Bullshit

The Charles Murray Q&A at Kaplan (which I was not able to participate in) is an excellent example of what bullshit all the Real Merkin stuff is. His shtick here (which we see with Bobo as well) is to lambaste his readers as out-of-touch elitists for not knowing much about NASCAR. He cites almost no evidence for any of it (that will all be in a book, he claims) and when pressed on whether of not he himself is elitist, he pulls out both “my daddy worked in a mill” and “there’s no binary answer”. It’s fairly remarkable. This was my favorite part.

Murray’s imaginary U.S.A.Time and again, this essay describes as “mainstream” or “quintessentially American” things that the vast majority of Americans don’t do: living in a small town (80% of Americans don’t), reading Harlequin romances (85% don’t), watching The Price Is Right or Oprah (more than 90% don’t), belonging to Rotary or Kiwanis (99+% belong to neither.) It isn’t just “elites” who don’t do these things; the average person doesn’t do them. (Nor follow NASCAR.) They’re not even majority behaviors among the groups where they’re more prevalent: the rural-and-small-town, the poorly educated, the old. So Murray’s quarrel is actually with the REAL mainstream America, is it not?

Charles Murray writes:

I don’t think there is any one behavior that a large majority of Americans share. The issue is the extent to which you’ve been exposed to a lot of things that your fellow Americans do. Do you have any personal experience, for example, with blue collar life in the US? If no, you’ve got a big gap in your experience.

I have nothing much against “you might be a redneck if” type humor, I think sometimes it can be amusing. But how on earth can you make arguments about what Real Murkins do, then admit that most Real Murkins don’t do any of these things, then shrug it all of with “people just don’t have that much in common in general”, and do it all in the name of “social science”?

I’ll admit that finding Real Murkins to talk to is tough, since they’re not like to ride buses or drive taxis. But still.

Update. Commenter Duane makes a good point:

its the bleeping ELITES who are members of Rotary and Kiwanis clubs….not the blue collar factory…so suck on that u elitist.

I grew up in a small town and from what I have seen, this is correct: the members of Rotary and Kiwanis clubs tend to be fairly well-off and college-educated, small businessmen, etc. as opposed to blue-collar workers.

197 replies
  1. 1
    KCinDC says:

    How about if you have no personal experience of living in an apartment, traveling on a subway, going to college, working in a white-collar job, being gay, being African American, being an immigrant, being non-Christian, etc.? Are those big gaps in the experience of “real” Americans, and why do those experiences not count as real?

  2. 2
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    It’s odd how often the definition for authentic Merkins intersects with the life experience of the average pundit. Must be luck.

  3. 3
    Funkhauser says:

    It’s good to see the moribund Post give space and time to a discredited racist.

    To quote Brad DeLong (and sanity), the Kaplan Reader should have closed down yesterday.

    (And this Berkeley-and-Ivy-educated commentator does know that Drew Carey hosts The Price is Right, but Nascar is for dullards. F-1 is far better racing.)

  4. 4
    Hunter Gathers says:

    I don’t think there is any one behavior that a large majority of Americans share.

    Stupidity, for one. Fear/hatred of the ‘other’, for another. Throw in a desire to not pay for the services that they demand the government provide for the trifecta.

    Please tell me that Murray isn’t highly paid.

    Of course pointing out the things I described above would preclude Murray drawing a paycheck from his future teabagger overlords.

  5. 5
    Guster says:

    That’s a long way to travel to avoid saying, ‘rural, non-coastal, white, Christian, high school grads.’

  6. 6
    JohnR says:

    Murray’s “quintessential American” also inhabits Brooks’ imagination. I think they just share him, maybe by Vulcan mind-meld, when either has to write a column about him. Certainly neither of them would be caught dead associating with a real version of him. They might get cooties or lice or something equally unwholesome.

  7. 7
    catclub says:

    @Comrade Javamanphil:
    Except I doubt that Murray has ‘ spent two years living at twice
    poverty level or less ( grad school doesn’t count)’

    or ‘read a Left Behind novel or Harlequin romance’
    or ever gone to Branson Missouri.

    He just pontificates that lefties haven’t either. And so THEY are not real Americans.

  8. 8
    Guster says:

    I don’t think there is any one behavior that a large majority of Americans share.

    How about these:

    Not living in small towns, watching NASCAR or Oprah or The Price Is Right, or belonging to the Rotary Club?

  9. 9
    Chyron HR says:

    that will all be in a book, he claims

    The Bell Curve II: A Humble Case for Exterminating the Subhuman ‘Elitists’

  10. 10
    Ash Can says:

    I guess Charles Murray is trying hard to manufacture a “Real America” to write about because that’s what his employer wants him to do. In the process, both Murray and employer end up looking like clowns.

  11. 11
    Mr Furious says:

    @Comrade Javamanphil:

    It’s odd how often the definition for authentic Merkins intersects with the life literary reading experience of the average pundit. Must be luck.

    Seriously. Do these mythical “real Americans” exist anywhere except in mid-century literature, Mayberry and Sarah Palin’s fever dreams?

    [edited for messed up formatting]

  12. 12
    KCinDC says:

    @Comrade Javamanphil, am I missing some sarcasm? What pundit, even on the right, resembles the conventional-wisdom “real” American in any way? They’re all coastal “elites”, even if they vote Republican.

  13. 13
    Culture of Truth says:

    Whenever I see David Brooks on tv, I say to myself, “now there is a man in touch with real, blue collar Americans!”

  14. 14
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @KCinDC: Bingo!!! You win the thread, in the first comment.

  15. 15
    Culture of Truth says:

    Most Americans have never shot a wolf from a helicopter. But then neither has Sarah Palin.

  16. 16
    p.a. says:

    I’m American and real (without getting into metaphysics) (oooh crap, that’s not a real Murcan word- I’ve outed myself as an elitist already). Oh well, I may be elitist but I can play ‘Murcan’, droppin’ ‘G’s’, usin’ ‘ain’t’. I chewed tobacco for a time, and I know who BOTH Jimmy Johnson’s are. You can talk to me, I’m sure it will be an enlightening experience I’ll larn ya sumpin’.

  17. 17
    whetstone says:

    Do you have any personal experience, for example, with blue collar life in the US?

    I dunno, Charlie. Do you have any personal experience with African-American life in the US? Aside from the time you burned a cross?

  18. 18
    catclub says:

    @KCinDC:
    “What pundit, even on the right, resembles the conventional-wisdom “real” American in any way? They’re all coastal “elites”, even if they vote Republican. ”

    Erky Erickson. Except isn’t he a college prof? and Just acts illiterate? He does apparently live in a small town in Georgia.

    The future of elite punditry! (pronounced Ee-light)

  19. 19
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    @catclub: It also counts as real life experience if you heard about your parents or grandparents doing something. Any way the circle can be squared (or gerrymandered, in most cases) to include the pundit inside the “authentic” circle is acceptable. (And yes, @KCinDC, much sarcasm intended.)

  20. 20
    noncarborundum says:

    You know who else was in touch with the authentic spirit of the people?

    (with apologies)

  21. 21
    Tom Hilton says:

    Backpacking in the Sierra is a hell of a lot cheaper than taking a cruise…but it’s elitist to do the former and not the latter. Right.

  22. 22
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @whetstone: I’m sure he’s watched the Cosby show a couple of time… and anyway, only real americans are real americans… or scotsmen…

  23. 23
    Llelldorin says:

    @JohnR:

    Murray’s “quintessential American” also inhabits Brooks’ imagination. I think they just share him, maybe by Vulcan mind-meld, when either has to write a column about him.

    It doesn’t take a mind-meld–these guys are the modern equivalent of the extravagantly-dressed, sheep-deprived “shepherds” and “shepherdesses” that used to inhabit pastoral poetry. They serve the same purpose–to provide aristocrats with an illusory peasantry to which they could disparagingly compare any revolutionaries that might spring up amongst their actual peasants.

  24. 24
    Duane says:

    I dont even live in a small town, pure rural resident and a farmer, listen to country music and watch NASCAR. So I suppose that makes me a “real American”, of course I am a liberal Democrat……..so I guess I am not. I will say this for those of us in small towns……..its the bleeping ELITES who are members of Rotary and Kiwanis clubs….not the blue collar factory…so suck on that u elitist.

  25. 25
    numbskull says:

    @Funkhauser:

    “F-1 is far better racing.”

    Not if they drop Spa!!

  26. 26
    BH says:

    This guy sounds exactly like Palin, but with complete sentences.

    Condemining elites? Check.
    False real America/fake America dichotomy? Check.
    Non-union blue collar workers the best evah? Check.

