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Ed Driscoll

The New, New Journalism

Goodbye to Sullivan & Sophistry

January 29th, 2015 - 1:10 pm

In his “A Long Overdue Goodbye to Andrew Sullivan,” Pejman Yousefzadeh, whom I believe first started blogging in 2002, right around the same time I did, writes, “Andrew Sullivan was one of two big-time bloggers–the other being, of course, Glenn Reynolds–to have helped put me on the blogospheric map. For that, I shall always be grateful.” Those early days of blogging were heady times indeed; living in California, I remember Glenn would sign off at around 9:00 or 10:00 PM pacific time, then I’d switch over to James Lileks’ Bleat, which would go live right around that time, then check if Steven Den Beste had written his daily mega-post of at least 5,000 words (or so it seemed at the time), and then around midnight, I’d see what new items Andrew Sullivan had posted. Forget Carson, Cavett, Snyder, and Letterman, this was some quality late-night programming tailor-made for discussing the immediate aftermath of the post 9/11-world:

At the outset, when I first started blogging, Sullivan’s political views and mine coincided quite neatly. After a while, they began to diverge. I certainly changed some of my political views as the years went on, and I don’t quite see how anyone could go an appreciable period of time without reappraising at least some political views. Sullivan’s views, of course, changed drastically. He went from being a supporter of George W. Bush to a fervent opponent. The shift began when Bush signed on to the Federal Marriage Amendment issue, and Sullivan reacted with outrage. I always got the sense that this issue became the jumping-off point for other Sullivanesque disagreements with the Bush administration; over Iraq, over interrogation and detention policy, and over foreign policy in general. Of course, it ought to go without saying that Sullivan was and is entitled to change whatever political views he wanted and wants to change.

So while Sullivan and I had our differences, some of those differences were reasonable in nature. Others . . . not so much.

In 2008, Sullivan decided that he really liked Barack Obama a lot. But he didn’t want to be identified as a contemporary American liberal, so he started concocting all sorts of ridiculous claims that the onetime senator and future president was and is a conservative. Hayek was cited, as was Locke, as was Oakeshott. Oakeshott was cited a lot. The claims, of course, made no sense whatsoever, but that didn’t stop Sullivan from making them, even as the rhetoric and policies from the White House became more and more port-sided. Of course, Sullivan could have taken the honorable road and simply announced a fundamental shift in his political philosophy. But instead, Sullivan, like Shakespeare’s Caesar, claimed and claims to be as constant as the North Star when it comes to his ideology, and his approach instead has been to desperately try to shoehorn Barack Obama into that ideology. It never worked before, it doesn’t work now, and it won’t work in the future, but Sullivan, not recognizing defeat when it stares him in the face, keeps on trying to make it work. The whole thing is rather pathetic, really.

Sullivan had begun that shtick four years earlier, in the aftermath of George W. Bush not supporting the notion of gay marriage during the election year of 2004. Sullivan, who had previously dubbed Bush 2002′s “Man of the Year”, at first hemmed and hawed over whether he would support him in again. And then this classic bit of sophistry appeared in the Sunday addition of the London Times and on Sullivan’s own Daily Dish blog:

The argument that Kerry must make is that he can continue the war but without Bush’s polarising recklessness. And at home he must reassure Americans that he is the centrist candidate, controlled neither by the foaming Michael Moore left nor by the vitriolic religious right.

Put all that together and I may not find myself the only conservative moving slowly and reluctantly towards the notion that Kerry may be the right man — and the conservative choice — for a difficult and perilous time.

I guess you could make the case that Kerry’s conservative in some fashion — he dresses nicely; his hair style is a cross between cold warriors JFK and Jack Kemp, freeze-dried to Shatner Turbo-2000 levels of perfection. But back in the real world, one need only look at Kerry’s infamous radical chic, anti-war, anti-American C.V. to realize that Sullivan was making himself look increasingly silly trying to make Kerry into something he obviously wasn’t rather than simply saying, I disagree with Bush on my defining issue, and as a result, I’ve moved to the left. Or, rather I moved back somewhere to the left; Sullivan was associated the New Republic magazine prior to blogging, after all.

