the same things.

This is self-evidently true, but how can you not see that it's a constant struggle between, on one side, meeting real-life liberals and realizing they're not evil, and on the other, these books and TV shows and radio shows continually reinforcing the fact that liberals are evil.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:13 PM
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311/313: I feel like I've tried to be very clear several times above: I'm not saying they aren't damaging in real ways. They absolutely are. But they're closer to shtick than to anything intellectually serious.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:15 PM
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in a book that was intended as entertainment?

Sweet Jesus.

Jonah Goldberg was put on this earth to amuse people. So was Rush Limbaugh -- he just wants to make sure that drivers don't get bored in their cars.

Who subscribes to the National Review? People who are really bored and need entertainment.


Posted by: Shames B. Jearer | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:15 PM
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317 reminds me that the other day I saw a woman wearing a t-shirt that said in large letters "LIBERAL" and then in much smaller letters "n. 1. Someone whose mind is so open all their brains have fallen out."

I am still kind of bemused. As a political slam, it would seem to me that you'd want the lettering to be big enough to read. Otherwise, you're walking around in a t-shirt that says LIBERAL in really big letters. Which is what she was doing.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:15 PM
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Oh sorry 321 was me.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:16 PM
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317 is all I've been trying to say.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:16 PM
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NPR is a gateway drug. Morning Edition -> Car Talk Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!-> classical music -> buttseks -> Performance Today.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:17 PM
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300:

Brock, sincere thanks for sticking around.

The right wing has been fed a lot of lies about liberals and liberalism. The liberal you are and the liberal they hate are not the same things.

They have taken what I am and what I believe and what I stand for and twisted it and made it into a grotesque caricature for political gain to hurt me and my family and you think I should not take this personally?

Dude. Really. I wish you were right here looking me in the eye because I can't believe I can't get you to see this.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:17 PM
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Brock, no one says that those people are really serious thinkers or should be taken seriously. We're saying that their books are taken seriously by a lot of people, and that for that reason the books are a serious phenomenon.

And also that Jon Stewart, Al Franken, and Michael Moore are not like those people.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:17 PM
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But they're closer to shtick than to anything intellectually serious.

So what?!??? Granted, Ann Coulter and her ilk probably don't believe what they're saying. And of course it's all completely ludicrous. But it's poisonous, and it's real, and millions of Americans -- not the leaders and media personalities but the followers -- buy it, believe it, and vote based on it.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:18 PM
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320: This isn't clarifying, it's just repetition. Entertainment, and schtick, and things that aren't intellectually serious form people's opinions. If we're talking about the climate of opinion, filtering stuff out because it's not intellectually serious (although it's treated as such, see Hannity getting the plum Palin interview, which I actually hadn't known about) doesn't make any sense.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:19 PM
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Brock,

But they're closer to shtick than to anything intellectually serious.

Then why is Sean Hannity getting the second interview of Sarah Palin?

Does the GOP think politics is a farce and shtick is appropriate? If that is your case then be honest about it, because for most people politics has a very real effect on their life and most people do not see politics as entertainment.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:21 PM
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330 was me.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:22 PM
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closer to schtick

The US elected a B-movie actor who confused movie scripts with real events for president. Schtick can be dangerous.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:22 PM
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We're saying that their books are taken seriously by a lot of people, and that for that reason the books are a serious phenomenon.

And I've agreed with that.

And also that Jon Stewart, Al Franken, and Michael Moore are not like those people.

Well, not in most ways, no. But in terms of what they convey about the level of personal contempt "regular folks" on the other side feel about you, I think they're pretty comparable. (And the answer is very little.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:22 PM
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324: so 252 is basically correct. I knew it.

In the larger context, Brock is basically drawing the distinction between genuine disapproval (the way people here feel about fundies) and disapproval that has been manufactured for political gain ("entertainment," like conservatives thinking that liberals hate America).

