Liberals Are Smart, Conservatives Are Stupid, And…Well, It’s Not That Simple

Liberal!

There are several interesting findings in “Republicans Like Golf, Democrats Prefer Cartoons, TV Research Suggests” — a recent blog in the New York Times that studied “(TV) programs by how they performed with registered voters of either party (as well as independents) compared to a base of all registered voters” and basically proved that we’re just as polarized with pop culture as we are with politics.

For instance:

1. Democrats skewed heavily towards the NBC sitcoms (“30 Rock,” “Parks and Recreation,” etc) and “adult” cartoons — basically, the types of satirical/metafictional comedies that require the viewer to “work” a little more. You could also say that multi-layered dramatic series such as “Mad Men” and “The Wire” — both of which are also favored by Democrats — do the same thing.

2. Republicans, on the other hand, overwhelmingly preferred competitive reality shows such as “The Biggest Loser,” “Survivor,” “American Idol,” and “The Amazing Race” — programs that provide a cathartic release (you invest in a character, and someone wins at the in) but don’t require as much effort from the viewers.

3. There were no surprises when it came to how we view sports, as the Republicans (predictably) skewed heavily towards college sports (football and basketball), golf, and NASCAR, while liberal sports fans seem to be smitten with the NBA, which “… accounted for no fewer than five of the top 20 cable shows on the Democratic list.”

(There was no mention of the NFL, which leads me to believe it’s one of the only things that liberals and conservatives adore equally. Well, that and Beyonce.)

At first glance, some of these findings seem like they could be attributed to geographical differences more than anything else. Take the NBA, for instance. Basketball is a city game with deep roots in highly populated urban areas. Since liberals tend to migrate to and populate cities with large populations, it makes sense that they’d (generally) enjoy NBA basketball more than Republicans, who tend to be more rural. (You can also make the racial argument here — basically, out of all the major sports/professional sports leagues, the NBA is the one where Black players are the most prominent and wield the most power, so it makes sense that conservatives wouldn’t be big fans — but I’ll save that for my upcoming NBA preview.)

Also, most of the satirical/metafictional comedies have protagonists who are obviously liberal — with shows that either take place in large cities or deal with the protagonist being a fish out of water — and it’s easy to see how liberals/people living in large cities would relate to them.

Yet, even after controlling for geography, it’s hard to ignore that in this study, the “liberal-loved” shows tend to be much “smarter” than the programs conservatives enjoy, a fact that reinforces the stereotype that (generally speaking) liberals are typically smarter than conservatives.

Now, before I continue, I have to admit that I’m not particularly objective. While I wouldn’t call myself a liberal — on the Santorum (0) to Steinem (100) scale, I probably rate around 65 — I do believe that liberals are (generally) smarter people than conservatives. Better people? Maybe not. But, definitely smarter.

With that being said, I don’t think the breakdown in preferred viewership is due to intelligence as much as its due to the fact that liberals seem to “value” intelligence more than conservatives. And, in this sense, “value” means “are more likely to do things that “prove” how smart they are.”

Along with gravitating towards shows that you have actually watch to follow and have to be “smart” to truly get, this also includes frequent incorporation of snark and sarcasm in your daily lexicon — devices that imply you’re smarter than the person it’s directed towards — and being more attracted to the types of occupations (law, academia, publishing, etc) where you get daily opportunities to show off your brain. Perhaps the emphasis placed on “smartness” — it’s really a liberal’s most valuable currency — causes many to overcompensate; self-consciously choosing to partake in “smarter” activities to make themselves seem smarter.

You know, the best way to describe my feelings about how liberals and conservatives view intelligence differently would be that if given the choice between being the most successful (success in this sense = financial success) person in the room or the smartest person in the room, while it seems like most conservatives would choose the former, I’m just as certain that the majority of liberals would probably choose the latter. Yet, as smart as we (and yes, I’m including myself) claim to be, when you think about it, that seems like a very stupid decision.

