I was recently amused by G.K. Chesteron’s mockery of high society types:

The Vernon Hotel at which The Twelve True Fishermen held their annual dinners was an institution such as can only exist in an oligarchical society which has almost gone mad on good manners. It was that topsy-turvy product—an “exclusive” commercial enterprise. That is, it was a thing which paid not by attracting people, but actually by turning people away. In the heart of a plutocracy tradesmen become cunning enough to be more fastidious than their customers. They positively create difficulties so that their wealthy and weary clients may spend money and diplomacy in overcoming them. If there were a fashionable hotel in London which no man could enter who was under six foot, society would meekly make up parties of six-foot men to dine in it. If there were an expensive restaurant which by a mere caprice of its proprietor was only open on Thursday afternoon, it would be crowded on Thursday afternoon.

It’s not a profound observation, but I can’t help but think that a similar effect is going on in our cartoonishly hyper-partisan society. Otherwise politically neutral topics like whether to get vaccinated, or whether to watch a television show, or whether to laugh at a person’s jokes, are turned into political totems.

So my whimsical idea is to imagine Biden/Trump publicly expressing a preference for chocolate ice cream over vanilla, which in turn forces the Republicans/Democrats to stake out position in favor of vanilla, which in turn causes the Democrats/Republicans to observe that their opponents’ preference for vanilla is a perfect illustration of what’s wrong with their party. This plays out all over social media, until the lesser news outlets score cheap clickbait by reporting on the “trending” topic; the National Review and New Republic write vitrolic editorials rehashing the historical sins of their opponents; and eventually The Atlantic tries to wade into the discussion with some moderate final conclusion.

(And some reference to 1984 belongs here, if only I weren’t too lazy to find an appropriate quote.)