    This racist moron has no business being in the Post or anywhere else. I’m not sure how Ezra gets out of bed most mornings.

  27. 27
    jrg says:

    Shorter Charles Murray:

    Anyone who has not played chicken with farming equipment after drinking a case of Busch Ice is small minded, by definition.

  28. 28
    geemoney says:

    He’s got you confused, claiming to be doing sociology. To him, it’s actually anthropology.

  29. 29
    Paris says:

    If you haven’t practised bestiality with your farm animals , then “you’ve got a big gap in your experience.” Just ask Carl.

  30. 30
    MattR says:

    @BH:

    This guy sounds exactly like Palin, but with complete sentences.

    I submit that it is impossible to know what Sarah Palin would sound like with complete sentences.

  31. 31
    cervantes says:

    Has Charles Murray ever eaten tuna-noodle casserole made with Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup with potato chips crumbled over the top at a church potluck? Or a lime jello mold containing grapes and maraschino cherries? Has he driven his Chevy to the levy? Has he changed the water pump in a 69 Rambler American station wagon?

    I thought not.

  32. 32
    DanF says:

    I speak a crappy variant of French, I’m liberal, a vegetarian, an atheist, my kids go to a Montessori school, and I work at a university. I define all that is evil in America according Rushbo, and therefore I must be an elitist. Oh wait – my dad was a steel worker and auto-mechanic, my mom was a cafeteria worker, and I grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood in a blue-collar town with in spitting distance of the Interstate. No one I know went to Harvard or Yale. What’s my fucking point? I don’t have one. I’m just yammering in a vain attempt to prove something stupid – just like Charles Murray. Can I haz Column?

  33. 33
    The Bearded Blogger says:

    @noncarborundum: George Wallace. Why the apologies?

  34. 34
    JGabriel says:

    Slightly OT, but still bullshit. The Mustache of Understanding still misunderstands the problem:

    For instance, says Katz, the baby boomers are aging, which will spawn many health care jobs. Those jobs can be done in a low-skilled way by cheap foreign workers and less-educated Americans or they can be done by skilled labor that is trained to give the elderly a better physical and psychological quality of life. The first will earn McWages. The second will be in high demand.

    Wrong. Both will earn McWages because that’s how our corporate overseers work. Employees get screwed on wages and benefits because that’s how corporations increase profit on services. They don’t care about the quality of the service, just how much they can profit from it.

    If you want the economy to work better, then employees need better pay so they have enough money to spend in that economy. Better pay will lead to people taking more pride in their jobs and doing them better, because people like working when they feel that the work is appreciated and that they’re not getting screwed.

    Our economic problems do not lie with our labor base; they lie with the selfish greedy assholes underpaying their employees.

    .

  35. 35
    Joshua says:

    Instead of reading Left Behind, elites should just go to Slacktivist and read his page by page analysis. It’s worse than you can ever imagine*, and makes you wonder how we escaped with our lives during the Bush years (when these charlatans had prominent influence).

    *I bet Murray would say I am an elite just by thinking that.

  36. 36
    Tom Hilton says:

    I think this is both the best question and the worst answer in the whole thing:

    Q.Who is “of America”?
    Why is it that the qualities, traits, and tendencies you cite as being central to mainstream America have so little to do with, say, Latino or African-American culture? Are they elites as well–or just not American?
    A.Things would look even worse if I’d brought in Latino, Asian, Black, etc., aspects of American life about which the New Elite is clueless.

    And the 100% white-ass honky crackers in the Tea Party are motherfucking Nobel-class experts about African-American and Latino cultures.

  37. 37
    numbskull says:

    @catclub:

    He does apparently live in a small town in Georgia.

    Uh, no. He lives in Macon, second-largest metro area in Georgia (though the city itself is 6th largest by population).

    Hardly a small town, and in fact, doesn’t really have a small-town mentality (more of a sprawling suburbia mentality).

  38. 38
    Mike says:

    But how on earth can you make arguments about what Real Murkins do, then admit that most Real Murkins don’t do any of these things, then shrug it all of with “people just don’t have that much in common in general”, and do it all in the name of “social science”?
    And tack on an “and if you don’t have any experience with these lifeforms I’ve described, I feel sorry for you.”

    I mean, he’s right, we haven’t studied them and authored a highly discredited study of them, but, like everyone gets UPS packages once in a while and goes to the grocery store pretty regularly, right?

  39. 39
    gnomedad says:

    The right and responsibilities of Real Americans are spelled out in the Constitution. Preferences in television, literature, religion, and vehicular recreation are not specified. Obsession with defining acceptable preferences suggests that you have no clue about what it is to be Real American.

  40. 40
    catclub says:

    @numbskull:
    Thanks! I am glad that I did not know exactly what town he is from.

  41. 41
    GambitRF says:

    Talk to them about sports, and you may get an animated discussion of yoga, pilates, skiing or mountain biking, but they are unlikely to know who Jimmie Johnson is (the really famous Jimmie Johnson, not the former Dallas Cowboys coach), and the acronym MMA means nothing to them.

    Wait, wait, wait….

    Following MMA is a blue-collar activity? How much does it cost to order a UFC pay-per-view? Like $69.95 or something like that?

  42. 42
    DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice. says:

    @Duane:

    Very good point about the clubs. You’re completely right.

  43. 43
    Senyordave says:

    I’m guessing that Charles Murray’s (does he go by the name Chuck tehse days to prove he’s a real Merkin?) idea of interacting with blue collar folk is stepping up over the person scrubbing the floor in the offices he frequents.

  44. 44
    Short Bus Bully says:

    It’s easier to define Real Murkins by what they DON’T do, as in:

    1) They don’t listen to NPR.
    2) They don’t mind ripping on the mooslims.

    Continue as needed…

  45. 45

    Here’s my take: Charles Murray Does a Zaphod Beeblebrox in the WaPo

    Shorter version: The New Ruling Elite is the same as the Old Ruling Elite. Money = Power. Murray’s job here is to draw people’s attention away from the true elites.

  46. 46
    beltane says:

    The punditry’s “Redneck Mystique” obsession pisses me off more than just about anything. Sorry, but I happen to be a former high school dropout who busted my ass to work my way through college and law school. My husband is a machine operator in a food processing plant. We happen to loathe NASCAR and country music and deep fried margarine sticks (or whatever it is that RealAmericans like to eat). We listen to Bowie and Bossa Nova and all kinds of other un-American music. Charles Murray can go take his idyll of an American populated by fat, salt-of-the-earth, obedient rednecks and go f**k himself.

    In V.S. Naipaul’s “A Turn in the South” the author was positively giddy over the prospect of meeting real rednecks, who he beleived were the “real Americans”. This was because Naipaul was a foreigner whose views about the United States were little more than a compendium of stereotypes. Sadly, Charles Murray, David Brooks, and all the rest of them are every bit as unfamiliar with their own country as Naipaul.

  47. 47
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    The local yokel Kiwanis and Rotary members are to a person, Republicans. They are part of what Joe Bageant calls the local Republican cartel. It’s okay for them to be elites because their elitism is different than ours. IOKIYAR.

    Everybody really should read Bageant’s book “Deer Hunting With Jesus” to understand what it’s like to be a Republican in (un)Real ‘Murka.

  48. 48
    numbskull says:

    @catclub:

    Thanks! I am glad that I did not know exactly what town he is from.

    Yeah, I’m sure if Duane Allman was alive today, he’d have thrown a tire iron through ol’ Erky’s front window by now…

  49. 49
    elmo says:

    Oooo! Can I play?

    I’m one of four children of blue-collar + retired military father and stay-at home mother. I lived for eight years in a town with a total population of between five and seven thousand, where I often attended Rotary meetings. I currently have a small farm in rural East Tennessee, where I raise goats and chickens. I am a (currently lapsed) member of the Fraternal Society of Eagles. I am well versed in the manual arts, having built a 500-square-foot cantilevered deck and several outbuildings by hand.

    Am I a Real American(tm)?

    Wait, before you answer — I should also tell you that I am a gay Harvard graduate, retired lawyer, and dog rescuer. And I’m a woman, despite the mad carpentry skillz.

    I’m not Real anymore, am I?

  50. 50
    BGinCHI says:

    I have a PhD in English literature, grew up in the rural Midwest, neither of my parents went to college (old man was a fireman).

    For the 11th year in a row, me and 5 of my friends, all lawyers who got their JDs at an Ivy, have had a NASCAR pool (kind of a fantasy league thing) where we pick drivers each week, keep score, and have a trophy for the winner at the end (it’s an engraved beer stein).

    So, fuck you Charles Murray you bigoted stupid asshole.

    And any media outlet who lets him say anything: not worth shit.

