March 25, 2006


Going Ape in Politics (Quin Hillyer, 3/24/2006, American Spectator)

Troglodyte. Antediluvian. Neanderthal. Caveman!

For years, liberals have thrown such epithets in the direction of conservatives, as when Teddy Kennedy of all people used the above "N" word on the Senate floor to describe Republican judicial nominees. The idea is that we're insufficiently modern. Uncivilized. Primitive, even. And, of course, brutal and unintelligent in a jut-jawed, knuckle-scraping way.

Well, fine. I'll take that as a compliment.

Last weekend I saw again (after a 12-year interim) a performance of a splendid, award-winning play, Defending the Caveman, which holds the record as Broadway's longest-running one-man play in history. It's a clever, indeed laugh-out-loud funny, examination of the differences between men and women -- differences that, original playwright/actor Rob Becker posits, grew directly out of habits learned somewhere back when Cro-Magnons first walked the Earth. Men hunt; women gather. Women cooperate; men negotiate. Men focus on one thing, one prey, at a time; women take in a broader expanse of visual data, and linger. And so on. Ooga-booga, ooga-booga. All of those sex roles, according to Becker, were signs of sophisticated evolution, helping the human race thrive and prosper.

In short, the caveman (and the cave woman) wasn't a hideous creature worthy of scorn, but a successfully adaptive lord of his environment. And it is those same cave-man genes and instincts that explain why middlebrow pursuits such as bowling and fishing (and filling the potato chip bowl for TV football games) aren't to be sneered at, but admired.

The proper objection is not that conservatives aren't cavemen, but that it was Neanderthal who, like liberals of Ted Kennedy's ilk, was driven to extinction.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 25, 2006 8:34 AM

"Well if being polite is old fashioned then you can call me a caveman. If they had existed. Which they didn't."

Posted by: Ned Flanders at March 25, 2006 11:28 AM
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