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Is culture war phony?

In a Wall Street Journal column headlined "Red State Story," Thomas Frank ponders the shock of pro-life leaders at suggestions that their movement could be associated with the murder of George Tiller. The reason for their surprise? "The culture wars are not meant to be taken seriously," he writes. "Yes, right-wing invective dabbles in nightmare visions of treason and conspiracy and rampant paganism and a homegrown holocaust right here on Main Street, USA. Yes, it ritually denounces liberals as members of a class fundamentally alien to the American way of life. But these are the ingredients of entertainment, not politics."Culture war makes you feel noble and heroic. It sells books, it drives up the ratings of 'The O'Reilly Factor,' it brings in millions in direct-mail contributions — but everybody knows you can't make Hollywood change its ways by walking the streets of Wichita carrying a sign deploring the 'culture of death.'"

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