to work for The New Republic these days? Bad enough to equate the dislike, even hatred, of a college basketball team with liberalism and homophobia. Look at this brilliant rhetorical move by Seyward Darby.
To many of its staunchest enemies, Duke is a malevolent Goliath--an elitist, corporate, conservative force out to crush more virtuous, liberal Davids. In the UNC-Duke rivalry, Blythe explains, "[i]ssues of identity--whether you see yourself as a populist or an elitist, as a local or an outsider, as public-minded or individually striving--get played out." He also notes that UNC's long-time coach Dean Smith, who retired in 1997, was a vocal Democrat while Duke's coach Mike Krzyzewski is an active Republican. This has only added to the sense that there is something fundamentally liberal about loathing the Blue Devils.Seyward then launches into multiple nasty examples of homophobic behavior directed at Duke's basketball players. But you know what he never does? He never actually connects the two groups. Even if his case for liberal distaste for Duke basketball were strong--and seriously, what I posted above is all Darby's got for that, which is really weak sauce--there's still no direct connection between liberal politics and homophobic treatment of Duke's players.
But there's one major problem with the neat morality play that left-leaning Duke haters have constructed for themselves: the jarring and disproportionate level of homophobia that routinely gets directed at the basketball players.
Which is not to say that there aren't homophobic progressives out there. There are, without question--in the blog world, that sometimes leads to online fights where LGBT bloggers and their allies call them on it and where they either get defensive or apologize. But again, there's no direct link between any of these groups--except that Darby places them beside each other and posits one. I haven't even finished my opening coffee regimen yet and I can see how dumb that is.