So it came into my mind recently to track down some music CD's that I had rather stupidly sold many years ago, and a few others that I have been unable to find in any of my local shops. Taking advantage of a pre-existing account that I have at Amazon.com, I rather quickly found the ones I was looking for and placed my order. At the same time, I had been looking for a book titled Left Turn by Peter Groseclose in the same places, and had also been unable to find it. So again I managed to find it on Amazon and placed an order for it.
I'm about half-way through it right now, and absolutely impressed with the overall quality of Dr. Groseclose's workmanship. Well-researched and very persuasive, it still is a very easy read.
But as I was reading it, I came across a quote that I have seen and heard quite a few times in the past few years. I first heard it on the Rush Limbaugh Show, when I actually had time to listen to his show on a regular basis. During one of his monologues, he mentioned Pauline Kael's (not by name) quote about Nixon's winning of the 1972 presidential election. “How can this be?”, Kael is supposed to have said, “No one I know voted for Nixon.” This quote is supposed to demonstrate how out of touch the liberal press of the two coasts are with the rest of America.
Becoming curious as to the origins of the quote, I looked at the footnotes in Groseclose's book, only to find that he was quoting from one of Bernard Goldberg's books. I always like to try to find a primary source whenever I use quotations, so I turned to the Internet in order to find the original source of the quote. I finally found a webpage that discussed the origins of the quote. Here is the link to the page. According to the source quoted from the New Yorker, the actual quote is, “I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.”
Now, if this quotation is correct, we can see where the distortion of the quote came from. “I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don't know.”'s order is turned around and becomes, “How can this be? No one I know voted for Nixon.”
But what is overlooked is an even better part of the quote. “I live in a rather special world.” Now, can you imagine if Rush Limbaugh had said something like this? Mitt Romney? Rick Santorum? Newt Gingrich? John Boehner? Ann Coulter? Sean Hannity? Mark Levin? Glenn Beck? Sarah Palin?
Oh, the press would go nuts if Sarah Palin had ever said anything like this. “Out of touch” would be the nicest thing the talking heads would be able to say on the news shows.
And then, we have this further clarification. Apparently, Will Brantley edited a collection of interviews that were made with Kael over the years, in a book called “Conversations with Pauline Kael”. Brantley wrote to the blog author:
“Kael told me the story of that mysterious quotation when it appeared in (I think) The Wall Street Journal several years ago. She never said it, and she was irked by the fact that it was so often attributed to her. Apparently a reporter, or somebody, asked her to comment on Nixon's election, and she replied that she couldn't because she didn't even know anyone who had voted for Nixon. And the story got garbled. I may have garbled the story myself slightly, since some years have passed since she told me, but the point is: she never said it. Which is easy to believe, because I never knew her to make patently stupid statements, and when she joked or was outrageous it was never with the kind of naivete that you would have to assume to make a statement like that. The upshot is that people who know nothing about her or her work are constantly berating her for saying something she never said and never would have said.”
To which the blog author replies:
“As far as I'm concerned, the case is closed. Not that posting this on my blog is going to make a difference, but hey, if Craig Seligman can hunt me down, maybe Repugs can, too.”
Repugs. Charming, eh?
So there you have it. Kael never stated that she didn't know anybody who voted for Nixon, but she did state that she lives in a rather special world. And we have a blog poster who thinks Republicans are so repugnant, they have to have their own generic name. He lives in a rather special world, indeed.