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June 15, 2005

Review: Why I Am A South Park Conservative

Ann Coulter wrote a book called "How To Talk To A Liberal (If You Must)". It looks like fun - I confess I haven't read it. But it occurred to me recently that if you want to explain the modern-day conservative movement to a liberal, there could be no better introduction than Brian C. Anderson's new book, South Park Conservatives: The Revolt Against Liberal Media Bias.

Brian sent the book to me just before I went on my week-long break from blogging and I've been dying to review it. On finishing it, my biggest problem was deciding where to start. I knew I had a winner on my hands when my 22 year-old son called me and posed a question I always dread: "How's your writing, Mom?". He's been pestering me to shop some of my better pieces to magazines.

This time I'd had a post picked up by two major online mags without my having to lift a finger, so I neatly deflected the usual accusations of parental slacking. I mentioned SPC and got a, "Wow! That's a famous book!" Et voila! I had arrived - I'd finally impressed my normally impassive offspring.

A week later, poolside, Bloody Mary in hand, I dove in. Immediately I found myself riveted. For a relative latecomer to the world of blogging and media-watching, South Park Conservatives was a joy to read. It begins with a fast, witty romp through the big media scandals of yore: CBS's The Reagans, RatherGate, the Swift Vets scandal. Anderson gets the facts right and even reveals details I hadn't known on stories I remember following closely at the time. I was hooked.

I began annoying my basking spouse with excerpts from the book: a sure sign that I'm engrossed by what I'm reading. He rolled his eyes tolerantly and ordered a single malt from a passing waiter.

Subsequent chapters covered talk radio, FOX, the blogosphere (a must-read), the rise of conservative publishing houses, and perhaps my favorite chapter, the decline of campus liberalism among today's college students. And it is that last chapter, strangely enough, that stayed with me, and that I most often mention when talking to others about this book. And I do talk to others about South Park Conservatives.

Michelle Malkin wrote a great piece called "Why I'm Not A South Park Conservative". I read it before going on break, and again when I returned, and as with many of Michelle's pieces it made me think. Ms. Malkin and I see many things the same way. Then again, there are some profound differences in our respective world views that cause me, in this case, to respectfully disagree with her.

Because after thinking it over, I somewhat ruefully came to the conclusion that I may, in fact, just be a South Park Conservative though I, too, wince at episodes of the show that spawned the book's title. But I also laugh hysterically. I've only managed to watch it all the way through once or twice; most often when my sons are home for the weekend.

Though South Park is often too much for me, unlike Michelle I didn't find Laura Bush's speech offensive in the least, nor did my often stricter-than-me husband. I even defended it here. I have a well-known penchant for irreverant and at times off-color humor. And my politics would most likely be characterized as fiscally conservative, socially liberal. Much like the younger generation of Republicans Anderson describes in his final chapter, I'm the type of Schwarzenegger Republican NRO-ites tend to look down their noses at; often sneeringly referred to as "not a real Republican". A RINO.

Oh puh-leeze. These characterizations annoy the living daylights out of me, for if there is one thing I love about my party it is that I truly believe it is a Big Tent. I see us as the party of big ideas, not small minds. And a big tent should be roomy enough to allow for respectful disagreement. In my view, the saving grace of conservatism is its very adherence to rule-based living, to good manners and the kind of tolerance that refuses to belittle those with whom we disagree. That is the philosophy that allows us to coexist with people of differing cultures, races, and ideologies peacefully, without the need for intrusive speech codes or government interference.

I respectfully disagreed with Michelle on Laura Bush's speech and she apparently had no problem with that because she has been kind enough to link to several of my posts since then. That's what I love about my party at its best. I love the fact that during the election season we had many Democrats visit, some looking for a good fight. They didn't find one.

Instead we had some rousing discussions. I don't think many minds were changed, except perhaps in the sense that several of them said they expected us to be more angry or unreasonable and were pleasantly surprised to find us willing to exchange views, even when provoked. Their denunciations of The Shrub were not deleted. Their IP addresses were not banned; in fact the only banishable offense remains repeated ad hominem attacks, and that only after several warnings.

I have to be frank here. I get angry when I hear liberals refer to us as close-minded, fag-hating, snake-handling, war-mongering Jesus freaks who all want to repeal Roe v. Wade and take us back to the days when blacks were 3/5 of a person. And we're mean-spirited? A few weekends ago I had a great conversation with a young lady, a Democrat, about blogging and just happened to mention (because it had something to do with the post we were discussing) that a friend of mine was gay. She was flabbergasted. "And he's...a Republican?" she said?

"Well of course", I answered. "Like Baskin-Robbins, we come in all flavors". It was evident that I had rocked her world. The Republican Party is changing, if you ask me, for the better. Among the new generation of campus conservatives, there is a strong Libertarian streak that I suspect would have raised a few dimples on the Founding Fathers.