    And yes, rubbin’ is racin’.

  51. 51
    Remfin says:

    Here’s three behaviors Americans share in a large majority:

    61% of Americans don’t own a gun

    80% live in urban areas

    90% of Americans 65 and over receive Social Security (to avoid the filter, I’m not linking this one: seniorhousingnews.com/2010/06/15/social-security-accounts-for-40-of-retirement-income-for-americans-over-65-percentage-going-to-rise/ )

    I don’t know much about Murray personally, but contrast those large majorities with what pundits see as “mainstream” or “quintessentially American.”

  52. 52
    Tax Analyst says:

    Hey, don’t Murray’s “Real Merkins” also eat at the salad bar at Applebee’s? Or maybe that was Broder’s.

  53. 53
    BTD says:

    How in the hell can you write a post about Charles Murray and not point out he is a flat out racist who has no business even being listened to about anything?

    Sorry, but your touche points against Murray do not, imo, make this acceptable.

    Some people should be off the stage, Murray is one of them.

    And frankly, Sullivan is another, but let’s pretend they are not both purveyors of racism.

  54. 54
    LittlePig says:

    @numbskull: Macon? He is by chance a next door neighbor to that other Macon resident, Erik bin Erik of Red State Trike Force fame?

  55. 55
    geg6 says:

    @BH:

    I’m not sure how Ezra gets out of bed most mornings.

    Yeah, I really cry for Ezra. /snark

    Fuck Ezra. He sold his soul to Kaplan and he has to own that he now is one with people like Charles Murray. Hope all the cash makes it easier for him to sleep at night. On the up side for me, once he signed with the WaPo, that was one less blog I had on my blog roll for me to spend time keeping up with.

  56. 56
    noncarborundum says:

    @The Bearded Blogger:

    I was thinking of Volkischkeit, and apologizing for going Godwin. Also, there’s someone here (I don’t offhand remember who) who often makes this kind of “you know who else . . .?” post, and I was acknowledging my debt.

  57. 57
    matoko_chan says:

    well…..Murray already published part of his book in an attempt to bash President Obama.
    if DougJ embeds the graphic you can see what the ‘conservatives’ are freaking out about.

    “The General Social Survey, a mother lode of information for social scientists that has been collected annually or biannually since 1972, has asked people in every survey to say whether they are extremely conservative, conservative, slightly conservative, moderate, slightly liberal, liberal, or extremely liberal. A really simple question.

    The graph represents the percentage of people who answered “extremely liberal” or “liberal” minus the percentage of people who answered “extremely conservative” or “conservative” in any given survey. I won’t go into the statistical details (for that, buy the book in a couple of years), but think of the classes this way:

    Traditional Upper: Someone at the 95th percentile of income, with a graduate degree, who is a business executive, physician, engineer, etc.

    Intellectual Upper: Also at the 95th percentile of income and with a graduate degree, but a lawyer, academic, scientist (hard or soft) outside academia, writer, in the news media, or a creator of entertainment programming (film and television).

    Traditional Middle: Same occupations as the Traditional Uppers, but with just a bachelor’s degree and at the 75th percentile of income.

    Technical Middle: Someone working in the many technical specialties that have proliferated in health, information technology, and industrial technology, with an associate’s degree and at the 50th percentile of income.

    Working: Someone working in a skilled blue-collar job, with just a high school diploma and at the 25th percentile of income.

    Lower: Someone working at a low-skill job who didn’t finish high school, at the 5th percentile of income.”

    let us consider…..who are the culture creators? ans. intellectual uppers who are EXTREMELY LIBERAL
    who are the culture consumers? ever-fuckin’-body else. :)

  58. 58
    MattF says:

    In point of fact, Murray is a partisan hack. The sound, in the middle-distance, of that old axe being ground cannot and should not be ignored.

    Murray had a somewhat original schtick, pretending to be an actual scientist, someone who actually knows something. It worked for a while, and fooled some foolable non-scientists, (A.S., in particular), but by now we all know that it’s bullshit.

  59. 59

    Let’s see. I

    was born in Dallas, Texas and my Dad is a Texas Aggie.

    grew up in a small town. Port Orchard, Washington.

    grew up in a Navy town. Kitsap County is home to two Navy bases.

    Have experience with blue collar life. The biggest employer in Kitsap County are the naval bases.

    served in the military. Joined the Army when I was 17.

    voted for Ronald Reagan in 1984.

    went to a state school. The University of Washington.

    had blue collar jobs. I painted houses, moved furniture and did landscaping work to pay my way through college.

    own a bunch of guns and go shooting regularly.

    drink PBR and enjoy it in a non-ironic hipster sense.

    Wow, I’m more of a Real Merkin™ than David Brooks, Jonah Goldberg, Rich Lowry, Ross Douthat, Kathryn Lean Lopez, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Bill Kristol, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, David Frum, Erick Erickson and Andrew Breitbart, to name a few. I think that I should get some sort of bonus for this, such as being allowed to harvest their organs in case I need new ones or something.

  60. 60
    DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice. says:

    @BTD:

    I’ve written about his racism before. I’m pointing out that what he’s saying here is bullshit too.

  61. 61
    Kryptik says:

    Why hello there, Ms. Sally Floyd, come to tell us how Captain America is a stupid violent traitor again?

  62. 62
    YellowJournalism says:

    I find this funny because his book on education is pretty much about how we need to stop advocating higher education and remediation for the poor and middle class (using similar BS reasoning that’s in The Bell Curve) and allow for the elites to enter universities and eventually become our leaders/bosses.

  63. 63
    grumpy realist says:

    When did it become “un-American” to be intelligent and educated?

    This isn’t a Coastal vs. Non-coastal thing, by the way. It’s the Southern mentality getting pissed at them Damn Yankees all over again.

    I wonder who Murray thinks is going to develop the next level of US technology–far more likely to be done by those horrible college (and grad school) edjicated elites than his proverbial “Real Americans.”

  64. 64
  65. 65
    numbskull says:

    @BGinCHI: I think I’ve found our problem. See, for Charles and his ilk, it’s not that

    rubbin’ is racin’

    . For Charlie and his entourage, rubbin’ is sex. I’m sure once we take that dynamic into account, a lot is explained.

  66. 66
    Martin says:

    Shorter Charles Murray:

    Anyone who isn’t a 1950s small-town business owner with a wife at home to take care of the kids and a separate water fountain for colored people is an elitist.

    This is just more of the same ‘shit was better back in the 50s, when white Americans were shaping the world as we pleased’ bullshit. IOW, the tea party rationale for everything.

  67. 67
    Mako says:

    He lives in Frederick County, Md. all rural and blue collar and blair witch.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B.....mographics

  68. 68
    numbskull says:

    @LittlePig: Wait, I thought we WERE talking about Erik son of Erik. Shit. I can’t keep the creeps straight. I mean, I can’t sort the shits. I mean, I ihz kunfoozed.

  69. 69
    Martin says:

    @numbskull: Damn straight not if they drop Spa. Spa is what all racing should aspire to.

    And what a fucked up race Korea was. Hope they get their shit together next year.

  70. 70
    Ash Can says:

    @Tom Hilton:

    A. Things I would look even worse if I’d brought in Latino, Asian, Black, etc., aspects of American life about which the New Elite is I am clueless.

    Translated.

  71. 71
    YellowJournalism says:

    @Wile E. Quixote: You’re not a real American because you know what the hell you’re talking about. Real Americans don’t confuse facts with wild opinions and gut feelings.

    ETA: The Left Behind summaries that someone else linked to are truly an interesting yet frustrating read. And sometimes pretty funny.

  72. 72
    soonergrunt says:

    @Culture of Truth: He sure is! He met them at the Applebee’s salad bar!

  73. 73
    redoubt says:

    @Chyron HR: With foreword by John “Exterminate the Brutes” Derbyshire.

  74. 74
    cleek says:

    according to this Detroit Kiwanis website, there are only 300,000 Kiwanis members in the country.

    0.01% of Americans.

  75. 75

    Wiki:

    Murray obtained a B.A. in history from Harvard in 1965 and a Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1974.[3]

    Have a big ole cup of STFU, Chuck.

  76. 76
    MikeJ says:

    @Wile E. Quixote: Port Angeles? If there’s another anti-elite-off you can mention that Ma & Pa Kettle lived in Clallam County.

  77. 77
    cleek says:

    FYWP… can’t edit my comment 3 seconds after i wrote it.

    @cleek: make that 300,000 Kiwanis members in the world!

  78. 78
    redoubt says:

    @catclub: Erick bin Erick is a Macon City Councilman. (Macon wants to be Tifton or Valdosta when it grows up.)

