Hurray for Dollywood

Hot damn! I wonder if this
here post by Iowahawk
means I’m gonna git me someplace near here
in Pensylvay-ni-ay that can serve up a decent mess of Texas

Put me down as a proud purple-stater. I like guns, but I hate
country music. I love burnt-ends sandwiches, but I despise chewing
tobacco. I agree that Waffle House makes the breakfast food of the
gods, but I loathe fundamentalists. I not uncommonly use “y’all”
rather than “you” for the second person plural because it’s clearer,
but I assume people who use “y’all” for the second person
singular really are dumb hicks.

Demography is not destiny. I was born in the Yankee heart of
Boston, I went to an Ivy League university, I’m a fluent writer and
speaker, every house I’ve lived in in the U.S. has been within a
hundred miles of the Atlantic, and I’ve never had a manual-labor job
in my life. By all that’s stereotyped I ought to be a member in good
standing of the chattering classes and the tribe of fuzzy-sweater
liberals, sucking up NPR and voting for Kerry like all decent
blue-staters were supposed to.

I’m not quite sure how I escaped this fate. It wasn’t by becoming
a conservative, oh dear no. I’m a radical Wiccan anarchist with a
sexual style that your average red-stater wouldn’t even know the right
words to describe (yes, I’ve checked). Right-wingers appall me
— most are so narrow-minded that they don’t even have a prayer
of understanding how narrow-minded they are. They live inside cages
and never see the bars.

So instead of repudiating my blue-state pedigree by turning into
some sort of repellant young-conservative lizardoid, I grew into
someone half-blue, half-red. My wife Cathy thinks my father’s
influence had a lot to do with that, and she’s probably got a point.
He grew up hardscrabble poor in the red counties of rural central
Pennsylvania during the Great Depression, clawed his way out to a
profession in coastal blue-land with drive and brains, and married an
upper-class girl with the looks of a movie star. Men like that don’t
fall for easy, comfortable answers in politics or anywhere else.
Among the traits I inherited from him are a contrarian streak, a
studied and stubborn refusal to fit into anyone’s tidy categories, and
some bedrock respect for red-state virtues.

Iowahawk ends his brilliant satire with the line “After the toilet
backed up, I think he got my point”. Whether intentionally or not, he
perfectly illustrates the single most important advantage of red-state
culture and politics. It’s an advantage my father understood, and he
passed that understanding on to me.

Here it is: your average red-state prole’s world-view may be
strangely cramped, and is too often shot through with bizarre and ugly
superstitions like creationism — but within his limits he
is in contact with reality. On the other hand, your average
elite blue-stater — insulated by wealth and a complacent
mainstream media and thick layers of theoretical artifice —
understands everything except reality. Which is great if
what you need is irony or wit or skilled navigation through a maze of
social constructions, but not so useful when you need a toilet

There’s nothing new about this dance. Aristocrats and yeomen have
been doing it since the days when Sumer was the new kid on the block.
The anti-red-state squawking now being emitted by blue-state pundits
in the wake of Kerry’s defeat can be summed up as a fearful cry of
“The peasants are revolting!” It isn’t really about political
geography but about class and class snobbery.

And you know what? Class snobbery pisses me off, especially when
the people peddling it are vapid ninnies whose smugness about their own
sophistication doesn’t conceal their complete failure to get a grip
on reality. Apparently it pisses off Iowahawk too — his satire
doesn’t conceal a dark delight in the thought of all those blue-state
aristo parents wringing their hands.

So, even though I’ll never be one of them, my response to
Iowahawk’s satire is to root for the Neckies. Being one of them by
birth myself, I have long since taken the measure of the blue-state
elite. They’re more interesting to hang with, they tell better jokes,
they understand all the finer things in life — and it’s past
time for this country’s Y’alls to be rubbing their noses in the fact
that they’re mostly full of shit.

Categorized as Culture


  1. In the spirit of Iowahawk’s fine work, dont miss “Visiting Jesusland: a LeftyPlanet guidebook”

    By a fine turned Necker Blonde Brit expat lass that learned to set the proper cam overlap timing on her 911 with a borrowed machinsts dial indicator during her trip from Manhattan to LA

    Her neck might not actually be red, she might not chaw n spit, but she can bead sight a moonbat marxist moonie from as far as round of .50 can reach.

