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    Orange Appled

    Wonderful. This is just what I wanted to hear:

    Stephen Viscusi, 46, of Manhattan, said the divide has made dating even more fraught. Mr. Viscusi, who is gay and a Republican, said he has been rejected by Democratic suitors once they learn his political views. [from this NYT article–SRK]

    (Gee, I think it’s even worse for them than for 40-something single neocon Jewish women in NYC.)

    I know for a fact that I would have had more sex, and maybe a long-term relationship by now, if the social arena was not so polarized. Spirited argument is sexy to me (think William Powell and Myrna Loy), and a marriage with someone who disagrees with me on various issues sounds energizing and playful and always interesting. (I would insert a link to Mary Matalin and James Carville here, but I think Carville is just too weird.) But most people don’t feel that way anymore, at least not liberals. Champions of diversity, they want lovers and friends just like themselves.

    It’s probably as good a time as any to mention that Atsushi and I are no longer a couple. Though it’s not something I’m eager to discuss, I’ll say that we’re still friends, there was no animosity, the long-distance thing was hard on both of us, it’s very unfortunate but we’re fine, et c. My buddies have been doing a great job of making sure I don’t spend these few months sitting on the floor of my darkened apartment drinking Laphroaig from the bottle and listening to Dusty in Memphis.

    Anyway, one of Atsushi’s many wonderful qualities is that he knows how to argue. He’s perfectly willing to discuss sticky topics such as World War II and hold his ground, while giving you an honest hearing and without being an asshole. Most other Japanese gay guys I know are…well, Japanese: they just avoid unpleasant subjects, including politics. Most American gay guys here assume, when politics comes up, that I’m a Democrat. And most other foreign gay guys put any right-ish tendencies down to my being the usual simple-minded, unworldly Yank.

    Eric links to the Kesher Talk post above and adds:

    I’ve noticed this for years, and it seems to have gotten worse. You’d think that none of these liberal activists knew that about half the country voted for Bush, and the other half for Kerry.

    Like many people, Judith notices that Republicans don’t behave this way towards Democrat friends. I think the reason is that Republicans are very accustomed to keeping their mouths shut, to not telling friends and coworkers how they voted. In some cases, their very livelihood depends on being “in the closet.”

    Have things really gotten that bad in New York and Philadelphia? I only spend a few days a year home, so I have no real way to judge. The friends I visit tend to be those with whom I’ve been debating politics since those 3 a.m. conversations in college, so nothing about my policy positions is news to them; and we still have good, rousing arguments. When politics comes up in a conversation with someone I’ve just met, I generally say what I think as firmly but genially as possible, and that’s that. Sometimes I’ll have to answer a bewildered follow-up question (“How the hell could you not be in favor of gay marriage?!”), but the discussion usually remains respectful.

    That said, it really is true sometimes that people will practically refuse to believe that I’m not a lefty fellow-traveler. The probability that a random urban gay guy who works in educational publishing is a liberal is very high, so I don’t mind the initial assumption that I am. What’s irksome is the half-hour of incredulity–expressed through lots of hamming, mugging, and double-takes–I have to work through to convince people that, you know, I really am right-libertarian on most issues and tend to vote Republican. No one likes being told what he thinks, especially by people who purport to be open-minded.

    Added on 3 November: Eric is trying to decide which senatorial candidate to vote for. I don’t envy him.

    Ooh, and, I almost forgot about this old but very good post from Megan McArdle:

    When the Q&A came around, unsurprisingly, the majority of the questioners turned out to be Democrats. And every single one of their questions started off something like this:

    “I think that one of the major problems we face, as Democrats, is that our policies are all about nuance and deep intellectual focus on maximizing the welfare of the public at large, while Republicans are a pack of venal liars who want to kill poor people and minorities. The American public seems to be far too stupid to understand the subtle genius of our ideas. How do we, as Democrats, overcome that?”

    The answer, from the Democrats on the dais, generally went something like this.

