Wanna know the deepest, most fundamental reason I hate living in Houston?
It's because I grew up in the kind of small town where a shopkeeper could leave an honesty box in charge of the shop.
Wanna know why I doubt I'll ever go back to Princeton even for a visit? It's because you'd be nuts to leave your dorm room unlocked at Princeton, and yet folks in Princeton, and lots of other folks who hugely impressed with themselves as sophisticated and high-toned, look down on people who live in small towns like the one I grew up in. And if you doubt that, say something snide about Sarah Palin at your next big-city cocktail party and watch how many people in the gathering raise their noses toward the ceiling as an automatic reflex.
(I don't mind Sarah Palin jokes -- I've been known to pass a couple along myself. And I don't mind your saying that Palin was not qualified to be Vice-President, as long as you have enough intellectual honesty and consistency to admit at the same time that, a forteriori, by any standard strict enough to justify your rejection of Palin, Barack Obama was disgracefully unqualified for the Oval Office. I don't object to your having a low opinion of Palin's political views, or of thinking she isn't ready yet for the Oval Office, in other words. But the instant personal revulsion felt toward Palin by millions of people who won't accomplish as much in their next three lives as she already has, just because she is a small-town hick who knows how to hunt and fish and make a living with her hands, and because she goes to church and -- unforgiveably -- appears to actually believe the things she says in church...that instant personal revulsion was absolutely palpable; and it was nothing but straight-forward, old-fashioned snobbery -- which always reveals far more about the snob than it reveals about the rube. The world would not be noticeably worse off if Charles Gibson and all his ilk, or Barbara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg, suddenly disappeared; and a world without Oprah would be a better place entirely. But get rid of Sarah Palin and all the women like her who are disdained so deeply by Katie Couric and her sisters among the self-perceived elites, and this country would be in one almighty world of hurt.)