Boy have times changed. This book was published in 1986. This is a reprint from John Louis Anderson's book: Scandinavian Humor and Other Myths.
The Politics of Snow: Cross Country versus Downhill Skiing.
Skiing is a political act for Americans: Republicans and Conservatives identify themselves by skiing downhill, while Liberal Democrats are to be found cross-country skiing.
Since Scandinavians of all political persuasions ski at every chance, and in every manner possible, this rule is less rigis for Scandinavian/Americans than for other Americans.
In America downhill skiing is the exclusive domain of the private enterprise. Though the sport is crawling with would-be jetsetters, only those supported by a fifth-generation trust fund can hop a Concorde to induge an off-season urge for one of Argentina's better slopes over the 4th of July weekend.
Like the remote castles of medieval robber-barons, the finest ski resorts are in isolated mountain passes where the populace is as white as the snow. These mountain hideaways, with their private lodges, exclusive restaurants and pricy little shops, are specifically designed to allow Yuppie, Yumpis, and Preppies an opportuity for serious alcohol abuse whikle surrounded by their own class, away from the scrutiny of downscale elements.
Activists see downhill skiing as an elitist sport, requiring skills honeds since childhood in an atmosphere of undeserved leisure. The act of being effortlessly chairlifted to the top of a mountain is, they contend, a capitalist metphor for the undeserved rise of the White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant-Male-Executive/Exploiter-Class and its minority collarborators.
The feeling of illegitimate superiority engendered by standing atop a mountain is not enough for these people. They must also have the narcotic effect of speeding down a slippery slope, in what Marx has called "The Opiate of the Classes."
Cross-country skiing, on th other hand, is the world's only 100 percent politically correct sport. Cross-country skis are all union-made by Scandinavian workers who have a higher standard of living than most Americans, so neither the massesnor the resources of the third world are being exploited.
Unlike downhill skiing, which requires a huge and prohibitively expensive wardrobe, you can go cross-country skiing in anything from coveralls to authentic Norwegian knickers and wool socks. If your ideology has a dress code, cross=country skiing will not violate it.
You do not need to travel great distances to rent an overpriced lodge to ski cross-country because of the ready availability of open-access/equal-opportunity/non-elitist locations like the city parks, the zoo, and other places owned and operated by the government for the common good.
Here the truly commitd activist can escape the false values of the petit bourgeoisie and experience life at its most primal level. Unfortunately, the primal level generally includes rabid farm dogs and very sleazy teeanage boys in rusted out snowbilies.
Conservative downhillers see cross-country skiing as a dangerous, if not openly treasonable, anti-business conspiracy. They see the sport crammed with low-lifes dependent on government owned, quasi-socialist snow communes establihed on temporarily disused railroad right-of-ways illegally seized by the government from the free-enterprise system.
Most of the country dismisses such talk as merely another reactionary tirade and cross-country skiers wear these attacks as a badge of pride.
In truth, the most radical elements at both ends of the political spectrum have never enjoyed any sort of skiing. Those who have a tndency to stick their foot in their mouths every few minutes find it particularl painful when wearing skis, and nobody wants to fall down while carrying a bomb on the way to the abortion clinic or draft office.
Anything goes, politics, jokes, etc
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