Sunday, August 12, 2007

How Conservative Pundits Got That Way

Steven Metcalf, in an essay for the New York Times Book Review last weekend, thinks he's figured out why conservative pundits like Dinesh D'Souza, Rich Lowry, Stanley Kurtz, and other well-educated right wing yahoos employed by think tanks connect so well with middle America. The short answer: Because they're dorks. They were left out of all the college activities the cool kids did:
"To be genuinely humiliated is to know how to tap into the humiliations of others. Rejecting tout court a culture of cool that prevails against him, a certain sorrt of person turns to campus politics. Because these conservatives were, by and large, low-status males (or the feminism-disdaining women who loved them) in high school and college, they know instinctively how to connect with the culturally dispossessed.

"And so it was that the workers of the world did unite, but with the bow-tie-wearing nerds at the Cato Institute. Ad hominem? Juvenile? Needlessly provocative? Maybe I could turn right after all."
Bravo! That warmed my heart. Metcalf was reviewing a new book, Why I Turned Right: Leading Baby Boom Conservatives Chronicle Their Political Journeys, a book full of what he says are more "conversion narratives" than journeys. "A more accurate wording," writes Metcalf, "might have been 'Why I Turned Right: Or, The Experience That Closed My Mind Forever.'"

It reminds me of a website I stumbled upon back in college, showing photos of the University of Minnesota's wacky Campus Conservatives on a field trip to Duluth to visit the hamburger joint owned by pro wrestling announcer Mean Gene Okerlund. The junior Republicans looked so gawky, so bloated and poorly dressed, but they looked happy. Happy like they'd finally found kindred spirits. Ah, college. Children can be so cruel. So be nice to nerds. Mistreat the most awkward of them and we'll have another crop of vindictive conservatives of the D'Souza stripe.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fat, angry men who can't get laid. Yeah. I've been saying it for years.
Your pal,

12:57 PM  

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