November 13, 2004


Best wishes to Mark Steyn, who for personal and family reasons is currently on a break. Before his hopefully-brief absence, Mark had some thoughts on an ex-friend:

James Wolcott is very down in this election-night post - especially compared to the previous one, which cheerfully boots me in the crotch. I feel rather down myself. I've always liked James personally and I've often quoted him - he's very funny on the Rat Pack - and his wife, Laura Jacobs, is one of my favorite New Criterion colleagues and the best dance writer in America. The passage about me in his new book is savage but hilarious, and not without a grain of truth to it. So I am sad that, among the very minor casualties of 9/11, we are now permanently estranged. It's easy to say, as Judy Woodruff recommends, that I should reach across the aisle, but I fear James would not appreciate me stroking his hand right now.

I've lost a few friends since 9/11, but I don't think the election caused any additional estrangements. Ken Layne, for example, remains a pal, despite our divergent views on Bush and Iraq. Got any election-related friendship-over stories? Put 'em in comments.

Posted by Tim Blair at November 13, 2004 10:27 PM

I haven't lost any friends per se but many of my liberal friends are unaware that deep down I think their idiots. Especially the ones who told me "you have to go see Farenheight 9/11."

On, the other hand I have a deep personal connection with my conservative buddies.

Posted by: Eddie Graziano at November 13, 2004 at 10:39 PM

Pre-emptive strike on any spelling fairies: "They're"

Posted by: Eddie Graziano at November 13, 2004 at 10:41 PM

My brother is a Muslim convert who is always making excuses for those god damned monsters in addition to unquestioningly swallowing all the anti-American propaganda. I am pro-America and Western culture as anyone you will find on LGF. When we get into it everyone else just leaves the room, if not the building. If you hooked some wires to us you could power a small city. But we are not estranged, strangely enough.

Posted by: Junkyard God at November 13, 2004 at 11:01 PM

Got any election-related friendship-over stories?

No, but some people at work think I'm a nazi.

Posted by: Tex at November 13, 2004 at 11:10 PM

" liberal friends are unaware that deep down I think their idiots. Especially the ones who told me 'you have to go see Farenheight 9/11."

Me too. I do try to put such folks straight but, at the end of the day, anyone who doesn't see Moore's work as laughably unsubtle propaganda must be missing something in the brain required for rational thinking. Tolerating idiocy is often crucial to lasting friendship.

Posted by: Bulldog at November 13, 2004 at 11:22 PM

I've avoided political conversations with some people rather than risk real estrangement, but the other day my brother actually used the word quagmire about Iraq, and he was serious. Uh, oh. Given what they say about blood and water, I bit my tongue til I was sure it was bloody to avoid a rant that would have changed the opinion of neither of us. And this is a guy who majored in history in college and will spend any amount of time studying WWII. Go figure.

Posted by: Retread at November 13, 2004 at 11:22 PM

Especially the ones who told me "you have to go see Farenheight 9/11."

When my friends say that to me, I just roll my eyes and change the subject.

Posted by: Damian P. at November 13, 2004 at 11:34 PM

Let's face it; 9/11 happened when I was in grade 11 at high school, and I'm a year off finishing my degree at university. Though I've been a supporter of America and the West all this time (go capitalism!), one would have to be wary of what he says around certain old high school and current uni buddies.

There were a couple of friendships that went pear-shaped for a while as I matured (at least a little bit) into my current Young Lib state, though I find comfort in that the friends worth keeping either don't care or just look beyond it. While I have plenty of friends with like-minded views, it's not the be-all and end-all of a friendship just because one of you strongly supports the war in Iraq and the other strongly opposes it.

The tragic thing is, however, that some others don't necessarily see things the same way as me, so I've also lost a few friends since September 11.

Posted by: Marty at November 13, 2004 at 11:41 PM

I lost a friend and a job in one fell swoop over the Iraq war and moral relativisms in general.

I had a good pal for whom I worked sculpting figures for Mardi Gras floats. He liked having me around for many reasons. I'm great at the sculpting but he also loved our intellectual conversations. Most of his other employees were not well versed on history or current events.

But the further we got into the Bush presidency the more erratic he became. True to lefty form, when I started countering his arguments with logic he'd begin calling me names. Nazi, brownshirt, bigot, klansman.

Several times he'd call me a name, I'd threaten to leave if he didn't leave me alone, he'd sulk and apologize and all was well.

Our last bout was over Indian policy to dissallow abortions, as girl children were aborted more often than boy children. It should be know that my pal's wife is Indian. I suggested, not for the first time, that some practices of some cultures were barbaric and inferior. He believes firmly that all cultures are equal, well except when it's American culture we were talking about. Or except when he was talking about Italian renaissance art or Southern music, which, inexplicably are superior while none are inferior.

He argued that Indians couldn't help killing baby girls and if they weren't allowed to kill them before birth they would only kill them after birth. Cultures are as cultures are and we should not judge. I pointed out that maybe we shouldn't judge the Nazis or the Klansmen. I further said that perhaps they should strive to evolve into a community that frowns on infanticide of girl children, cultures being dynamic not stagnant and thank God for that or we'd be discussing this around a campfire with smelly pelts on instead of clean blue jeans and t-shirts. My 'bigoted" notion unhinged him. Then I struck the last blow by pointing out that he's making excuses for a practice that results in girls just like his adorable daughter to be treated as disposable non-humans. And asked if his economic situation were perilous would it be okay for him to off her for the good of the famly?

Well, needless to say, I didn't stay in his presence but a few minutes longer. If he was unhinged before he was positively rabid after that.

And truth be told, if that hadn't brought our friendship to an end it would have been only a matter of time before the Iraq war would have. Being all blood for oil and our lust for the death of brown skinned people and how I'm the bigot but he believes them incapable of democracy or any reasonable form of governement.

It's sad. But life move on.


Posted by: lunacy at November 14, 2004 at 12:01 AM

I have managed to avoid losing any serious friends; at work I tend to keep my libertarian-hawk views to myself - I work for a big news firm so it is not in my interests to reveal my views anyway. There have been a few folk out there with whom I have disagreed pretty strongly but I have tried to handle arguments in a civil and adult way and they understand that.

It took a lot for Mark Steyn to write what he did. The man is probably one of five most influential journalists in the English-speaking world, and certainly one of the funniest.

Posted by: Johnathan Pearce at November 14, 2004 at 12:02 AM

I have avoided this problem by not having any friends to begin with. But I've gotten a lot of, "How can you not hate this guy as much as I hate this guy?" People who I think are funny, despite our differences, no longer think I'm funny, because of our differences. I guess that's just how it goes.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at November 14, 2004 at 12:15 AM

I live in a very Red county in Ohio, and the five of us that work in my shop are unanimously pro-Bush, but we all avoided political conversations with customers, except to speak in hushed tones to those we knew shared our views. Turn someone off, and you may not get a second chance to take their money! See - capitalism makes good neighbors!

Posted by: Waffle King at November 14, 2004 at 12:16 AM

I haven't had any such, but My brother and his wife broke up because of the election.

Posted by: Gary and the Samoyeds at November 14, 2004 at 12:21 AM

I thought I had made it through relatively unschathed, losing-friends-wise, when an old friend who had driven several hours to spend a weekend with us suddenly realized that I support the war in Iraq. After trotting out pretty much the entire Fahrenheit 911 arguments, she segued into "100,000" innocent civilians killed by the war and I finally asked if she actually either a) understood the charges she was making, b) had any evidence on any of them outside the word of a multi-millionaire who made his fortune by being a very good liar, or c) had given a good Goddamn about civilians in Iraq prior to the war?

Guess I'm a brownshirt.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at November 14, 2004 at 12:22 AM

Jorg, which motel did she end up staying in?

