Tuesday, January 27

Not To Mention That People Pay To See Asashoryu.

Asashoryu's great comeback win in the just-completed Hatsu basho--going 14-1 after withdrawing from the previous three tournaments due to injury--was marred by his making this gesture afterwards. No, really. The Yokozuna Deliberation Council plans to warn him about it. Compare the career of Bill Kristol.

Richard Pérez-Peña, William Kristol's Column in The Times Ends". January 26

Michael Calderone, "Who Should Replace Bill Kristol?" January 26

Scott Horton, "The Sacking of Bill Kristol". January 26

Peter Edmonston,"Thane Says He'll Repay Remodeling Costs". January 26

YES, indeed: compare the career of Bill Kristol. I was not one of the Left Blogostaners who thought the sky was falling because the Times hired him. When your stable includes MoDo, Brooks, Friedman, Kristof, Herbert, Collins, and Rich, with John Effing Tierney departing, the sky, like your pants, is already around your ankles. We'll grant the larger issue is probably the idea that the Op-Ed Ward should be fastidiously faux-balanced according to the dictates of someone who imagines Maureen Dowd to be at the far pole of political discourse, one opposite David Brooks; obviously, if the Times would just acknowledge the lack of epistemological rigor--without even addressing the remarkably narrow "range" between "liberal" and "conservative" exemplar--things could improve overnight. How about balancing all those people who were dead wrong about Iraq, or the Bush presidency in general, or the importance of selecting a Commander-in-Chief who doesn't wear earthtones, with someone who wasn't? How about adjusting for abject careerism, Conventional Wisdom molding, or apparent sanity? Maybe one Op-Ed slot should go to someone who has actually met an American who earns less than $125,000 without having to calculate how much to tip.

Just kiddin'. Look, anyway, my problem with Kristol was not that he got the slot, so much as it was he who got the slot: no writer, no thinker, apparently holds no opinions which could not be predetermined by anyone familiar with Hudson Institute press releases, and personally and professionally dishonest. (Again I repeat--since it was on C-SPAN, making me one of thirty-five people who actually witnessed it without working there--that in August of 2002, on that morning call-in show, Mr. Kristol twice told callers that he was "too young for Vietnam". I had no idea at the time how old he was, but it was obvious the moment he said it that he was lying. In fact, it was obvious the moment he was asked the question that he had already been lying about it for years, probably decades. Kristol is in fact a year older than I, making him a member of the last draft class eligible for conscription for an entire year. He got a high draft number [rare for a December baby; they didn't mix the lotto balls thoroughly, apparently] and so was able to go right from The Collegiate School to Hahvahd Yahd. I do understand that should we decide to remove everyone who is personally dishonest from the ranks of journalism/pundithood vast stretches of teevee/newspaper/magazine reporting would go unmanned, but there are probably some arguments against doing so as well; it's just than none comes to me offhand. So Kristol, faced with incontrovertible proof of his hypocrisy--something any college grad should at least have been able to talk his way around, if not confront head-on--chose instead to lie, blatantly, in an effort to get through the following twenty minutes. There's only one reason to lie under those circumstances, and it answers the question of whether the Chickenhawk business is all feathers or marrow-deep.)

Last night I started poking around news coverage of the Kristol Dismissal, beginning with the Times own coverage, a couple hundred words from Pérez-Peña (who now tops Michael Bérubé for Most Superfluous Actions Required To Type A Last Name), including a howler artfully withheld to the last second, when Kristol says of his Times column: "It's a lot of work."

Scott Horton tops that bit, albeit unintentionally, with this from his "inside source with first-hand knowledge":
The source makes clear that the decision not to renew Kristol’s contract is not related to his neoconservative ideology—Kristol’s proximity to key Washington players ranging from Bush and Cheney to John McCain (whom he supported in 2000) was considered a distinct plus. His leading advocacy of the Iraq War also added to his appeal. Kristol was viewed as a mover and shaker whose ideas had ready impact on the political firmament in Washington.

