BOSTON — How have you been shunned?
It’s a question Americans have been playfully pondering since retired Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz complained he’s being ostracized on Martha’s Vineyard — long a summer playground for the liberal elite — because of his support for President Donald Trump.
Dershowitz lamented that even though he voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton, invitations to dinner and other highbrow social events on the tony island off Massachusetts have dried up over his backing of the Republican president.
Although Dershowitz’s defenders include conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh and Trump himself , he was roundly mocked on social media by people asking what he expected from islanders who’ve played host to former Presidents John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
Then Emily Nussbaum, TV critic for The New Yorker magazine, posed a simple question this week: “Why were you shunned at Martha’s Vineyard?”
People of all political persuasions began sharing their own silly and sardonic stories of feeling unwelcome — not just on the well-heeled Vineyard but at other affluent hangouts like New York’s chic Hamptons — and often for reasons having nothing to do with politics.
“I walked into the party like I was walking onto a yacht,” Los Angeles musician Dave Modisett tweeted, riffing on a verse from “You’re So Vain” by longtime Martha’s Vineyard resident Carly Simon.
Andrew Reynolds, a professor of political science at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, explained why he felt like an outsider on the Vineyard: “I was surprised I could hear the freeway. I was told it was the sound of the ocean. As a result, I was shunned.”
New York City author Jennifer Wright recalled attending a wedding there with a foreign-born man. “At that wedding, he ate a vegetable. One of the guests asked if they had vegetables where he was from. You’re not missing too much by not going there,” she tweeted.
Others explaining why they’ve been “shunned” took playful digs at elitism, America’s class wars and the idle rich.
“I complimented a woman on her Lanz of Salzburg dress. It was a Lilly Pulitzer,” Laura Thompson, an alternative school headmistress from Portland, Oregon, said in a Twitter post.
“My bon mots were, ultimately, deemed mal mots,” said Dylan Pickus, an administrative assistant at a New York non-profit.
“Not enough tiny lobsters embroidered on my pants,” quipped comics artist S.I. Rosenbaum.
Dershowitz, a renowned defence lawyer who represented O.J. Simpson, identifies as a centrist Democrat and has long been an outspoken civil libertarian. He’s taken heat for publicly and repeatedly saying he doesn’t think a special counsel should have been appointed to investigate Trump’s dealings with Russia.
“I have defended Trump’s civil liberties, along with those of all Americans, just as I would have defended Hillary Clinton’s civil liberties had she been elected and subjected to efforts of impeachment or prosecution,” Dershowitz wrote in an op-ed last week for The Hill.
“But that is not good enough for some of my old friends on Martha’s Vineyard. For them, it is enough that what I have said about the Constitution might help Trump. So they are shunning me and trying to ban me from their social life,” he wrote.
Until recently, Dershowitz had been a regular on the porch of the Vineyard’s Chilmark General Store, a traditional gathering spot for movers and shakers — traditionally liberals in media and politics.
Good riddance, tweeted Rick Schoenherr, a retired businessman and self-described moderate in Birmingham, Alabama.
“Don’t apologize, Alan, you’re better off without them,” Schoenherr said.
Follow Bill Kole on Twitter at https://twitter.com/billkole . His work can be found here .
William J. Kole, The Associated Press