Tex-MassBrandon at Siris responds to my Cliopatria post about the disparaging of Massachusetts in political rhetoric. He argues that the senator-liberal-Massachusetts connection is natural. But he argues that the reverse could not be done to Texas (no conservative history) and would be received with anger:
If you ever want to start bar fights in Texas, go in and start calling the natives 'Yankees', and you'll get more bar fights than you can handle.) And I don't really see that redneck jokes about Texas would be all that damaging - Texans make them about themselves all the time - unless they were said by someone from Massachusetts.I would argue that the triad Texas-republican-fundamentalism is quite strong, not needing a deep history to hold up.
Nevertheless, I am not a native New Englander (I come from that other liberal state, California, that keeps electing Republican governors) , yet I bristle whenever Republican crowds boo to the words "SENATOR. FROM. MASSACHUSETTS." (not quite the cadence of the Comic Book Guy). The continual reaction to those three words reinforces to me that homeland (heimatisch, if you would) perceptions of nation are limiting. I won't grant Massachusetts more credibility in representing America than any other state, but it was one of the first states involved in dialogues from which American identity was created and debated. And looking around at this time of year--the leaves changing, the squash sitting in the fields, the nights getting shorter--I am aware that I am in a region where the symbols and myths of America were created.