The Washington Post takes part in this Brooksian exercise in today's paper, comparing Northern Virginia or NoVa to RoVa, or Rest of Virginia. According to recent polls, NoVa is more liberal than the rest of Virginia, which is not a surprise; however, the Post's writers equate this automatically with certain consumer preferences and behaviors that are more indicative of this particular writer's sense of the economic and socio-cultural differences between people who live in the two regions than any true reflection of NoVa's liberal or RoVa's conservative disposition. For instance, how does having Cracker Barrel rather than Crate & Barrel make RoVa less liberal? How does reading Lord Alfred Tennyson--"In RoVa, they like freshly killed venison. In NoVa, they like Alfred, Lord Tennyson"--make NoVa less conservative?
Yes, this article is merely supposed to be funny, and though it fails to do that, it also propogates a more insidious and just plain cliched strain of political analysis that groups liberals as well-off, sophisticated city people who have gone too far astray from the respectable simplicities of a life in the country to view it as anything less than uncivillized. Never mind that rural areas of this country are rarely the pastoral farm towns of yore that people--usually city folk like Brooks and this WaPo writer--imagine.
This article comes on the same day that the Washington Post endorsed Democrat Jim Webb for U.S. Senate, for several good reasons, one being the belief that he will pay more attention to Virginia--Northern Virginia--than has George Allen. Allen, a native Californian, has decided that his political posture relies upon him seeming like an ol' Southern Virginia boy and therefore has frozen out the economically important North. As the Post says:
Mr. Allen has accomplished little for his state's most dynamic region, Northern Virginia. Other Republican members of Virginia's congressional delegation -- Sen. John W. Warner and Reps. Thomas M. Davis III and Frank R. Wolf -- have played vital roles in advancing transit and other priorities while Mr. Allen was busy grooming himself for a possible 2008 presidential race.
This is useful commentary about NoVa.