Cliches vs. reality
An op-ed article in Friday’s Packet on How to identify Real Republicans lists all the cliches. While pretending that McGreevey has contrived a security threat, it asserts that the real security threat are the Republicans.
The article states: Republicans are white, a “conservatively dressed man with a younger woman [who’s] in a Stepford-like trance, awed by his every utterance, [and who] is most likely his mistress“; “Identifying Real Republican women is simple. If you spot a female, of any age, who looks and dresses like Lynne Cheney”; but there are also those who wear the flag (because of course anyone wearing the flag must be a Republican). “If the Republican follows you, proceed to the nearest homeless shelter or AIDS clinic, as they’re not known to enter those places.” The article also asks “Where’s the best place to avoid Real Republicans? The theater is an ideal sanctuary, as Republicans do not support thespians.”
I couldn’t stop laughing, that’s how good the article was.
Adam Bellow, on the other hand, explains My Escape From The Zabar’s Left: How a pedigreed upper west side liberal came out as a conservative warrior
This exposure to liberal opprobrium and moralism confirmed for me the rightness of my judgment. If I hadn’t started out as a committed conservative, my years on the barricades defending the books I had published—and observing up close the dishonest tactics used by their liberal adversaries to marginalize and discredit them—moved me the rest of the way.
Finally, the liberal elite in New York woke up to the fact that there were conservatives in their midst. After the success of The Bell Curve, I was widely interviewed in the press, written up in The New Yorker, and even appeared with a group of other young conservatives on the cover of the Times Magazine. The story (written by James Atlas in a curious tone of anthropological detachment) instantly became a legend among New York conservatives, mainly for its weirdly lit inside portraits that made us look like alien invaders.
The Times story, of course, reflected the cognitive dissonance involved for liberals in the very idea of a young conservative. How could there be such a thing? Young people were supposed to be passionate leftists. Only in middle age were they expected to become more sober and moderate. The only possible explanations were psychological—we were rebelling against our parents—or pecuniary—we were unprincipled careerists selling out to the Republican ascendancy. No suggestion was ever made that we might actually be passionate about conservative ideas, or that our liberal teachers, through their dogmatism and stridency, had called their own views into question.
Readers might say that I’m being unfair in pitting a Packet article against a Bellow article. To which I reply, life is unfair. Even Christopher Buckley makes it into the NYTimes, that’s how unfair life is.