Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Divided about being divided

James Q. Wilson asks "How Divided Are We?" in the Feb. Commentary and worries that "Polarization is a force that can defeat us."

Arthur C. Brooks writes about "Extreme Makeover" in this morning's WSJ. "... [T]here is abundant evidence that extreme political opinions lead to personal demonization of fellow citizens. ... For our political leaders, a bit of anger management would be in the public interest."

And I had bought into much of the popular red state-blue state thing. It turns out that we can all learn about real people in the real world from Hallmark. Here is part of the AP report, from today's LA Times.

"This Card Says It All, Everywhere

From Associated PressFebruary 14, 2006

"KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Turns out love may actually be a universal language.

"The world's largest greeting card maker, Hallmark Cards Inc., has for the first time analyzed individual cities' data for top-selling Valentines, and it yielded a surprising result. They were all the same — a result of the exhaustive research Hallmark carries out before any card goes on the shelf. It's a process of analyzing sales numbers and trend hunting in search of the perfect valentine.

"Researchers at the Kansas City-based company expected the choices of customers to be as different as the cities they call home. But it turned out V330-5, one of the thousands of options Hallmark offered last Valentine's Day, was the top choice of card buyers in New York and Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Miami, and virtually every other city in the country.

"'We thought it would be a different card in every city,'" spokeswoman Rachel Bolton said.

"Jessica Ong, product manager for the company's Valentine's card line, said, 'It speaks to the fact that people are more alike than they are different.'"

And, right on time, in the same edition of the LA Times, its editorial writers declaim "Massacre Valentine's Day".