Posted by: Jim Treacher at November 14, 2004 at 12:38 AM

I have several lefty friends in academia who think it's their Goddess-given right to pepper me with every bit of email flotsam that comes their way, the result being that usually days or weeks after something has been discussed to pieces in the blogosphere, they'll spring it on me as if it's 1) new and 2) likely to make me instantly flip sides. Did you know that Bush carried a plastic turkey? Did you know that Paul Wolfowitz said his opponents are part of the "reality-based community"?

While their right to annoy me with every bit of semi-literate nonsense they receive in their inbox is inalienable, however, my right to actually respond by taking apart the logical flaws in these things (aided by the fact that they've usually been fisked already somewhere online) does not exist. One is pretty much an ex-friend by now, offended by the fact that I have my own opinions and have taken his forwarded ones seriously enough to rip them to shreds. They can imply any sort of thing about my opinions, Bushitler American hegemony morons deluded by Karl Rove, but if I ask them why they think that, if the Iraqis were Saddam's business and not ours, the Jews weren't Hitler's business or the murdered nuns in El Salvador Somoza's business, then I'm being an asshole.

Before the election, when this stuff hit a particular peak, I told them that as soon as the election was over I intended to stop reading anything about politics and just read Trollope for the next four years. Now, whenever they send me something, I find an obliquely relevant or quietly contemptuous quote from "The Way We Live Now" and that's the totality of my response. One I liked particularly recently:

She could write after a glib, commonplace, sprightly fashion, and had already acquired the knack of spreading all she knew very thin, so that it might cover a vast surface.

If that isn't Michael Moore, Gore Vidal, and (save for the sprightly fashion) the collected works of Noam Chomsky, what is?

Posted by: Mike G at November 14, 2004 at 12:50 AM

Mike G:

Great quote, and dead on.

Me, I avoid talking politics with most friends and my siblings; nothing to be gained trying to change their minds, and mine was made up long ago (I support Bush). My in-laws are pro-Bush, so that's whom my political discourse is with.

Posted by: Tex Lovera at November 14, 2004 at 01:18 AM

I lost a Starbucks coffee drinking buddy over the election. We never had any conversations about politics until one day she blurted out, "What kind of an idiot would you have to be to support Bush"? I calmly told her someone like me I guess. She then went into the F911 litany of arguments, Friends with bin Laden, Blood for Oil, Blah Blah, etc. I kept smiling, kept drinking my coffee, and didn't respond. When she asked what I thought, I told her thanks for the commentary and I'd be voting for Bush. Haven't heard from her since.

Posted by: swassociates at November 14, 2004 at 01:21 AM

I haven't lost any friends per se, but there are a couple of strained relationships. My brother (who leans more libertarian) and I generally don't discuss President Bush. More accurately, he offers his opinions, and I mostly make non-committal grunts.

At the office, there are a couple of genuine moonbats. Since I already have a reputation for being blunt spoken (heh heh!), I try not to discuss it. And since I work for an agency within the Department of Defense, the office population tends to keep such conversations to a minimum. One guy did go over board, and was told not to discuss personal politics on e-mail (it was blatant moonbat stuff). That doesn't keep me from sharing The Good Stuff with like minded friends. :-)

But my collection of personal friends has been something of a strain for me. Many of them (good people, please note) are not for the war at all. Some are indifferent. They respect the troops, and even support them (a couple have relatives over there, and others are veterans themselves). But I simply do not discuss politics with them.

But no major casualties. So far.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at November 14, 2004 at 01:25 AM

My 2 best friends are in the Farenheit 9/11 camp and i am and LGF/Steyn-er. It's hard. One of them is becoming increasingly loony and even sent me a link to that crapola about a missle hitting the Pentagon not an airliner. I wonder what Ted Olsen thinks of all that? It has put a strain on things because neither of them can make natural feeling jokes with me about Republican/Bush idiocy so certain swaths of conversation go unsaid. However, with the one friend i see more all is not lost, since there are the shared enthusiasms for quality beer and porn. But i fear with the other there is no return since he has made all matters "left" an emotional touchstone and therefore, for me, they are that much harder to defuse with reality, argument and facts.

Posted by: matt at November 14, 2004 at 01:30 AM

Don't have any friends- I don't like people, and people don't like me. But when my boss told me he was supporting Bush, I snipped off his tie and called him a poltroon. He wanted to fire me, but in Europe it is now illegal to fire people under any circumstances.

I've got the laws stacked on my side. There's not a thing he can do about it. Next time I see him I'm going to strike him on the jaw with a lump of pig-iron.

Posted by: Harry Hutton at November 14, 2004 at 01:32 AM

On the contrary, friendship overturns the political.

The Democratic strategy in fact lost to that.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at November 14, 2004 at 01:37 AM

My boss is a lefty. He likes the idea of everyone in his workplace being a lefty. However I have let him know "I am not a lefty", though took it no further. Passing myself off as a centralist.

Howard won. We talked about the election, and surived. Though, I never talk about Howard in the positive. Me, the centralist.

Bush won. I think he is feeling like a Collingwood supporter about it. He is away on holidays, so hopefully he cools off and I will still have a job in his lefty-haven.

Two dates have asked "have you seen Farenheight 9/11?" They were gorgeous women. I need to learn how to lie, if I want to get laid in this city!

Posted by: madison at November 14, 2004 at 01:40 AM

Funny, right after posting the comment above, I finally got a scathing response to my Trollope quoting. I thought about simply quoting my post here, but decided on something else. Here's part of the response I just sent back:

I am no longer interested (not that I ever was) in receiving anything which implies that I, or the 52% of the population who made a clear choice between candidates and chose the one I voted for, were simply too stupid to know better. I am no longer interested in glossing over the fact that I've just been implicitly called a moron by whatever you sent me, a heartless, clueless bastard sucked in by the simple act of Karl Rove and Frank Luntz's use of certain words over certain other words. Please do me the courtesy of assuming I've arrived at my arguments through my own thought processes, through the values I hold and my own reading and understanding of history, rather than through simply being a deluded idiot, and I will do the same and not assume that you are merely a brainwashed victim of oppressive leftist groupthink (as described quite well in this week's Chronicle of Higher Education, by the way). Since any substantive response I make is met with contemptuous sneering rather than thoughtful debate, and my own broad hinting that I wasn't interested via the Trollope quotes did not get through, I can only say it plainly. I am not interested in four more years of being told I'm a moron for my vote and my positions, period. Stop, now, and let us confine our conversations to the things we have in common.

Posted by: Mike G at November 14, 2004 at 01:45 AM

A day or two after 9/11, a Canadian friend subjected me to a hysterical, semi-coherent tirade about how Americans are all evil, we deserved it -- I personally deserved it -- and so on. She never spoke to me again after that.

My brother turned into a moonbat after 9/11. He's one of those self-annointed amateur Middle East Experts who never heard of the Oslo Accords. This is not a figure of speech: He insists that the West Bank and Gaza never had any self-rule whatsoever in the 1990s, that the police and courts in those places are Israeli. We don't discuss politics any more; if you try to disagree with him, within a minute or two he starts shouting.

All of my friends and relatives are anti-Bush, but aside from the two junior Savonarolas above, you can talk them about politics without it getting personal. And these are mostly Cambridge, MA people, so I'm not giving up on the human race just yet.

Harry, he's a damned gutless quisling, is what he is. Please be more precise in your language. Thanks.

Posted by: ek ek ek ek ek at November 14, 2004 at 01:55 AM

Thinking about it, I cannot imagine anything more ridiculous than losing friends over something
as trivial as an election in America. It would make as much sense to fall out because you have different theories about why Rome fell, or why the dinosaurs went extinct.