And then the late summer of 2008 would of course see the emergence of Andrew Sullivan, Ace Uterus Detective, as Pejman goes on to note. By that time, Sullivan’s self-beclowning was complete.

Six years prior though, when he named GWB his man of the year in 2002, Sullivan wrote, “Forget the bloviations of the Hate-America-First crowd. History will one day credit Bush with patience, multilateralism and conviction. But right now, history is still being made. And there is a war to be continued and to be won.”

Well, it sounded good at the time, I guess.

Related: Will Andrew quit blogging permanently? “That’s what he says. I kinda doubt it,” Kathy Shaidle writes, and she’s been blogging as long as Andrew.

As they say in the music world, you have to break up the band before you can have the triumphant reunion tour to replenish the coffers — as Andrew himself well knows.

Update: “Conspiracy Theorist Andrew Sullivan Quits Blogging,” John Nolte writes at Big Journalism. But like the Stones and The Who sitting out most of the 1980s, it’s only a matter of time before the lucrative reunion tour begins: “Because Sullivan trained his debunked conspiracy theories at the child of a conservative woman and the Pope, he will always be welcome in the mainstream media.”

Few among us have the raw intellectual firepower to go where he has. Fortunately, the internet tubes allow us to track his movements over time — an otherwise dizzying effort made more vertiginous by Sullivan’s kaleidoscopic mind. As with all things Sullivan, the best place to start is with human genitalia.

To say that Sullivan has focused his laser-like mind on human reproductive organs is to engage in an understatement worthy of the master himself. We could simply look at Sullivan’s relentless, years-long focus on circumcision (a relentlessness not well-captured by the internet tubes, as Sullivan’s archives traditionally become difficult to search when he moves from site to site), an unusual genre for a man who will never have children and who is not Jewish or Muslim, though perhaps not so unusual given his general interest in the member in question—

But to spend too much time on mere ponderings on the presence or absence of foreskin is to do Sullivan an injustice. Anyone can bloviate on that. Few men of letters — indeed, few doctors — can diagnose a woman’s pregnancy forensically from a handful of news articles and photographs. Few are gifted with the ability to toss out thousands of words as tightly organized as Ulysses at the drop of a hat and still able to offer informed medical opinions on changes to the female body during mid- and late-term pregnancy –opinions at odds with normal understandings of human biology and the preeminent textbooks of the field.

But then again, few men are Andrew Sullivan. Depending on the day, Andrew Sullivan might not even be Andrew Sullivan.

And soon, he will no longer be gracing us with his pixels. How, oh how will the Internet survive?

Related: Last of the Four Horsemen Of The Ablogalypse still riding!

Update:

Of course, these are the same journalists who upon his recent death described Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah as a modernizing forward-thinking reformer, so consider the source. In the MSM, One man’s slimy opportunistic uterus detective is another man’s respected journalist, as Reuters and Al Jazeera might say.

“In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word went forth,” Elizabeth Scalia, aka the Anchoress writes. “And Goldberg begat Lileks; Lileks begat Reynolds; Reynolds begat Anchoress (with Ed Morrissey!); Anchoress begat…:”

Got a wonderful email from a reader who is being received into the Catholic Church in 2015, and it is in many ways thanks to internet web sites, both secular and religious. Writes this reader, whose privacy I am protecting, but who is very excited to be entering the church:

In the beginning was National Review Online, back when Jonah Goldberg was starting it up and the blogosphere was young…NRO named lileks.com as their Site of the Day. I started reading the Daily Bleat, and I noticed two or three blogs listed in the right-hand column of the page. One of them was Instapundit – this was back in the BlogSpot days. Instapundit linked to you at some point and that ultimately brought me to where I am today and where I will be…

So, there you go. In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word went forth. And Goldberg begat Lileks; Lileks begat Reynolds; Reynolds begat Anchoress (with Ed Morrissey!); Anchoress begat…

One of the most under-reported sea changes in media, a huge milestone that we now all take for granted, was when 24-7 broadband replaced by the minute dial-up charges. In the early days of CompuServe, I often had monthly online charges that would cripple the fiscal reserves of many third world nations. So being able to stay online indefinitely each day without worrying about the fee such explorations would incur at the end of the month was just as exciting as the faster speed of the cable modem.

