Sunday, July 02, 2006

San Francisco Symbolism

Tom Elia points to two cases where (presumably liberal) commentators said there were hidden motives behind conservative notations of a place. Specifically:

New York = Jew

San Francisco = Homosexual

Elia thinks both are ridiculous. I'll agree with the former, but he's delusional if he thinks the latter isn't in play. Totally coincidentally, Elia doesn't even try to say what conservatives mean when they talk about "San Francisco liberals" (nor do the other blogs who commented), preferring to focus on Pelosi herself:
Nancy Pelosi = "Over-her-head, out-of-touch-millionaire, with rhetorical skills that make George Bush look like Cicero."

Well, perhaps, but that certainly isn't what springs to mind when one thinks of San Francisco. It does absolutely nothing to explain why Republicans love to harp on the fact that Pelosi is from the city of the Golden Gate. Is there something about San Francisco that makes it entirely a bunch of "out-of-touch-millionares"? Or is it famous for its poor rhetorical skills? Please. What the heartland thinks of, when it hears "San Francisco" in a political context, is its large gay community. San Francisco = pro-gay. There is no way Elia can be a serious observer of politics and not know this.

In other words, sure, there are plenty of angles of attack on Nancy Pelosi that have nothing to do with homosexuals. But they also have nothing to do with San Francisco. Once you start mentioning "San Francisco" in the ads, you have to give me a convincing reason why you'd bother bringing it up. The self-evident answer is the gay symbolism.

(Incidentally, the reason this doesn't apply to "New York Times" is that NYT is a stand-alone proper noun. If Republicans started talking about "New York liberals," then they'd have to explain the symbolism behind that, but talking about the NYT and talking about New York are not the same thing).


TWM said...

Eh, I always think of the San Francisco treat -- you know, the rice thing.

Anonymous said...

So what exactly does "the heartland" symbolize to you, David? Is it about location? Or is it about ideas?

(I'm a big queer from the so-called Heartland, btw.)

Anonymous said...

The phrase was first used widely during the 1984 Presidential campaign because the Democratic Party convention was held in San Frnacisco. In his acceptance speech, Walter Mondale famously promised to raise taxes.

There was no implication - the GOP said that the "San Francisco Democrats" (those at the convention) were not mainstream and, IIRC mentioned portions of the party plank that might sound extreme to an average voter. The idea was obviously an effort to separate rank and file from the party as represented at the convention. YMMV, of course.

Anonymous said...

as a conservative SF resident i use that term often and until now never associated it with homosexual , i use it to refer to over the top socialist arguments. but then again i never read too much into what the meaning behind the meaning is. it gets too complicated.

Anonymous said...

correction ....until now didnt realize it might be associated with homosexual....

Anonymous said...

you gotta be kiddin', he said laconically.

San Francisco means to me (a native Texan, straight, conservative) the home of the oddest most ill-conceived political ideas ever to consistently issue from one spot on a map.

The gay thing is one part out of many, but I do not think of SF as gaytown, just liberaltown.

Sounds to me like somebody is getting hypersensitive.

If I'm involved in a discussion specifically of cultural aspects, sure I might think of gays. But in a political discussion (as is a Pelosi campaign), it's all about wacko lefties, not gays.

Randomscrub said...

I'm with the other conservatives here... As a native Minnesotan who has at least visited San Francisco, I don't think of "homosexual" when it's mentioned in a political context. I think of pseudo-socialist and/or eco-nut leftism, not homosexuality. I'm much more likely to be reminded of hippies than anything related to sexual orientation.