OKAY, that started out as a larf, but let's have this out right now: links are not footnotes you stick anywhere. They're not the Post-It Notes of scholarship, or commentary, or whatever it is Ross Douthat does as a substitute for those. If your job, inexplicably, is to write 800 words worth of punditast once a week for The Newspaper of Record, then at least try to maintain the form. Seven-hundred fifty-three words, Ross, and seven fucking links. Why didn't you throw in a couple of Netflix pop-ups?
N.B.: ever' last one of 'em is insubstantial. Write "Sean Hannity interview with Cheney", link to Sean Hannity interview with Cheney. Write "Cheney takes the fight to Obama", link to Arthur (A. G.) Sulzberger piece (nice touch, that) about Cheney taking the fight to Obama, (which, into the bargain, was roundly criticized for being a pure steno job). Conservatism on "talk radio dials" takes us to Rush Limbaugh's site, where he's expectorating, or farting, or something. Thanks for clearing that up, Ross!
Sure, sure; somebody at the Times--maybe you--thinks this the way to reach the hot young crowd that flocked to The Atlantic to read you and the other over-ripe juveniles. Just like somebody at the Times figured you were the best early-declaration juco linebacker who could be turned into a blocking tight end still available in the seventh round. You weren't, and it isn't. By the way, this is one of the pernicious effects of the ubiquitous screaming advertising aimed at the mid-80s IQ, or what you people took to describing as "Freedom" in the early Reagan era, even as it invaded your personal space for someone else's gain: everybody in the country is now convinced that 18-24 year-olds hold some special Key to the Mysteries they are, sadly, too inarticulate to relate to the rest of us, and if we just gear our entire culture to their every whim, as imagined by executives twice their age, it might accidentally pop out like a starlet's nipple flash. This despite the fact that everyone in the country who used to be 18-24 years old actually knows it's complete bullshit; they still want that sweet, sweet nectar. Yet there has to be someone at the Times who remembers when every Allstate insurance agent in the country grew his sideburns to the bottom of his ears to show the Happy Hour hippie chicks he was down with what their Generation was sayin'. It's much, much worse than doing nothing at all, and everybody's just gonna laugh at you, and nobody's gonna tell you you look like a flaming twit. For fuck's sake, I did not click on Ross Douthat's column hoping he'd point me to all the news I needed to Catch Up With Ross Douthat's Flying Intellect, or Get Where He Was Coming From, and if I had done so those links wouldn't have helped me one whit. There is nothing inherent in New Media that abrogates Plain Ol' Sense. You're writing for, or at, people who read the fucking New York Times Op-Ed page. Maybe we could start by assuming that the readership has heard of Dick Cheney? Is perhaps even familiar with his recent appearances on FAUX Sunday News Bunker, or at least his general demeanor and opinion of the current President of the United States? Maybe we could go even further, and figure anybody reading you online knows how to use a search engine (when I saw the link to the Ochs v. 4.0 story it took me exactly five seconds, and Google 0.25 seconds, to find the full transcript of Cheney's March 14 bunker pronouncements. And I'm, like, eighty).
Does this make any sense? Okay, I'll answer: no. It's a silly substitution of appearance for substance, and we did quite well without it before people who would lie about sunrise if they thought there was a nickel in it took over. How 'bout we try correcting that seven times per column? Ross, if you say "Dick Cheney did x last Sunday" in print, under your byline, then Dick Cheney should be assumed to have said or done what you said. If we need confirmation of that because we are perpetually suspicious, well then, we should know how to find it. If we need confirmation because you are either not to be trusted, or less of an authority on saying and doing than someone else, you shouldn't be there. Simple, really.
But then there's the other part, the use of links to Limbaugh or Hot Air to "prove" some contention about whack-job "conservatism" taking over what's left of the Republican party. Really? Because Limbaugh and assorted internet nutballs are badgering "moderate Republicans", which, while they are perhaps not entirely mythological, still counts as the crazy guy down the block, the one who always wears eight wristwatches, killing bacteria by swinging a bat, they're suddenly taking over? Okay, so at least you'll admit they're "ascendant"--unlike Brooks, who would have, and has, simply invented fourteen Republican sects to throw off the count--how 'bout admitting, for once, that they are the Republican party, have been your entire adult life, while Burkean intellectuals like you and Brooks turn out to have been mere paid mouthpieces for Obscene Profit, Inc.? You find them distasteful, but not distasteful enough to have called them out back when you were winning. Quel surprise! Were Limbaugh and the other Assclowns of the Airwaves all chummy-chummy with the likes of you during the heady days of The Power to Fuck Everything Up? No? Then what do they prove now? Okay, I'll answer that: that you're the Trick. That you're the reliable vote for Sarah Palin's party, while ever since Reagan you tried to pretend that They were the Trick. That if you're as smart as you imagine yourself to be now, then you've been a coward for twenty-five years, and you're a coward now. It isn't like these fucks suddenly decided that John McCain was a Bad Idea; they thought he was a fuckin' Commie from the minute he went all weepy after getting caught with Chuck Keating's pecker in his mouth. They're in disarray; you're the ones who've been wholly discredited: don't run the party, implemented your every economic whim and watched along with the rest of the country as it blew up, then complained about the Threat to executive compensation; and have no fucking message left except that your party needs to be more like you. Because you couldn't have been pig wrong and pug vicious all this time, right? Pooches keep allowing themselves to be screwed, is what. You somehow imagine that had Cheney been crushed in November, rather than his crazy Southwest dopplegänger, that all those Theys would have Learned Their Lesson and would be morphing into sensible disciples of Smart Guys like, oh, like yourself. What a novel fucking concept, Ross. Just tell me, how is it that people such as you, who shared a fucking party with those yahoos for thirty years, never figured out what was what until it was over? Huh? So, hope you enjoyed three decades of tax cuts, off-shore shell corporations, and continual attempts to re-win Vietnam. Hope you stocked something away for the winter. If this is the best you got it looks to be very long and very cold. But at least you'll be able to show that phony Al Gore, right?