    “While the rest of the American public may not actually be drooling lackwits who should herded into camps for their own protection, they are clearly struck insensible by the blinding power of our intellects. As their voting record demonstrates, they are constitutionally incapable of comprehending the overwhelming superiority of the Democratic platform on the merits. We will have to make sure that this election cycle we speak very slowly, and clearly, and make our visuals on very large sheets of construction paper with pictures of puppies. We may also consider lying, since after all, the shameless mendacity of the Republicans is the only reason anyone ever votes for them.”

    Now, is all this embarassing self-congratulation because Democrats are inherently arrogant bastards, crude elitists out of touch with the simple, homespun virtues of the common man? Or because losers need to lie to themselves in order to salve their egos? I’ve heard both explanations from Republicans who need to get out more.

    What is true is that Democrats, right now, have more ability to insulate themselves from being confronted with the views of the other side. Geographically, they can isolate themselves into coastal cities, which is why I never met any Republicans except my grandparents until I went to business school. And informationally, provided that they don’t watch Fox news, don’t subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, and keep the radio tuned to NPR, they can keep from ever hearing if the other side has a good argument.

    She was writing specifically about the Howard Dean phenomenon, such as it was at that point; but her points are certainly still relevant.

    9 Responses to “Orange Appled”

    1. Janis Gore says:

      I’m sorry to read that you and Atsushi have split.

      Ah, well, life do go on and all that.

    2. wheels says:

      It’s been a while since I’ve read you. Sorry to hear you broke up with Atsushi. I never had any luck with distance relationships; you seemed to be doing well.

      As for being closeted as a conservative, I live in Denver, where Republicans can’t get elected. Before the local arts weekly newspaper stopped printing personals, I’d see a lot of “no Republicans or military” demands in them.

    3. Toby says:

      Well, at least, if you are going to stew in a darkened apartment, you’ve picked the classiest Scotch to do it with!

    4. Rondi says:

      Sorry to hear about your breakup, Sean. I have come to the conclusion that love sucks. For the record, though, you sound way too together — I’d be in the fetal position.

    5. Internet Ronin says:

      Like everyone else, I am very sorry to hear about your break-up, Sean.

      Megan’s point about the holier-than-thou, we know what’s best for the little people attitudes of the left is well-taken, as is your about assumptions about your political views by others. Been there. Done that. Hated the soundtrack.

    6. Gaijin Biker says:

      Sorry to hear about your breakup.

      And Glenmorangie is better than Laphroaig.

    7. Sean Kinsell says:

      Thanks to everyone for the kind words. Specific responses as warranted below….


      “Before the local arts weekly newspaper stopped printing personals, I’d see a lot of ‘no Republicans or military’ demands in them.”

      That’s sad, though at least expressing one’s ideological inflexibility right up-front prevents good-hearted people from mistakenly believing they might have a chance.


      “Well, at least, if you are going to stew in a darkened apartment, you’ve picked the classiest Scotch to do it with!”

      You were expecting Teachers, maybe? I’m depressed, but I’m not self-destructive. And I’m still a poof, after all. : )


      “I have come to the conclusion that love sucks. For the record, though, you sound way too together — I’d be in the fetal position.”

      I’m the type to grit my teeth and act as if nothing were wrong until it’s eventually true. I don’t know that I think love sucks. Atsushi was well worth the effort of trying to work through things; I don’t regret a minute of it, however sad the results.

      Gaijin Biker:

      “And Glenmorangie is better than Laphroaig.”

      Highland? Ick! (Well, at least, Glenmorangie, ick. To each his own….)

    8. tanoki says:

      At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I, too, am sorry to hear about your break up. But if it makes you feel any better (fraden scheude?), I am also on the skids with my significant other. I imagine it will only be a matter of time before we break up. And, like you and Atsushi, we have been together for quite a while.

      But, oddly enough, I don’t feel too out of sorts about the probable break-up. If it’s right, it’s right. When I was younger, I might have spent a long time stewing over what might have been, but now I have a better perspective and can appreciate, when times are tough, when “what might have been” never happens.

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