  2. Eric, between your extreme pompousness, your “Wicca”-ness, your despising of “lizardoid” conservatives, and your patronizing of the red staters, you are as blue state as they come. Drop it.

  3. my problem is that the spirit of the constitution implies that we shouldn’t be able to tell which of any two groups is running the show, at a particular time. They’re supposed to be too busy wrangling with each other to do much damage.

    It’s clear who is running the show right now, and that’s scary.

  4. Indeed, Steve’s mistake is common among the fundamentalists (“you are either with us or against us”) of both the left and right.  To the PC-left, I’m one of those scary conservatives because I dare to question race preferences and gun prohibition.  To the fundie-right, I’m one of those hateful liberals because I dare to question creationism and all its variants, the “pro-life” movement and stand up for the separation of church and state.

    Or maybe it’s just the questioning that’s hateful to the dogma-driven and makes them see me as an enemy.  If one really should make all the right enemies, I guess I’m doing well. ;-)

  5. Sterotypes?

    I was born in Boston and raised as the youngest in a Harvard-educated clan. My father worked with his hands — as a pianist and organist. His father was a printer. My maternal granparents were both physicians. And I cannot forget my uncle, an Episcopal priest, who bedded me at age 11. They were all New England Republicans — something very different from the current party in power. (Compare Zell Miller, a true old-style Georgia Democrat, to the current party no in power for a similar degree of difference.)

    So it’s by no small coincidence that I wound-up as a liberal small-l libertarian gun-owning computer geek and Wiccan activist with a liberal wife and a reasonable degree of business savvy.

  6. My two cents:
    One of the most unfortunate characteristics of those in the blue-states (well, the people in the satire who happen to live in the blue-states anyway) is their strange fear of dirt. You’ll notice that all of the scandalous professions those kids are throwing their lives away on involve (*shudder*) grease or grime or sewage. There also seems to be a common sentiment that if you try to do these sorts of jobs and you aren’t a plumber (for example) you will almost certainly make the problem somewhat worse. This attitude seems to appear in the “aristocracy” (for lack of a better term) of every place that I’ve lived so far (mostly parts of the southeast with some time in a very strange town in upstate New York). Why they think that this makes them so much better than the rest of us (otherwise intelligent and literate human beings), I haven’t the foggiest.

  7. I wonder if this here post by Iowahawk means I’m gonna git me someplace near here in Pensylvay-ni-ay that can serve up a decent mess of Texas barbeque?

    Drive deep into the T of Pennsylvania and you will probably find what you seek. I especially recommend Gettysburg, General Pickett’s is the only place north of the Mason-Dixon that has offered me sweet tea. Maybe its because of all the southern tourists coming north, but you might find what you seek there.

  8. I think you are screwed on the BBQ. Although, just bringing back a few bottles of Rudy’s BBQ ‘sause’ can help.

    Next time you are in Austin, head out of town to the Salt Lick BBQ. The airport stand or the one on the loop don’t stand up to the original. It is BYOB but bring a few friends and a cooler of your favorite and you have a recipe for a great evening. Much better than Dick’s or County Line.

    TX bread is prety lame although the locals seem to like County Line for some reason. The deli sandwiches don’t stack up to the NE either. But that is a fair trade for a good enchilada and some homemade mole.

  9. fwiffo:  Consider bimodal income distributions in the blue states; given a progressive income tax you could easily have many more votes for the poor guy’s favorite yet have much more per-capita tax paid.

  10. I was born in Downtown Los Angeles myself, and went to a very blue university, UCLA.
    But, like you I think that parental influence had more of an effect than academics.
    Both of my parents were children in the Great Depression, old enough at least toward the end of it to be afraid, but too young to be in the work force.
    Past that my father, also born in LA, and well educated by even by blue standards, was an engineer.
    Engineers think in a very specific way. The requirements of the profession forces them to divide the whole universe into “works” and “does not work.” This habit of thought definitely rubbed off on me.
    The problem with the blue types is that the post-modernist fantasy world they seem to live in does not even recognize that there are categories defined as “works” and “does not work.”
    Much as the Great Depression was a disaster for the nation and the world, it was also the fire in which America’s “Greatest Generation” was forged. I shudder to think about the horror potential in another truely massive brittle fracture of the economy, but I suspect that nothing less can bring the blues out of their fantasy world, and perhaps not even that.