  79. 79
    Senyordave says:

    This is just more of the same ‘shit was better back in the 50s, when white Americans were shaping the world as we pleased’ bullshit. IOW, the tea party rationale for everything.

    Well said, Martin

    My dad was born in 1923 and used to say about the 40’s and 50’s (the good old days) that the he lived through the good old days and they weren’t that good.

    The real mercans working blue collar must have loved the good old days. No OSHA, workplace death rates many times what they are today, no advancement if you were a minority. Even my dad, an engineer, ended up changing his name because it was Jewish name.

    But we all knew our place in those days.

    Fuck Charles Murray, and fuck the fucking fuckers!

  80. 80
    New Yorker says:

    @Tom Hilton:

    Heh. I made a sincere attempt to be more of a Real American last summer when I vacationed in the Blue Ridge Moutains, but I really fucked it up badly: I did the road trip in a Toyota Corolla with a friend who grew up in Germany (instead of an RV with cousin Jed), I hung out in hippie bars and restaurants in Asheville, and I didn’t visit the Hard Rock Cafe in Gatlinburg or go to a race at the Bristol Motor Speedway.

    I’ll never be anything but an elitist.

  81. 81
    Brachiator says:

    @DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice.:

    The Charles Murray Q&A at Kaplan (which I was not able to participate in) is an excellent example of what bullshit all the Real Merkin stuff is.

    Murray is becoming a professional bullshit artist. I heard an interview he did with the BBC where he implied that he had said complimentary things about Sarah Palin either to ruffle the feathers of her opponents or to kiss the asses of her supporters, or both, but that he was just too cool for the room to be bothered with having an actual opinion about her.

    He continued with some other blather that indicated that even though he admitted that he knew nothing meaningful about present economic conditions in the UK, he could still offer an opinion because he is Charles Murray, dammit!

    I don’t know which is the emptier media whore, Murray or Dick Morris. But when either of them speak, I have to wipe the slime off my radio or TV.

  82. 82
    Lysana says:

    Grew up in a small town: check. Population of about 17,000.

    Blue-collar background: check. Father worked factory jobs. Mother was a pink-collar worker (accounting clerk) using skills she was taught in high school.

    College dropout from state-run school, so not the educated elite.

    Own guns. Drive an American-branded car. Was in Keywanettes in high school, which is a Kiwanis-sponsored group.

    However. Said town was in Massachusetts. My unfinished degree has partial credits for theater arts and music majors waiting to be finished. I went to a school called “Granola State” by everyone there. And is in California to boot. I’m also bisexual and polyamorous, not to mention pagan and kinky. And I am now a freelance writer/on the government dole while I suffer the slings and arrows of Silicon Valley job conditions.

    Half-real American? Oh, crap. Forgot I’m the daughter of an anchor baby. Deport me now, I’m done.

  83. 83

    @noncarborundum:

    You know who else was in touch with the authentic spirit of the people?

    You mean der Volkgeist? Someone should point out to David Brooks, David Frum and Mark Steyn that Real Merkins™ aren’t born in Canada. Oh, and someone should point out to Mark Steyn that Real Merkins™ don’t write columns about musical theatre, although, and this probably will demolish all of my Real Merkin™ cred, Steyn really knows his stuff and has written some fabulous columns about Broadway.

  84. 84
    matoko_chan says:

    DougJ…..why is the IQ baiting elite-bashing reaching a new frenzy these last two weeks?
    Could it be that the Bourgie Conservatives (Friedersdorf, Manzi, McMegan, etc.) are shocked and appalled at the current slate of conservative candidates being forced on them by the low information base?
    low information base== the Tea Party== the Religious Right.

    this is interesting….since i cited the-meme-that-must-not-be-named the LookInside! feature has been removed from Grand New Party.

    the meme is…….“stratification by IQ”! direct Reihan & Ross quote.
    i wonder why?

    Sully picks up the ball.

    rightly sees a problem for the right because of the massive rush to the exits of the GOP by most people with something higher than a college degree.

    umm..andy– Obama won teh college-educated demographic also.

  85. 85
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @YellowJournalism: @grumpy realist:

    It reminds me of the attitudes toward education David Hackett Fischer discusses in Albion’s Seed. Puritans in New England valued education and thought it important for all. The Quakers supported education but were interested in simple literacy, not intellectual attainment. The southern planters who were from, or aped, the aristocracy believed in intellectual attainment for themselves and thought it dangerous for the lower orders. Finally, the people from the Scots-English borderlands who ended up in Appalachia did not really value education at all. In many ways, it seems that the cultural descendants of the Puritans and Quakers became the liberals of today while the planters and borderers became the right. It’s an interesting look at cultural history; I don’t buy into it wholeheartedly, but it is useful.

  86. 86
    Silver says:

    I know someone in the Rotary Club. They meet weekly on Thursdays from noon to 1:30. As you can imagine, that meeting is stuffed full of cashiers, retail workers, and mechanics.

  87. 87
    JGabriel says:

    catclub:

    Except I doubt that Murray has … ‘read a … Harlequin romance’

    Really? I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he has.

    .

  88. 88
    matoko_chan says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Albions Seed is bullshytt.
    This is more accurate…and shorter.
    America’s God is Dying.

  89. 89
    max says:

    But how on earth can you make arguments about what Real Murkins do, then admit that most Real Murkins don’t do any of these things, then shrug it all of with “people just don’t have that much in common in general”, and do it all in the name of “social science”?

    Because you have defined New Elites as 90% of the population, leaving the other 8-9% of the population to be the quintessential Americans?

    I’m sticking with my answer from yesterday: I’m pretty sure ‘Real Elite’ is defined as ‘jew’ (since Murray is already on about how wonderful the ‘jews’ are as elites), but Murray isn’t ready to come out and say it yet. I expect he’ll put it in his book though.

    The really interesting thing is, is what does Chuck propose to do about all this, since presumably we must fix this problem.

    max
    [‘But they’re right above that this sure does seem to be about claiming small-town Southerners as the only real Americans.’]

  90. 90

    @YellowJournalism:

    @Wile E. Quixote: You’re not a real American because you know what the hell you’re talking about. Real Americans don’t confuse facts with wild opinions and gut feelings.

    Is that what it is? And here I was thinking that I would be disqualified from Real Merkin™ status because of my large collection of showtunes and Pet Shop Boys albums. And for the record I’ll have you know that there were lots of straight guys at the PSB concerts in Seattle in 2006 and 2009, lots of us! And yes, my date for both concerts was a gay man, but that’s only because his boyfriend doesn’t like the Pet Shop Boys (but is a fine human being otherwise).

  91. 91
    Ailuridae says:

    The Rotary and Kiwanis bit really gets me. For anyone that has ever lived in a small town the Real Murkans if they join a fraternal group it tends to go something far more along the lines of The Elks (sponsor of my small town minor league Little League team), the Knights of Columbus (a largely Italian membership) or the VFW or American Legion. Rotary and Kiwanis, as others have alluded to, are actually where the small town elite and powerful gather. And of course, Murray would know this if he actually weren’t a fucking elitist.

  92. 92
    catclub says:

    @New Yorker:
    Do you have any hippie restaurants (or other events) to recommend in Asheville? I am considering going there for a weekend.

  93. 93
    JGabriel says:

    @MattR:

    I submit that it is impossible to know what Sarah Palin would sound like with complete sentences.

    There must be recordings of Eva Braun somewhere …

    .

  94. 94
    daveNYC says:

    (the really famous Jimmie Johnson, not the former Dallas Cowboys coach),

    I’m not sure what you need to be smoking to say that the ex-coach and current commentator is not really famous. Are we going to be counting the NFL as an elitist sport now?

  95. 95
    Poopyman says:

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    I think that I should get some sort of bonus for this, such as being allowed to harvest their organs in case I need new ones or something.

    Well, you’ve got my permission, so there’s that.

  96. 96
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @matoko_chan: Aside from your unsupported opinion, why do you say that?

  97. 97
    kay says:

    @Ailuridae:

    It’s a pecking order. It goes: Rotary (college, advanced degree), Kiwanis (college and no college), Elks (no college).

    Does he know Rotarians are doctors and lawyers in small towns? If they carry lunch buckets, I’d be surprised. They hold the Rotary meeting here at the country club.

    And everyone knows it. Except the experts on Real Americans:)

  98. 98
    DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice. says:

    @Ailuridae:

    I was thinking that too, that for me locally, the VFW or American Legion would be the non-elite clubs.

  99. 99

    Three commas, two uses of the word “experience” and no attempt to define any of what appears to be a put down. Calculating …

    Ding!

