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My uncle lives in Sugar Land, the location of the red-state piece. He drives a higher-end sedan, drinks cappuccino on occasion and will likely buy a machine someday when they're really cheap, owns zero guns, worked in the State Department for a time, and, despite being a lifelong Republican, is fine with gay marriage/armed forces participation but not fine with the Iraq war. Now, I'm not pretending that my uncle represents everyone in Texas, or even in Sugar Land, but the subject in the WPost's piece sure doesn't either. Let's just say I got the same impression you did after reading those pieces. A couple of other impressions:

1) I thought a bit of important context was left out of the Sugar Land piece -- namely, the nature of Houston. I like Houston, but it's a strip mall of a town. It has some pretty areas, but it also has little zoning, which results in most homes being very close to commercial areas. It also has a fair bit of crime. The people in Sugar Land work and socialize largely in Houston. Sugar Land is intended to be a respite. I'm not that comfortable myself with Stepford suburbs, but I think almost anyone would think longingly of 'em after a few years in Houston.
2) The red-state piece was essentially a fleshed-out list of details about the subject family's life and beliefs and about the town of Sugar Land. The blue-state piece was a collection of stories about the subject family's lives with the occasional detail about their beliefs thrown in. Or so I thought. With the red-state piece, I got the definite impression of "look at the exotic creatures in their natural habitat!"...which I did NOT get from the blue-state piece.

I should note that I work in the media. I don't think it's a Communist monolith dedicated to bringing down America, blah blah mediabiascakes. But at times I can see why more and more people seem to feel that it doesn't represent them. The WPost's red-blue set of articles is one of those times.

Oh, and 3) I'm willing to bet anything that the subject of the red state piece has at least on occasion watched, and enjoyed, "King of the Hill," unless he's totally unlike every Texan I've ever met... :)


I should note that I work in the media. I don't think it's a Communist monolith dedicated to bringing down America, blah blah mediabiascakes.

Hee! As someone who also works in the media, for a publication that is assuredly not at all lefty, I totally agree.

Thanks for the context on Sugarland. That helps. It also helps to know I'm not the only one who was a little dumsquizzled by the tones in the two pieces.


I agree that it seems like Finkel was already on common ground with the Blue family, as opposed to the Red family. But I like that they chose Catholic families for both pieces.


Lisa, if you're referring to MacWorld -- lefty, no, evangelistic, yes. :) (I should know; I was just stacking about 30 back issues under my bed for easy future reference and indulged in a little re-reading.)

Becky, interesting little note...as you likely know, there aren't a lot of Catholics in the South in general. I grew up in a good-sized city in the Bible Belt in which I was definitely an oddity as a Catholic and had to deal with the occasional stupid question. BUT...Texas *does* have a sizable contingent of Catholics, at least around the greater Houston area. (Not exactly sure why this is so. It's not just the number of people with recent or not-so-recent ancestors from Mexico et al; there are a lot of Anglo Catholics.) If this had been another state in the South, I would have thought that a Catholic family wasn't representative, but in this case it worked for me. I have no clue about the size of the Catholic population in San Fran relative to the total population, though...


Lisa, if you're referring to MacWorld -- lefty, no, evangelistic, yes.

Oh, I'm not there anymore. I'm working for a newspaper now. I'm not keen on listing it in the Rage Diaries, if only because I'm still hammering out the division between personal writing vs. the day job.

The Catholic point is a good one. I'm not sure what the religious breakdown for SF is, but I used to attend mass at one of two churches, and both had respectably-sized congregations.

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