Roger L. Simon

Politics, religion and sex

You remember them – the three subjects your grandmother told you not to discuss at the dinner table [What else is there to talk about?-ed. Ebay.] Anyway, apparently grandmothers are back, according to this article in today’s NYT – The Elephant in the Room by Anne Kornblut. Especially with regard to politics, the Three No’s of our youth (doesn’t that sound faintly Maoist?) are being observed once again in social situations. I’m sure Anne’s right, at least to some extent. I have noticed the same thing in my social set, what’s left of it. People aren’t keen on talking politics in mixed (political) company.

Now Anne seems to think that’s a bad thing, but I’m not so sure. In my long life of dinner parties and similar events, I have noticed that people rarely succeed in convincing anyone of anything in those kinds of settings, even relatively immaterial matters like the quality of Kobe Bryant’s jump shot or whether Madonna was really a Kabballist (okay, that’s not so trivial!). Debate of serious issues like the war in Iraq make no headway in such venues. In fact the reverse – it usually devolves into a shouting much for the uninformed (sort of like Congress). So I think the grandmothers had a point. Enough of this sex, religion and politics nonsense. Relegate the serious debate of the significant issues to places where people can discuss them on a level with some modicum of depth [Like this blog.-ed. I knew I hired you for something.]

The real problem in our culture is not the lack of serious debate at the dinner table – it’s the lack of serious debate in the political arena. And just wait until you have Harry Reid as the Senate Majority Leader – now there’s a heavyweight.