As I was falling asleep last night (after posting that rather long thing about politics), the flaws in my argument started to surface in my mind, but I was too exhausted to raise myself up and fix, amend, or retract the post entirely, so I simply decided to sleep on it. Now, in the morning, with some rest under my belt, I’d like to add some of the things that have occurred to me in the 12 or so intervening hours.
First of all, what was intended as a rumination on the flaws on both sides of the political coin ended up coming across as a vindictive rant against liberals, my fellow Cambridge residents in particular. I think many of my points are valid, but their aesthetic basis (i.e. my gut reaction to the article) is not: it’s as hypocritical as conservative criticisms of the left and vice versa. What I had intended to do by describing this (largely aesthetic) reaction to the Cambridge article was illustrate how easy it is to broadly stereotype one group of people, but I ended up seeming like I was doing just that, rather than demonstrating the ways in which these mistakes can be made. Furthermore, I seemed to allow myself to move back and forth between characterizations of the left as “valueless” and “intellectual” and “hip” and “drinkers of expensive coffee.” I somehow failed to make the point that this is what the rest of the country does with ease, and which we should not allow ourselves to do in return: as Jeff put it:
I can’t help but observe that these “enlightened” liberals consistently deign to lump over half of America into the single category of stupid, uneducated, hayseed, evangelical Christian, homophobic bumpkins. Doesn’t this generalization display the exact same lack of tolerance and understanding towards which they express such profound disdain?
In other words, let’s none of us be hypcritical here in our qualitative reactions to the other side. My apologies if my intended illustration of how these stereotypes get popularized came across as buying into them just as wholly as the next guy.
In line with this, my criticisms of the reporter and the newspaper (for this is really an indictment of them, not of Cambridge, or Massachusetts) got buried in emotional reactions to their articles. The point should have been more clearly: for shame, Boston Globe! Helping the rest of the country cling to these ridiculous stereotypes of your readership!
Additionally, I went off on this New York tangent, which probably came out of some desire for levity. It was kind of pointless and stupid, and it could probably have just gone out the door entirely. It wandered from the argument at hand, and while it was amusing to write, I just don’t think it holds up. If I were revising the post, it would be the first to go.
Finally, the title is probably better-suited to another post. It should give you a better idea of where I meant to go (as opposed to where I actually ended up).
Those are my main self-criticisms. Clearly there is much more to say on the topic. Hopefully this clears up the post’s intent, at least for the moment, until I can find the time to write something more considered.