The Brie Factor

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One of the real oddities of the contemporary conservative movement is its intense contempt for the perceived personal consumption habits of contemporary liberals. Particularly odd is that this is normally phrased as a hyper-defensive accusation that liberals have contempt for conservatives. At CPAC today, Tim Pawlenty went off an a really nasty rant about how liberals all sneer at conservatives for not having gone to Ivy League colleges and for not liking “brie and chablis.”

For one thing, I defy anyone to find a single example of liberals sneering at Pawlenty for having attended the University of Minnesota. It’s a good school! What’s to sneer at? And who’s sneering? Meanwhile: brie? Really? Ramesh Ponnuru likes it. They know all about it at Sam’s Club. Of course in Minnesota, local favorite Target is the big box retailer of choice and they sell this nice cheese board. At the St Paul Cheese Shop about 1.2 miles from Pawlenty’s house they’re offering what sounds like a nice sandwich of prosciutto di parma and Great Lakes brie.

Personally, soft white cheeses aren’t my favorite varieties. But cheese in general is great. And what of the great things about the United States of America is that we’re a large, diverse, and open country where we’re able to learn from culinary ideas from abroad. Minnesota, as best I can tell from Google, has a substantial number of dairy farmers and artisanal cheesemakers. But, you know, some varieties of cheese have—tada!—foreign-sounding names! So I guess Pawlenty had no choice but to randomly dump on millions of Americans who enjoy eating good cheese, or who make cheese, or who sell it. They’re selling chablis at Wal-Mart so I guess Pawlenty has contempt for everyone who works there too maybe. I dunno. Heck, I’ve got a foreign-sounding name. So do a lot of people!