Imaginary Liberals

Thers, responding to that “coastal elites are so stupid and mean to the South all the time” piece that’s going around:

Thers’ Fifth Iron Law of the Internets: Twice as many people have gone
on the Internet to claim they stopped being liberals because of things
said at coastal liberal cocktail parties than, statistically speaking, could have ever attended coastal liberal cocktail parties to begin with.
Also, there’s a certain common sense matter to consider here; to wit,
does anyone believe that, say, anyone associated with Pajamas Media
would ever have been invited to too many parties to start with?Thinkabout it.

[snip]

There is, sweet tits O’ Christ, no “type” who “can’t converse without referencingThe New Yorker.”
Nobody knows anyone of the fucking sort. This is a gag so prehistoric,
even George Will might hold back on it as slightly not-current. But if
you then decide to get on your high horse about how nobody in the North
“gets” Truman Capote… I mean… “you know too much aboutThe New Yorker,
elitist swine, but haven’t read enough Truman Capote…” that’s, uh…
oh for fuck’s sake, is what I mean. Please don’t make me explain this
because I am in a bad enough mood as it is and have no patience left I
swear.

These aren’t real people. This is something that has never happened. I spend time with many, many liberals and if anybody referencesThe New Yorker they promptly get the piss taken out of them for being a pretentious asshole. Maybe I need to befriend some more snobs. Will my lack of knowledge of Faulkner get in the way?

And yeah, do liberals say shitty things about the South? Sure. We also bag on Canada, Alaska, Finland, New Jersey, France, Chicago, New York, The Heartland, Oklahoma, big cities, small towns, apartment buildings, bunkers, farms, and everyplace else anyone can live. And that’s just on this blog in the past six months.

(I’m sorry if my Finnish readers were offended during the Olympics, but GODDAMN, that hockey game was like watching a bunny rabbit get hit by a Mack truck, it wasn’t even a contest, so until you get a defense, eat your reindeer like men and shut the fuck up.)

People are always going to intimate that the place they live gives them some inherent superiority or dictates character. I could put my finger down on a map, post the name of the place, and it would be filled with “it’s awesome and here’s why you suck if you don’t realize that” and “it sucks because I had a shitty experience there and here’s how” comments by the end of the day. Always, because it’s easy and it’s funny and trust me, I know some
Minnesota jokes, okay. It only becomes a problem when we take it
seriously enough to, you know, base actual policy decisions on this
bullshit.

Mr. A observed once, during a conversation about a meatspace person who gets seriously upset about what brand of cola you prefer, that we have in large part exchanged values for brand loyalties, and I think that’s part of it, but I also think we ascribe values to certain consumer behaviors. That’s where all the “what kind of cheese did Kerry put on his cheesesteak” bullshit comes from. When in truth there’s no corollary whatsoever, as there are assholes and insects in every place, and they eat all kinds of things.

We look at somebody’s car, somebody’s fridge, somebody’s choice of house and say, Ah, I recognize you, you fit in this box! It’s crap to do it about the South, but it’s crap to do it about EVERYWHERE, coastal elitist cocktail parties included. It makes no fucking sense. Especially when you’re talking in a piece about how people are people and not caricatures.

A.

12 thoughts on “Imaginary Liberals

  1. I spend time with many, many liberals and if anybody references The New Yorker they promptly get the piss taken out of them for being a pretentious asshole.
    Really? If I bring up some “national security” outrage that Jane Meyer has written about you and yours will make fun of me for being pretentious? Or mentioning something Atul Gawande wrote about healthcare reform?
    Just so I’m clear on this: You’re saying the very act of readingThe New Yorker is proof of pretension? And thus worthy of mockery?
    .

  2. soullite says:

    You can’t have honestly never met elitist liberals. I mean, lets be real. There are lots of liberals who HATE poor people. Sure, that hatred takes on a paternalistic ‘we have to make choices for them, because they are too stupid to make choices for themselves’, but it’s still hatred.
    You know, the social liberals/economic neoliberals who make up the vast majority of the Democrat’s big money boys? They hate poor people, actively work against our interests, and then turn around and pretend to be doing it “for our own good” in order to justify those choices. These are the people who rammed through NAFTA, promising all manner of changed and never delivering on them. These are the people who rammed through the shittiest healthcare system in the planet in order to force us to buy health insurance and drive up their stock prices.
    Democratic elitism is most definitely real, and it’s a joke to pretend otherwise.