The Left, when it is demonizing us, condescendingly casts the Right as the party of "Family Values". But I think we are more properly the party of Ideas. And any party that seeks to remain a party of ideas must be open to fresh, challenging, and even brash voices if it is to stay vital and alive into the next century.

As far as I'm concerned, I like these new South Park Conservatives and I'm proud to call myself one of them. The crudity I can do without, but that has a way of getting toned down over time. Any party that's able to laugh at its own foibles (as well as the lunacies of the Left) is a party I'll be proud to recommend to my two sons.

And who knows... even my Grandbabies?

So if you're looking for a great read (or just to understand what the new conservative movement is all about, or why we think the media is out to get us), I highly recommend South Park Conservatives. At the very least I guarantee you'll be informed, amused, and entertained by Anderson's smooth and witty prose. At best, you may be surprised to find yourself quite at home with the new breed of South Park Conservatives.

Posted by Cassandra at June 15, 2005 08:12 AM

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Comments

I must respectfully disagree.

These so-called South Point Republicans, what with their saucy language, flatulence humor and loose fit jeans will be the ruin of this country.

On a rail I say, on a rail.

Posted by: Pile On [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 15, 2005 11:56 AM

My parents will be awfully mad at me if go.

Oh, OK then.

- Butters Stotch

Posted by: Masked Menace© [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 15, 2005 12:06 PM

Put a sock in it Pile: you pathetic misogynistic, racist, homophobic, knuckle-dragging, snake-handling, Hosannah-shreiking, Nazi Capitalist/John Bircher/Luddite/Bill Gates-loving Red-state excuse for a blogger.

Who asked you anyway? I'm off to my seminar on Nurturing Tolerance and Diversity in Academia: Other Voices, Other Choices

Heh...

Posted by: Bush Ate My Soul... [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 15, 2005 12:09 PM

OOOH, that does it. I have something special in mind for you BAMS.

Heh.

Posted by: Pile On [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 15, 2005 12:23 PM

I hope to read that soon. After Freakonomics.

Posted by: KJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 15, 2005 12:47 PM

"I have to be frank here."

I prefer you as Cassandra.

"I get angry when I hear liberals refer to us as close-minded, fag-hating, snake-handling, war-mongering Jesus freaks who all want to repeal Roe v. Wade and take us back to the days when blacks were 3/5 of a person. And we're mean-spirited?"

I know. I have never handled a snake. Except ... nevermind.

The RINO's are a problem at times for the Party. See, the judicial and social secuirity issues. In many ways, it isn't that they might be pro-choice or for civil unions. It is that they lack the courage to support the party when the Party is on the right side of an issue.

But the Reps need the big tent. If they can make a home for the reasonable, God fearing, small government minorities and the social more permissive livid terriers, they could run things for a long time.

Posted by: KJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 15, 2005 12:59 PM

Well, the livid terriers need to keep nipping at the ankles of the RINOs.

Pile, I love BAMS' description of you. You rock.

Nurturing Tolerance in America when Phred says there is no place for same? I wonder if Felps is in bed with some left wing groups. He sure sounds like one.

Posted by: Crckt [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 15, 2005 01:04 PM

Oh, and BTW, congratulations, Cass. You deserve it, deserved it and I am so proud of you!

Posted by: Crckt [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 15, 2005 01:51 PM

Thanks Crkt. This disappearing vowel thing is really beginning to concern me. Should we demand a Special Prosecutor? I smell an impending lawsuit - the VA bar (Vbr?) has much to answer for here.

I have never handled a snake. Except ... nevermind.

Ah, the daydreams of attorneys.

The RINO's are a problem at times for the Party. See, the judicial and social secuirity issues. In many ways, it isn't that they might be pro-choice or for civil unions. It is that they lack the courage to support the party when the Party is on the right side of an issue.

Well the "right" side of an issue is rather subjective, now isn't it, O Snarky One?

FWIW, you know durned well that I agree with you on the judicial and SS issues. In fact I may be somewhat to the Right of you there - rather "more-Federalist-than-Thou", if you know what I mean. On the otter heiny... well, we won't go there :) We understand each other on those other two issues and we're not too far apart.


Posted by: Bush Ate My Soul... [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 15, 2005 05:17 PM

Oh my, BAMS!
Do you mind that I nearly hyperventilated from laughing at your 12:09pm post.

AAMOF, I was curious to know if you nearly did (hyper-v'd) yourself while saying it. Did you get that all out in just ONE breath?

And echoing the voweless little black bug, Congrats on your yet, a wee bit mysterious honor of making the "big time" in 2 mags. Since guys read Playboy for the articles, I would guess that's ONE of the mags....and the other would be.......The Nation?....MUHAHAHAHHA! [Im making fun of "them", not you, K?!]

