Saturday, September 23, 2006

I can't stand those useless fools

I've made known my distaste for books with pronounced ideological agendas and especially those lacking any informed analysis. Jennifer Senior at the Times indicts the genre of the angry political tome in general and Lewis Lapham and Sidney Blumenthal's recent efforts in particular. She scores a palpable hit here:

People who are serious about politics don’t just preen. They report, explain, explore contradictions, struggle with ideas, maybe even propose suggestions. If they do none of these things, they’re simply heckling, and if the best Lapham can do is come up with 50 inventive new ways to call Bush an imbecilic oligarch, that’s all he’s doing: heckling. Like his worst counterparts on the right, he compares those he doesn’t like to fanatics, as when he refers to David Frum and Richard Perle as “Mufti Frum” and “Mullah Perle,” adding, “Provide them with a beard, a turban and a copy of the Koran, and I expect that they wouldn’t have much trouble stoning to death a woman discovered in adultery with a cameraman from CBS News.” Possibly, but provide Lapham with a blond wig, stiletto pumps and a copy of “The Fountainhead,” and I suspect he wouldn’t look much different from Ann Coulter. He’s just another talk-radio host, really — only this time by way of Yale and Mensa.

Ann Coulter = Lewis Lapham. They would both hate that, but I think it is true.

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