July 16, 2004
Red 'n' blue

All right, so I finally gave in and took the Slate red state/blue state quiz, and it told me that "It's time to get out of the sun. You're looking a little red." I'll echo what others have said about being a blue person in a red place. What can I say? I have a good mind for remembering trivia, which enabled me to answer correctly a number of the red-identifying questions - for example, I've never watched any NASCAR, but I know what the winged 3 means just from osmosis.

One bit of tunnel vision by the quiz creator is here:

(17) What does the Eighth Commandment prohibit?
(A) stealing
(B) coveting your neighbor's wife
(C) avarice
(D) committing adultery

Now, as a good Catholic boy, I know darn well that the Eighth Commandment prohibits bearing false witness against one's neighbor. As that wasn't a choice - which it should have been, with a +10 Blue value - I guessed to pick stealing, which is the Seventh Commandment where I come from. That was a big fat +10 Red, which perhaps skewed my overall result a tad. C'est la vie, as they say around here.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 16, 2004 to Society and cultcha | TrackBack

Hey, I thought that was what they said in Lubbock. Coulda swore Molly said they say that in Lubbock.

Posted by: julia on July 16, 2004 3:48 PM

Well, you just have to define "around here" broadly enough...

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on July 16, 2004 3:55 PM

I'm right smack in the middle--a perfect shade of purple. Okay, that's true enough; I grew up in both red and blue areas, so why not?

But here's the thing--I got a bunch of red points for knowing some basic midwestern geography (what is the UP, what are the Quad Cities, what's Door County, etc)which are things I wouldn't have known if I'd stayed in Lockhart, TX. I know them because I live in Chicago and I OWN A MAP.

So, you can color me skeptical--a lovely periwinkle shade of skeptical.

Posted by: FHC on July 16, 2004 5:27 PM

I'm red too, for mostly the same reasons. It's really hard to live in the South and not be familiar with the culture.

Your Bible reference is a perfect example of cultural bias in a test and exactly why the circuit court blasted Roy Moore in Alabama. In Judaism and most Protestant churches, the Eighth Commandment is "Thou shall not steal." The major religions can't even agree on what they are (there are actually 13 commands).

Posted by: Charles M on July 16, 2004 7:43 PM

Yeah -- it seems hard *not* to be red in this test. It's like the so-called Nolan chart the Libertarians use, which is devised in a way to convince everyone that they're really Libertarians at heart.

Posted by: Tim on July 16, 2004 8:21 PM

Charles, what are the other three?

Posted by: R. Alex on July 16, 2004 11:16 PM

I'm in the middle, too, a light shade of pink. I suppose it's about right.

As for the other commands, my guess would be those that Jesus gives in the NT, like loving your neighbor as you love yourself (which, depending on your interpretation of "loving" might actually violate one of the 10 Commandments).

Posted by: Sue on July 17, 2004 10:14 AM


You got the question wrong because you were raised as a Northeastern Papist!

Turns out there are quite a few versions of "the" Ten Commandments - Jews, Catholics, Muslims, and Protestants all count them differently. The Bible even lists them twice, with different contents each time!

Ten Commandments - Protestant, Catholic, Hebrew Comparisons

Ten Commandments

Posted by: Matt on July 17, 2004 11:03 AM

I got the same result as you, when I should have been much redder.

I don't see why I gain blue points for knowing who Larry Kramer is or what LIRR stands for.

Posted by: Rob Booth on July 17, 2004 3:50 PM

There is a Protestant bias in the commandment question. The Protestant and Hebrew versions are very similar. However their 2nd commandment forbids graven images and likenesses of "anything in heaven". Well if you've ever walked about a Catholic church obviously they couldn't have that so they skip it. In it's place they split the 10th commandment (Protestant / Hebrew) which forbids coveting thy neighbour's wife & goods into two (9 & 10) one for the wife and one for the goods. (See http://www.positiveatheisim.org/crt/whichcom.pdf)

This has always amused me as I assumed that Judge Moore's (and other's) commandments were the protestant version and I wondered why the Catholics weren't suing because they'd displayed the wrong ones!

Posted by: yank in london on July 17, 2004 7:02 PM

Hey, I'm a catholic who grew up in NY and lives in PA, and that is as far south as I'd ever want to be, yet this test puts me in the "middle." I don't think you could come out blue. For example, never firing a gun is nuetral, iunstead of blue. But more importantly, most of the supposed "red" questions are about blue states. The upper midwest is blue, not red, so knowing that the "UP" is, or the Quad Cities, indicates your from a blue state, not a red state like Georgia. Yet they test that as "red" It is not well designed, even for a silly test.

Posted by: pj on July 18, 2004 9:05 AM