    Condesending Bullshit Content: 100%

    Do you have any personal experience, for example, with blue collar life in the US? If no, you’ve got a big gap in your experience.

    Perhaps he’ll put some sort of vacation package together. He can take people on “The Blue Collar Experience!(TM)” and show them the exotic Blue Collarites in their natural environment!

    Christ. Can we at least punch him until he defines “experience”? Please?

  100. 100
    mistersnrub says:

    The fact that a “scholar” from the American Enterprise Institute has the chutzpah to malign other people’s “elitism” makes me want to puke. I wonder how many wine and cheese tastings Murray has attended during his time at AEI.

  101. 101
    Console says:

    I actually did manage to find something I completely agree with Murray about in that Q&A:

    “[A bachelor’s degree has] become an artificial gatekeeper for a lot of jobs that has nothing to do with the real requirements for holding those jobs, and has acquired way too much status (or, more accurately, not having a BA has acquired way too much stigma)”

    Well, the last part in parenthesis is another example of Murray trying to come to terms with his own feelings (people without college degrees are dumb hicks), but other then that I agree.

  102. 102
    YellowJournalism says:

    @Ailuridae: Our Kiwanas, Lions, Elks, and Rotary clubs were full of business owners, doctors, lawyers, politicians, and the occasional orthodontist. The Elks club in my hometown is currently where all the “rich folks” sit around drinking and talking town gossip while the people working for them make all their money for them.

  103. 103
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @kay: Where do the Lions fit in? My father is a Lion in a 40,000 town in central WI and he, as a degreed, retired professional, seems to fit square in the social mid-range of his group.

  104. 104
    New Yorker says:

    @catclub:

    I wouldn’t call it “hippie”, but the 12 Bones Smokehouse is a great place for barbecue ribs. It’s only opened during lunch hours, however.

    Otherwise, just walk around Patton Ave. or Lexington Ave. downtown and see what you like. Jack of the Wood was a good pub that had a bluegrass band playing in the corner the whole night.

    Edit: of course the best thing about that area is getting out and enjoying a hike or bike ride or something. Go up to Mt. Mitchell or Mt. Pisgah while driving the Blue Ridge Parkway.

  105. 105
    numbskull says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: You’re channeling Billmon. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. :)

    It’s funny to think that Balloon Juice has morphed to the point that it’s commentators are agreeing with possibly the best FPer to ever spin off from the Great Orange Satan. Too bad he finally called it quits.

    Or did he?…

  106. 106
    Steve says:

    Apropos of the discussion about hipsters in the other thread, what really kicks ass is watching elite conservatives pretend to care about NASCAR.

  107. 107
    blondie says:

    By Dog, I’m sick of all the “Real American” baloney. Talk about class warfare and calculatingly divisive faux-identity politics.

    Are you an American citizen?
    If yes, then you are a real American.
    The end.

  108. 108
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @Ailuridae:

    …the Knights of Columbus…

    Here in red, rurl and very Catholic Central Misery, the “knights” are in charge of making sure everybody votes the Pro Birth party line.

    No Italians here, all descendants of German immigrants.

  109. 109
    numbskull says:

    @kay: Exactly. But you see, to Chuckie, the lawyers and doctors who populate The Rotary are this century’s blue collar workers. After all, they essentially get paid hourly (lawyers) or by piece work (doctors).

    See, the only white collar workers are The Masters of the Universe that populate Wall Street. The rest are just workin’ stiffs.

  110. 110
    soonergrunt says:

    @JGabriel:

    There must be recordings of Eva Braun somewhere …

    WIN
    I was thinking more along the lines of Evita Peron.

  111. 111
    geg6 says:

    @daveNYC:

    Yeah, that’s the one that REALLY sticks out to me. I mean, what fucking real Merkin doesn’t spend more time on a Sunday worshipping linebackers, quarterbacks, running backs and such than they do at the Sunday meetin’?

    More people here in Western PA (Teabagger Central for the state) know Jimmy Johnson the coach than know Jimmy Johnson the NASCAR driver. Because more people watch the NFL than NASCAR, asshole!

    And if the NFL is suddenly elite, the PGA and USTA are gonna have something to say about that!

  112. 112
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    @blondie:

    Are you an American citizen?
    If yes, then you are a real American.

    Tell that to my white, redneck, rurl, blue collar, high school grad neighbors. To them, (un)Real ‘Murka has about a 2 mile radius. Pop 7 miles over to the next East Bumblefuck out here, and the members of that clique town will have the same view.

    There are eleventy zillion “real” America’s out here in cracker Flyover Country, all distrustful of the people over the next hill.

    Think of it as junior high school only with poorer dental work and more guns lying around.

  113. 113
    BerkeleyMom says:

    I wonder if Murray vacations in Myrtle Beach.

  114. 114
    sherifffruitfly says:

    Will you guys please stop your yammering? I’m trying to concentrate on my deadpan expression for this Norman Rockwell painting I’m posing for.

    What – doesn’t EVERYBODY do this?

  115. 115

    @KCinDC: Ewww! Who’d want to be one of those?

    Besides, no one ever designed an ad campaign to sell trucks around the mystique of black grad students, gay accountants or Jewish high school teachers, so those personal experiences must not be ReaLAMErican.

  116. 116
    MattR says:

    @Console: I understand where you are coming from, but I think a lot of companies use a college degree as an indicator that you have a semi-decent ability to think and learn and have some level of responsibility. Yes, it’s lazy and definitely not foolproof but I can see where they are coming from. Of course it always depends on the exact company, position, etc.

    @soonergrunt: I think both you and JGabriel are giving Palin too much credit. (EDIT: I think the more likely result would be the dog in Up)

    @geg6: I am trying to figure out where I fit in as a suburban New York liberal who has been following NASCAR more and more the last five years.

  117. 117

    By the way, Charles “I’m not a racist, really!” Murray is a known and admitted cross burner.

    Seriously.

    I thought that Kaplan Test Prep’s Washington Post arm had scraped the bottom of the barrel by letting Dinesh D’Souza do his hate-speech Op-Ed earlier this month. But now, by taking a lead role in yet another attempted rehabilitation of Charles Murray, they’ve smashed through the bottom of the barrel and are aimed straight at the sewer.

  118. 118

    @catclub: Most concerts at the Grey Eagle are DFH-slanted. Lots of other stuff to do in Asheville that is likewise slanted toward the granola-eating non-real Murikans.

  119. 119
    matoko_chan says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: it is kind of obvious.
    america started as a protestant nation….now it is a majority christian nation.
    the founders and framers were enlightenment dudes– the population was pure anglo-saxon protestant.
    the american revolution owes more to Martin Luther than to the Ancients and the Enlightenment scholars….but Luther only wanted the others church separated from the state.
    same-same.
    Palin, DeMint, COD, all reject separation of church and state.
    the House Whip rejects it.
    there are 200 million of them and 100 million of us. we are stuck in Jesusland until the demographic timer goes off.

    Morgan–All these societies in Thirteen have had to make a choice. They’ve had to decide, “right, we’re not going down this warrior path any longer, we’re going to accept that society’s a complicated thing and we’re going to deal in a complicated fashion with it, the issues are complex and so are the solutions.” The places that have refused to do that are the ones that then suffer horrifically from the things they impose on themselves.
    You get JesusLand, actually.
    I have to say that I’ve had quite a lot of e-mails from people about this. I’ve had e-mails from people who live there and who said, “oh, man, you’re so right.” But I’ve had an awful lot of people get in touch, mostly very polite, but really hurt and defensive. They say, “you’ve got us all wrong—we’re not a bunch of racist, lynching psychopaths.”
    First of all, I generally say, I know. I have spent time in various parts of the United States, probably including where you live, and the Americans I’ve met there . . . they’re lovely people. They’re courteous, they’re friendly, they’re generous with their time and resources. In fact, they’re a lot like Americans in the rest of the country. But that is really not the issue. I’ve also spent time in various North African and Middle Eastern nations and found the inhabitants there to be courteous, engaging and hospitable to a fault – but if I’d created a theocratic state in North Africa, would you have been angry about that?
    Jesusland is not an indictment of all the 200+ million Americans living in its territory, it’s a portrayal of certain ruinous socio-dynamic tendencies common to that region running amok, and the catastrophic impact they have had (that I believe, in fact, they are having even now) on America’s very great potential as a modern nation.

  120. 120
    MattR says:

    @matoko_chan: Can someone else translate this for me please? Or is that as likely as Sarah Palin starting to speak in complete sentences?