Posted by: Harry Hutton at November 14, 2004 at 02:00 AM

I've lost a couple friends in that time but not because of 9/11 or Bush. With most of my hard lefty friends, I just avoid talking politics or world events since that's not what the friendship is about. Goes with my rule of not talking politics or religion at the bar. Talking sports or music starts enough fights as it is.

Posted by: fad at November 14, 2004 at 02:03 AM

I used to be friends with some chimps down at the zoo. They used to get mad about Bush, because all those "Bush ist chimp" slogans were getting on their nerves. One day they told me I wasn't welcome in the cage anymore. But after a week, they let me back in, although this was mainly because I was the keeper and I had stopped feeding them.

Now when the little hairballs start on about the UN, I just go "Phhht. Whatever", and wave my hand dismissively. (There's one whose cold stare lingers a little too long, though. I'll have to watch him.)

Posted by: Scott Campbell at Blithering Bunny at November 14, 2004 at 02:07 AM

The 911 attacks prompted me to start bothering friends with emails, and then bombarding the whole world with blogs, urging the ex-British Empire to reconquer the Holy Lands, or words to that effect. This strained one or two relationships.

There was excuse for differences of opinion before the War. But the obvious fact that there were good pros & cons to both sides should have constrained any ill-willed personal attacks.

The results of this militarist experiment have caused me to recant my views. Most of my relatioships have been salvaged, albeit slightly bruised.

The fact that the War is now turning from a strategic disaster into a moral calamity should make pro-war partisans a little more circumspect in their political avowals. That goes doubly so for their personal testaments.

The Bush admin is looking for an Iraq exit strategy before the mid-term Congressionals, by which time their fearless leadeer expects to be "quacking like a [lame] duck". The Bushies want to spend whats left of their dwindling political capital on enriching the rich rather than democracy-promoting, or whatever, in Iraq.

Pro-war partisans should be wary, at this stage, of investing too much personal passion into the political future of this venture. They would be fools to link the fate of their personal relationships to the Bush admins political fortunes, given the indecent haste with which that august body plays even its closest allies for suckers.

Posted by: Jack Strocchi at November 14, 2004 at 02:18 AM

O where to start.

The night the war started me and my dad had an argument the whole street must have heard. It was all about something so small and unrelated to politics at all but the whole family knew where the tension came from.

A friend of my roommates who used to come around all the time would bring up Israel every now and then. He was Bosnian/Serb/Croatian and one day he told me that most of his family were anti-semites, his grandfather was a big time anti-semite, his parents were anti-semites so he would have probably passively picked up some anti-semitism somewhere. I guess he must have because one day he said some shit about Jews controlling the American media etc. I tried to avoid him after that. The funny thing is I dont think he even relised that you just cant tell someone that their people are the root of all evil and still expect to be mattes with them.

My best friend at work was a father figurish, Mr Miagi lookalike, Malysian immigrant. When DR Mahatir said his spiel I said some think to him like "must be you glad you're an Ozzy now heh" This perfenctly rational common sense man turned around and told me that Austrlia (the country he chose to live in) was a "terrorist state". I told him that if that was the case he should fuck off back to Malaysia. Fortunatly he left about a month later. Maybe I should have been mad at him but I mostly just felt sorry for him.

Most of my close mates are of the F911 type but I take comfort in the fact that they are all young and odds are that most of them change before they hit 30. I try not to bring stuff up around them because there is not really any point but soem of them still think they can change me.

For some reason (maybe because I'm well read and I listen to a bit of Bob Marley) a lto of people assume I'm a Lefty. About a year ago I was being chased by a girl who was a member of Greenpeace, Wilderness society, etc (dotn worry, she wasn't of the unbathed variety) I though it was only fair to sublty warn her how right wing I was. That was the end of that.

I wish I could say that there is no uneasyness between me and my lefty friends but it always just bellow the surface. The positve side to this all is that me and my righty mates now have this unspoken Jedi knoght telepath thing going on. It's especially nice when you fidn out soemone is right wing that you never knew was before.

Posted by: Troy at November 14, 2004 at 02:28 AM

I recently attended a familly function and was seated with some total strangers from the other side of the family. Two of the men admitted that they could not tell their friends they were voting for Bush--talk about stifling dissent!

My husband is angry at a friend who spoke well of Jimmy Carter.

My younger daughter blames Bush for everything from the waar to river blindness in Africa. But she's my daughter, so I change the subject.

Posted by: Miriam Sawyer at November 14, 2004 at 02:39 AM

I have all but lost the closest friend I have ever had, all because of my support for George Bush. She ended up being virtually brainwashed by Fahrenheit 9/11 and has since become a hate-filled, bitter person. She can't fathom how "the smartest person she knows" could possibly support their President (I'm Canadian, she's American). This is someone with whom I've gone through incredibly tough times, and the friendship has always survived. I'm very tolerant of her political views and have made every effort to bridge the gap, but to no avail.

Piss on Michael Moore and Jon Stewart and Bill Maher and everyone else who has pushed so many people so far to the left for the sole purpose of furthering their careers.

Posted by: Nash Kato at November 14, 2004 at 03:06 AM

One of the ladies at work, of whom I'm usually abstractly fond, went into a complete tirade after Bush won: "He's a liar and a murderer and a thief and he sold marijuana to schoolkids and gave an abortion to his girlfriend and is an alcoholic and he's going to reinstitute the draft and reestablish slavery!" Etc.

I nodded and thought, "Ah, so my vote for Bush wasn't wasted...just for entertainment value alone..."

Posted by: ushie at November 14, 2004 at 03:08 AM

The Roman Empire fell because the dinosaurs organized a letter-writing campaign to encourage them to make Nero the emperor instead of Caligula, or maybe it was the other way around.

Posted by: 12 at November 14, 2004 at 03:26 AM

My very productive and inspiring writer's group broke up in the last year due to the fevered anti-Americanism of some of the lefty members. Before the war, one Brit opined that the cowardly Americans were going to put the Brits in the front lines so they would "die first" and thus dull the brunt of an Iraqi counter-attack. I finally called it quits after another woman "expressed her condolences to the parents" after Uday and Qusay were killed. In all seriousness!!!

So now I've got writer's block and a serious blog jonez.

Posted by: Patricia at November 14, 2004 at 03:42 AM

Reach across the aisle? It's not our damned job.

They lost, in the most basic way you can lose in a democracy. They presented their case to the American people in the most comprehensive way imaginable, with the unabashedly partisan support of the press, talk show hosts, celebrities, educators and every form of deep thinker a post-industrial culture with too much free time on its hands could conjure up. They proposed their cause with physical assaults, vandalism and gunfire through the windows of their rivals. They marched with chanting mobs in the thousands. They campaigned with pockets bulging with more billionaires' stolen money than they could spend. They lined up for feature motion pictures and stacks of books published accusing George Bush of everything from war mongering to procuring abortions.

And they lost, by a margin that is only increasing more and more and more every day as adsentee ballots, expat ballots, military ballots and provisional ballots are finally counted. The people heard their case and rejected it by a margin in the millions.

And now the argument is, WE are supposed to reach out to THEM, as though WE have in some way failed? Where is Wolcott's reaching out to the people of Florida, after the unabashed glee he took in their hurricane suffering? Where is the Democrats' attempt to rebut the "Jesusland" rantings of the fringe they courted so assidiously.

Do the Democrats want me to reach out to them? Then I suggest they take the advice of another famous radical, Oliver Cromwell: "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken."

Until they consider that TRULY radical possibility, then there's nothing to say to them, because they won't be listening...

Posted by: richard mcenroe at November 14, 2004 at 03:57 AM

A couple of good mates, one a greenie and one a chronic lefty, spend a lot of time trying to convert me by email with calm intellectual arguments. I can excuse one because he is a pacifist, it's wrong, but a truly held belief. Both had the good humour to send me begrudging good wishes on the election of Howard and then Bush.

