Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Jonah Goldberg: Philly Isn't 'Real America'

Jonah Goldberg mocks an upcoming Katie Couric travel itinerary:

"James’ post is great as it is, but might I just add that the places Katie Couric has been visiting aren’t really in the middle of the country. With the exception of Chicago, which is at least the gateway to the Midwest, Philly, Boston, and New Brunswick (!?!) are all part of the Bos-Wash corridor, accessible by the Acela. As someone who has crisscrossed the entire country by car numerous times, let me suggest that you haven’t seen much of the “middle” of this country — washed or unwashed — going by that itinerary. I mean, who says, “I’ve got to break out of my New York cocoon and see some of real America. Let’s go check out Philly and Boston.”"

For what it's worth, the Northeast Corridor contains roughly one-sixth of America's population. The middle of the country -- where "real" Americans live -- doesn't actually have that many Americans. Couric might want to expand her travels a bit, but a Philadelphian might actually be a more "typical" American than, say, somebody living in South Dakota.


J said...

And if you say something nasty about such a small number of people, is it really all that nasty?

--Unwashed in South Dakota

Joel said...

You misunderstand my meaning. I'm not encouraging derision for small-town folk -- I *am* small-town folk. But it's not anymore "real America" than Philly is, and certainly no more worthy of sanctification as such.

J said...

It just seemed a good opportunity to actually champion a small group of people who are marginalized by the hegemonic coastal culture, but you used the moment instead to criticize a person who (perhaps wrongly) lauds them as representative of an America that largely no longer exists, but which, as an ideal, remains important, at least to conservatives. You'd think that someone from a small town might have an inkling of defensiveness about Couric's classism.

Joel said...

"You'd think that someone from a small town might have an inkling of defensiveness about Couric's classism."

Not coming from Jonah Goldberg, I don't. Dude lives in New York, always has. I'm pretty suspicious of anybody who encourages the small-town folks in their alienation and defensiveness from the comfort of his Manhattan apartment.

And I get what you're saying about small-town folks feeling marginalized by coastal culture; I do know that the coasts are constantly told by Republicans that they're not "the real America." It's not true. So why should I act sympathic to divisive grievance-mongering?