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Ed Driscoll

Newsweek Meets Muggeridge’s Law

January 18th, 2013 - 6:54 pm

Tom Wolfe on “Muggeridge’s Law:”

While Malcolm Muggeridge was the editor of Punch, it was announced that Khrushchev and Bulganin were coming to England. Muggeridge hit upon the idea of a mock itinerary, a lineup of the most ludicrous places the two paunchy pear-shaped little Soviet leaders could possibly be paraded through during the solemn process of a state visit. Shortly before press time, half the feature had to be scrapped. It coincided exactly with the official itinerary, just released, prompting Muggeridge to observe: We live in an age in which it is no longer possible to be funny. There is nothing you can imagine, no matter how ludicrous, that will not promptly be enacted before your very eyes, probably by someone well known.

– From Wolfe’s “Stalking the Billion-Footed Beast:  A literary manifesto for the new social novel,” Harpers, November, 1989.

In the illustration above, the Newsweek cover on the left was mocked-up by the Photoshop artists at National Review to accompany a 2009 satire by Rob Long titled, “A Conversation from Heaven,” regarding what Bernard Goldberg might call Newsweek’s “Slobbering Love Affair” between themselves and Mr. Obama. (Although given The Won’s Hindenburg-sized ego and Titanic-sized aloofness, presumably the affair is largely unrequited.)

On the right, is the real thing. Of course, as Newsbusters notes today, it’s merely replaying former Newsweek editor Evan Thomas’s assertion in 2009 that “In a way, Obama’s standing above the country, above — above the world. He’s sort of God.”

L. Ron Hubbard, call your office.

Related: William A. Jacobson of the Legal Insurrection blog on Obama and the “Cult of Personality.”

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