  121. 121
    matoko_chan says:

    @MattR: you got what i said.
    you just don’t like it.
    Albion’s Seed is just Big White Christian Bwana apologia.
    :)

  122. 122
    MattR says:

    @matoko_chan: Actually I have absolutely zero idea. But it could be because I was under the impression that Protestants where Christians so I can’t even figure out what your opening sentence is trying to convey.

    america started as a protestant nation….now it is a majority christian nation.

  123. 123
    Mike G says:

    Shorter Murray: Do you have any personal experience, for example, with blue collar life in the US? *I* played a Springsteen album once while I was attending Harvard, no wait, maybe it was during my postgrad years at M.I.T.

  124. 124
    Ailuridae says:

    @kay:

    Well yeah. That was my take on it growing up in a town of about 25000 in upstate NY. It is no surprise that Doug and I had a similar experience (although Western NY is obviously Upstate NY’s much uglier sister) with similar backgrounds.

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    The Lions are less fraternal and more service oriented. I’ve done a lot of work with them (actually alongisde them but w/e) over the years through the Food Depository here (CHI) and there has never been talk of beers at the lodge etc (pretty standard practice in Elks throughout my life) and more just about getting kids glasses and coats.

    @geg6:

    I can’t speak authoritatively on the NFL but I am positive that college football has the most educated fan base of any sport watched in large numbers in the US (with apologies to soccer). The reason Murray doesn’t mention football and chooses NASCAR is a classic dog whistle. Far more working class white Americans watch the NFL than NASCAR but the NFL has a majority of black athletes and NASCAR has Brad Daugherty.

  125. 125
    El Cid says:

    Just because the Real Amurkins Murray talks about have a lot fewer people than the elites who aren’t like them doesn’t mean Real Amurkins aren’t a majority, because math is elitist.

  126. 126
    matoko_chan says:

    @MattR: christian includes protestants and catholics. there were no catholics on Plymouth Rock. it isn’t that hard.
    Now, protestants, WECs, pretribs, k-lo catholics, and some jews fall under the judeochristianity umbrella.

    America is the first great experiment in Protestant social formation. Protestantism in Europe always assumed and depended on the cultural habits that had been created by Catholic Christianity. America is the first place Protestantism did not have to define itself over against a previous Catholic culture. So America is the exemplification of constructive Protestant social thought.
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer thus got it right when he characterized American Protestantism as “Protestantism without Reformation.”
    That is why it has been possible for Americans to synthesize three seemingly antithetical traditions: evangelical Protestantism, republican political ideology and commonsense moral reasoning.

    sillie me, i always think people actually read my links.

  127. 127
    Phineas Phang says:

    Why the geographic determinism? That’s what I don’t get. What if you don’t have any money, education or other contaminating trait but live in New York City? Or Gary, Indiana? Or Chicago? Are you an elite anyway because you lack rural cred?

    This is just garden variety anti-urbanism dressed up as social “science.” Since the founding of Ur by the Sumerians the hicks have resented the city folks and viewed cities as centers of corrupting, immoral, a-religious influences to be avoided. Folks in the hinterlands have always been suspicious of the folks on the coasts that have communication with outsiders. Nothing new. But nothing uniquely American about it, either.

  128. 128
    Jrod the Cookie Thief says:

    @matoko_chan: People barely read your posts. You’ve proven yourself an idiot plenty of times already, there’s no need for further proof.

  129. 129
    DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice. says:

    @Ailuridae:

    although Western NY is obviously Upstate NY’s much uglier sister

    I’m from upstate originally — Madison County (about 35 miles southwest of Utica).

  130. 130
    kay says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Where do the Lions fit in?

    My boss at the post office was a Lion. She was a wonderful person. Their charitable mission was eyeglasses, I think.
    Lions also sell brooms, for charity, door to door, which I buy, and they’re always nice older men. That’s all I know about them.
    It’s odd how you pick up the class distinctions whether you’re a part of that whole thing or not.

  131. 131
    matoko_chan says:

    @Jrod the Cookie Thief: well…i predicted the Iraq docs would drop before the election…i was only 2 days wrong…and Assange cut loose early because Wikileaks comms structure was attacked….AND….i predicted no Afghans would die from the A-stan doc release.
    perhaps you should read my links…you might learn something.
    jus’ sayin’.
    :)

  132. 132
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @matoko_chan:

    america started as a protestant nation….now it is a majority christian nation.
    the founders and framers were enlightenment dudes—the population was pure anglo-saxon protestant.
    the american revolution owes more to Martin Luther than to the Ancients and the Enlightenment scholars….but Luther only wanted the others church separated from the state.
    same-same.

    Leaving aside the startling number of factual and interpretive errors in this statement, how does it show that Albion’s Seed is not correct in general outline?

  133. 133
    Jrod the Cookie Thief says:

    @matoko_chan: You also predict that black people are inherently dumber than others, so why don’t you go fuck yourself?

  134. 134
    matoko_chan says:

    are you guys going to start that “get off our lawn” bullshytt again?
    really?

    okfine.

  135. 135
    Brachiator says:

    @matoko_chan:

    it is kind of obvious. america started as a protestant nation….now it is a majority christian nation.

    Intellectually confused, even with your later elaboration

    the founders and framers were enlightenment dudes—the population was pure anglo-saxon protestant.

    The founders were hardly pure anglo-saxon protestant. Hell, England, from which most of the founders originated, was not even “pure” anglo-saxon protestant. I see this a lot from acquaintances from the Middle East who desperately need to imagine a continuity between the England of the Crusades, the Britain of 19th and early 20th century imperialism, and United States foreign policy in the Middle East and South Asia.

    And to say that the American Revolution owes a lot to Martin Luther is interesting, but not particularly meaningful, but to try to say that his views of separation of Church and State informed the thought of Jefferson, Madison and the gang is ludicrous.

    Palin, DeMint, COD, all reject separation of church and state.

    Yeah, they would like some American equivalent of Sharia law, but so what?

  136. 136
    jl says:

    I am aware of all Jimmie (Jimmy) (James) Johnson traditions!

    I love it when that NASCAR plows through a defensive line, pulling a hat trick, zinging pitches right past the batter and calling the plays.

    It is a thing of beauty.

    Edit: And IMHO, NASCAR is elitist. Jalopy races and destruction derbies at the county fair, that is real America! Corn dogs, also, too. With yallar mustard.

  137. 137
    Ailuridae says:

    @Phineas Phang:

    Why the geographic determinism? That’s what I don’t get. What if you don’t have any money, education or other contaminating trait but live in New York City? Or Gary, Indiana? Or Chicago? Are you an elite anyway because you lack rural cred?

    Race. Always race. There is a reason these right wing pundits never talk about the noble rural poor who populate the Black Belt.

  138. 138
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @matoko_chan: Have you read Fischer’s book? Did you note that in my original comment I referred to the the cultural descendants of the various groups? Do you agree or disagree that there are cultural differences between the right and left regard the value and purpose of education? Do you think that these differences originated somewhere? If yes, where? I could go on, but time is fleeting; madness takes its toll.

  139. 139

    Yeah, whatever Doug. The amount of time you guys spend in here focussing on shit that NOBODY pays any attention to, as if were the coin of the realm, belies your asserted interest in this subject.

    Nobody reads Andrew Sullivan. NOBODY. Most Americans do not pay attention to Glenn Beck. Nobody ever fucking HEARD of Jane Hamsher. Nobody reads Broder. Hardly anyone even watches Press the Meat.

    Who are the elites? Beats the hell out of me. Mostly I think they are people who think they are elite. The real elites are the Kochs and the people who can write $2m checks to fund campaign blitzes on television and buy an election. Those are the fucking elites, them and the big corporations and banks.

  140. 140
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Right wing pundits personally resemble “real America” to the same degree that the top leadership of the Nazi party were all of them tall, blond, blue-eyed chiseled and sculpted specimens of the Aryan master race.

    Yes, I bloody well went there.

  141. 141

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    I think that I should get some sort of bonus for this, such as being allowed to harvest their organs in case I need new ones or something.

    I gotta stop here. Work demands attn., and this wins.

    Yes, my feral canine friend, if the privilege were mine to give, you’d get their organs. I’d watch out for the livers, though.

    (Which leads to this pun: what did the transplant donor say at the Pearly Gates?

    “Surely my liver redeemeth.”

  142. 142

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    I think that I should get some sort of bonus for this, such as being allowed to harvest their organs in case I need new ones or something.

    I gotta stop here. Work demands attn., and this wins.

    Yes, my feral canine friend, if the privilege were mine to give, you’d get their organs. I’d watch out for the livers, though.

    (Which leads to this pun: what did the transplant donor say at the Pearly Gates?

    “Surely my liver redeemeth.”

  143. 143

    FYWP! I swear I didn’t double tap…or mean to.

