BuzzFeed has a fascinating cultural investigation that claims that gun culture has so permeated America that even media elites and "hipster hunters" are "the new 'gun nuts'" because three media dudes went to a shooting range and tweeted a photo about it. It is fascinating, but also false. Maybe it's fascinating because it is false. Actually, the article, titled "How Gun Culture Won Over Liberals," presents four pieces of evidence: a tweeted photograph from the time New York Times media columnist David Carr, Reuters social media maven Anthony DeRosa and New York media scene regular Foster Kamer went to a New Jersey gun range; the popularity of the arcade game Big Buck Hunter in what you might call "cool" New York bars; the popularity of flannel that reads more L.L. Bean than Kurt Cobain; and that a Field & Stream writer is "hoping" locavores will start killing what they eat. The key element of the first three pieces of evidence is irony. (The fourth is self-promotion.)
But anyone who knows anything about gun culture knows one thing: Gun nuts don't do irony. You can make the case that some New York media people play with guns because they think it makes them look cool. And you can make the case that there are a lot of gun nuts in America. But you cannot say that a few New Yorkers ironically tweeting about this one time they shot a gun is evidence that "American gun culture is more expansive than ever, having gained a foothold among the type of coastal elites that, just a couple decades ago, would have dismissed the very idea of holding a rifle as obscene and offensive." They are not holding a rifle because they think it's normal and acceptable, they are holding because they think it's kind of obscene.