Living in the Bay Area, I think we had our first cable modem installed in late 1998 or early 1999, and I quickly began to hit the Drudge Report early and often, as Drudge had been all over the news for breaking the Clinton’s dalliances with Monica Lewinsky when Newsweek attempted to bury the story as good DNC apparatchiks, and then I very quickly started reading NRO as well. I used to watch William F. Buckley on Firing Line in the 1980s, but was more than a little put off by his Brahmin tone and polysyllabic style. But at the time, with its cable TV ads featuring WFB, Tom Selleck and President Reagan, it seemed like the only conservative publication on the planet.  Then came Rush, Fox News, and the World Wide Web.

Reading Jonah Goldberg’s early G-Files were a revelation in much the same way that listening to Rush was. I had sort of half-seriously assumed in the ’80s, between Firing Line’s classical music, Buckley’s erudition, and perhaps the prominence at the time of Allan Bloom’s best-selling The Closing of the American Mind and its chapter on rock, that to be a proper conservative, I would have to renounce my love of rock music, comedy, modern art, and much of the rest of pop culture of the 20th century. As someone who rather liked those things, I wasn’t prepared to become an aesthetic monk. So hearing Rush begin his daily show with the opening riff of the Pretenders’ “My City was Gone” (I was a big fan of the Pretenders’ early albums; presumably Chrissie Hynde is a big fan of the royalty checks she receives from Rush), and reading Jonah goofing on “chicks in chains” films, Star Trek, and Marvel comic books was a huge sigh of relief.

And discovering Lileks through Glenn Reynolds was a similar confirmation that all was well, as James’ mid-century pop culture influences track mine remarkably well. Not to mention his interests in ’40s movies, Miami Vice, Mad Men, Bauhaus architecture, Mondrian, etc.

As for how I discovered Glenn Reynolds, well, I’ve told that story before. But I think I’m one of the few people that Glenn has linked to, before I had a blog. And before 9/11. And once again, I have NRO to thank for that bit of synchronicity as well

And the 2014 Fabulous 50 Blog Award Goes To…

December 30th, 2014 - 10:12 pm

Your humble narrator, voted “Best Media-Watcher” of 2014 as part of fellow veteran blogger Doug Ross’s long-running annual award series:

Ed Driscoll: A witty, memorable artisan whose specialty is dissecting the Left.

Pretty good company to be in, alongside fellow PJM-associated bloggers and columnists such as Glenn Reynolds, Victor Davis Hanson, Bill Whittle, Andrew C. McCarthy, Hans A. von Spakovsky, J. Christian Adams, John Hawkins, Fausta Wertz, and numerous other new media mavens.

Thank you for the award — and something tells me that as awful as the news in 2014 was, and the media’s even worse coverage and frequent outright fabulisms while covering — or in some cases creating the craptacular eventsof 2014, next year will only be crazier. (Especially when the MSM has a united GOP Congress starting in January that they’re no doubt already licking their chops in anticipation of undermining.)

On the plus side, none of us in the starboard side of the Blogosphere will lack for material. On the downside, it will be another bumpy ride for the nation. But we’ll be here to cover all of the craziness inside and outside the MSM next year.

Thanks everyone for their readership over the past 12 years, and continue to stop by early and often!

You Want to Go Where Everybody Knows Your Name

November 4th, 2014 - 4:07 pm

Stop by early and often.

The Antediluvian Ben Bradlee

October 24th, 2014 - 4:47 pm

When Ben Bradlee died on Tuesday, Bob Woodward was quoted as saying that “His passing, in a way, marks the end of the 20th century,” a phrase that cuts in more directions than Bradlee’s superstar protege likely intended. Or as Andrew Ferguson writes in response at the Weekly Standard, “About time:”

Bradlee was complaining that a lot of the fun had gone out of journalism during the Reagan years. The reason, he said, was that “there are so many of these asshole watchdog groups now.”

