Thursday, December 01, 2005

Out on the playground
Look at what I started

Marc Cooper clarifies himself:

Readers of this blog know that I’ve been pretty tough on National Review’s little Jonah Goldberg, the intellectual fly-weight the L.A. Times has acquired as an affirmative action hire to fill-its "right-wing pundit" quota.

It seems I have hurt his feelings and he was pouting about it today over on NRO’s Corner (scroll down to see his item). Jonah was offended, in part, by my reference to him as a "shout-show clown."

He now corrects me, writing without a trace of irony: "I haven’t been on a "shout show" in years and I turn them down all the time."

My apologies. Henceforth I will more accurately refer to him as a "former shout-show clown."

Mr. Goldberg also wishes to know why I would brush him off as "illiterate" and "ahistorical" just because he wrote an op-ed piece arguing that Bush is little different than FDR as the latter also lied — to get us into WWII.

I suppose here I must begrudingly make another correction, or at least a clarification. It was not merely on the basis of that one piece that I questioned Jonah’s brain-power. What I had in mind was his most recent book. It’s an intellectually cartoonish tome titled…are you ready?…

"Liberal Fascism : The Totalitarian Temptation from Mussolini to Hillary Clinton"

The publisher describes this piece of work in the following way:

Replacing conveniently manufactured myths with surprising and enlightening research, Jonah Goldberg shows that the original fascists were really on the Left and that liberals, from Woodrow Wilson to FDR to Hillary Clinton, have advocated policies and principles remarkably similar to those of Hitler’s National Socialism.

So, yes, Jonah. Tut tut. Describing someone who argues that Wilson, FDR and Hillary Clinton are the real heirs to Hitler and Mussolini as "illiterate" and "ahistorical" is a tad unfair. Reconsidering, I think "just plain stupid" would do. No?

An extraordinarily childish tone of voice from Cooper. Too bad. Funny thing is in an exchange in the comments section, he's much more reasonable:

You know Im going to agree that the Right has no monopoly on whack-jobs and there are certainly a number of them at HuffPo.

As to Jonah.. yes he was trying to be nice. And I admit I wasn’t. But those are the ground rules of this game… you stick ur neck out as a public commentator and all is fair.

Jonah seems like an affable and even-tempered fellow (even I am in real life). But, really, his book is beyond the pale Woody. If he wants to rag on liberals, and seriously or even mirthfully deconstruct them, that’s fine — more power to him. But to posit that FDR, who crushed the Nazis, is actually himself an heir to the thinking of the Third Reich, or that Hillary Clinton descends from Mussolini, well..then…he really can;t be hurt when people call him stupid. Because that stuff is REALLY stupid. I dont even think he believes that crap. He just knew, or his mommy the literary agent guessed, that this book would be a great gimmick and a bestseller among the Red Meat Right and he plain cynically did it for the money knowing full well he was full of crap.

I like the Cooper of the comments section better than the Cooper in the original post; I find him more persuasive. I haven't read Goldberg's book, so it's tough to comment, but yeah--conservatives cry out when liberals compare Bush to Hitler; I should think liberals would do the same in the converse. Maybe I'll read the book.

Eh--maybe not.

PS I'm annoyed by Cooper's use of bold in his posts.

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