Tuesday, October 12, 2004

"The Face of the GOP"

Slate does a frivolous piece on who the novelists are voting for. Not surprisingly, the emotional conditions of novelists count very few red states.

Many of these literary geniuses already have abandoned the U.S. and have lived abroad in various castles and villas for the entire Bush administration, but they still will tell you with brass assurance that its continuance would be tragic for an America these folks can't be bothered to inhabit.

At least Updike makes a case for a Kerry vote that is not out to the left of Michael Moore. And I can still read Lorrie Moore without feeling my political gorge rise. As for the rest of them, most weren't on my A-list anyhow.

But the best anecdote comes from someone named Thomas Beller. (If you really want to insult a writer, pretend you never heard of him. In this case, it's not pretending.) He writes:

I saw the face of the Republican Party the other day at the Saratoga racetrack. It was the last day of the races, and a small woman with a big hat walked through the crowd carrying a handmade sign, written in script: "Little Old Ladies in White Tennis Shoes For Kerry," it said at the top and beneath it, "The best bet of the day." She moved through the crowd, a big smile, holding the sign over her head. I watched as she passed an old-young guy, mid-30s, already well-paunched, gold watch, smoking a cigar. He looked at her, at the sign, and then bent forward and spat out a nasty remark in her ear. I was too far away to hear it. But the way he shook his head after he passed her, his body language, maybe just the watch, I was sure it was nasty. She, however, didn't flinch —- which in a way I took to be the best political news of the week.

OK, so you saw a little old lady for Kerry. And you saw a guy talk to her. And you just know he was a Republican. How? He had a gut and he smoked a cigar? Good enough for me! And he said something to her. And even though she didn't flinch, that proves it was something nasty, something "spat," not said. Of course, you didn't hear what he said but you know this because he was a Republican! (The watch, remember?) And the fact that the old lady didn't take it amiss was not, in fact, a sign that he said something innocuous or even polite, but that she's a true hero!

If this guy's writing career goes south, he's always got a job waiting for him in my newsroom.

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