He was referring in particular to Accuracy in Media, or AIM, a conservative practitioner of the kind of ideological press criticism that is now a common feature of the media world, so greatly enlarged by cable TV and the Internet. These parvenus were crowding his territory, barbarians trying to breach the gates. He and his friends were the watchdogs, goddammit, and the watchdog didn’t need any watchdogs watching it.

But the new order allowed the watchdogs and other buttinskis an audience as large as his own paper’s. It made Bradlee churlish. AIM was founded by an earnest man named Reed Irvine, a sweet, slightly buffoonish drudge whose suit always seemed a size and a half too large and whose pinched appearance made him easily mocked, especially by men whose own suits were bespoke. Irvine’s great mission in life was to expose the pretenses to fairness and disinterestedness of a monolithic press—to “tell it like it was,” to borrow a phrase from the Post’s piece. He was a genuine subversive, nipping at the heels of an establishment that in its vanity considered itself “antiestablishment.”

Publicly, Bradlee called Irvine a “retromingent.” The word describes a kind of animal, one that urinates backward. The insult was funny and revealing in its casual cruelty.

These days their battle—asymmetric as it was—seems so long ago, a dispute from a vanished era. The tributes to Bradlee from his protégés had the same quality, voices assuming the authority of an order that is passing, that has passed away. Now that both men are dead, I hope it’s some consolation to the shade of Reed Irvine to know that, in the effort to dismantle and discredit a corrupt regime, he won and Bradlee lost.

Which is another reminder that neither side of the aisle wanted the smugly self-satisfied MSM to have the final word on the issues, when the World Wide Web began to gather speed in the mid-to-late 1990s.

“In thesis, Pryor argued Democratic dominance in Arkansas caused by reaction to federal desegregation efforts,” Alana Goodman writes at the Washington Free Beacon:

The paper is housed at the University of Arkansas special collections library, which suspended the Washington Free Beacon‘s library privileges earlier this year. Pryor, who graduated from the university in 1985, wrote that the thesis was influenced by his work on his father David Pryor’s 1984 senatorial campaign.

In the essay, Pryor argued that the Democratic Party’s dominance in the state stemmed from public’s need for protection against external threats, comparing this to the Russian people backing Tsarist and Communist governments.

“Arkansas has been invaded unwillingly twice. Once in reality and once figuratively,” wrote Pryor.

“The Civil War provided the real invasion. The figurative invasion took place in 1957 at Little Rock Central High School. That event took a local problem out of the local authorities’ hands. The federal government had again forced its will on the people of Arkansas.”

Read the whole thing. And remember, if Pryor had an (R) after his name, the Beacon’s crosstown rival the Washington Post would be running this story in a continuous loop from now until election day, as they did in the fall of 2006 with over 100 stories on “macaca,” George Allen’s gaffed verbal attack on his ubiquitous mohawk wearing leftwing video tracker, and the numerous stories they published in 2009 to  attack Bob McDonnell, the ultimately successful Virginia gubernatorial candidate over his college thesis. Or the 50+ stories that the Politico ran on Todd Akin in 2012.

Related:A Low-Tech Lynching,” courtesy of Democrat Kay Hagan.

Shot:

In news that must have left my friends at the New York Post — never mind the gang at The Daily Show – with a renewed confidence that ours is a just and beneficent God, the White House has been caught covering up a scandal involving a Cartagena hooker.

The phrase “Cartagena hooker” alone is a mellifluous gift to ink-stained wretches everywhere, but the revelation that the White House reassigned the alleged client of the aforementioned Andean call girl to the State Department’s office of “Global Women’s Issues” is the sort of flourish Tom Wolfe or Chris Buckley wouldn’t dare attempt as satire.

“The Cartagena-Hooker Cover-Up: If the White House would falsify records about this, it can deceive the public about larger issues,” Jonah Goldberg, today.

Chaser:

Via the Daily Surge, I’m using “aide” because I’m not sure what to call this guy. Is he a staffer? Bodyguard? Some jack-of-all-trades policy advisor/goon? Why does Harry Reid have muscle with him when he walks the halls of Congress? And more importantly, per Mattera’s question, how does a humble, longtime public servant like him pay for it? (Conservatives, and only conservatives, have been asking about that for a long time.)