Posted by: CKCat [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 15, 2005 06:38 PM

I'll admit, I didn't really read your post beyond the first few paragraphs, cass, since I am reading now (the chapter about South Park,) but it is a darn good book.

PS: did you submit a south park icon to Beth at MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy?

Hey, it's past 6:30. Cool. Scr*w you guys, I'm goin' home. :)

Posted by: William Teach [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 15, 2005 06:39 PM

No Cat it wasn't Playboy. On the otter heiny I suppose it wasn't all that far off - Pile knows what I'm talking about. Let's just say it wasn't one of my in-depth Commerce Clause posts, or my odes to Federalism, or one of my foreign policy or econo-blogging posts either. Because I know how much it turns you all on when I start blathering on about the marginal tax rate. Heh...

They love me for my mind. How depressing.

I need a drink.

Posted by: Bush Ate My Soul... [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 15, 2005 06:51 PM

No William, I'm not nearly hip enough or clued in enough to know what you're talking about.

I don't even know who Beth at My VRWC is. Probably because I'm a dorky loser, not because she isn't important. I'll check it out. You know how I am - I don't understand all this blog-clique stuff - someone has to grab me and explain it to me. I have my head in the clouds.

I guess I'm not much of a joiner - it's not that I'm a snob. It's just that I'm fricking clueless :)

Posted by: Bush Ate My Soul... [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 15, 2005 06:54 PM

check this out: http://bamapachyderm.com/south-park-blogger-gallery/

And just in case, the "scr*w you guys, I'm going home" is a line Cartman always uses in South Park.

Posted by: William Teach [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 15, 2005 07:57 PM

William, quit confusing BAMS or Pile On will kick you sqare in the nuts.

Respect our hosts authoriti

Posted by: KJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 16, 2005 12:00 AM

Cass,

If you are going to be a South Park Republican, don't you think you ought to, maybe, see an episode of South Park?

Posted by: KJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 16, 2005 07:46 AM

Dude, I don't think I want to be part of this anymore...

Heh.

Posted by: Cassandra [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 16, 2005 07:58 AM

You can find the entire piece online. Just google gay prostitute in White House, and look for The Observer's story.

Right-wing media ratcheted up the long-standing conservative complaint that the media is dominated by liberal publications. Though many journalism experts deny that is the case, the image has settled in the American consciousness, forcing newspapers, magazines and television stations to go out of their way to prove they are not liberal. 'We have a conservative media and also a mainstream media, which is also now fairly conservative because it has been forced to deny being liberal,' said Lule.

The Gannon case is a prime illustration. If, during the Clinton administration, a fake reporter from a Democrat front organisation, using a false name, had been exposed as attending White House press conferences it would have been a national scandal. If he had then been shown to be a gay prostitute, the scandal could have threatened a Democrat presidency. With 'Gannon' and Bush there has been no such outcry. The mainstream media has approached the story warily, while right-wing organisations such as Fox News have largely ignored it.

Posted by: Justin at June 5, 2006 08:38 PM

Yeah, they ignored it because he was gay, Justin. Duh...

And this is what I found on a 15 second search of Fox:

Blogger Joins White House Press Corps - Monday, March 07, 2005 - WASHINGTON — With an official credential hanging from his neck, a young man stepped into the White House briefing room Monday as...

Blogging ... Blah, Blah, Blah - Monday, February 28, 2005 - U.S. News & World Report reported last week that several senior Republican senators — upon hearing that "blogs" had uncovered the...
Lawmakers: Writer May Have CIA Leak Info -

Friday, February 25, 2005 - WASHINGTON — Two lawmakers have sent a letter to the U.S. attorney saying a White House reporter who recently resigned following...
Raw Data:Conyers/Slaughter Letter on CIA Leak -

Thursday, February 24, 2005 - The Honorable Patrick Fitzgerald...

White House Reporter Using Fake Name Quits - Friday, February 11, 2005 - WASHINGTON — A conservative writer who attracted attention by asking President Bush (search) a loaded question at a news conference...

Feb. 10, 2005 - Thursday, February 10, 2005 - MUST READS:...

Congressman Alleges that Karl Rove was Behind CBS' 'Memogate' Scandal - Thursday, February 24, 2005 - This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," Feb. 23, 2005, that has been edited for clarity....

Arnold An 'Arrogant Patriarch'? - Thursday, February 24, 2005 - Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:...
Raw Data:Conyers/Slaughter Letter on CIA Leak -

Thursday, February 24, 2005 - The Honorable Patrick Fitzgerald...

No Criticism From Carter - Monday, February 14, 2005 - Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:...


Posted by: Cassandra at June 6, 2006 05:59 AM

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