    Apologies all…

  144. 144

    Well the way I saw this piece packaged (and I haven’t read it yet) is that this is the reason why DEMOCRATS are gonna lose the midterms and are losing touch with Merka. IOW he turned his stupid biases into a political argument.

    And that just doesn’t work. I mean Christ, my husband used to be a member of the Rotary Club in the pissant little town in East Jesus where he lived before I took him away from all that, and yeah it was a small town so that’s TWO “Real Murkin” things he did but he wouldn’t have been caught dead at a NASCAR race — or watching one for that matter. He was/is a UK basketball fan.

    You just can’t say ALL “real Merkins” like to do x, y and z. Oh and a bunch of those Real Merkins in his little pissant town would rent a van and drive to Nashville to get drunk and go to strip clubs on the weekends. Was that in the survey, or just teaching Bible Study at the Baptist church?

  145. 145
    kay says:

    @Phineas Phang:

    Why the geographic determinism? That’s what I don’t get. What if you don’t have any money, education or other contaminating trait but live in New York City? Or Gary, Indiana? Or Chicago? Are you an elite anyway because you lack rural cred?

    Because the whole thing is silly. Ambitious people raised in rural areas grow up and move to cities, if only to get a job.
    They’re drawing these distinctions based on some static, unchanging scenario that doesn’t actually exist. The whole premise doesn’t make any sense. Where do they think all the young people in cities come from? From depressed rural areas where they couldn’t find work with a college degree.
    Jesus. You have to walk conservatives through the simplest factual matters.
    That’s why I doubt their cred on practical matters. They don’t know anything.

  146. 146
    jl says:

    I agree with commenters above that the whole thing is silly, but this silly stuff is being used by very rich conservative elitists to brainwash the public. So, need to pay attention to it, and figure out a way to counter it.

    My complaint is that I think aggressively developing, explaining and passing good policy that benefits both poor, working class, middle class, and even the rich, is the best tactic to counter the flimflam.

    I don’t mind policies that help the rich, I do object to policies that allow the rich to break the law and grab all they want.

    Problem with my preferred approach is that enough of the Democrats are so compromised that they are simply Republican Light, and are not helpful (to put it politely) in formulating and passing good policy.

    The problems the Democrats have now are from inability to implement good economic policies, simple as that. The flimflam is a PR tactic that rides on the policy failure. It cannot work without the policy failure.

    Since I know stats, I know that in addition to whatever else he is, Murray is a very very confused person. No telling what he will say or why. He shows little sign of knowing what he is talking about, except when he does flimflam.

  147. 147
    DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice. says:

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    I can’t find any hole in your Real Murkiness, but I’m sure Bobo could find something elitist about you.

  148. 148
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice.: He holds left of center political beliefs, does he not? This is a case where one “Aw, shit,” wipes out all his “Attaboys.”

  149. 149
    grumpy realist says:

    Yah, the “rural = saintly, town = sinful” has been a meme in the US probably since day one. There’s a wonderfully sardonic essay about this and other American myths in Thomas Beer’s The Mauve Decade. (which I highly recommend as a wonderful piece of writing, whether you agree with him or not.)

  150. 150
    noncarborundum says:

    I love it when that NASCAR plows through a defensive line, pulling a hat trick, zinging pitches right past the batter and calling the plays.

    Not to mention his stirring advocacy of male enhancement.

  151. 151
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @noncarborundum: No, that’s ExtenZ.

  152. 152
    matoko_chan says:

    You also predict that black people are inherently dumber than others

    what the fuck are you talking about? im writing a paper on the emergent IQ gap between liberal and conservative political affiliations, not racial demes.
    did i also predict non-hispanic caucs are dumber than asians?

  153. 153
  154. 154
    Sad_Dem says:

    I’m a native Californian. I have sat in a redwood hot tub naked, with strangers, in Berkeley. I have a copy of my birth certificate, but it’s not the original. Oh, wait–I do like muscle cars.

  155. 155
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @noncarborundum: Holy crap.

  156. 156
    matoko_chan says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: i read it when it came out and we talked about it a bit at GNXP.
    we decided it was basically apologia for Big White Christian Bwana with a few nuggets of truth.

  157. 157
    Pangloss says:

    This nation is floating down a river in a canoe to the sound of banjo music.

  158. 158
    matoko_chan says:

    @Brachiator: the problem is, “christian” is 70% of the electorate, and Palin and Demint just might get their Handmaids Tale realized.
    We already have a “Judeochristian” nation.
    like I said, we are living in Jesusland until the demographic timer goes off.
    Have we ever had a president that isnt “christian”?
    Do you think we ever will?

  159. 159
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @matoko_chan: You read it in 1989?

    Also, since it was looking at four sets of English immigrants to the the American Colonies, it is going to focus on white people. Criticizing it for that is like criticizing a history of the Winnebago for focusing on Woodland Indians.

  160. 160
    Paula says:

    @DonBelacquaDelPurgatorio:

    This point would be well-taken — except for the fact that no one on this site purports to peddle “serious” punditry on either nationally-broadcast TV programs or in popular internet newsmagazines. This is still mostly an inter-community weblog whose primary audience is coming from the already-limited progressive blogosphere that — unlike FDL or OpenLeft or DKos — does not purport to influence policy beyond GOTV calling and ActBlue pages. Being an inter-community weblog, it features subjects that matter to those communities — much of which is unapologetically meta-political. And snarky in way a lot of social networks are on the internet.

    There’s nothing on BJ that people aren’t talking about on every other highly-trafficked “prog-blog”. In which case, your problem is with the progressive blogosphere, not Balloon Juice.

  161. 161
    Janus Daniels says:

    Pleasantly, even on WP, many seem to see through him, leading to awkward exchanges, including the last:
    “[Murray said] “I’m really bemused by the notion that “Am I elite or not?” is a question that has a binary answer.” Well, it seems many readers took your piece as indicative that you think it is.
    A.
    Charles Murray writes:
    Just gotta write better, I guess. Out of time.”

  162. 162
    Brachiator says:

    @matoko_chan:

    We already have a “Judeochristian” nation.

    Really? Doesn’t mean squat. And I love the conflation of Judeo-and Christian. The right wingotards would insist that we have a Christian nation that barely suffers the presence of Jews.

    like I said, we are living in Jesusland until the demographic timer goes off.

    Which demographic timer is that? Latinos are mainly Christian. And there are a lot of Latinos named Jesus.

    Have we ever had a president that isnt “christian”?

    Again, doesn’t mean much since there are many flavors of Christianity. And of course we will have a president who isn’t “christian” one day. We have a sitting Supreme Court with nary a Protestant on it, and no one bats an eyelid about it.

    The question is, could we ever have a president who is an avowed atheist?

  163. 163
    dj spellchecka says:

    two trivia nuggets bout real americans and their sports that i heard on the [non-npr] radio…

    the recent nascar race in charlotte was held in front of an empty house, tying in with their teevee rating collapse..

    sunday night football commands the second highest ad rates of all of television…

    ps: for a must read on david brooks -man of the people check out “David Brooks Has Some Notions About the Programs on Your Television Machine” By Tom Scocca @ Slate

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/blo.....chine.aspx

  164. 164
    matoko_chan says:

    Omnes…….: ok…i read it when razib reviewed it. i just assumed it was new…..heh…the paperback reprint. :)
    my bad.
    but the consensus was that it presented as anglosaxon christian triumphalism.
    borrrrrrrrring

  165. 165
    MattR says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I’m listening closely. But not for very much longer.

  166. 166
    matoko_chan says:

    And I love the conflation of Judeo-and Christian.

    hey, its their term, not mine.
    Breibart, Cantor, Demint, Palin, all have used it extensively.
    it seems to mean conservative protestants, WECs, socons, teabaggers, pre-tribs, j-street, zionists, k-lo catholics, etc……..the judeochristian right.

    they all vote the same.

  167. 167
    matoko_chan says:

    @Brachiator: atheist or muslim or hindu or jewish….or something new. who can say?
    can’t happen until the demographic timer goes off.

    the judiciary are NOT ELECTED. they are appointed meritocrats. it doesnt matter if they are jews.

  168. 168
    Janus Daniels says:

    I’ve invented a word:
    judeochrislamic!
    Let’s use it frequently, especially to Republicans & other extremists.

  169. 169
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @matoko_chan: You not only move goal posts, you deny that they exist, and then insist that we were playing cards anyway.

  170. 170
    JenJen says:

    I was a Rotary Foreign Exchange Student, and can assure all that I never met a blue-collar Rotarian in the US, or abroad.

  171. 171
    New Yorker says:

    @Brachiator:

    And I love the conflation of Judeo-and Christian.

