From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
True Blue Americans

February 1, 2004 2:24 PM

Paul Krugman pits yuppie Blue America against the rugged individuals of Red America in a May 2002 column, "True Blue Americans":

You've heard the story many times: the denizens of the heartland, we're told, are rugged, self-reliant, committed to family; the inhabitants of the coast are whining yuppies. ... Neither the praise heaped on the heartland nor the denigration of the coasts has any basis in reality.

I've done some statistical comparisons using one popular definition of the heartland: the "red states" that -- in an election that pitted both coasts against the middle -- voted for Mr. Bush. How do they compare with the "blue states" that voted for Al Gore?

Certainly the heartland has no claim to superiority when it comes to family values. If anything, the red states do a bit worse than the blue states when you look at indicators of individual responsibility and commitment to family. Children in red states are more likely to be born to teenagers or unmarried mothers -- in 1999, 33.7% of babies in red states were born out of wedlock, versus 32.5% in blue states. National divorce statistics are spotty, but per capita there were 60% more divorces in Montana than in New Jersey.

And the red states have special trouble with the Sixth Commandment: the murder rate was 7.4 per 100,000 inhabitants in the red states, compared with 6.1 in the blue states, and 4.1 in New Jersey.

But what's really outrageous is the claim that the heartland is self-reliant. ... As a group, red states pay considerably less in taxes than the federal government spends within their borders; blue states pay considerably more. Over all, blue America subsidizes red America to the tune of $90 billion or so each year.

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Read the 3 comments.


There's a good article in the L.A. Times Calendar section comparing Dennis Miller unfavorably with John Stewart:

As Stewart told Tad Friend in a New Yorker profile in early 2002, when Stewart took over "The Daily Show" from Craig Kilborn in 1999 the show's humor shifted from what Stewart called "adjectival humor" and ad hominem, often appearance-based, potshots to having the writers express what they "really felt."

After Sept. 11, the show's real foe came into clear focus: the hyperbolic, hysterical and fear-mongering media and, as Friend wrote, "anyone who terrifies, offends or panders to Americans, from Al Qaeda to Tom Ridge."

Two and a half years later, "The Daily Show" has won three Emmys and become, according to a recent study, one of the primary sources of news for people under 35. This despite Stewart's dogged insistence that his show was, in fact, "a fake news show." Of course, regular viewers know that "The Daily Show" is the opposite of fake: It is brutally, nonpartisanly sincere. Lacking in pretense, Stewart is able to say anything that pops into his head as long as it is posed, "Jeopardy"-style, in the form of a question.


Miller's jokes have always been as snappy and spontaneous as a valedictory speech, but they now require a five-minute explanation: His withering scorn will be reserved henceforth exclusively for Democrats, people he finds physically unattractive and their unholy amalgam, Dennis Kucinich.

Mon Feb 2 2004 1:24 PM


Miller's jokes have always been as snappy and spontaneous as a valedictory speech, but they now require a five-minute explanation:

If you have more then a third grade education its really quite funny. But then you probably don't get Robin Williams either.

Mon Feb 2 2004 2:19 PM


dhermesc: I thought it was interesting that you made your remark concerning Dennis Miller under the pretext of an educated man and yet you mispelled the word 'than' in your first sentence, five words in. You also misused 'its,' by the way.
Dennis Miller was once a very witty and entertaining comedian. Sadly, his recent work is not terribly interesting and not terribly funny. Miller has turned from comedy to simply repeating his opinion again and again in the light of whatever news happens to land on his doorstep in the morning. To use Miller's own diction, if not his exact words. "When any asshole with an opinion can be aired on national television, I start to wonder what this nation is coming to."
PS: Please forgive any errors in my own spelling.

Sun May 2 2004 12:10 AM

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