  —Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

***If you haven’t already, check out “A Tale of Two Tapes” — my latest at Ebony.com.***

***Make sure you tune in to The Blaq Out Show tonight on BLIS! Panama Jackson and the crew are talking about finances from 8-10pm. Tune into www.blis.fm/theblaqoutshow or http://blisonline.streamon.fm and let the good times roll!***

Why I’ll Never Vote For A Republican

"Sorry for missing your party, big guy. The invite must have gone to my spam folder or something"

I live approximately a mile away from Ava/Shadow Lounge — a popular local venue that hosts everything from hardcore hip-hop to “hipster music” shows, houses numerous parties and community events, and seems to have hidden forces determined to make it the area’s latest gentrification casualty. It’s no exaggeration to say I’ve been there at least 100 times (and possibly as many as 200) in the last five years.

It nests on the corner of Baum Boulevard and Highland Avenue. If you stand on Baum and Highland and look a block down the street, you can see Capri Bar, another venue that houses numerous parties and events. And, this block distance isn’t one of those New York City-esque two mile long blocks, either. I won’t lie and say that it’s so close that I can throw a football from Ava/Shadow to Capri, but Cam Newton probably could.

Yet, despite the fact that Capri usually has decent DJs, always has available parking, draws decent-sized crowds, and has a couple distinct advantages over Shadow/Ava (they serve food, and their bar has TVs), I’ve been to Capri maybe five times in the last three years.

Now, I know the owner of Ava/Shadow pretty well, and I’m also pretty cool with many of the bartenders and bouncers, but that alone doesn’t explain why I’m 50 times more likely to attend an event there than one at Capri. It — my less than positive feelings about Capri — all comes down to the fact that I just don’t like the crowd Capri usually draws. Like I mentioned before, the venues and the weekend events held at each venue aren’t really all that dissimilar. And, they’re only 70 yards away from each other. But, something about Capri attracts a crowd that’s just a little sketchier than the typical Ava/Shadow crowd, and I don’t feel as comfortable there.

Now, if you read today’s title and also at least managed to graduate from middle school, you probably surmised that this Ava/Capri conundrum is a long-winded analogy for my feelings about the Democratic and Republican parties. You’re correct. It is. You’re probably also assuming that I’m going to preface the rest of this piece by saying something like “Even though that analogy is far from perfect, I still think that….” If you made this assumption, you’re incorrect. The Ava/Capri conundrum is in fact a perfect representation of my feelings about both parties, and perfectly encapsulates why I’d never vote for a f*cking republican.

Becoming moderate usually means that you’re either moving from right to left or from left to right. Basically, most people don’t really become moderate, that’s just where they happen to currently be as they make their move from one side of the political spectrum to another. For as long as I’ve been politically aware, though, I can’t remember ever leaning liberal or conservative. I was born sitting on a fence, and I’ve neither seen nor heard no good reason to jump off any time soon. No wonder why I’m so bowlegged.

Perhaps the main reason why I’ve been able to entertain arguments and theories (well, intelligent and reasonable arguments and theories) from both sides is because, well, I just don’t think (intelligent and reasonable) democrats and (intelligent and reasonable) republicans are all that different. It’s popular to make it seem like choosing between the two is a life or death proposition, but, from a sheer policy perspective, it’s really no different than deciding between Red Lobster and The Olive Garden.

I don’t think Republican/conservative policy is inherently racist or sexist or stupid or wrong, and I also don’t believe that “a person with Republican/conservative beliefs” = “a stupid or sexist or racist person.” It’s just a difference in beliefs, and I can think of numerous occasions when I listened to someone like David Frum or George Will or even Andrew Sullivan and thought “Damn. That was a great point.”

I realize my opinion isn’t exactly universal. I’m sure there will be many staunch democrats reading this who think I’m absolutely, categorically wrong, and that voting for republicans is like voting for syphilis. But, despite the difference in perception, our actions are the same. The staunch liberal thinks “Republican” = “burning urination,” and they never vote for republicans. I think “Republican” = “unlimited salad and breadsticks,” and I also never vote for republicans.

Our actions align because of one simple point: My issues with republicans are all about people.

Whether it’s the message or the policies or the platform, something about the modern Republican party just continues to attract people like Todd Akin and the type of people who’d still vote for Todd Akin and the type of people who think so little of Black people that they’ll brazenly throw peanuts at Black camerawomen at densely populated events. And, I will never willingly align myself with people like that.

I realize “never” is pretty extreme. And, as I mentioned before, I know their parties probably aren’t all that different than the parties I usually attend. Still, republicans could be passing out free pancakes and p*ssy at the door, but until they do something about the type of people their parties attract, I’ll keep my ass across the street.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)