[FoRK] Left-coast tropes of note, number N (large N)

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Fri Apr 16 05:57:13 PDT 2010

It truly amazes me how unexamined biases show up so frequently when left-coasters comment on national politics.  I suppose this probably has something to do with a whatever is behind an observation I made while living in California for several years that truly shocked me:  Californians are some of the *most provincial* folks I've ever met.  Seriously a weird deal;  less well-traveled and less aware of / more misinformed about other parts of the country, never mind the world.  Often natives Californians appear to mostly-exclusively vacation in-state, maybe Tahoe, maybe Hawaii, or --- if really adventurous --- the west coast of Mexico.  I don't think that even in Texas I'd ever met anyone that hadn't been out of their home state (or so minimally out of their home state) before moving to the Bay Area.  I guess when you live in Utopia... why would you go anywhere else?

But anyway, I digress.  The "tea = republican" bit is just the most recent unsurprising trope*, and I'd guess that it probably resonates with the left-coasters more than most.  (Apparently, "tea = racist" was too overtly ridiculous to make stick no matter how hard the Huffingandpuffingtons tried, so "tea = republican" is the most damning thing that anybody can come up with now.)  But it conveys that same sense of profound lack of awareness of attitudes, priors, etc. elsewhere in the country that I've come to expect.  Yeah, sure, this is just a bunch of po' ignorant rednecks agitating against their own political self-interest --- again.  Fooled by GOP puppet masters... again.  Simple explanations --- for simple folk?  Let's not bother ourselves or disrupt our nice little insular world-view by asking the hard questions!

Never mind that there's nothing hard at all about understanding the ire of folks towards the Washington establishment, especially when some were already pissed at the GOP mismanagement for years and now have to deal with even more mismanagement by the opposition.  Is disenfranchisement really that surprising?

There was an interesting bit I came across the other day about the demographics of tea partiers, can't put my finger on it at the moment, will send the link if I can find it.  Upshot:  yes, whiter than the mean (though only slightly) and yes, more male than the mean.  But then the demographics depart the too-convenient bible-thumping trailer-park mytheme:  more educated than the mean, wealthier than the mean, less religious than the (GOP) mean, less rural than the (GOP) mean.  And more likely to have voted Democratic for national offices than the mean.  Self-description as "angry" took a backseat (less than half) than self-description as "dissatisfied."

Of course, even if true --- and let's admit the possibility that it's not --- that doesn't jibe with the mytheme being built to counter this grass-roots backlash.  We should, of course, not ask any hard questions or actually doubt the veracity of the left-apologista media (Bob Cesca, here's looking at you) --- lest we run headlong into inconvenient truths.



* another recent, notable trope:  the debt burden associated with the health care bill.  This is become the Dem equivalent of the Faux News-viewer / GOP belief in finding WMDs in Iraq, damn all evidence to the contrary.

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