There is a difference here. I don't think Brock knows what to make of it, however. So people are flailing about.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:23 PM
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329: I'm not "filtering it out of the climate of opinion". It's absolutely part of the climate of opinion, and helps shape it and drive it. In poisonous ways. This is at least the fourth or fifth time I've said this.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:25 PM
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Brock is basically drawing the distinction between genuine disapproval (the way people here feel about fundies) and disapproval that has been manufactured for political gain

I'd say the distinction is between genuine disapproval and disapproval that has been manufactured, period, including disapproval that has been manufactured for political gain. And there no broader point I wanted to make of this, as I said in 300. That's it. I was just saying they are different phenomena, which I (mistakenly) didn't think was all that controversial.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:29 PM
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Brock, what are you trying to say? Michael Moore has a populist schtick, and Al Franken is doing pretty well running for Senator in a flyover state. Only Jon Stewart fits the elitist stereotype at all.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:29 PM
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336 (cont.): even though, as I said before, they obviously can feed into and off of one another.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:31 PM
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336: do you have an example of manufactured disapproval that was not related to political gain? (Let me guess: Jonah Goldberg has a bit of a political slant, but what he's really trying to do with "Liberal Fascism" is make people chuckle?)

The reason people's heads are exploding is that you're suggesting that justified disapproval is more biting than unjustified disapproval. That may be true, but in the context of political debates this is just another step towards up-is-down relativism. Which is what my 252 is getting at.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:34 PM
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disapproval that has been manufactured for political gain

Their disapproval is genuine, and anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding himself. They fucking hate you (us), and it would be nice if we could manage to do the same.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:38 PM
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211

"Honestly, Brock, do the math. If the country's close to a 50-50 split, which it is, and there are areas like the one where you grew up where there simply were no liberals, doesn't it make sense that conservatives would be thin on the ground in other areas?"

The 50-50 split is between Republicans and Democrats not liberals and conservatives.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:40 PM
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340: but what Brock is arguing is that this genuine disapproval was not based on real experience, but on "entertainment" books written by professional entertainers (who may have had some political slant, it's really hard to tell with my hands over my eyes as I hum really loudly).

Please don't mistake me for thinking Brock's distinction is useful or helpful.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:41 PM
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342: Right. This is, I think, my "justified vs. not justified" point above. I don't think there's a point to the distinction, either. Money is money and hate is hate.

We appear to be in complete agreement. You son of bitch.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:45 PM
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283

"... My politics are, one might say, demographically overdetermined."

That ever bother you? That they might just be a reflection of your milieu.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:46 PM
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Conservatives really do disapprove violently of, or hate, gay men and women, sexually active single men and women, anyone anti-war, anyone "socialist" (very loosely define), and on the average, racial minorities. The "elite latte sipper" part is pure schtick, bu they really do hate us for what we really are.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:47 PM
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FWIW, I live in a red state, and I am obviously a liberal to casual glance. I have people, completely unprompted, make comments on how I must like that Obama fellow.

I have weird interactions with people around me all the time. The other day I had a woman, obviously with her boyfriend, come up to me in the supermarket, make the devil horns hand-sign to me, say "I love you," and walk away. She was making fun of me? Showing solidarity with a fellow Satanist? Fuck if I know.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:47 PM
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319

"This is self-evidently true, but how can you not see that it's a constant struggle between, on one side, meeting real-life liberals and realizing they're not evil, and on the other, these books and TV shows and radio shows continually reinforcing the fact that liberals are evil."

Not everyone finds liberals endearing in person.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:47 PM
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Ah, Shearer has arrived to bring clarity to the thread.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:47 PM
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344: I've certainly had the thought, but I take it out in listening to people like you and the conservatives over at Obsidian Wings. I figure that I'd eventually hear someone say something that made sense if there was anything to right wing politics.

I'm still listening.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:49 PM
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347: Not everyone finds liberals endearing in person.

Wait a second, you mean some conservative dislike of/contempt for liberals is genuine and spontaneous rather than resulting from books written as 'entertainment'?

Brock? Brock? I think this one's for you.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:52 PM
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Fuck you, Shearer.

Oh wait, I lose, because if I lose my temper, according to your principles you win. I forgot your game.

Do you play that game face to face, too?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:52 PM
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I just re-read this thread and feel like I'm not disagreeing at all with anything said by a lot of people who seem to believe they are quite adamantly disagreeing with me. It's weird.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:53 PM
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We can't be seen to agree with you, Brock, you being a pro-life Catholic and all. We have an image to maintain.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:54 PM
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345

"Conservatives really do disapprove violently of, or hate, gay men and women, sexually active single men and women, anyone anti-war, anyone "socialist" (very loosely define), and on the average, racial minorities. The "elite latte sipper" part is pure schtick, bu they really do hate us for what we really are."

