(The Return of) Ignatz, by Sam Heldman

Thursday, September 05, 2002

no, really, is he just trying to be silly? More from Andrew Sullivan postulating that Southern liberals are just trying to curry favor with non-Southerners; he quotes and agrees with a reader who says "In any lefty circle, being a white Southerner is perceived as a huge character fault, regardless of that Southerner's ideologies. Lefties hear a Southern accent and cringe. So to earn points with colleagues in notoriously left-leaning newsrooms, Southerners overcompensate for the flaw of being Southern by abandoning all sense of reason and out-lefting anyone in sight."

Let me be plain about this: I don't think that gay people who are outspoken hyper-conservative moralizers are just taking that stance in order to gain favor with right-wing homophobes and to overcome the perceived character flaw of being gay. I think that Sullivan would rightly be pissed if I opined that this manipulative/psychological motivation, rather than actual thought, was the most notable reason for his political beliefs and the beliefs of his gay conservative allies. So why in the world does he feel free to say a precisely-analogous silly thing about Southern liberals?

It's kind of like Orrin Hatch on judicial confirmations. (Not that Senator Hatch is gay, so far as I know). Consistency's not the hobgoblin of little minds. Consistency is what keeps us from talking bs all the time.

UPDATE: And now Kaus, too, is jumping on Sullivan's bandwagon, claiming that every Southerner more left than himself (which is starting to include a vast number, as he runs towards the Right) is a "Guilty Southern White Boy" motivated by inappropriate regional psychology rather than the presumably more wonderful and intellectual and well-thought-out things that impel Kaus towards the political positions he takes. Now, I'm not usually one to get mad at Southern stereotyping; I loved O Brother Where Art Though, though the music was mostly anachronistic. (email me if you want my lecture, and web resources, on that). But this is frankly getting offensive.

posted by sam 7:37 AM 0 comments


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