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Butter 

Wednesday, Dec 5 2007
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Greetings, cultural elite, limousine liberals, bleeding hearts, environmental wackos, Defeatocrats, surrender monkeys, and those who chose the gay lifestyle. I come to you from the drive-by media, to quote Rush Limbaugh (mega-dittos!), and I have just watched the latest YouTube Republican debate.

Being the talk-radio junkie that I am, it was important homework. As much as I like the Democrats, it's the far right that I like to listen to, in a postmodern, ironic sort of way. Maybe I've been brainwashed, but those right-wingers are correct about one thing: We urban liberals are elitist. We think that all culture is relative, but that ours is somehow more advanced, hipper, and more scientifically based; we believe we are more open-minded, have better sex, and that only we understand those strange French films made in the 1960s. No wonder the right hates us.

Since liberals always lump together white trash and Red States, it seemed appropriate to drown my sorrows after the debate at Butter. The 11th Street bar has a low-class, honky theme. The menu lists foods like corn dogs, SpaghettiOs, and deep-fried Twinkies, plus drinks with names like the Shotgun Wedding. Butter offers draft beer, but it also has beers in cans, which, when the bar first opened, was kind of a new idea in S.F.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not dissin' Butter. I was part of a white-trash Easter at a friend's house one year. I'm just saying, no wonder the Republicans call us snobs.

I like Butter, but not for its theme — or its decor, which falls into a sort of hip-hop-meets-Sports Center vibe instead of looking like a trailer park. It's one big room with a horseshoe bar in the middle, and the TV screen is projected onto a wall like a movie.

The bar has itself doesn't have much kitsch, which was initially surprising given the concept behind the place. That's how you do it, though — create a theme, then understate it. That lends the bar respect instead of making it an irony parade.

The main reasons I like Butter are that the folks are friendly and the music is loud. At one point the bartender, who was also the DJ, asked me if it was too loud for me. I told him, au contraire, it wasn't loud enough, dude. I felt like being pummeled by mash-ups, and he smiled and turned the music up for me.

The guy to my right was wearing a baseball hat sideways. Our eyes kept meeting, and eventually we met to smoke outside in the cold under an awning. Smoking, incidentally, is still rather popular among urbanites, who know the risks but like it because it is somehow "edgy."

Actually, smoking is post-edgy, because it's something that poor whites do, and therefore has dropped off in usage among the cultural elite, who are into health and stuff. It was then picked up by young rebels like us, who thumb our noses at convention and general good health.

This guy was originally from Kansas. I am from Illinois. Our conversation went something like this:

"Dang, it's cold."

"Yeah, but I'm from Kansas. This ain't real cold."

"Yeah, I'm from Illinois. This ain't real cold."

We went back in and pretended we didn't know each other.

My thoughts returned to the far right. What struck me most about the Republican debate was how out of it these guys were. Not one of the candidates voiced support for gays in the military, for example, despite the fact that young people overwhelmingly support gay rights, no matter their party affiliation. This, like most other cultural issues, is something the Republicans will be apologizing for in twenty years.

The other thing that struck me was that Rudy Giuliani has a slight hump on his back, which from the side makes him look like Alfred Hitchcock.

I thought, briefly, that maybe I should've talked politics with the Kansas dude. But it has been my experience that no one really cares about that stuff, at least not people who go out to bars that serve Ho Hos with beer in cans. Unless they watched the Republican debate in order to view it ironically, or perhaps created a drinking game to go along with it.

Yes, if I wanted a substantive take on politics there was only one thing to do: Take my ironic ass home and watch the debate recap on FOX News, the Hostess snack of TV punditry.

I gave Kansas a little wave, tipped my bartender, and headed back out into that cold, liberal night.

About The Author

Katy St. Clair

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