This is nonsense. Lots of conservatives do not fit in this box.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:55 PM
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I think 186 was poorly worded, and even more poorly thought through, and that may be the whole problem. But really, I'm not sure.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:55 PM
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You live in New York, Shearer. I'm guessing you don't have your finger on the pulse of Conservative America.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:57 PM
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352: This is going to sound hostile, and I don't mean it that way, I'm really just trying to identify what's going on with the conversation. I think people are getting exercised at you because they're assuming you have a point, and all the obvious points related to the things you're saying are kind of wrong and irritating.

You did kind of clarify in 300 that you didn't have a point, that you were just trying to identify a distinction between two forms of hostility, without reference to anything larger being discussed in the thread. But it's kind of hard to accept that someone really doesn't have a point at all.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:58 PM
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Shut up Shearer. I wasn't talking to you. Go torture insects or something, something, asshole. Go interrupt strangers talking to one another in public places.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 3:59 PM
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make the devil horns hand-sign to me, say "I love you,"

If the hand-sign is what I think it is, she was giving you the American Sign Language (ASL) sign for "I love you."

If you're going to have a random non-creepy stranger come up to you and say something, that's not a bad choice.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:00 PM
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I finally get what Brock is saying, maybe. If someone says "Cosma is a big fat geek", that has extra sting because I am, inarguably, a big fat geek. If they say "Cosma is a doesn't really know what he's talking about", that has sting because I do worry about being in over my head sometimes. If they say "Cosma is innumerate", I can laugh it off. I think Brock's point is that the image of liberals as hate objects is so utterly different from actual liberals that we know the insults are just wrong, and so they don't wound us (as opposed to, possibly, frightening or offending us). On the other hand, we insult conservatives, or are thought to insult conservatives, for qualities they actually have. They may think these qualities are harmless or even laudable, but it still creates a certain amount of self-doubt.

I still don't understand the stuff about "entertainment", though.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:00 PM
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357: Brock's point was that one form of hostility is justified, and the other isn't, and that means that the first form of hostility is worse. But he can't come out and say that, because it sounds retarded.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:02 PM
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I just Googled it, and yes, that's the sign.

ASL people worship the devil? Interesting.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:03 PM
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You actually are innumerate though, Cosma. Everyone's just been being nice to you all these years.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:04 PM
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360: I'm using "entertainment" relatively loosely, I guess. I'd say the Sarah Palin convention speech was pure entertainment, for example. I didn't see Romney's speech, but possibly it was as well. I'm not at all trying to say that these are things without political effect.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:04 PM
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I think Brock's point is that the image of liberals as hate objects is so utterly different from actual liberals that we know the insults are just wrong, and so they don't wound us (as opposed to, possibly, frightening or offending us).

That's a comprehensible point, but I don't think it's necessarily true. I wouldn't say that hostile depictions of liberals, culturally, are significantly less identifiable than the reverse. (On the policy front, particularly the foreign policy front, it's a better argument.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:06 PM
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I'd say the Sarah Palin convention speech was pure entertainment, for example.

At that point, you're speaking a private language. I can guess at things this might mean, but I can't imagine how I'd be sure.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:07 PM
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"Entertainment" = Republicans don't need to be held accountable for how they form their political views. Or the content of such views for that matter.

Palin may some interest in getting votes in November, but her primary concern is amusing people, distracting them from the fundamental emptiness of modern existence.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:07 PM
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re: 364

I don't understand your point. A political speech at a party political conference full of lies, distortions and mendacious bullshit [I'm speaking of Romney, which I watched] is pure entertainment? Pure entertainment rather than what?

It has a political purpose, is being done for political effect, by a politician, at a political event, during an election campaign for high-electoral office, but ... what?

It's entertainment because it's bullshit? Is this some dichotomous division of the categories of speech into 'entertainment' and 'other'? WTF?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:08 PM
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363: Also, Bayesianism is completely true, and we've just been too polite to point it out. We're hoping some day you figure it out all by yourself.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:09 PM
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ASL people worship the devil? Interesting.

