Friday, April 02, 2004

I find myself trying to resist the urge to diagnose conservatives with psychological disorders. I swear, its getting harder every day. Today, for example, I came upon this post, linked by Instapundit. I liked this post. I liked it a lot. Its interesting because it shows you a conservative thinking out loud.

The man puts two pictures of Kerry snowboarding side by side. One picture was printed in the Times. The other came from an Associated Press photo. The catch: the AP photo has Kerry wearing a flower. The Times does not.

Now any normal person reading the NYT would gloss over this and move on to the sections that deal with things like politics, international relation, or cultural notes. But no! Flowers, you see, are feminine. Real men don't wear flowers. Real men wear cowboy boots and own Texas ranches. Real men are tough, masculine, and it doesn't take much to get them in a fight. Kerry's not like that. Kerry's a sissy. Who else would wear a flower?

Now I can see a light bulb coming on. Wait a second! The New York Times is a liberal paper! They must have digitally edited the flower out! And so the blog-reading public gets a post entitled Did the NYT deflower John Kerry?

Now comes the time when a conservative starts the actual process of thinking. I don't want to imply that conservatives don't think; far be it from me. The thinking just comes a bit late in the game. And the thinking this time was prompted by a reader pointing out that not only is Kerry not wearing a flower in the NYT photo, he's wearing a different jacket. After some examination, the reluctant conclusion is that these pictures were taken on different dates. The NYT did not doctor the photo after all -- the bastards.

But its not over yet! The blog-reading public gets an update pointing out that, although the NYT did not doctor the photos, they selected the more masculine one to publish and this reflects bias on their part. Those staffers at the NYT, breaking all the laws of journalism.

What can I make of this? What of the obsession by Instapundit, Bill Hobbs, and Hugh Hewitt with John Kerry's flower? These people need therapy.

Update: Oh what the hell. If I am going to be a blogger, I might as well have fun. I'm going to diagnose Instapundit with a psychological disorder -- his collection of links to Kerry and the flower strikes me as most obsessive. It seems to me that Instapundit and the rest of the flower-commentators are insecure about their own masculinities.

Here's the thing: Real men are not afraid to wear flowers. Real men don't have to maintain a macho image all the time. Real men are not afraid of appearing feminine. Sure, real men can be macho at times, but they can also be sensetive. They're not afraid to reveal their own feelings, they're not afraid of being vulnerable.

By contrast, people who are insecure about their masculinities try hard never to appear feminine; they rarely appear sensetive because it doesn't square with their image of what a man really is; and when they see someone else -- like Kerry -- do something distinctly unmasculine, they mock him. Surely, they think, they are better than that.

Reading the posts by Instapundit, Hobbs, BoifromTroi, and others, I was struck by the way these people peddled stereotypes of masculinity. Why can't a man like flowers?

My guess would be that the Kerry flower critics had tough times growing up(you knew this was going to end up by examining their childhoods, didn't you?) I think they got made fun of a lot as kids. I think they aspired to be tough and manly and brave. I think they tried hard never to show signs of weakness. Why else would they be so annoyed by the idea of a man with a flower becoming President?


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