Eric Alterman responded to my criticism of him for referring, on the liberal listserv JournoList, to those Americans who like watching fast cars drive around in circles as "fucking Nascar retards" by apologizing for the use of the word "retard" but by further explaining that his revulsion toward Nascar is not actually a revulsion toward Nascar but is a revulsion provoked in him by conservative commentators who equate Nascar with Americanism:

What I objected to, and what I've written about frequently--and would have been understood, I imagine, by most of the people in that private, off-the-record conversation--was the putatively liberal mainstream media treating the folks who like Nascar as "real Americans" and the rest of us who like jazz, foreign films, and prefer pinot noir to Budweiser as un-American commies who should have no say in our country's future. This is why I am always defending New York, academics, the Upper West Side, even Zabar's which always appear to be fair game with the So-called Liberal Media. With the election of a law professor, ex-Harvard Law Review editor from Hyde Park who made no apologies for his brilliant writing talents and middle-to-high-brow tastes in literature , I thought we would finally stop hearing from  pundits like John Podhoretz, Ann Coulter, David Brooks,  Michael Ledeen and Laura Ingraham telling us that real Americans are white, Christian, live in the middle of the country and hate people like myself and my friends.

Read the whole thing, but I do agree with Alterman's defense of Zabar's America, which is no less or more American than Nascar. But because I am a uniter and not a divider, I would argue that one could simultaneously enjoy Nascar and enjoy Zabar's, and everything Zabar's stands for. In fact, I would imagine that a perfect day at the Charlotte Motor Speedway would include an onion bagel with Nova and sable (though I prefer the sable at Barney Greengrass, actually). And also a book or two, for those duller moments in the race. Maybe this book, come to think of it.  In other words, I do disagree with the idea that Nascar is America and Harvard Law School is not.