Maybe it's the French influence.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:10 PM
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Maybe "spectacle" would be better than "entertainment"?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:11 PM
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I have to admit, the idea of Palin as some sort of Dadaist art statement has interest.

One day she's going to drop her briefcase and out will fall a bunch of pamphlets by the Italian Futurists, the Dada Manifesto and some polemics against Stuckism?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:12 PM
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369: Actually, I have a proof that Bayesianism is a special case of evolutionary search, only without mutation or sex, but unfortunately this comment box is too small to contain it.

Besides:

363: I'll slink away to die now.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:12 PM
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re: 371

What work is the distinction doing? Other than driving everyone else in this comment thread insane?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:12 PM
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Poor innumerate Cosma.

But two things. First, if the designation of hated liberals includes qualities that I do have (I not only eat, but grow my own arugula) and do not have (I do not recreationally abort babies), I don't know whether to be wounded at the designation "liberal".

Second, maybe some of the things conservatives are told to hate in books about eliminating me are things I genuinely am. Or some of my best friends are. Even if the farce is overbroad entertainment, the vicious parts are still dangerous to me.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:12 PM
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What's the point of calling it anything other than politics, Brock?
[Answer: to not have to judge it harshly.]


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:12 PM
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371: If we say 'spectacle', what, in your view, follows from that?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:13 PM
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363: I believe the word is "unnumerate," W-lfs-n.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:15 PM
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Me learn numbers? That's onepossible!


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:16 PM
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376: *of course* it's politics. I'm just drawing the distinction between intellectually and substantively serious politics, and those that base their appeal on pure spectacle. (The same distinction I was drawing previously with the books.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:16 PM
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373: Could be worse; I'm not even sure what Bayesianism is. I've encountered Bayes' theorem back in law school, but what it means as a school of thought generally I do not know.

There's something deeply pathetic that my vague regrets about the past are largely about not taking more stats back in college.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:17 PM
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380: I'm trying not to actually do it, but it's really hard not to read an implicit "so we shouldn't [worry about? blame people for? devote serious thought to?] the 'pure spectacle' politics" into that comment. Assuming that nothing like that is your point, is there anything else that is?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:19 PM
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Really, LB? For some reason I thought you were a maths person, of sorts.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:20 PM
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383: Some, although not much -- I was a physics major for a while -- but I never got around to taking stats. Everything I know is general knowledge or stuff I picked up working.

I pass as a maths person as a litigator, because there are a lot of us who can't add, and an easy facility with being able to do present value calculations in Excel wows people.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:22 PM
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I am completely lost.

For reference purposes, was my 241 on topic or tangential?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:25 PM
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382: no, nothing like that is my point, and there's really nothing else that is. I was just trying to clarify the way in whcih I'd been using the term 'entertainment" earlier in the thread.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:26 PM
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Tangential, a bit, but I was thinking about turning a reaction to it into a fresh post.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:26 PM
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383: probably due to the location of her undergraduate education.

I also understand what Brock is saying - 360 is an accurate summary - but am not sure what exactly results from it. I do think that there's a lot of misunderstanding how people decide who to vote for that make it hard for liberals to win elections in the US, and that there's at least a nebulous connection between what Brock is saying and that misunderstanding, but can't tease it out.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:27 PM
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an easy facility with being able to do present value calculations in Excel wows people

I remember being disturbed why my real estate agent didn't find it completely obvious that, for a given interest rate, mortgage payments are linear with the value of the mortgage.

That didn't seem to prevent him from being a good real estate agent, however.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:28 PM
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382: It's very hard to counter entertainment-politics with substance-politics, as they are trying to do fundamentally different things.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:30 PM
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Tangential, a bit, but I was thinking about turning a reaction to it into a fresh post.

Thanks, reading the thread was leaving me feeling dizzy.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:34 PM
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I actually think this is a fascinating thread. And I think I may see exactly, or at least very nearly, where Brock is coming from.

But I'm left with a question. Brock, t has seemed to me, more in this electoral cycle than ever before, that Republicans genuinely couldn't care less about the substance of the presidential campaign.

There are countless examples to support this contention, but let me offer three: 1) The choice of Palin as McCain's running mate. 2) The open admission by the McCain camp that this campaign would not be about issues. 3) The non-stop lies issuing from McCain's and Palin's mouths, no matter how many times they are caught lying.