—”Video: Harry Reid aide manhandles Jason Mattera for asking about Reid’s personal wealth,” Allahpundit last night.

Hangover:

THE “MARGIN OF FRAUD” JUST EXPANDED: Supreme Court blocks Wisconsin’s voter ID law. “In a related action, a district court judge in Texas ruled that state’s voter ID law is racially discriminatory and violates the Voting Rights Act. The state attorney general’s office said it would appeal.”

—Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit.com, last night.

“Think of the Democratic Party as what it really is: a criminal organization masquerading as a political party,” my friend and fellow PJM columnist Michael Walsh wrote in 2009 in the guise of his leftwing alter-ego, David Kahane, to borrow the lede from my post earlier this year on a day when politics and the police blotter were particularly interactive and visible.

Update: And again: “WTF: Oregon’s First Lady admits she had a sham marriage with an immigrant for money,” and as with the Cartagena hooker debacle, there’s an element that’s beyond satire as well:

Vladimir Nabokov, call your office.

Flash: Lois Lerner Breaks Silence!

October 6th, 2014 - 9:26 pm

“Lerner attempted to bust into a neighbor’s home uninvited, in a desperate attempt to avoid answering questions about her involvement in the targeting of conservative groups:

“Could you call the police?” Lerner begs an elderly woman, while pounding on her door. “Please let me in. These guys are with the press and they’re not leaving me alone.” The elderly woman is heard telling Lerner that she just had surgery and was in no position physically to let her in the house.

But that didn’t stop Lerner. She implores that same elderly woman to open up her garage instead.

“It’s almost a perfect proxy for her actions in the targeting scandal,” Mattera said.

“She keeps badgering an innocent woman with zero regard for her wishes. It’s an incredible crystallization of Lerner’s character or lack thereof.”

The natural question the viewer asks, he notes, is, “If she’s willing to barge into a person’s home, how much more so is she willing to barge into a conservative’s IRS records to inflict her personal will?”

Eventually, the elderly woman’s husband sees Lerner’s antics and kicks her off his property.  “Out. Out!” he demanded.

Lener, who has referred to conservatives on talk radio as “assholes” and “crazies,” then scurries through what looks like somebody else’s private property.

Don’t miss this.

Pulitzer Prize Winner Protests Himself

October 3rd, 2014 - 4:06 pm

The brilliant cartoonist Michael Ramirez of Investor’s Business Daily drops by the new Red Eye-style series Flipside with Michael Loftus and explains how he and his editor joined the protest march outside of the awards ceremony for one of Ramirez’s Pulitzers. Click above to watch; Ramirez appears about ten minutes in.

mussolini_obama_lerner_forward_6-13-13-1

“Breitbart News says IRS targeted company for audit,” Glenn Reynolds notes today adding, “Who could have seen this one coming,” Glenn adds. “And who could hear this without laughing?”

The agency said in a statement: “Federal privacy laws prohibit the IRS from commenting on specific taxpayer situations. The IRS stresses that audits are based on the information related to tax returns and the underlying tax law — nothing else. Audits are handled by career, non-partisan civil servants, and the IRS has safeguards in place to protect the exam process.”

As Glenn notes, “Nobody believes this anymore. Which is, as I warned it would be, a real loss.” That post went up at 8:00 AM eastern today at Instapundit. It makes for quite a juxtaposition with the opening paragraphs of this post timestamped 1:53 PM EDT today at the establishment left blog on Congress, The Hill

During another grueling hearing on the ObamaCare rollout, the head of the Internal Revenue Service tried to offer lawmakers an assurance about the soon-to-open enrollment period.

“Whenever we can, we follow the law,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told the House Ways and Means subcommittee on health on Wednesday.

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), who leads the subcommittee, immediately expressed his concern with the remarks.“I encourage you to follow the law in all instances,” Brady said.

Nobody believes they do anymore. Which is indeed a real loss.

