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.