The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom. - Wm. Blake

Friday, August 19, 2005

Persecution Complexes

I can't get signed in on Pandagon's comment setup, so I'll comment here (as if 0.01% as many will see it, but...).

Amanda wrote yesterday about the fact that, while non-Texans like to mock Bush's Crawford place as a non-ranch, it does, in fact, meet the commonly-accepted Texan definition of ranch, and therefore calling it an estate or whatever just serves to piss off Texans. Today she elucidated on that thought because apparently people went a bit apeshit. Essentially it has whipped into the whole Fuck the South issue, with that patented form of Southern defensiveness and hypersensitivity abounding.

OK, I guess I've already given away where I stand on this. But let's expand a bit, shall we?

First off, I appreciate Amanda's specific point, and disagree with those who say "I won't let Texas dictate word usage for the whole country." It's like bickering over cabin vs. cottage - there's an agreed-upon usage, and it's the local one that rules. That said, Bush didn't buy the place to impress Texans - he bought it (in 1999) to impress the rest of us. So if mocking the place angers Texans but convinces the other 49 states that Bush is a fake, then who cares? But the bottom line is that it's probably not helping, and Amanda has a good alternative: ranchette. It's diminishing, it's basically appropriate, it gets the message across without pissing off anyone unnecessarily.

But on to the larger discussion, which is the good ol' "We in the South are so hurt by mean Yankees that we have little choice but to vote for candidates whose policies we loathe." Believe it or not, that's only a very slightly unfair characterization. Amanda actually cites pro-choice, gay-friendly Texans voting for Bush out of tribalism - and defends it! Says that we supposedly mean Yankees had better knock it off!


If you can't see past perceived cultural slights to vote for the things you say you believe in, then you don't, actually, believe in them. If tribalism trumps human rights, then, well, it's not hard to figure out where you'd stand on any big issue of history. The tribe comes first, every goddam time.

Look, I adore New York City. Don't live there, almost certainly never will, but if I have a tribe, that's it. The notion that I'd vote for, say, Santorum if he came from there because his opponent was a progressive Southerner who mocked NYC? Unimaginable. Literally. Yet Amanda (and a handful of commenters) are defending precisely the same action. Staggering.

Finally, and this is the real reason I'm writing this, there are 57 comments up now, and not a single one references the fact that NO national Democrat has openly mocked the South in years ... ever, that I can think of. Yet what was in Cheney's standard stump speech? The simple word Massachusetts, as a laugh line. No need to expand, no need to tie it to any particular thing. The simple fact that the opposing candidate was from the state that did the most to give us independence was sufficient to mock him. Bush did the same in the debates. And no one from the South said Boo. I didn't see Amanda Fucking Marcotte stand up for John Kerry (and Barney Frank and all 3 Kennedies and John Fucking Adams) and say, That's bullshit, you shouldn't mock regions of the country.

Oh no. It's only the South. It's only her tribe that suffers the slings and arrows of bullshit rhetoric.

Well, frankly, I only have only thing to say to that.


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