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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

REMEDIAL READING 

Andrea Harris digs her own grave. I just toss in the dirt:
Stereotypes abounding

This strikes me as a really stupid statement:
Does anyone else find it odd that conservatives — the staunch upholders of history and tradition — typically live in and defend decidedly newfangled suburbs, while liberals — the bold advocates of progressive change — typically live in and defend decidedly old-fashioned neighborhoods? I’ve never been able to figure that one out.
Okay, test, just how many dumb ideas are packed into that little rhetorical question? For the record, the yards of the homes in the rather older former suburb (as opposed to the “newfangled” ones) that I live in, which is now actually very near to the city centers of Orlando and Winter Park, mostly sported “Bush/Cheney” signs during the most recent presidential election. I did see a Kerry/Edwards sign — torn into three pieces by the side of the road. And there are a lot of Jewish people in the neighborhood too. One of the homes I walk past on my way to work had a Sukkot shelter in its yard during the week of that festival.
Okay, test, just how many dumb ideas are packed into that little belch of a post? First of all, before you break your arm patting yourself on the back for finding stereotypes in that "really stupid statement," maybe you should pop her into reverse and notice that THAT WAS THE WHOLE FRICKING POINT. The stereotypes of conservatives and liberals don't match (part of) their behavior. (Oh, and "aelfheld"--whatever the hell an aelfheld is--the reason I didn't have a "keyboard meltdown" when I referred to liberals as “the bold advocates of progressive change” is that I can read past the fifth-grade level and sometimes when I write I get real wacky and go way way out on a rhetorical limb and put down something that isn't actually 100% in earnest. Next time I'll throw up some little signposts for you so you can follow along with the big kids.)

And I'm really cranked for you that your "rather older former suburb" in a red state 2,000 miles away from the older neighborhoods of my blue-state metropolis is "mostly" Republican. All that means is that my point isn't universally generalizable (according to you, at least; our co-blogger John grew up in Florida and lives there now, so maybe he can weigh in). Huh--stereotypes aren't always true. Gee, that really surprises me! (Note to aelfheld: I'm joking!)

Look, I'll try this again. If the proverbial visitor from Mars came down to Earth, and you told him that there's this one group of people that is generally suspicious of departures from tradition, and there's this other group that isn't, and there is this one neighborhood over here that hasn't really changed much at all for 75 years, and there's this other one over there that was a cornfield five years ago, and then you asked him, "hey Mr. Martian, where do you think the two groups are likely to live?" it seems pretty obvious how he'd answer. But he'd be wrong, at least in the Twin Cities. I think that's odd. That's all. I just think it's odd. I don't think it's one of the unfathomable mysteries of the universe (though you sure as hell haven't advanced the ball any), and I don't think it means that conservatives are evil hypocrites, and I don't think it means that liberals are evil hypocrites (well, they are, but not because of this).

And what makes it more odd to me is that during this whole city vs. suburbs debate we've been having in our little network of blogs here, and that was the backdrop for my post, no one has argued along the lines of "you know, as a conservative I'd love to live in one of those older, traditional neighborhoods in Minneapolis or St. Paul, because it seems like it would fit well with my basic philosophical and tempermental outlook, but I can't because [fill in the blank]"--because it costs too much, or because there's too much crime, or because the schools suck, or because it's run by DFL weenies, or because whatever. That I would understand. What I don't understand is why a desire to live in an older neighborhood doesn't seem to have entered into anyone's calculus at all. It seems to have been a complete non-factor. Again, I'm not arguing that it ought to be a factor, or that conservatives are wrong for living in Lakeville, or that liberals are wrong for living in Mac-Groveland. You can all live wherever the hell you want, I don't care (though the further from me the better, especially if you have a dog, teenagers, or a car alarm. Or if you like to feed the neighborhood squirrels. God, I hate that.). I just think it's surprising.

Oh, and it's swell that there "are a lot of Jewish people" in your neighborhood, but what the hell does that have to do with anything?

3 Comments:

Did you notice that Lileks thinks you are Eloise?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:15 PM  

That sounds like a tag line of some kind.

"Welcome to the Internet, where Lileks thinks you're a girl..."

By Blogger Nicko McDave, at 12:53 PM  

Anonymous: You noticed too? I must confess I'm rather flattered that Lileks seems to always think that anything smart and pithy in the blogosphere was written by me. He's a busy fellow, far too busy to parse details like PostAuthors. If I'm the beneficiary of his speed reading well, I ain't complaining. And the Warrior Monk is kind enough to let sleeping dogs lie.

Ohligarch: Great tagline! Might I suggest another: "Welcome to the Internet, where Lileks wishes there were more girls..."

By Blogger ELOISE, at 6:35 PM  

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