Update: Bob responds to these questions on video here. ... Instapundit says I "[make] the case for war." I thought I was making a case against a case against war. Not the same thing at all! But I do think it's too early to declare the war a failure the way Dionne does (and George Will doesn't quite). ... 1:54 A.M. link
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Escape from Plano! Virginia Postrel, who lives in Dallas, says I'm wrong about Plano not being socially conservative as well as pro-Bush:
Plano is, in fact, a good representative of Red America. Its residents are educated and affluent, and they are also solidly conservative. They vote Republican the way Westside Angelenos vote Democratic--because it's the normal thing to do. Many of them also go to big megachurches that preach very conservative doctrines in a contemporary style because that, too, is normal. ... I don't have poll numbers, but I doubt that a lot of those soccer moms driving SUVs while talking on their cell phones accept Darwinian evolution either--not that it comes up very often. ...
Plano is conservative in all the ways that matter to contemporary politics.
Was my charge--that Plano's not a "conservative bastion"--influenced by the crude belief that someone with (in Postrel's words) "a lot of money, a professional education, and a fancy car" wouldn't tend to be a "quasi-fundamentalist Christian with socially conservative views." Yes! And I cling to that prejudice, especially if you add "and works in a high-tech industry where you wind up hiring a lot of gay college grads." I don't think, in those circumstances, you can afford to get as wildly exercised about sodomy and sin (and if you do, you'll get beaten by Silicon Valley firms that don't). Ideology is determined by the mode of production, comrades! But I defer to Postrel's expertise on the culture of actual, existing Plano.
I still don't think that if a liberal film does well in Plano's Angelika art house cinema it means the movie's "reaching the red states" in the sense that matters--i.e. the preaching-to-the-unconverted sense. Is that because the Angelika art house draws liberals from throughout the Dallas metro area? Postrel rejects that theory as well--Plano's too far away. (And, as various emailers and bloggers have noted, there are art house theaters, including an Angelika, in Dallas proper.) Instead she argues that
Plano ... is a big enough place that even a small minority represents a lot of buying power. If every left-of-center Planoite bought a ticket to An Inconvenient Truth, the Gore film would sell out at the art houses.
Twenty-eight percent of Collin County voted for Kerry, remember.
I will seek refuge in this last-resort fall-back argument. It's still a PR-man's con to pretend that a movie's reaching "red state America" because it does well at the Angelika in Plano--just not for any of the reasons I said! ...
P.S.: Postrel gives her thoughts on the Brokeback-in-Plano debate too. l'll let you read them for yourselves. I deny, though, that in Brokeback "'[t]here are no cartoonish villains designed to prod you to [the protagonists'] side.'" What about the anonymous rube-ex-machina homophobic thugs who show up at various points to pummel suspected gays? They're so cartoonish the filmmakers don't dare show their faces. 11:21 P.M. link