  3. Ahzz says:

    It’s people that cite articles as their reasons instead of the facts or ideas presented that’s the problem. Being pretentious is acting like you understand something based on a story you read in a single sole source instead of getting a true understanding. I think.
    Did that make sense?

  4. Bat of Moon says:

    I dunno. I think The New Yorker is a fine magazine — one of the best in the country — and I read interesting, useful things in it all the time (Jane Meyer, yes!). Now, at a party, I would probably only reference The New Yorker to people I have reason to believe aren’t assholes.
    As far as making fun of the South, well, I’m a Southerner, and I hear Southerners make fun of “Yankees” all the time — it’s the top subject after football and the weather — so whatever. It’s a popular pastime down here. Northerners make fun of Southerners, Southerners make fun of Northerners and everybody’s right and everybody’s wrong.

  5. montag says:

    I live in a town full of caricatures.
    Most of them are on the city council, or the county board of commissioners, or want to be.
    Probably have more drugstore cowboys per square inch than does North Dallas…
    As for theNew Yorker, I damned sure don’t see theTuscaloosa News or theAnniston Star publishing the likes of Seymour Hersh or Jane Mayer. (Oh, right, they’re commies.)
    Look, when the most pressing election issue in the South right now is whether or not Republican Alabama gubernatorial candidate Bradley Byrne believes in evolution, the South doesn’t need the “elite liberals” to make fun of them. They’re doin’ right well at it all by themselves.

  6. Athenae says:

    spork, if it’s being cited in a conspicuous manner as evidence of one’s superior reading list, as coastal elite liberals are accused of doing in the original article, then yeah, it’s pretentious. As is most name-dropping, even of Truman Capote.
    I probably could have been clearer on the distinction.
    A.

  7. What I hate most about that whole narrative is that it ignores the reality that there are, ya know, a whole fucking lot of liberals who live in the South. But maybe we need more of y’all to come down here! Come on, coastal elites!Immigrate! Come to Tennessee, help turn us blue! It’s not that bad, honest. We have beautiful mountains, great music, some wonderful lakes where you can enjoy water sports .. Plus the cost of living is way cheaper than Manhattan or San Francisco. We’re smack in the middle of the country so when you get homesick it’s easy to go home for a visit.
    Come on out, and I’ll hand you a voter registration card when you get here.
    🙂

  8. Thers says:

    Hey A.
    The thing about Capote being dragged into this combined with the snide New Yorker reference, is that Capote of course got his first real job with The New Yorker, and that his whole career was intimately tied to that magazine — they commissioned & serialized In Cold Blood.
    Literally, if there were no The New Yorker… no Truman Capote!
    And more, it’s not like there were Southern publishers who would have touched Other Voices Other Rooms with a ten-foot gay reference. (And there’s a reason Harper Lee left Alabama…)
    That’s what killed me, is the astonishing ignorance of even the most basic facts. “You New Yorker readers can’t possibly get Truman Capote” is hallucinatory-level ideological caterwauling. It’s why I had such a hard time deciding the article wasn’t actually satire.

  9. virgotex says:

    Whatever the writer’s intent, I think the Guardian piece was sloppy, hysterical, and poorly written.
    I think Thers’ post is masturbatory, and along with his his commenters, is self-congratulatory.
    And I think you’re making an equivalency that puts cheesehead jokes in the same category as contempt and condescension. And I wish I hadn’t encountered as much of the latter online and in person from people that are supposedly the good guys, the people on the same side as me. But I have. I’m not talking about people trashing (deservedly so) politicians or policies or entrenched regional ignorance, I’m talking about them holding me in contempt or assuming I’m less than or deluded or whatever because of where I’m from.
    Contempt isn’t the same as joking, or “bagging on” or pigeonholing. Especially if you’ve been on the receiving end.

  10. pansypoo says:

    but teabaggers can be caricatured. right?

  11. Good thing they realized to stop being a-holes.

  12. The Crapture says:

    The number of these phony “used-to-be” liberals is somewhere along the line of people who will claim to be “a quarter Cherokee on my grandma’s side” as if there were ever that many Cherokee Grandma’s in the history of ever

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