I've been struck by all of this, I guess, because I've always thought of presidential politics as a serious business, at least insofar as the winner has to govern the country. But maybe, given that McCain is running a manifestly unserious campaign and not really suffering for it among the faithful, Republicans don't see things my way. Maybe it's all entertainment in the red camp. Is that right?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:41 PM
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It's not harmless. People are using ignorant stereotypes as the basis for voting. My God, can't vote for the guy who thinks he's smarter than you, even if he is, because then all those other people who think they're smarter that you with snicker. At you.

People who don't want to be thought morons ought to lay-off with the moronic utterances. That said, I'm an equal opportunity snob about morons -- they come from all regions and are of various persuasions -- and I make no moral judgment at all. Except for those who wear stupidity as a badge of honor, and deliberately choose to support policies that harm people in service of those who pander to bigotry and ignorance.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:42 PM
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turning a reaction to it into a fresh post.

On vague regrets?! Do that! I regret not taking demography and I regret not taking soils classes even more. I also totally regret dating the same guy for my entire twenties, especially since he moved on to my best friend (whom I hear is looking chubby, nttawwt, except that I hope it means that she's feeling sad and disembodied and self-conscious about it all the time). I also regret not buying another house here in Sac in the late 90's. Do that post!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:42 PM
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(Having said that, I've come to regret and be pretty embarrassed about a stupid and insensitive -- contempt-worthy, even -- thing I said to Sir Kraab last night. I'll not repeat it to you folks, but feel free to glare in my direction.)


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:46 PM
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Going way back up the page to Bitch's comment, but I think it's pretty much right on the money. There's a style of glibertarian thinking that leverages the supposed love and respect that liberals have for the masses (which is a misperception of liberalism, but who gives a shit) to needle liberals, but the libertarians in question actually loathe the masses that they imagine even more. Some glibertarians don't really believe at all in the wisdom of crowds: they believe that they're the chosen few who are better than the crowds, and who would win out if the state withered away and life became nasty, brutish and short.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:49 PM
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392: I think the entertainers are taking over the show over there, yes. I don't think that's always been the case.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:49 PM
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Some glibertarians don't really believe at all in the wisdom of crowds: they believe that they're the chosen few who are better than the crowds, and who would win out if the state withered away and life became nasty, brutish and short.

"Some" s/b "all", right? I thought this was one of the key features of glibertarianism. Who is John Galt, after all?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:52 PM
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that Republicans genuinely couldn't care less about the substance of the presidential campaign.

That sounds right. However, I do think it's a very serious business for them. What they're serious about is not losing their grip on power. A substance-less campaign is merely a means to that end (since God knows they'd have a much harder time trying to win it on the issues).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:53 PM
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397: Interesting. So then, given your answer, do you see a causal link between this point and your earlier argument? In other words, is the emptiness of the Republican in-house entertainment/comedy/rhetoric, the basic lies upon which it all rests in other words, now inflecting the actual political process? Put another way, has the fact that the Republican base listens to Limbaugh and Hannity now led them to accept a presidential campaign that is nothing but a steaming pile of incompetence and lies?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:56 PM
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399: Right. This is the basic argument of one of Obama's new talking points: that McCain will happily sacrifice his integrity upon the altar of presidential power.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 4:58 PM
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Yes, it is the faux entertainment campaign. The last 3 weeks have been all about McCain, not Palin; McCain finally proving to the front-clowns like Limbaugh and Hannity and the backroom Rovians that he really is one of them, that he really does have utter contempt for governance, really will do "whatever it takes" when push comes to shove. Rove used to call Bush "the perfect candidate", the empty vessel, willing to play the seemingly unserious clown in pursuit of deadly serious aims.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 5:05 PM
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381: I don't tell my students this, but I've never taken any stats classes at all. (See "worries about being in over my head" supra.)

375: I was trying to explicate Brock's point, while being agnostic about whether or not it was right. In the completely absence of evidence, I'd be at least mildly skeptical that liberals really do find the caricature so foreign that we can all just shrug it off. I do, but I suspect this might well depend on personal situation and especially on upbringing. To the extent liberals agree, or suspect, that the "conservative tribe" is the American default, well, those taunts might sting more. (I don't worry about that, because my parents are lumpentechnocrat immigrants with family histories of left-wing politics; I had a great-uncle whose middle name really was "Karl Marx".)

