out nations and managerial elites—arnworld where the information highway isrnnot full of pornographic hitchhikers andrncommercial shysters but is a mode of relatingrnautonomous communities withrntheir culture intact and their traditionsrnthriving. Hatred of the present and ofrnthe human degradation it has broughtrnabout need not lead to inventing arngolden past that never was and whosernfraudulence ultimately ends up relegitimatingrnthat very same present it originallyrnsought to indict. Rather, it shouldrntranslate into concrete efforts to integraternnew and not-so-new developmentsrnsuch as capitalism, industrialism, andrntechnology within traditional frameworksrnwhich are always much richer andrnmore flexible than most of their allegedrndefenders assume.rn—Paul PicconernEditor, Telos: A Journalrnof Critical ThoughtrnNew York, NYrnWayne AllensworthrnReplies:rnIf Mr. Piccone had not been so busy tryingrnto sound clever while scoring pointsrnagainst what he thought I said, he mightrnhave gone back and read the piece a littlernmore carefully. For Piccone makes somernof the same terminological errors thatrnConnor is critical of in his book. Mr. Picconernuses the term “nation” in the samernway that Connor’s “modernists” do: thern”nation” is a centralized state, Connor’srn”integrated state.” I agree with Mr. Picconernwhen he says that men of Bowie’srnkind had no use for the integrated state,rnpreferring a looser federation that allowedrnfor regional peculiarities. I wasrncriticizing the modernist equation (“nation”rnequals “state”; membership in thern”nation” is a matter of filling out the correctrnbureaucratic forms), and the point Irnmade in writing that Bowie’s Amcricannessrnwas immutable (for him, at least) isrnthat neither he nor many of his contemporariesrnsaw their identity as Americansrnas tied to the state, any state, and that itrnhad a more solid center to it than “coexistingrnwithin a particular territory” orrn”sharing common problems.” Just whyrndid the people of Cincinnati support thernTexas rebellion? Does Mr. Piccone reallyrnthink the New Odeans Grays or the Kentuckiansrnand Tenncsseans who fought onrnthe rebel side of the conflict would haverndone so if the rebels had not been peoplernwho walked and talked like them? Theyrndid not share the immediate problems ofrnthe rebels, but they fought with themrnbecause the rebels were the Americanrnside of the conflict; they were helpingrnfellow Americans in trouble.rnI also agree that identity is a “dynamic”rncategory. I said as much in the article,rnwhen I pointed out that an Americanrnidentity was formed by commonrnexperiences and shared perspectivesrn(the experience of the Indian wars, forrninstance), something that pulled therndiverse “Christian, English speaking,rnnorthern European communities” together,rnbut that did not necessarilyrnhomogenize them. I pointed out thatrnBowie was representative of a particularrntype—not of all Americans of the era.rnThat is, in part, what I had in mind whenrnI wrote that the “conservative’s mainrnconcern is not simply the physical survivalrnof his people, but their survival asrnwhat?” The modern state does “flattenrnall culture into the national standard” asrnMr. Piccone points out, something I detestrnas well, but it is Mr. Piccone whornlacks imagination on this score. How arcrnsmaller communities to federate intornlarger units “while retaining their culturalrnpeculiarity” in an era of mass communication,rnmass production, air travel, andrnbureaucratic social organization? That isrna nut conservatives and libertarians havernfailed to crack. I wish I had an alternativern—we can start with attacking bigrngovernment, but where do we go fromrnthere? I hope Mr. Piccone is right aboutrnthe information highway, but I have myrndoubts. Not all of us will be able to makerna living at a computer keyboard, and Irnwonder if traditional culture can longrnsurvive disconnection from nature.rnI wrote (more than once) that thernsense of national solidarity is “largely anrninternalized psychological state” amongrnpeople who imagine themselves to bern”ancestrally related.” This kinship elementrnexplains the strength and resiliencernof the national bond, which so many observers,rnincluding Mr. Piccone, dismissrnat their (and our) peril. Human beingsrnneed a sense of communal belonging inrnorder to develop normally, and ethnocentrism,rntribalism, nationalism, orrnwhatever you wish to call it, is an importantrnand necessary ingredient of community.rnIf we are going to revitalizernAmerica in the next century, we had betterrnget used to recognizing this truth, asrninconvenient as it is. Connor’s theoriesrnare for serious people who are concernedrnwith getting at the truth, not with thernway we might like things to be, and theyrnshould be criticized on their own terms.rnThe cheap “racism” accusation is unbecomingrna man like Mr. Piccone, whornis supposedly committed to “criticalrnthought.”rnOn Hollywoodrnand the MediarnAlthough generally sympathetic tornPhilip Jenkins’s concerns about the burgeoningrngiants of the “media/entertainment”rncomplex, I found the closingrnparagraphs of his February essay, “ThernMatter of Money,” to be rather confused.rnIs it a desire for money that has inspiredrnthe producers of top-20 sitcoms tornintroduce such themes as homosexualityrnand even homosexual “marriage” on alreadyrnsuccessful prime-time programs?rnMr. Jenkins is, in fact, worried that thernnew conglomerates will avoid dealingrnwith homosexuality and other “controversial”rnmatters which are “politicallyrnincorrect.” But actually homosexualityrnhas become the cause du jour both inrnacademia and in the entertainment industryrn—where no self-respecting actorrnwill appear at an award show withoutrnwearing the symbolic red ribbon.rnActually, Mr. Jenkins’s quasi-Marxoidrneconomic determinism has blinded himrnto a major factor in the motivation ofrnentertainment moguls, one analyzedrnand fully exposed by Michael Medvedrnin Hollywood vs. America. That factor isrnideological: a twisted moral passion tornuse the media to subvert traditional conceptsrnof virtue and replace them with arnradical social agenda.rn—Jonathan ChavesrnThe George Washington UniversityrnWashington, D.C.rnOn Public OpinionrnPollsrnAs a lifelong market researcher, Irncouldn’t agree more with Robert Weissberg’srnexpose of the flaws of politicalrnpolling (“Shadowmetrics,” Februaryrn1996). But Professor Weissberg did notrn6/CHRONICLESrnrnrn