If the attitude of those in power — when in the national spotlight, under oath, being grilled by Congress — is “whenever we can, we follow the law,” why should they expect everyone else to hold a different attitude? Or to put it another way, “You cannot have a viable society where the backbone of the country thinks that following the rules and the law is for suckers and chumps. “

Which is exactly what the head of the IRS, his predecessor, and their boss on Pennsylvania Ave. are saying about — and to — the American public.

Vercotti Brothers

“The company that runs the conservative Breitbart.com news site says the IRS has selected the network for an audit, in a move company executives suggest is politically motivated,” Fox News reports:

A copy of the IRS notice to Breitbart News, obtained by FoxNews.com, asked about the company’s financial information for calendar year 2012.

The IRS asked for a litany of documents, including logs of its receipts and expenses, but also its partnership agreement and a “written narrative” of the business.

Larry Solov, president and CEO of Breitbart News Network said: “We stand ready to cooperate with the Internal Revenue Service on its audit of our company, but this will not deter us in the least from continuing our aggressive coverage of this president or his administration.”

The company was founded by the late media entrepreneur and conservative activist Andrew Breitbart.

The main website, Breitbart.com, houses a number of offshoot sites including Big Hollywood and Big Journalism. The website played a key role in breaking the scandal over former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner sharing sexually explicit photos on Twitter.

I’m sure the Economist, which this week is running a cover story on “The Criminalization of American Business,” Bloomberg News and other agencies largely staffed by Democrat operatives with bylines would chalk all of the above up as occurring  “unexpectedly,” despite the fact that Mr. Obama “joked” about siccing the IRS on his political enemies in 2009.

Related: “A senior communications aide to Attorney General Eric Holder seemingly called House oversight committee chairman Darrell Issa’s staff by accident and asked for their help spinning new revelations about the IRS scandal, Issa said in a September 8 letter to Holder.”

How the Blogosphere was Won

August 8th, 2014 - 1:10 pm

Congrats to Professor Reynolds for helping to kick off a revolution in journalism. Of course, for purely selfish reasons, my favorite early Insta-post occurred a few weeks after the initial Insta-launch, on September 2nd, 2001

Happy 14th Blog-versary to Kaithy Shaidle!

July 24th, 2014 - 2:05 pm

Glenn Reynolds’ Instapundit began in August of 2001. Pushback against the MSM’s formula coverage of 9/11 resulted in the first wave of new blogs arriving shortly thereafter. But a year prior, Kathy Shaidle began her first blog, and has been going strong p***ing off all the right left people strong ever since:

After writing about crazy evil Muslims 24/7 since 9/11, I decided to (mostly) leave that topic to my husband.

Life is too long to read and write about their bullshit anymore unless I feel so inclined.

It’s like how I (mostly) gave up blogging about religion, and turned the original site, RelapsedCatholic, into FiveFeetOfFury.

I can’t foresee what I’ll be blogging about 14 days or weeks or years from now, but I’m pretty sure I’ll still be here (despite the “Death of the Blog” that I’ve been hearing about since, well, about three years after I started…)

Thanks again for sticking around, for reading my stuff at other sites, like Taki’s and PJMedia, and for reading my books (and saying nice things about them.)

Your support amazes me.

It’s always fascinating to go back to what was being written in the late 1990s, 2000, and pre-9/11 2001 to remember how simpler and much more optimistic things seemed back then. (James Lileks’ first Bleats should be placed in a time capsule for what day-to-day life in the late 1990s was like.) Of course, it helped that there was still optimism over how the then-still nascent World Wide Web would transform, well, if not the world, at least how we got our news and pop culture.

Of course, what we didn’t know is that the nightmares that would haunt us in the coming decade were even then being crafted, both internationally:

And domestically:

Not to mention another topic that would dominate the news cycle of the past decade:

Because pop culture had started to fracture thanks to the initial breakup of mass media in the 1990s, that decade never had the feeling of a unified overculture that the 1980s had, and while we were living it, the nineties seemed remarkably chaotic. But today, it’s obvious that 1990s-era nostalgia is rapidly growing. It will be fascinating to watch Hillary Clinton attempt to profit from it, even as she denounces all of the ways her husband’s policies — either on his own, or attempting to steal the GOP’s lunch — made it happen.