    Yeah, I love that too, as if the last 2000 years of western civilization can be airbrushed out of history. “Hey, you know all that stuff about drinking blood and killing Jesus and the pogroms and the shoah? Yeah, we were just kidding! Now you’re part of our civilization as we define it whether you like it or not.”

    And you have idiots like Bill Kristol and David Horowitz cheerleading this stuff.

  172. 172
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    @numbskull: I’ve been to Macon. The downtown is a sad empty shell. All they need is tumbleweeds.

    Update from the war zone that is the DC Metro. This morning was peaceful as I and my fellow radical fringe read papers and books or listened to music or slept. We were all probably up late last night watching football or Boardwalk Empire. I was the only one wearing the uniform of the radical fringe, or at least the Black Panthers (a beret) and evoked no comment. I am now girding up for the danger zone that is the afternoon commute.

  173. 173
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cheryl from Maryland: Good luck, Comrade.

  174. 174
  175. 175
    matoko_chan says:

    @New Yorker: well…its ‘Murrican.
    Puritans with flag pins.
    @Omnes Omnibus: i dont mean to…i just meant that i view Albions Seed as somewhat biased.
    Wasn’t America founded as an anglo-saxon protestant nation?
    Some of the founders were deists, not protestants.
    Thus….Creator instead of the conventional God.

  176. 176
    matoko_chan says:

    @lol: catholics are technically christian in that they accept the Christ.
    JFK just wasnt protestantchristian.

  177. 177
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    You not only move goal posts, you deny that they exist, and then insist that we were playing cards anyway.

    That’s pretty much how she operates. Sometimes she reminds me of our cat Annie, who comes up with her own rules to games and then gets frustrated when the stupid monkeys don’t understand what we’re supposed to do when she suddenly changes course halfway through.

  178. 178
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: Calvin Ball.

  179. 179
    matoko_chan says:

    @New Yorker: Germany too!
    judeochristian germans…..lawl.

    German President Christian Wulff has been criticized for welcoming Islam, while emphasizing the “Judeo-Christian” roots of the nation, to Germany during his speech celebrating the 20th anniversary of German reunification on October 3rd.

    Reuters notes that the Christian Democrats, a conservative party, often cite “Judeo-Christian” values instead of merely “Christian” roots due to concerns of the Holocaust.

    “Integration doesn’t mean living side by side but living together on the common fundament of the values of our Basic Law (German constitution) and our German guiding (leading) culture that has been molded by Judeo-Christian roots and Christiany, humanism and enlightenment.

    hahahaha

  180. 180
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @matoko_chan:

    i just meant that i view Albions Seed as somewhat biased.

    It is a book about several groups of people and their influence on the development of the United States. It does not deny the influence of others. If I write a book about apples, am I being biased against pears?

    Wasn’t America founded as an anglo-saxon protestant nation?

    In a word, no. Unless you mean that a majority of the population at the time of the Founding happened to be Protestant Christians. I think that you would find if you read the founding documents that a very specific effort was made not to make the country an explicitly religious state.

    Some of the founders were deists, not protestants.
    Thus….Creator instead of the conventional God.

    I am not sure how this supports any point you are trying to make.

  181. 181
    Surly Duff says:

    @jrg:

    Shorter Charles Murray: Anyone who has not played chicken with farming equipment after drinking a case of Busch Ice is small minded, by definition.

    Real America is just like Footloose?

  182. 182
    matoko_chan says:

    a very specific effort was made not to make the country an explicitly religious state.

    but they didnt succeed.
    there is no such thing as secular democracy.
    DOMA…..religious doctrine encoded as law….shariah USA.
    :)

  183. 183
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Surly Duff: Footloose had better dancing, but otherwise, yes.

  184. 184
    matoko_chan says:

    If I write a book about apples, am I being biased against pears?

    if you only wrote about GOOD THINGS coming from apples, and no bad things, then it would be a book on apple triumphalism.

  185. 185
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @matoko_chan: Can you separate, in your mind, the governmental structure, from the people living in the country? The structure is, and always has been, non-religious.

    Aw, fuck it…. It’s Chinatown.

  186. 186
    Capri Sun-Bagger says:

    Just wait until mytako-chin gets hammered and drunkposts how much she hates us. That’s hawt!

  187. 187
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    its the bleeping ELITES who are members of Rotary and Kiwanis clubs

    We should check with burnspbesq before we assume anything.

  188. 188
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @matoko_chan: Not sure why I am doing this, but here goes… Albion’s Seed specifically discussed the violence, intolerance, and bigotry that each of the groups of immigrants exhibited. Fischer talked about racism, prudery, and casual violence among other things.

    At this point, I am guessing that you, at most, read a negative review of the book and are completely BSing. More likely, you read a headline and the first sentence of a review. I, by no means, claim that it is gospel; I simply used it to illustrate a point.

    I am done with this.

    Edited to fix spelling.

  189. 189
    Nutella says:

    do it all in the name of “social science”?

    Murray wouldn’t recognize a science, social or otherwise, if it bit him on the *ss.

    He and his fellow Harvard historian Samuel P Huntington wrote up their private prejudices (blacks are stupid, hispanic immigrants will never become Americans, etc.) with a few long words and no logic at all. For this they get a lot of fawning press, overpaid sinecures at AEI and Harvard, and reputations as great conservative intellectuals.

  190. 190
    DougJ is the business and economics editor for Balloon Juice. says:

    @DonBelacquaDelPurgatorio:

    So you think all the Real American shit has no effect on our politics? Maybe you’re right, but it’s a new one on me.

  191. 191
    matoko_chan says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Can you separate, in your mind, the governmental structure, from the people living in the country? The structure is, and always has been, non-religious.

    nope, no one can. The structure of the judiciary is non-religious. Democracy is consent of the governed– if the governed are majority christian, they get to make the rules. The judiciary, appointed non-elected meritocrats, are a guarantee against tyranny of the majority, ie mob rule.
    Socons elect social conservatives– that is what the Religious Right is all about.
    The judiciary just keeps the christian majority from kicking the shit out of the rest of us. Like, Brown vs Board, Loving vs Virginia, Kitzmuller vs Dover,
    get real.

  192. 192
    AZmando says:

    I am really hopeless – far worse than any of you.

    Both Jimmy Johnsons? I never knew about either of them until today.

    BUT, I have known about the third one for a few decades – the GREAT Chicago Blues Guitarist and Vocalist named Jimmy Johnson. One of my favorite Chicago Bluesmen. Tasty, tasty, tasty music.

  193. 193
    Tehanu says:

    Why does anybody pay any attention to Charles Murray? Publishing a racist screed as “social science” wasn’t enough to get him ostracized by any decent person?

  194. 194
    John Bird says:

    I bet I have at least as much blue-collar experience as this dickwad.

    By his own standards, I pronounce his book to be useless bullshit.

  195. 195
    Carol says:

    @Tom Hilton: He’s even more clueless? Has he even looked at who graduates from those elite colleges these days? Or the executives from Microsoft and other tech folks? They are black, Latino, and Asian-groups that wouldn’t even be seen driving through Branson, let alone going to shows there. Let’s not forget Indian-Americans, Nigerian-Americans and other educational strivers. Yes, Muffy and Biff still go to the elite schools, but more and more they sit next to Aiyisha and Clarence, Mohammed and Chan. The real tragedy is that the one group that’s really missing are those “quintessential” Americans from rural communities these days. And their leaders are in a race to make it even less likely they will qualify for a great college by underfunding their schools and insisting they go to an “evangelical” school that shorts their kids on the sciences and political science because the subjects don’t lend themselves well to Republican and Fundamentalist memes.

  196. 196
    Chet says:

    This kind of crap actually makes me long for the frank, unabashed elitism of Old Guard conservative pundits like William Buckley, Florence King, George “No Denim” Will, etc.

    “Conservative populism” is an oxymoron.

  197. 197
    Wally Ballou says:

    I’m reminded of a piece that John Derbyshire wrote a few years back contrasting “metropolitan conservatives” with “provincial conservatives”:

    We conservatives like to scoff at lefties for their “noble savage” fixation — the way they go all misty-eyed and paternalistic at the thought of the poor helpless victims of capitalism, racism, colonialism, etc. etc. Well, I think I can see some similar strain of condescension in my own outlook. What the heroic worker was to an old-line Marxist, what the suffering Negro was to civil-rights marchers, what the unfulfilled housewife is to Hillary Clinton, the Vietnamese peasant to Jane Fonda, the Palestinian rioter to Edward Said, so the red-state conservative with his Bible, his hunting rifle and his sodomy laws is to me. He is authentic, in a way I am not.

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