November 09, 2004

The Worst Blue-State Condescension Article of All Time

The New York Times, after the election, decided to interview some New Yorkers to gauge their reaction to Bush's win, and the result so laughably encapsulates every elite-liberal stereotype, all in one place, that I honestly thought the story was a parody when I first read it.

Those interviewed include: a film producer, a “barmaid in Brooklyn,” a retired psychiatrist, and an art dealer. They all have chic dogs, all say things like “New Yorkers are more sophisticated,” and (of course) none of them know anyone who voted for Bush. One even describes New York as “an island off the cost of Europe,” making the all-too-common mistake of mistaking a particular 15-block section of the Upper West Side of Manhattan for "New York."

These types of people were able to blame Bush's first electoral victory on the Supreme Court, the Florida fiasco, et. al. But now that the president has won an undisputed election, they're forced to go further- right into the realm of Bush-won-because-the-yokels-who-voted-for-him-are-too-stupid-to-know-any-better. Where they're more comfortable anyway, of course.

One New Yorker quoted in the piece looks down with disdain her native Midwest (something I, for as long as I live in New York, promise to never, ever do), stating "They're very 1950's"- as opposed to the stereotypical blue staters, who are instead very 1960s. Better to live 40 years in the past than 50 years, I suppose.

This part of the story is particularly laughable; emphasis all mine:

Ms. Camhe, the film producer, frequents Elaine's restaurant with friends and spends many mornings on a bench in Central Park talking politics with homeless people with whom she's become acquainted.[???] She spent part of Tuesday knocking on doors in Pennsylvania to rustle up Kerry votes then returned to Manhattan to attend an election-night party thrown by Miramax's chairman, Harvey Weinstein, at The Palm. Ms. Camhe was also up much of the night talking to a son in California who was depressed at the election results.

When it became clear yesterday morning that the outlook for a Kerry squeaker was a mirage, she was unable to eat breakfast. Her doorman on Central Park West gave her a consoling hug. Then a friend buying coffee along with her said she had just heard a report on television that Mr. Kerry had conceded and tears welled in Ms. Camhe's eyes.

Ms. Camhe explained the habits and beliefs of those dwelling in the heartland like an anthropologist.

"What's different about New York City is it tends to bring people together and so we can't ignore each others' dreams and values and it creates a much more inclusive consciousness," she said.

[New York, home of Wall Street and much of the cutthroat corporate world, “brings people together?” Spoken like a true non-private sector worker.]
"When you're in a more isolated environment, you're more susceptible to some ideology that's imposed on you."
[Yea, I was thinking the same thing.]
As an example, Ms. Camhe offered the different attitudes New Yorkers may have about social issues like gay marriage.
"We live in this marvelous diversity where we actually have gay neighbors," she said. "They're not some vilified unknown. They're our neighbors."
What the hell does that mean? People outside New York don’t have gay neighbors? Mike Silverman, who is gay and lives with his partner in Lawrence, Kansas, might be interested to know that. Closed-minded nonsense like that brings many words to my mind, but “sophisticated” is certainly not among them.

I know most of the NYT audience will likely relate to the people quoted here. But in the realm of stereotype-building, the story is without peer in recent journalistic history. This would be like, if Bush had lost, a newspaper had sent a reporter to a NASCAR track and quoted a bunch of people with mullets bitching about the disproportionate electoral influence of the “niggers, fags, and Jews,” before adjourning to go shoot beer cans off each other’s heads.

UPDATE: Apparently Lileks already addressed this; he calls it “advice from our betters.”

Posted by Stephen Silver at November 9, 2004 12:56 AM

So do people ask you if since you're from Minn if you own any cows? Drive a tractor? Own a farm? Or do they just ask that of ohioans like me?
(or that's just the crowd at Brandeis)

Posted by: jaws at November 9, 2004 11:41 AM

The only classmate I've ever had who actually grew up on a farm was from...New York. Practically Canada, of course, but no less a part of the Empire State as Times Square.

Posted by: Dave J at November 9, 2004 07:38 PM

i'm from houston and people from manhattan like to ask me if i like big city life.

this is particularly laughable given the fact that i am from HOUSTON and also given the fact that manhattan is roughly the size of a texas airport.

i came across this blog entry while searching for the text of the article, which i am going to fwd to a friend back home for kicks.

yes, texans get a kick out of the brand of nyer who interviews for or writes the sort of comical article in question.

Posted by: jen at January 13, 2005 01:38 PM
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