True Colors

July 24, 2004|By Vera Eidelman and Jeffrey Dieter

Call it trickle-down politics. The culture wars that have raged across our fair land for years now have moved from the highbrow realms of think tanks, religion and academia to new battlegrounds: the concert hall, the movie theater, even the auto showroom.

Welcome to the pop culture wars of 2004.

In this fiery summer of Fahrenheit 9 / 11 and the political conventions, it seems, once-simple consumer choices like the music we listen to, the books we read, the TV shows we watch, even the food we eat have become political statements. Like the states on the political map, we can be colored red (conservative / Republican) or blue (liberal / Democrat) by even the most innocuous act. Dixie Chicks or Toby Keith? Fox News or Air America? Ben & Jerry's "One Sweet Whirled" or Star Spangled Ice Cream's "Gun Nut"?

If you are true blue or bright red, you know where you stand. But for those in the gray area, here's a quick guide to what your choices say about you.

On Screen

RED

* The Passion of the Christ (Mel Gibson's gory gospel film was a rallying point for conservative Christians.)

* America's Heart and Soul ("Patriotic" Disney release was adopted by conservatives in wake of Fahrenheit 9 / 11.)

BLUE

* Fahrenheit 9 / 11 (Michael Moore's no-holds-barred diatribe against George W. Bush.)

* Outfoxed (Straight-to-video documentary attack on Fox News' "fair and balanced" coverage.)

Around the Dial

RED

* Fox News ("Fair and balanced" -- and home to the fire-breathing Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and crew.)

* The Rush Limbaugh Show (The "reddest" radio show in the known world.)

* Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered (The bow-tied young neo-con from Crossfire moves to PBS.)

BLUE

* Air America (Liberal ranting at all hours, all day -- if you can find it on the dial.)

* NPR (Why do you think its member stations are at the far left end of the dial?)

* The Daily Show (Fake news show is actually pretty even-handed; maybe it's purple.)

Pop Music

RED

* Toby Keith (His "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue" offered to boot bin Laden.)

* Ted Nugent (Rocker / sportsman is on the NRA's board of directors.)

* Johnny Ramone (Punk rocker asked God to bless President Bush at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.)

BLUE

* Dixie Chicks (Kicked off country stations after criticizing President Bush in concert.)

* Linda Ronstadt (Dedicated "Desperado" to filmmaker Michael Moore in recent performances.)

* Dave Matthews Band (Environmentally conscious group says "John Kerry is the only choice.")

Beach Reads

RED

* Michael Moore Is a Big Fat Stupid White Man, by David T. Hardy and Jason Clarke ('Nuff said.)

* Rewriting History, by Dick Morris with Eileen McGann (Former Clinton adviser takes apart Hillary Clinton's Living History.)

* Peace Kills, by P.J. O'Rourke (Conservative humorist follows up on best seller Give War a Chance.)

BLUE

* My Life, by Bill Clinton (Favorite for Red punsters, who call it "My Lie.")

* Against All Enemies, by Richard A. Clarke (Became Blue hero for criticizing Bush White House on war on terror.)

* Living History, by Hillary Rodham Clinton

* Worse Than Watergate, by John W. Dean (Man who sank Nixon goes after the Bush administration.)

The Shopping Cart

RED

* Wal-mart (World's biggest retailer censors CDs and magazines, crowds out mom-and-pop stores; Walton family is big Bush backer.)

* Star Spangled Ice Cream Brand (Baltimore-based maker of "ice cream with a conservative flavor," including "Nutty Environmentalist," "Iraqi Road" and "Gun Nut.")

BLUE

* Whole Foods (World's "largest natural and organic food supermarket" makes every pricey purchase a political choice.)

* Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream ("One Sweet Whirled" tries to "inspire some serious changes in the way we impact the world" one spoonful at a time.)

On the Road

RED

* The SUV (Pick your gas guzzler: Hummer, Lincoln Navigator, Cadillac Escalade...)

BLUE

* The hybrid (The new limousines for liberals: Toyota Prius, Honda Civic.)

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