I think they see me as someone who needs to be saved from my delusions, but as long as they buy the drinks I'll listen to anyone.

Posted by: Dean McAskil at November 14, 2004 at 04:00 AM

Patricia, what's a ``blog jonez''?

Regarding writer's block, I subscribe to the Roto-Rooter school of fiction writing. [For Australian readers: Roto-Rooter is a plumbing/sewer-cleaning service.] That is, keep churning the words out, even if they're crap, even if there's too many of 'em. Somewhere along the way the clear water starts to run - that is, the words start to come out right. Then you go back and edit out the crap. You will be pleasantly surprised by what remains. I've never understood this business of ``writers' groups'' anyway - writing has got to be the most solitary occupation in existence.

As for lost friendships over the election: not a problem for me because (1) I don't have that many friends to start with and (2) living in Chicago I long ago learned to keep my opinions to myself, except among a few safe people whom I know won't jump down my throat. And if there's a family Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner coming up, I shall probably arrange to be recovering from the 'flu, and regretfully unable to attend. These folks do *not* take losing gracefully.

Posted by: Annalucia at November 14, 2004 at 04:09 AM

Speaking of Ken Layne, sheesh, that guy has turned into a total whack-job now that he's living up in some total hell-hole of a Nevada mountain range. I guess when all you do, each and every day, is sit around hitting the whiskey jar, looking at the scrub-brush, and researching Nevada's age of consent laws, you'd tun into a weirdo too. The guy has all the mental stability of David Koresh. I just wonder how long it will be before he starts posting about his 12-year-old child brides.

Posted by: David Crawford at November 14, 2004 at 04:12 AM

"Piss on Michael Moore and Jon Stewart and Bill Maher and everyone else who has pushed so many people so far to the left for the sole purpose of furthering their careers."

Amen to that.

It's very difficult to have a rational conversation with people who have imbibed from the above fonts of wisdom. MM (Michael Moore) and those like him have helped to fuel an hysteria I've never witnessed before.

I limit political discussions, and friendships, at work to those I know who are not MM loving leftie hysterics. (There are Liberals who don't buy into the leftie hysteria.)

Have had a few arguments with fairy tale believing lefties when I just could not be silent any longer. Things are frosty with some, but not those I'm close to.

Family is another matter. Due to a family member having cancer surgery, many of us were together the last week before elections. Seems most who are under 35, especially those still in college, have bought MM's F 9/11 hook, line, and sinker.
(I live in Massachusetts, this explains a lot.)

I didn't say too much to younger family members, because things were tense enough at the hospital. However, our holiday gatherings will be interesting. I do not intend to be silent about MM when I next see these brainwashed relatives.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at November 14, 2004 at 04:12 AM

I am such a loser!

[This comment has been altered by The Management.]

Posted by: Miranda Divide at November 14, 2004 at 04:15 AM

My father-in-law. He raved about Fahrenheit 911 and believes all that Afganistan pipeline bullshit. It hasn't estranged our friendship, however, because, well he's my father-in-law and I DON'T HAVE ANY FRIGGEN CHOICE but to put up with him.

On the flipside, my Uncle has always been as rightwing a bible thumper as you'll ever find. Prior to 9/11 we argued **constantly** about politics. Now that I'm a hawk my tolerance for gay marriage, abortion, higher minimum wage laws, and other liberal heresies have suddenly become acceptable.

Posted by: Sean at November 14, 2004 at 04:28 AM

I have some longtime friends, family almost, that I just had to stop talking to after a while this year. They're convinced that the U.S. is setting up concentration camps in Iraq, and that the reason the flu vaccines in '03 were ineffective was that people were actually being given a smallpox vaccine (a Bush plot, of course). Never mind that none of the facts added up, and I can't conceive of a reasonable motive for either activity.

I haven't spoken to them much since then, because no matter how sane the conversation some lunatic comment always comes up: "Sting says that there needs to be more love in the world" or "Incest and abuse don't happen in tribes". I can't say how often I've had to bite my tongue. They're thirty-one and still think this way.

I guess I should be glad they don't want to reproduce - they don't want to pass on their genes to another generation. If more moonbats make that choice, then I suppose there is still hope for the future, anyway.

Posted by: Julie at November 14, 2004 at 04:34 AM

Hey, it's Miranda ! How did ya go in the elections pet ?

Posted by: jafa at November 14, 2004 at 04:42 AM

Friends are like diapers, they should be changed often, and for the same reasons.

I'm just thrilled about the fact that the progressive insanity rampant in the world today has led to leftists saying things like MORAL CALAMITY, as our friend Jack Strokey (titter) tossed off above. It's entirely satisfying that now I have a whole new range of sanctimonious twits to mock besides the religious right. When leftists start talking in grave tones about MORAL CALAMITY, it's comedy gold.

Actually, that's a great name for a blog: MORAL CALAMITY!

Posted by: goldsmith at November 14, 2004 at 04:47 AM

It took 50 comments before David picked up on the insanity of Ken Layne...woo doggies, that dude is seriously unstable. How Tim can remain friends with a wack job like Layne strains all credulity. Schadenfreude?. I'm not sure what David means re: the underage girls, though I wouldn't be surprised that the unhinged, cabin-bound Ken is reduced to casting an unhealthy eye at his Barbie collection. His musical bomb (hmm...does anyone else think he's badly lifted the voice, the entire ouvre of the Chesterfield Kings?) seems to have coincided with his mental breakdown? Reports indicate that the last audience for the Corvids consisted solely of Cathy Siepp, Matt Welch, Amy Alkon, Tony Pierce and Luke Ford. I'd run to my cabin and go nuts too. Hope the Corvids have a mental health rider on their group insurance plan!

Posted by: John at November 14, 2004 at 05:00 AM

Funny you should mention this just now. My wife and I live in so-liberal-it-can-give-you-cavities Austin, Texas, and last night at a party I succeeded in estranging the only couple on our block we've been friendly with. They came up and confronted me on the rumor that I had given my allegiance to the Dark Side. I was drunk and unusually eloquent. Now the wife is barely speaking to me and wants me to see a counselor. Really. It seems I have become an angry white male, just one election cycle too late.

Posted by: Bruce at November 14, 2004 at 05:16 AM

Hmmm.. all my good friends range from conservative to centrist. My more casual acquaintances I don't talk about politics with. I have one total moonbat of a cousin who, over the years, has produced an amazing array of whacked-out statements. Things like "Viva Castro", "The US is no better than China". Obviously, he hates Israel. and loves Paul Krugman.

After Hillary Clinton voted in favor of the resolution authorizing war in Iraq, he was FURIOUS with her for betraying the liberal cause(and she is not his senator). He claimed she was like Stalin. I found myself in the very odd position of defending Hillary Clinton. The straw that broke the camel's back was when he said, "John Ashcroft is no better than Osama Bin Laden." After painfully taking him through the steps to demonstrate that this is, in fact, insane, he did the usual, which is get real quiet and then change the subject. Without ever admitting he is wrong.

I have demonstrated the patience of Job with this guy, but that was the point at which I decided I was going to stop wasting valuable time in my life refuting his idiocy. I don't live near him, and I haven't seen him in over a year. When I do I'll be nice and polite, but I will not treat his opinions with respect. I'll say "yeah, whatever" and change the suspect. There's no point in talking to people who aren't listening and refuse to think before they speak.

Posted by: Bill at November 14, 2004 at 05:25 AM

I ended up retiring from my university job early before I got my full boat, simply because I couldn't stand the academic kneejerk leftoidism anymore (well, and my husband retired, and I was tired of working anyway, but that's beside the point). I suffered through two 9/11 anniversaries and realized that the same ugly arguments were going to go on and on every year, without anybody learning anything.

