Quondam Dreams

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Purple nation

By now you've probably seen the map in which states are shaded purple according to their proportion of red and blue votes. The county-by-county map is even more telling. But the one that really fascinates me is a little lower on the latter page. Take a look at the county-by-county map that indicates both vote totals and population concentrations. Go ahead, I'll wait. If it's not large enough, here's the big version.

It's almost uncanny how those seemingly anomalous spots of purple in a given patch of red match up with population centers. Is it just that we progressive types like to live near other people, or is it that if a given person meets someone who's not like them their views are likely to be somewhat altered? Sorry, I'm not asking the question very well. If anyone needs an interesting sociology or cultural anthropology paper, have at it.

I was thinking it might also be interesting to see the county-by-county map overlaid with a graphical indication of internet connectivity proportions, but since those are probably still concentrated in the cities I'm not sure how useful it would be. Maybe it would be more telling to try it with the 1996 or 2000 maps. So many times, I've seen people from politically or culturally homogenous areas get online and suddenly find themselves really chewing over their views for the first time. I don't know that it causes any big political conversions, but I do think it's harder to, say, vote for that no-gay-marriage-or-civil-unions proposition your pastor keeps pushing on you when you've interacted with people in same-sex partnerships -- or with people of any orientation who challenge you to explain why you think that official recognition of same-sex partnerships will contribute to our country's downfall more than, say, Cialis commercials.

In other news, I have an ear infection. Of all the ways to revisit my youth, I had to go with this. It doesn't hurt, but my hearing is all off. It's almost like an audio farsightedness: I can hear things that are happening well away from me, but if someone's talking right to me I might have trouble, and I can hardly hear myself when I talk. I mean, I can tell I'm talking, but I can't really tell what my volume is. Weird. At least it only seems to be my right ear that's affected; my left ear feels and sounds a little off, but it could just be perceptual. Anyway, I'm dutifully putting drops in my ear, so hopefully this will all get cleared up soon. It has ceased to be novel.


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