Free Salondotcom!

July 16th, 2014 - 7:46 pm

“Twitter Shuts Down Hilarious Salon Parody Account,” Robby Soave writes at Reason’s “Hit & Run” blog:

At approximately 5:50 P.M. EST, it became known that Twitter had shut down @Salondotcom, a hilarious parody of Salon run by The Daily Caller’s opinion editor, Jordan Bloom, and his roommate, Rob Mariani. @Salondotcom constantly tweeted fake headlines that perfectly aped Salon‘s everyone-is-racist-and-Republicans-are-worse-than-Hitler shtick.

Found via Glenn Reynolds — who had his own run-in with the Kafka-esque labyrinthine nature of the Twitter gulag a couple of years ago, and who, despite having over 31,000 Twitter followers and arguably inventing micro-blogging 13 years ago, still doesn’t have a Twitter-verified account.

“In late 2009, Screenwriter Roger L. Simon and filmmaker Lionel Chetwynd sat down with legendary director Paul Mazursky to discuss Hollywood’s penchant for stereotyped portrayals of Jews,” as a segment on PJTV’s Poliwood.

Seeing ‘em Jump

May 20th, 2014 - 6:33 pm

What motivates a person to enter politics? In the midst of an interesting breakdown of his landmark 1970 article “Radical Chic,” as part of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard’s “Annotation Tuesday” series, Tom Wolfe explains one big reason. But first, early in the liner notes, Wolfe first mentions his theory of “Information Compulsion:”

[T]his is my one contribution to psychology: There’s something called “information compulsion,” which makes you feel good when you supply information to someone. You got a few little status points because that person needed what you knew, and you gave it to him. On the other hand, if you’re asked something that you can’t answer, you think, What are you coming to me for?

And with that as background, much later in the interview, interviewer Elon Green asks Wolfe, “Do you think that’s why powerful people, despite it not being in their best interest, will talk to journalists?”

Yeah, I think so. I remember talking once to Abe Ribicoff. When I was a graduate student, they have these weeks where distinguished people come and make themselves available to all kinds of student organizations. We had a little thing called the American Studies Club. During the course of the week, Abe Ribicoff agreed to come. I asked him, very naively, “What is it that motivates politicians? Is it the money, the power? What is it? The publicity?” And he said, “Well, it’s certainly not the publicity. You get so used to it that you just expect it.” And then he said, “Unless you’re an idiot, it’s not the money.” And he says, “You find out that even at the federal level, you don’t really have that much power. There are very few people who you can point to, and say, ‘You do this and you do that.’” But, he said, “The real kick is seeing them jump.” I said, “Seeing them jump?” “Yeah,” he said. “You come into a room and everybody jumps up! Everyone offers you whatever seat you want. If you even hint that you might be hungry, 10 people want to go out and get you something from the restaurant.” He said, “Seeing ’em jump. That’s what it’s all about.” Of course, this was a student organization, and there was no one there with even an interest in publishing it. But he was really letting you in on something there, and you could really get a kick out of your own sophistication, if you say something like that.

Which sums up quite a bit about today’s politicians, and perhaps even our bloated and ever-expanding class of permanent bureaucracy, and their sheer paranoid bug-eyed terror in response to anyone who wished to take that frisson of joy of “seeing ‘em jump” away from them.

Read the whole thing, which in addition to the above conversational detour is quite fascinating, considering the impact of that period on today’s politics is still being felt. Far from divesting themselves of radical chic, Democrats have wallowed in it, to the point where the New York Times runs fawning profiles of former Weatherman Bill Ayers and his kin, former matinee idol Robert Redford recently directed a film in defense of the radical chic, Ayers helped birth Obama’s political career, and the Black Panthers’ namesake successors advertised on Obama’s Website in 2008, and were tacitly defended by his attorney general. And share some fascinating interconnections:

(Part two of that video is here.)