I lost a couple of friends to that same leftoidism. When I was young, I made it a habit to try and understand other viewpoints. 9/11 finally confirmed a suspicion I'd had for a while: that some viewpoints simply defy understanding, and therefore do not deserve the effort. Much ugliness and insanity has poured out of people of whom I expected better.

Posted by: Rebecca at November 14, 2004 at 05:26 AM

Wow. Seems to me that you good folks are defining "friends" rather loosely. I have many acquaintances with whom I avoid political discussions because I am then reminded of just why I can't count them as "friends". I consider a friend to be one I can be companionable with (including while engaged in frank discussion) and one that I would want at my side during a crisis. This necessarily excludes moonbats.

Posted by: Richard Blaine at November 14, 2004 at 05:27 AM

Let's see... had to ditch a French-Canadian girlfriend after she went a little nuts over 9/11. ("Oui ignorant Americans do not care what the world thinks of you they would never attack Canada ever not ever because everyone loves Canada...") I may be in the *process* of alienating from a couple friends over the election.

Posted by: Aaron at November 14, 2004 at 05:41 AM

Thanks for the writing tips. Jonez=addiction. I guess I need to know there are intelligent people out there who don't reduce the problems of the world to worrying that Uday's parents are "grieving" over his death.

Now, I'm off to write some crap! :)

Posted by: Patricia at November 14, 2004 at 06:03 AM


Posted by: test at November 14, 2004 at 07:45 AM

In the lead-up to the Iraq war, a colleague emailed a number of people (including me) invitations/requests/summonses to attend a peace rally. Included in his logic for opposing a foreign war was how his grandfather went off to fight a war (WW1) that Australia had no business being in.

I declined the invitation, pointing out that my grandfather too fought in someone else's war in North Africa. However, that particular "someone else" was Winston Churchill and he was at war with guys called Hitler and Mussolini, so if you're going to fight "someone else's" war, that wasn't a bad one to be in.

I them went on to rebut all the other arguments:

1. that it will cause instability in the Middle East - as if current Middle Eastern stability should be preserved

2. that it will weaken the Saudi government - good, I say; let 'em fall, the Americans can then send the 82nd Airborne to take the oilfields

3. it's all about oil - if it was all about oil, the Americans would invade Venezuela - it's a lot closer and the food is better

etc. etc.

I genuinely liked, respected and admired my colleague, and still do, and regret that things just haven't been the same since then.

Posted by: steve at November 14, 2004 at 07:46 AM

Hmmm...quite a number of college friends with whom I try mightily not to discuss anything political; I have no idea if they know I'm a Secret!Rightie or not, since they tend to talk as if everyone in the room/email/whatever agrees with them. "I can't BELIEVE what Chimpy just did!" stuff like that. Fortunately it's not the greater part of their conversation, so when writing back I just strip off those bits of email and concentrate on the more personal (and interesting) stuff.

I did have one friend, however, with whom I've always had a rather fractious relationship (dating - not dating - not speaking - sort of friends - friends again) who went completely apeshit around last March when election season started really heating up. How long he had held those views I don't know, but he turned into a frothing moonbat of the highest order; sending me links to (don't go, I beg of you - they're "missile hit the Pentagon" "The Jews all stayed home on 9/11" and worse) frothing about how Chimpy McHitler was going to turn us into a theocracy, whining about how gay marriage was a right he had always defended and how he refused to get married until gays had the right as well. (He sure didn't seem interested in it three years ago when he got married - and divorced - at twenty-one, but whatever). The thing is, this guy is very good at what he actually knows something about; when it comes to literature and music, he used to be a joy to talk to. But he NEVER TALKED ABOUT THEM ANYMORE, it like the pod people had got him. I hung on for a while and argued with him a bit, hoping maybe we could get back to the music/song discussions or something, but it was not to be. The end actually came over something else; I had just suffered a miscarriage and he made some throwaway comment about how "too many people in the world are having children anyway." That pretty much showed me that whatever happened to him, he's been transformed from the inside out. There really seems to be nothing left of what he once was. (For the record, I'm not blaming this on his Kerry supportage or anything, but it was like he was so boiling over with hatred of Bush and anyone who even defended him slightly that every basic human emotion was just put on hold).

Oh, and the kicker? He's in school right now to be a counselor. And yes, five or six years ago, I would have married this guy if he had asked me. That's why it hurt. I thought I knew him pretty well, and then - poof! Gone.

Posted by: Sonetka at November 14, 2004 at 07:47 AM

Oh yeah, a couple of by best mates were dead against the war, which surprised me a bit, but they both explained it by saying that having children changes your outlook on such things (they each have two kids, whilst my wife and I have none).

I pointed out that World War 4 is going to be fought sooner or later, so the good guys might as well land an early punch and take the advantage. If we don't fight it now, we'll only leave it to our children to fight and (hopefully) win. The good guys need to show the bad guys that they can go right into the heart of the Islamic world and kick someone like Saddam's arse just because they can, so the next prick with a koran down the front of his pants covering the stiffy he's getting over his 72 virgins may, just may, have some second thoughts.

After that, we stuck to football.

Posted by: steve at November 14, 2004 at 07:55 AM

Well, I wasn't expecting to chronicle the dissolution of one of these friendships in real time, but since this morning when I sent the email that I quoted part of above, I got a reply back which answered my points as if I still gave a shit about debating them with him. Here's the response I sent:

What part of my meaning was unclear? What argument do you think can be raised that I have not already encountered a thousand times and already formed an opinion of? And most importantly, when is this election that you think it would be useful to influence my opinion for? The only one I know of has taken place, is quite settled by a substantial majority which no amount of fantasy recounting can alter, and I do not propose to be harangued, passively-aggressively argued with, or abused as a bloodthirsty moron further. I intend to block all emails from your domain for the next 7 days. If you wish to maintain our friendship after that point on the basis of our mutual interests in a million things besides politics, which at least in aggregate are as important to a happy and interesting and well-balanced life as politics, I will be happy to do so. If you wish to carry on like this, I will not. It is really that simple. Enough!

We'll see. God knows I've done far more for him (including let him live here rent-free some years back, also pretending I didn't know his ex-girlfriend's contact info which believe me, was doing both of them a favor) than he's done for me so if he wants to end our friendship because I won't sit still and have Michael Moore quoted at me, then good f'in riddance.

Posted by: Mike G at November 14, 2004 at 08:03 AM

For the past two years it's caused a terrible rift in my Sunday night poker game. Most of the strife is between myself and a friend. He's a MM lovin', F911 spoutin', lefty and I'm a militant hawk. Long ago we came to a mutual agreement to leave politics aside at the poker table, but every now and then someone will bring something up that just hovers there.

I even deliberatly skipped poker night before the elections just to ease tension. We'll see how tomorrow goes.

Posted by: Gbob at November 14, 2004 at 09:02 AM

Luckily, no lost friends, but a few close calls. Had a very ugly argument with a dear friend over the dinner table about a year ago when she declared, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world, that Bush and his government were absolutely equivalent to the Third Reich: no simile, no metaphor, no hyperbole - just absolutely equivalent.

The funny thing is that, in every other department of life, she is a wise, shrewd, witty, charming woman. We made up that same evening, I'm happy to say, and we both know what's a no-go area now. Stranger however was that, a few weeks after this, in the middle of a perfectly innocuous conversation about the weather, she made a comment to the effect that, of course the government wants to cover up the greenhouse effect, so they won't let you know how hot it really is. And this from a wordly-wise woman who for decades was at the top of her particular profession. I've never in my life had a more unsettling moment

Posted by: cuckoo at November 14, 2004 at 09:22 AM
she made a comment to the effect that, of course the government wants to cover up the greenhouse effect, so they won't let you know how hot it really is
Oh, God, I'm sorry, that's the funniest thing I've read all day. Especially because deep down, I know your story is true. Incredible, isn't it?