So in other words, when hiring a by-lined opinion writer, the Times imagines that insider connections are a positive, rather than, in this case especially, an explanation for a lifetime as a sluice for slightly-liquified bullshit. Kristol--it almost goes without saying--was one of the "journalists" Scooter (or Dick) called with the Plame story. I'm pretty sure this had made the papers by December, 2007; I wonder why it didn't make the vetting process. I wonder why the Times would offer to pay for what it could get for free, aside from the fact that in printing it on the Op-Ed Ward avoids any more Judy Miller-type unpleasantness while still getting the story out. I mean, Kristol could always claim under oath that'd he'd been lying; who the hell would question that?

The real cake-topper, though, is Calderone's Politico blog, wherein Andy Rosenthal, the other end of the two-shitty-ended nepotism stick here, tells at audience at Columbia that he admires the work of Byron York and Megan McArdle. We are left, again, to explain the frequency of the modern juxtaposition of the utterly incredible and the dirt-common, as well as the self-annihilating sentence; there is, simply, no way anyone could make that statement and simultaneously maintain that words mean things.

Maybe we're just not supposed to notice. Take Peter Edmonston's piece on John Thain, the ex-Merrill Lynch CEO who spent $1 million redecorating his office last Spring, and who, like the Christian school that beat the girls with learning disabilities team 100-0 in basketball, suddenly discovered the error of his ways just after the PR snowball gained enough mass to start rolling on its own. Million-dollar 'dos belonged to an earlier era, he now realizes; namely, the one in which you didn't get called on this crap:

“They were a mistake in the light of the world we live in today."

Which, I gotta admit, sorry as either one is, still makes two more apologies for egregious behavior than Bill Kristol's ever gonna make.


Narya said...

You know, for some of us, they weren't just mistakes "in the light of the world we live in today." I thought it was supposed to be the right-wing that was always complaining about how morality isn't situational, damnit!

yellojkt said...

I just can't bear the rumor that he is pitching his tent at the Washington Post.

Lee Love said...

Asa is a fine remedy for those tight arsed sumo association prunes.

Anonymous said...

"...sluice for slightly-liquified bullshit."

O, poet of accuracy. For the lumps always remain visible. I don't read him (I am of nervous stomach), but I've seen him talk, and you can see the large particles just behind his astoundingly self-satisfied smiling teeth.

I have a brutal implement that I purchased for a recalcitrant toilet in my possession. It's about fpur feet long, a plumber's snake contained within a rigid frame. One inserts it into the lump-jammed orifice and twists forcefully. Works great.

Li'l Innocent

heydave said...

Nice sumo pic.
It would look great, alongside the other sumo pic, on a purple Bakelite ashtray.

tbshrew@mindspring.com said...

About the draft back then: I'm no fan of Kristol but fairness where it's due. According to Wikipedia, Kristol was born in '52. I was born in '50. I spent '68-'72 safe in college enjoying the standard 2-S college student deferment that all fulltime progressing college students were fully entitled to. Such deferments were automatic, rubber-stamped for millions. Almost certainly Kristol enjoyed the same student deferment from '70-'73 when he graduated from Harvard, having done the four-year program in three years. The last year of the draft was '72 - my year after college. (My number was #95. In '72, they drafted people with numbers up to 95, which is why I'm _very_ sure of my facts here. It was personal.) So in fairness Kristol really was correct - if disingenuous - when he said that he was "too young" for the draft. The draft - and for the most part the 'Nam war - was over by the time he would have become eligible in '73.

Lee Love said...

I was born in '53 and was eligible for the draft in '72. My number was 326 and they had a category, 1-H that I fell under which meant my high number was safe. Kristol was not "too young." He was just a chickenshit like all the Neocons.

M. Bouffant said...

Rat thar w/ Mr. Love. My number was 320, if I recall.

A college friend's # was 3 or 4, & he therefore joined the Coast Guard, who promised they'd make him an electronics expert. Or at least learn him to jockey a soldering iron like nobody's beeswax. He spent his four yrs. on buoy detail on the Ohio River, & driving a fire truck at a CG Air Station in North Carolina.

Would've been nice if Bill had done even that.

Nonetheless, even if we'd all been drafted in '72, it's doubtful any of us would have been sent to 'Nam.