Tim Burke's point, after the last election, that "we are stealing their children" probably plays into all this somehow, but now I need to fabricate a teaching statement more elevated than "I like to spout off to captive audiences, and then crush their hopes."


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 5:09 PM
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Cosma, imagine an urn filled with marbles, half of them black and half of them white. OK so far?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 5:12 PM
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404: Who fills up an urn with marbles? Seriously, who?


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 5:13 PM
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It's an urn-shaped urn, the same one sometimes used in a version of the duck-rabbit experiment. Except that it's a real urn with real marbles in it, not a picture of a steaming teapot with no picture of boiling water inside. God puts the marbles in, or maybe the laws of nature.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 5:18 PM
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406: a stochastic model is an imaginary urn with real marbles in it, then?


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 5:24 PM
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Yes. As I pointed out above, if you multiply four imaginary urns, you get a real urn. Actually I got it wrong above, I said two urns, which only gets you one negative, grumbly, wet-blanket urn.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 5:32 PM
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297: John, that's the sweetest thing you could say :)


Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 5:32 PM
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And then, there are two men reporting on the colors of the balls they take out of the urn one by one, and one of the men always lies and the other never lies. And in this society, the word "black" means black before noon, and it means white after noon.

Now that we've established the basic principles, we can use thme on a few trolley car problems.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 5:35 PM
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408: one negative, grumbly, wet-blanket urn

We are happy to keep you on our mantle-piece anyway.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 5:36 PM
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I am fond of an urn!


Posted by: Ngwbu | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 5:37 PM
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410: You remind me of the following exchange from graduate school.

Professor: Consider a ball rolling without sliding down a frictionless inclined —

My classmate: I've done this problem.


Posted by: Cosma | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 5:37 PM
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Credit where due, werewolf.

COme to think of it, I have a werewolf post at my URL.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 5:38 PM
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I'm actually taking a stats class right now. It's an online course with a time limit. If I don't start working soon, I'll be out a lot of money. Fuck.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 6:20 PM
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(Actually, either way, I'm out the money...)


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 6:20 PM
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Anybody else see the completely hilarious NY Times story about how a firm named John Galt Construction appears to have been a fraudulent 9/11 profiteer, by the way? Gee, you THINK? Guess you had to be an intellecktual to know that.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 6:25 PM
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I am trying to read this book so that I can better understand statistics in social science papers:

http://www.amazon.com/Analysis-Regression-Multilevel-Hierarchical-Models/dp/052168689X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221612569&sr=1-1

It is fricking complicated.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 6:47 PM
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Cosma really doesn't have to know any distributions or stat theory. He can do it all with kernel regression and simulation. All the stuff you're learning in your nasty stat courses is just obsolete 20th century approximation. He (she?) is out there with the real 21st century computer shit.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 7:51 PM
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lemmy: Isn't that overkill for most social science? Are hierarchical models all that common?

Cosma is an apostate who doesn't understand that if a question can't be answered by linear regression, then it's not worth asking.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 7:53 PM
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420: I think they're becoming pretty common, at least in some parts of social science. There are so many computer packages now that can fit them.


Posted by: Funky Clod | Link to this comment | 09-16-08 8:32 PM
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I find it very American that culture is so readily defined by one one consumes.

NASCAR. Artisanal swipple food. Trucker hats. Flat shoes. Aspirational Lexus in the garage. Urban composting. r-project. (segue to Trainspotting trailer ...)


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 09-17-08 1:28 AM
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Crystal meth. Bourbon.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-17-08 1:58 AM
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Formula 1 highbrow? In what year did we land on the moon in your timeline?



Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 09-17-08 9:05 AM
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at what point does this apparent preponderance of just-for-laffs liberal-hating shtick in the us media actually start impacting the perception that the "entertainment elite" is liberal?


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 09-17-08 11:42 AM
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(sorry that reads a bit snarky -- it's not meant to be)


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 09-17-08 11:45 AM
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301: Funny, I've known a few women with insistent and inconsiderate boyfriends who claimed it very nearly worked exactly that way.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 09-18-08 3:45 PM
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