The highlight for me was walking with my Quebecois girlfriend in Chicago arguing gun control, when she said that "if you are attacked by someone with a firearm, you should learn martial arts" and that "we have to get through this culture of fear and learn to trust the people assigned to protect us". At that point, I knew this was the downward spiral.

Posted by: Aaron at November 14, 2004 at 09:31 AM

I probably don't need to add, that what she meant was that TV weather underreported the daily maximum, as if we couldn't go down to Dick Smith/Radio Shack and buy our own thermometers. But I guess the government has already got to them. The weirdest thing is that she doesn't otherwise display any kind of paranoid symptoms.

I shouldn't go on (but this is so DAMN therapeutic), but I found myself a typically middle class lefty lunch party, just after Saddam had been captured, and one woman - head of one of the poshest private girls' schools here in Melbourne - started moaning about showing Saddam on tv getting his medical examination, and how this was a breach of his civil rights, his privacy, blah-de-blah. I was so shocked by this moral cretinism that I ignored the fact that my wife was in the room (and would probably give me hell on the way home), and let this woman have a broadside that Lucky Jack Aubrey would have been proud of. I just stopped short of calling her an idiot. Just.

Posted by: cuckoo at November 14, 2004 at 10:26 AM
But I guess the government has already got to them. The weirdest thing is that she doesn't otherwise display any kind of paranoid symptoms.
I can explain that: A lot of people are very dependent. They don't know how to fix a leaky faucet, how to interpret what the cloud patterns in the sky mean about the weather, how to defend themselves or raise a child. So, they are absolutely trusting of, say, plumbers, weathermen, security guards, and schoolteachers to do their work for them. The thought simply never enters their head that they might be able to independently verify or do anything.

That's just like the people Tim makes fun of in some posts who say things like "How do you know who's writing these blogs?! How do you know if you can trust them?!" Gee, how about checking their facts?

Posted by: Aaron at November 14, 2004 at 10:35 AM

Almost every friend I have voted Democratic, but I forgive them. They're slaves to intellectual fashion or self-absorbed or naive or just casualties of a mediocre left-wing American university education. I decided I wasn't going to lose a friend because of something as stupid as politics. I hope my friends made a similar vow.

Posted by: ahem at November 14, 2004 at 10:52 AM

In other news, the guy who lefties will be hating in 2060 has been born..


Posted by: Quentin George at November 14, 2004 at 11:24 AM

Have known not to discuss campaign politics with some otherwise tolerable Dem types. But I did finally give up communicating with an old friend from architecture school who, while an absolute genius in art and music and founder of a notable avant-garde theater, would say things like: "Went on a birding retreat to SE New Mexico and it was unseasonably warm in October- proof of global warming. Blame Bush." Or, "I would like to develop a thriving eco-tourism in the (remote and mostly inaccessible- ed.) mountains of Peru to stop potential capitalistic intrusions."

What can you say to that?? I'm sad to think how his brilliant brain cells didn't stand a chance against chic cocktail parties and Andean shrooms.

Posted by: charlotte at November 14, 2004 at 11:24 AM

richard mcenroe,

I'm afraid we're going to have to reach across the aisle. I can't figure out any other way to get our hands around their necks.

Posted by: Rick Ballard at November 14, 2004 at 11:31 AM

I share the view of Richard McEnroe. We didn't start this, the rabid left did.

If they had won, would they be reaching out across the aisle? My arse they would.

I couldn't be friends with a rabid leftie, and I don't really know any (or want to).

If the topic comes up with a mate who has only heard the media spin, and he/she says "I am a bit concerned about Bush getting in", I say "I am really happy about him getting in."

They usually just accept it and change the topic of conservation.

Posted by: wpc at November 14, 2004 at 11:36 AM

Can't imagine cutting off an actual friend because of some stupid thing they believe in. Plenty of my friends are waaaay lefty, and I pretty much take them on head on whenever they want some (and I only let them start it). The key is to open with "oh, here we go" and an eye-roll, make cogent, rational arguments, and end them with "you goddamn dirty hippie."

Most have been silent since the election, some have freaked out. Like crying, bet-wetting little pansies. It's disgusting, I'll admit to losing some respect for those people.

Posted by: Matt in Denver at November 14, 2004 at 12:48 PM

I no longer speak with my leftie brother-in-law. His politics don't bother me, but apparently mine bother him. He,like almost all the other liberals, has begun calling himself a progressive.

His sister, my wife is a reformed liberal who played second fiddle in their family to his supposed superior intellect. It pleases her to no end that she earns twice what this supposed computer programming genius does.

That and his blog is drier that three-day-old pork.

Posted by: Joe Bagadonuts at November 14, 2004 at 01:10 PM

Lucky me. I live in the heart of gun-totin',deer-slayin',values-lovin', Jesusland! Our IQ's are so low that we struggle just to survive, let alone achieve the enlightenment that our morally and intellectually superior fellow citizens in the Blue states have achieved.
Which means there are no moonbats in my world!

Note: Actually, I live in a "Blue" state...Illinois. But, if you eliminate Chicago (someone, please!!!), Illinois would be the reddest of Red!

Posted by: rinardman at November 14, 2004 at 02:07 PM

Joe Bagadonuts remember, these days American" liberals" aren't and American "progressives" won't.

And Arafat is still dead.

Posted by: richard mcenroe at November 14, 2004 at 02:28 PM

I sent my liberal friend a link to John Barlow's thoughtful essay on the red-blue divide. He thoughtfully sent me a link to a pornographic web site lampooning Republican girls. What's interesting about this whole mess is how the Dems project their values (in this case, porn and lascivious girls) on the very Red states that they hate for having the opposite values. It's so irrational they can't see it. Michelle Malkin notes the same thing in today's (11/13) New York times on race-based medical research. The NYT commends it but demurs that it has any empirical justification. Which is it?

I wrote him a cold note telling him that I'd check back after he got over his BDS. He protested that he didn't mean anything. I didn't bother to respond. Two days later he wrote a contrite note saying he enjoyed the essay and had passed it on to his poly sci son. I thanked him and pretended like nothing happened. Liberals can't help themselves. Their reality has been building up to a long-dreamed of convergence of ideals and realpolitik and then it crashed. They woke up in a paradigm shift and, being liberals, are looking for someone to blame. But there's no one else in the room.

Posted by: mk at November 14, 2004 at 02:29 PM

I confine most of my ranting to the blogosphere and letters to the editor (and isn't that what husbands are for?) and try to maintain a cool, calm demeanor among friends and acquaintances. (Which is not to say that they don't know exactly where I stand.) I guess I must chose my friends well since most of them agree with me.

Posted by: Kyda Sylvester at November 14, 2004 at 02:29 PM

My wife, as a teacher and once even a university professor, has several moonbat friends.
I don't discuss politics or the war with them. I ask concerned questions about their health, their children, their plans for the future.
I pointedly and not subtly ignore their efforts to get a political discussion started.
Makes'em crazy.

Posted by: Richard Aubrey at November 14, 2004 at 03:20 PM

Most coworkers and many close friends are very liberal and anti-Bush. They ALL have an uncanny ability to insert political commentary into almost any discussion, and what comes out is usually stupid, insulting or both. I've found the easiest thing to do (though frustrating) is to remain "in the closet" at work, and to keep my mouth shut around my liberal friends. I'd go insane without my conservative friends.

Posted by: lexine at November 14, 2004 at 03:21 PM

Hey, MK: care to post a link to that, er, pornographic Republican girls website? Strictly for my Pol.Sci. major research, of course.

