Monday, October 19, 2009

As good a two-party analogy as I've read

Tomasky uses a sports metaphor to explain the difference between right and left passions:

Yankees fans sort of regally expect victory. Every day between now (whenever "now" is) and the last game of the World Series is just one more 24-hour period that delays the inevitably of Yankee triumph. It's for this reason that cheering for the Yankees has always seemed to me like cheering for Exxon. But they do have a glorious history, and that history informs the quality and nature of the fan's passion.

The Red Sox have a very different history, full of near-misses (until recently), and so they are fatalists. They assume nothing. In fact, if anything, they assume their team will find a way to blow it, even if they're one out away from being world champions (there's a very good reason for this, it turns out).

They're certainly the equal of Yankees fans in terms of passion. But the two passions have different natures.

No analogy is perfect but this one is pretty good, actually. So: why should liberals' and conservatives' political passions, and the quality and nature of their hatred of the other side, be exactly and precisely similar? They obviously are not and cannot be, because they have different histories, different relationships to power, different world views, etc. That's what I'm trying to get at.

To extend my analogy, since the US is by default a fairly (not extremely) conservative country, with liberalism ascendant only spasmodically, I think conservatives are more like Yankees fans and liberals are more like Red Sox fans. But enough from me. I've now written (between the column and this post) nearly 1,500 words on the subject in the last two days. Your turn.

Of course, if the Democrats score some wins on healthcare, energy and Don't Ask, Don't Tell, one wonders how that will affect the relative confidence of the two sides. Couple that with ever-increasing signs of a party spiraling out of control, and I'm hardly convinced the 2010 midterms will be the rout the media thinks they will.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.