  11. Don’t ever mention your sex life again. You and your wife are visually repulsive (especially you) and the thought of either of you being any way sexual turns my stomach.

  12. } Here it is: your average red-state prole’s world-view may be strangely
    } cramped, and is too often shot through with bizarre and ugly
    } superstitions like creationism — but within his limits he is in contact with
    } reality. On the other hand, your average elite blue-stater — insulated
    } by wealth and a complacent mainstream media and thick layers of theoretical
    } artifice — understands everything except reality.

    Red staters write GUIs in assembly. Blue staters write kernels in Java.

    Canadians use the right tool for the job. Peace and good government, eh?

  13. The average red stater is obviously as out of touch with reality as the average blue stater. Personally, I think it’s people.

    Consider the following: George Bush, a guy who is the very definition of an elite aristocrat, is considered “one of them” and “on their side” and the Republican party is considered a pro-small government party. Meanwhile, when guys who wouldn’t even fight in wars themselves aren’t sending the average red stater’s kids off to die overseas (and lying in order to do so), they’re doing their best to screw them in just about every other way possible back home, including sending their jobs south or overseas.

    Yet the blue staters are the ones with no grip on reality? Give me a break.

  14. but I assume people who use “y’all” for the first person singular[….]

    Did you mean to write “second person singular” here? I’ve never heard anyone use “y’all” for the first-person singular.

  15. Parents definately influence it. My parents were both brought up Southern Baptist, but in the old tradition that you were supposed to think things through for yourself. On the subject of evolution, Dad once said that since 10,000 years was but a ‘blink in God’s eye’, what would be the problem with creation not being listed in people years? But I know blue-state types who would hold them in horror because they have religeous beliefs that actually matter to them.

    I’m a gun-owning red-stater who reads all kinds of stuff, thinks racism is bad, thinks being of some minority group does not make an enemy any less dangerous, and once told a blue-state friend that Kerry & company did get their message out; it’s just that most people didn’t like it. I’m not happy with Bush in a number of ways, but the alternative…

  16. Charles, I like your comments about mentally evaluating things on a continuum of “works” vs. “doesn’t work.” I think that’s what being in contact with reality means.

    Eric, I think the average red-stater’s contact with reality is more tenuous than you suggest because of the factor you mention as “within his limits.” When confronting ideas beyond their limits to understand and test, even disciplined reality-testers are as susceptible to ideas that don’t work as are non-reality-testers who could test them but don’t. Thus we have policy makers who don’t think to test their ideas getting support from honest but simple-minded red-state folks who can’t test those ideas but are willing to support them because they mistakenly assume (due to lack of exposure to social diversity) that people don’t seriously propose policy without having tested it. And we end up with an entire social machine that is divorced from reality–from the highest tier all the way down to the lowest.

  17. You are the most pertenious idiot, and if it isn’t spelled right, GOOD!
    And don’t you feel really stupiddddddddd, since there is a country hick right there in that there White House HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So everytime I think of some stupid country haten idiot, I will think of you HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GET A LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Kerry is a soft wuss, so that tells me something about you. Gay life,:) Louisiana hick country!!!!!!!

  18. I’m pretty heavily culturally “blue.” I was raised by academics. I grew up in a racially integrated neighborhood with lots of immigrants. I’m pretty much the classic “rootless cosmopolitan” — Jewish atheist, not big on authority, strong affinity for science and “high culture.” Lots of reading, no toilet-fixing abilities at all. My boyfriend affectionately calls me his “little aristocrat.”

    I don’t think it’s anything to be ashamed of. I’m not trying to take anything from anyone else; I’m a libertarian, so I intend to make the kind of life I prefer on my own steam, and not force it on anybody else or expect anyone’s subsidy. You may be put off by what goes on in my bedroom (or my bookshelf) but it’s my own business and I stand by it.

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