One of the silliest explanations of the Bush victory is Dave Brooks’ idea that Red State people voted for Bush because their feelings had been hurt by the elitist ridicule being sent their way by liberals. Brooks is a virtuoso of silly pop-psychology explanations, and this is one of his best. I’m sure that stupid people don’t like being called stupid, but they vote the way they do because they believe what they’ve been told, not because their feelings have been hurt.
For example, one thing we do know is that Bush voters were about three times more likely than Kerry voters to believe the erroneous Bush cover story about the Second Iraq War, and we also know that the reason that they do so is that they’ve been ill-served by the media. And lo! — who is it that’s been asking us to have more respect for misinformed people? It’s the media people who have been keeping the Red States misinformed!
Similiarly, George Will, whose worship of the dollar is well-attested both in his personal life and in his political positions, is very proud of the noble people in Kansas and elsewhere who do not vote their economic interest. George loves those guys, because he’s got them voting his economic interest instead of their own. Quite a triumph for George!
One of the messages we’re being sent here is “Don’t mess with our dumb followers”. A guy I know has an athletic, semi-retarded 250-lb. friend who’s surprisingly quick with his fists. This guy gets a lot of respect, and it’s no mystery why. The Republicans are telling us that their dupes may be dumb, but there are a lot of them, and they’re tougher than we are. Will, Brooks, and the rest actually have no more respect for the Moral Majority than Woody Allen does, but they know better than to let that out.
There’s a second reason why they want us to avoid ridicule. Brooks and a hundred other national and local columnists got their jobs as affirmative-action, hire-the-handicapped conservatives. Repeating conservative talking points is basically part of their job description. As it happens, a lot of these talking points are stupid and are directed primarily at stupid people. So when we ridicule the talking points, it’s as if we’re saying that Brooks himself is stupid.
So fine, David. You’re not stupid. Neither is George Will. Neither is George Bush. You’re a bunch of pimps, making your livings keeping the Silent Majority misinformed. Happy now?
So I say, escalate the ridicule. That won’t help us win the election, but we can’t be on duty all the time, and it’s sort of fun to see if the oily Mr. Brooks has any threshold of embarassment at all.
P.S. I have never understood what was wrong with cursing the darkness, either. I mean, Eleanor Roosevelt was a wonderful person, but really — fuck the darkness.