Knee Jerk


I was invited to a generally lovely wine party by my cousin Josh at some friend of his’ apartment in the Village this evening. Most of the people I met were very nice, but I met one young(ish) gay man who was a bit of a puzzle. He told me he was from Texas originally, and had lived briefly in San Francisco before moving to New York about a year ago. Loving SF as I do, I asked him what he thought of it, and he told me he absolutely hated it there because it was so “liberal”. I asked him what he meant, but his only response was, “They are just so liberal about everything” and then added for good measure “Just like Nancy Pelosi, I hate her, she is such a liberal.” Intrigued by this blanket statement, I asked him to give an example of a policy of Nancy’s that he disagreed with. His response was “Everything, absolutely everything about her! I hate her! She is so…liberal!” To which I responded, “You said that already. Can you give a single example of a policy position she holds that you disagree with, or do you just hate the way she looks or that she is a woman with some power?” To which he responded, “I don’t really want to get into it all, it is complicated and I am not drunk enough to argue well.”

“Or sober enough, apparently” I added helpfully. There isn’t a whole lot I find less attractive than knee jerk political opinions. It is all the more shocking when coming from a somewhat disenfranchised minority, but it just proves that no group is free of its know-nothings.


  1. mom says:

    There are a LOT of people like this guy. They use terms like “liberal” and “socialist” as insults; it’s obvious very few of them have any real understanding of either word. They certainly aren’t used analytically. And as you discovered, it is utterly impossible to hold a rational discussion with them. I get emails after many of my columns loaded with accusations of “liberal elitism” and the like. Very rarely do they even specify what it is they disagree with, or why. I think they are frightened by a world they cannot understand.