Monday, May 02, 2005



Over at Salon today, there is an interview with prominent atheist and all around smart guy, Richard Dawkins. He's somebody we generally like.


Over at Ezra's blog, we see that he's praising Thomas Frank's latest essay in the New York Review of Books. (Well, mostly praising.)

In that essay, Frank makes the case that Kerry was a bad choice for a Democratic candidate because he was an aristocrat. It's vintage Frank, updated to Shiavo, but not much is new for those familar with his earlier work. Except that this time he goes into detail about aristocratic/elitist facets of Kerry.

In reviewing the 2004 election, and on a slightly different topic (instead of elitism, he's focusing on patriotism and related themes) Frank writes:
Then came what must rank as one of the most ill-conceived liberal electoral efforts of all time: in October the British Guardian newspaper launched a campaign to persuade one contested, blue-collar county in Ohio to vote against President Bush. The idea was to have Guardian readers in Britain write personal letters to voters in Ohio, whose names and addresses the newspaper had secured from registration rolls. Unsurprisingly, the Ohioans strongly resented being lectured to on the foolishness of their national leader by some random bunch of erudite Europeans. Indeed, the episode was so outrageous that there was almost no need for columnists and talk-radio hosts to sputter about the "pansy-ass, tea-sipping" liberal elitists who thought they knew best—the arrogance of the wretched thing spoke for itself.[8]
Footnote [8] reads:
[8] When I first heard about the British letter-writing campaign, I couldn’t believe anyone was ignorant enough about American political sensibilities to do such a thing, or at least to do such a thing straight, on behalf of the candidate they really wanted to win. But they did. See Andy Bowers, "Dear Limey Assholes..." Slate, November 4, 2004.
Time to read Bowers at Slate. Opening lines: (orig emp)
Imagine being an undecided voter in Clark County, Ohio, last month. You kind of think John Kerry has some good points about the war in Iraq and the economy, but you feel more comfortable with George Bush's faith and his resolve. One day, you open your mailbox to find a letter from someone in England you've never met. It starts like this:
Don't be so ashamed of your president: the majority of you didn't vote for him. If Bush is finally elected properly, that will be the time for Americans travelling abroad to simulate a Canadian accent. Please don't let it come to that. Vote against Bin Laden's dream candidate. Vote to send Bush packing.
It's signed Richard Dawkins, a professor of the public understanding of science at Oxford University. And you're thinking, ashamed of Bush? Canadian accent? Who is this pretentious Brit and why is he writing to me?
Dawkins isn't all that smart after all.


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