During yesterday's debate between New York's two candidates for the U.S. Senate, Hillary Clinton made a passing reference to E.B. White. In a press conference later, Gov. George Pataki made it aggressively clear that he'd never heard of White:
Rick Lazio looks, sounds and talks like a New Yorker. Mrs. Clinton quoted some guy, Wyatt or somebody—I don't think he was from Brooklyn—with some definition of a New Yorker that she must have read somewhere. I don't know who that guy was. I don't know what he wrote. I don't know where he was from. But it sure doesn't sound to me like that guy was a New Yorker or understood New York the way we do.
As ringing a defense of stupidity as you're likely to hear. Incidentally, as Clyde Haberman points out in his Times column today, White was born in Mount Vernon; where his parents moved from Brooklyn. (It must be acknowledged that Rick Lazio did know that E.B. White wrote Charlotte's Web.)
W. desperately, and inarticulately, repositions.