Posted by: cuckoo at November 14, 2004 at 03:24 PM

I'm fairly lucky that my workmates are extremely right wing (which is very unusual for a government agency). One colleague/friend even advocates pre-emptive nuclear strikes on North Korea.

Unfortunately one friend of mine reads the SMH, loves MM and gives credit to conspiracy theories. I think he was educated by marxists. I've found that if I remain calm and use the info I find here (thanks Tim!), I can debunk his arguments fairly quickly. Now I find my brother (who lives in Denmark) has converted to moonbatism so it's going to be an interesting Christmas...

Posted by: Art Vandelay at November 14, 2004 at 03:38 PM

Funny Story

I have a frind who is so much of a lefty that his lefty brother accuses him of being a marxist. He is doing some bullshit lefty degree at UWA (by far the leftest university in West Aus) and he thinks his lecturers words are gospel. He drives a newish BMW and drinks lattes for which I punished him whith the, well stuck, nickname 'Eurotrash'. He handed out how to votes for Labor but voted Green. For some reason he keeps forgeting (or is in denial) that I am a right winger these days so every now and then he invites me to come see a MM movies etc.

About a week before the Australian election a bunch of us were sitting around having a few bourbons and talking about sport, chicks, and nothing politcal at all. All of a sudden, right out of no where he blurts out over the conversation in the most desperate tone "YOU GUYS WEVE JUST GOT TO GET RID OF JOHN HOWARD NEXT WEEK!". The whole room went into hysterics.

Posted by: Troy at November 14, 2004 at 04:39 PM

I just sent Tim an email, but for the rest of you - this article was just mentioned on John Safran's new show on JJJ. 2.30pm WA, so past the eastern states some time ago now.

Posted by: Brett Milner at November 14, 2004 at 04:44 PM

I heard that part of the show, though I missed the bit identifying this blog.

Yes, I still listen to Triplejay quite a bit, as I have since it started as Doublejay 30 years ago.

Safran's show is so refreshing!

He's funny and intelligent, and covers a variety of topics from a variety of perspectives. So different from the dull, unfunny, ideological types who infest weekday afternoons, or that awful "restoring the balance" tripe.

P.S. I too have lost friends over politics. In retrospect, I think I'm better off without people whose idea of friendship is that shallow.

Posted by: Evil Pundit at November 14, 2004 at 05:00 PM

The sad part about this whole discussion is that so many sensible, intelligent, informed people feel that they have to conceal their opinions because the prevailing euro-left orthodoxy has decided that their views are unacceptable in polite society.

And I thought i was the only one who submitted meekly to this reign of terror for the sake of a quiet life!

Posted by: jlchydro at November 14, 2004 at 05:23 PM

Maybe we need a "Righties Come Out!" day.

Posted by: Evil Pundit at November 14, 2004 at 07:20 PM

Or a Right Pride march.

Posted by: Evil Pundit at November 14, 2004 at 07:21 PM

The important thing, Tim, is that MATT WELCH REMAINS THE ENEMY.

Enemy of what, I'm not sure. Enemy of Technology? Enemy of Spiders?

Ah, at the end of the day minor political squabbles are meaningless, especially when all good humans involved are heartily drinking and smoking and eating freshly seared meat carved from a still-living calf. Liberty is not about government; it is about the total drunken disdain of government.

(That calf, by the way, is named "Coulter." But don't tell him!)

Posted by: Ken Layne at November 14, 2004 at 08:02 PM

I am not right wing.

I am common sensible.

Fuck labels

Posted by: jlchydro at November 14, 2004 at 11:01 PM

I'm in the military and so are most of my friends, so I haven't had to worry about losing friends.

My mom's side of the family have been Democrats since my great grandparents got off the boat from Cork/crossed the Rio Grande. None more so than my uncle, who is a successful (and therefore very insulated) artist. The mix in Irish and Mexican blood makes for loud, volatile after-dinner conversation. Again, my uncle takes the prize. He's a brilliant man, so it's a little heart breaking to hear some of the things he says.

The trick I've learned is to steer the conversation away from Bush and on to Kerry and the Dem party. They're alot more open to criticism of Kerry than support for Bush.

Posted by: SPY at November 14, 2004 at 11:24 PM

Evil Pundit, how about a "Rights For Rights" organization? :-)

Posted by: The Real JeffS at November 15, 2004 at 12:28 AM

I'm in NYC, and when I quietly refused to go along with the Chimpy-the-Hitler phantasmagoria of the last couple of years I was "distanced" by a whole group of people. But that's not an uncommon story in NYC these days, especially amongst the "arts" community (which is sounding increasingly Stalinesque).
On the other hand, one lefty friend did the opposite of distancing: he harrangued me relentlessly, passionately, and annoyingly, for months, "out of love" because he couldn't understand how I could have "lost my mind" as I had. Finally I had to cut him off. Last I heard he divorced his wife of ten years and moved to Canada.

Posted by: Sergio at November 15, 2004 at 12:31 AM

I let them know where I stood and a week or so later the boss said he wasn't renewing my contract - can't prove anything of course. But I'm not that principled - when attractive women come out with nonsense I usually keep quiet

Posted by: mike at November 15, 2004 at 01:01 AM


Of course Welch remains The Enemy. That is so obvious it barely requires mentioning. He is The Enemy because of his hat!

Posted by: tim at November 15, 2004 at 01:17 AM

At work, I'm well known as the token right-winger - not from anything I've said, but the photo on my desk of my son in his desert cammies posing with a captured AK-47 states pretty clearly where I stand on the issue. I don't get any grief, though, because the fact that it's personal with me somehow makes it forgivable my co-workers - though no one has dared to be so condescending as to "forgive" me.

The guy in the office next to mine - an incredibly bright, accomplished programmer - has, alas, drunk the F911 kool-aid to the dregs; when he and our like-minded coworkers get together to have a Two Minutes Hate over Bush, the conversation leaking through the wall sounds like a meeting of the local chapter of Conspiracy Theory. Fortunately, a pair of headphones and a Bach or Ella Fitzgerald CD takes care of that problem.

What a shame that BDS should turn so many otherwise rational people into foam-flecked-lips lunatics.

Posted by: Brown Line at November 15, 2004 at 02:36 AM

My best friend's wife is a raving moonbat. She is just smart enough to say remarkably stupid things, such as she would rather live in Jordan than in the United States because Jordanian women have equal rights.

She is a typical liberal --dresses in black, lives in her Manhattan cocoon with her liberal friends, thinks the NY Times editorial page is the gospel. According to her, John Kerry was beyond criticism because he was not Bush. I voted for Bush in 2000, and voted for him in 2004, despite some serious misgivings I had about the President, mainly with respect to his domestic policy. Although I could articulate my reasons for voting for Bush, none of which had to do with gay marriage, abortion, etc, I was accused of being brainwashed. After all, no rational adult would vote for Bush. Our relationship has cooled considerably.

Posted by: Sean at November 15, 2004 at 02:42 AM

My flip mood of earlier has evaporated, possibly in part because my moron stalker contacted me again. Anyway, fuck reaching across the aisle. I don't discuss politics with my best friend, because she is an ABB-type.

My coworkers, however, are lunatics on the subject of Bush. One continually refers to him as "YOUR president, not mine." She also believes in the draft rumor, and talks about his drunkenness CONSTANTLY. Another rambles on and on about Oil--when I suggested the US shoulda invaded Venezuela for oil instead, because it's closer, she stuttered and then implied I am insane because I've not drunk the F 9/11 Jim Jones Punch. Oh, and it's neat, everybody at work assumed I voted for Bush, even though I've kept my yap usually shut, because of my skin color...