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The Passing Parade Grows Larger

April 23rd, 2014 - 2:20 pm

Ezra Levant of Canada’s Sun News calls it “a riveting collection of stories chronicling the lives of the men and women who helped shape the 20th century,” and he’s right. For a perfect snapshot of what life was like among the overculture – in the media, in pop culture, and in politics in the last and first decade of the new and old millennium, simply read the profiles Steyn has crafted for his Passing Parade. The book is an anthology of his obits, written for National Review, the Spectator (both its UK and American incarnations), the London Telegraph, and until 2007, a monthly staple of the Atlantic. That the Atlantic traded Steyn for a multi-year dalliance with leftwing former Brit Andrew Sullivan is a classic example of ideologically-driven managerial incompetence. The following year, Excitable Andrew assumed the role of America’s Foremost Uterine Detective, and the Atlantic, even after Sullivan left in 2011 for first the Daily Beast and then (at the moment at least) a solo career last year, seemed doomed to live out the epic 86-year old curse of the Boston Red Sox after they discarded Babe Ruth in 1919.

And at the moment, not even Xenu can save them.

For everyone else, check out Mark Steyn’s Passing Parade, finally on Kindle, and updated with numerous obits added since its initial publication in 2006 on dead tree, ranging from Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II and Eugene McCarthy, to Bob Hope and Alistair Cooke, to Evel Knievel and Tupac Shakur. (The last pair are joined by the leitmotif of Mark quoting the lyrics of Wayne Newton’s “Danke Schoen.” Coincidence? You be the judge!)

I never posted anything to mark the 12th anniversary of my blog last month, but this Tweet by Rob Nebbell, aka N.Z. Bear, found by Moe Green, sure brings back memories. I’m there at about nine o’clock on the above chart. As for how I made it into the Blogosphere, well, an article I wrote on the nascent Blogosphere, based on interviews with a few of the same folks in the above chart — and written almost the same time as  Rob’s was crafting it — has you covered.

And while my blog is positively paleolithic, if you really want to feel old, just watch:

As I posted in the comments at Ricochet in response to the above video, if you really want to blow the minds of these impressionable tykes, hand ‘em a 12-inch laser disc.

shaidle_confessions_failed_slut_cover_4-9-14-2

“Push back against the age as hard as it pushes against you,” Flannery O’Connor famously said was her motto, and certainly Kathy Shaidle’s writing lives up to that ideal. As she told me during our new interview, “I grew up in the ‘70s and ‘80s, being born in the ‘60s, and in those days, it was all about free love and women should be able to have sex just like men and casual sex is great.  And let’s all read Cosmo’s sex tips and ‑‑ and sort of recreate Sex and the City in our actual lives,” the author of the popular Five Feet of Fury Blog, and a frequent contributor to PJ Media, Taki’s Magazine, and other Websites says.

Kathy’s new book, Confessions of A Failed Slut, an anthology of several of her related articles, “is my story of having tried and failed to live up to these social messages that were just everywhere when I was growing up, and finding that deep down, I wasn’t really temperamentally or morally, shall we say, cut out for a life of nonstop, no-fault, casual sex, and just sleeping around and pretending not to care, and doing the walk of shame and all that stuff.”

During our 29-minute interview, Kathy will explore:

● How the Love Boat, that weekly video voyage of the Hollywood damned, caused Kathy to begin seeing the world is “though a Gen-X filter of self-defensive snark.”

● Why Glen Close’s character in Fatal Attraction is “one of the most misunderstood females on film.”

● Why today’s women in rock and pop make the first generation of women in punk rock seem positively chaste by comparison.

● How TV’s Dr. Phil caused a Twitter storm when his show tweeted, “If a girl is drunk, is it OK to have sex with her?”

● In a pop culture obsessed with sex, why does it seem like the male metrosexual is so…asexual?

● Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean somebody of the opposite sex isn’t out to meet you: Going undercover in the 9/11-“Truther”-themed InfoWars Internet dating site.

● How to break free of the Nanny State’s crushing group hug.

And much more. Click here to listen:

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(29 minutes and 7 seconds long; 26.6 MB file size. Want to download instead of streaming? Right click here to download this interview to your hard drive. Or right click here to download the 8.32 MB lo-fi edition.)

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Transcript of our interview begins on the following page; for our many previous podcasts, start here and keep scrolling.

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