And the scene at the voting place...oh, God help me. I vote in every election, even if it's for City Council. The loonies who showed up this past presidential election...! From the acoustic group singing about Reagan's "funny" as in comical death from Alzheimer's, to the reeking-of-alcohol jackass who referred to his fellows as "niggers" at the top of his lungs and who threatened to "cut" the pollworker if she didn't find his registration and who kept telling the African-Americans who were with him they'd better pay up after he voted because he was going to a lady's house in Lanham to "blaze up"---Argh! Shut the fuck up alla youse losers!

And I know there would have been considerable gloating in my direction at work the day after the election had the vote gone the other way. Instead I was treated to shrill rants about Bush reinstituting slavery...

Posted by: ushie at November 15, 2004 at 03:57 AM

I have not lost any friends, although I noticed that my wife has a tendency to change the subject when I am around her family and the subject of the election came up.

Posted by: Anthony at November 15, 2004 at 05:36 AM

Yep. I got just a little tired of hearing my closest friend say things that boiled down to "Now, I'm not talking about you, because I love you, but everyone who shares your opinions is a bigoted moron who voted for BIGOTRY." We thrashed it and then each other out, and then to my shock she sent me a bizarre "this isn't working out" e-mail that read like a Dear John letter.

Like many others, I've learned to avoid talking about politics with certain friends. Most of mine are people who both know and care nothing about what's going on abroad, and based their politics on gay rights. They seem to have difficulty believing that this issue could be so far down on someone's priority list that it didn't enter their head in the voting booth.

Posted by: LabRat at November 15, 2004 at 09:25 AM

Living in Canadastan and working in the media, my minority status is rather more noticable than, say, an insurance salesman living in Nebraska.

Who do I have to watch my words with these days - well, my sister-in-law, my mother-in-law, hell, my wife's whole family. Both my brother and brother-in-law (married to my sister) reeled in horror when I told them I'd voted Tory this year - they don't agree on anything, ever.

In the newsroom, I'm the most outspoken person there, mostly as a pre-emptive measure - if you want to bring up politics, you'll have to run my gauntlet, and I try to have the facts at hand - no rote "Bush is stupid/Hitler" cracks; you have to talk about real things. In another, larger newsroom - at, say, any of the city's other three dailies - I'd be in a (silenced, no doubt) minority.

As for friends, I've made a few new ones in the last three years, mostly because my old ones have slipped away one by one. The worst is a friend who indulged in the "middle America is full of racist bigot Christians" trope long before the election, and a friend who lives in Berlin, who told me that her paranoia about America is getting to the point where she wants to live in a shack in the woods. No self-examination about just what all that implied, and we haven't spoken since.

That said, isn't it better to get these substantial disagreements in the open, and not find yourself blindsided? My family has to get used to me - they've had forty years, some of them - and friends can just learn that tolerance cuts both ways.

Posted by: rick mcginnis at November 15, 2004 at 09:36 AM

My son, very bright, went off to Harvard and between being educated in Cambridge and working in Silicon Valley, has decided that Bush has violated some understanding between himself and my son. We haven't spoken for some time, because I can't help wanting to be the dad and insist that he get his facts straight.

Posted by: AST at November 15, 2004 at 11:37 AM

Both the recent American and Australian elections indicate that that the Left is losing support. Hysteria and paranoia mark a crisis of faith - the death throes of fundamentalisms - but some are waking up.

I bring Steyn and Hitchens articles to work and they seem to be disappearing from my desk.

Movies like "Team America' and 'The Incredibles' are the beginning of a sea change. The nanny state and impotent moral relativism are imploding and the keepers of the keys can feel it. All I have to do is stay calm and point out the bleeding obvious.

If anything, my views are winning me friends.

Posted by: Inurbanus at November 15, 2004 at 01:24 PM

I travel in circles of people who find argument stimulating so, I've engaged in a lot of that without any serious repercussions. One preceding poster mentioned someone who "thinks the NY Times editorial page is the gospel". I've noticed that lefties often cite the NY Times as if it were the final arbiter of truth and, the knowing smirks on their faces suggest that, when they trot out something from that decrepit old lady, they genuinely believe that the argument has been resolved and that they have won it. They seem genuinely puzzled when I suggest to them that, outside of the liberal cocoon, nobody really takes the Times seriously anymore.

Posted by: Reid at November 15, 2004 at 02:56 PM

I could write reams on the subject, but I'll try to edit myself.

I've had a wide range of reponses: people who disagree with me but can have a decent discussion with me about it; people I love but who are so far to the left that the topic must remain verboten; people who egg me on by sending me e-mails to try to convince me of the error of my ways (a favorite that I received from several people was a piece by Eisenhower's grandson supporting Kerry--as though that would convince anyone of anything??); people who specialize in alarmist lies like the restoring-the-draft e-mail; people who argue and argue at me but get angry when I try to answer (one of whom, a friend of 35 years, appears to have stopped talking to me); my 90-year-old mother who tentatively asked me one day, "Do you still--umm--not hate Bush?" (she couldn't take the thought of me actually supporting him, so that was the closest she could bear to come); people who screamed "imperialist warmongering Quayle-lover" at me when I said I supported Bush in foreign policy (although how Quayle got into the picture I can't imagine); close relatives who said they were going to stop speaking to me but whose love for me apparently overcame their desire to shun me; and, last but not least, loved ones who started out by saying "I will NEVER vote for Bush" but whom I actually persuaded, over the course of a 2-year dialogue, to do just that.

Posted by: blogaddict at November 15, 2004 at 06:56 PM

I lived and worked in the entertainment industry in LA, spent a few months in Austin and now am serving in the Peace Corps so it would be a safe bet that none of my friends voted for Bush. There have been close calls and friends have told me of lost friendships but I've not had that happen. I have had days of not speaking with friends and that is bad enough.

We mostly stay away from politics now or if we do talk about it, we do so in very understated tones, trying to keep from pissing each other off.

I don't deny my centrist leanings but my friends are too important to lose over politics.

I did enjoy telling a highly educated friend the other day that his arguments concerning his hatred for Bush were identical to a those of stripper friend who's never entertained a political thought in her life. Until Moore showed her the light.

I think it gave him pause.

Posted by: bbridges at November 15, 2004 at 08:07 PM

About Wolcott: "Victor Davis In Excelsis Deo Hanson" is pretty funny. And VDH is one of my favorite writers.

Posted by: Patrick at November 16, 2004 at 04:20 AM

I, like blogaddict, could write reams on the subject. 9/11, the war, the election, Bush etc. have altered my social life in innumerable ways, ended friendships quickly, ended them in a slow burn, and begun new ones.

One friend, who had always been apolitical, sent me one of those mass lefty e-mail forward things. I get 10 of these a day and I usually ignore them. In this case, though it just annoyed me so much because it was trying to capitalize on Abu Ghraib. I wrote her back and politely said that while I thought that the prisoner-abuse at Abu Ghraib was horrible I thought it was also deplorable that was trying to capitalize on the story for partisan, poltical gain. She wrote me back a somewhat snippy e-mail, but not too bad, and I thought that was the end of it.

Well, the next time I saw her was outside of the RNC in Manhattan. I was with protest warrior and she was, I don't what. She wasn't marching with the lefty protestors. She was just milling about taking pictures. The entire time I was doing the protest warrior thing I thought in the back of my mind that there was a possibility that I would run into someone I knew from my other life on the other side of the barricades, but nothing prepared me for how strange it would be once it happened.

I smiled and tried to say hi. She gave me the finger. I gave her a peace sign and told her to "give peace a chance". Last I heard of her but after the election she left a moronic, vituperative comment on my blog, which she claimed never to read.

That's just one of a million similar stories I have.

Posted by: Eric Deamer at November 16, 2004 at 03:21 PM