Rude boy

Krugman attacks Paul Ryan’s “roadmap” quite savagely here. Krugman is the only major pundit I enjoy reading — because he enjoys being a rude asshole when rude assholery is called for, as it so often is.

This brings me to another question I have for Erik: why are the vast majority of writers for official publications (such as True/Slant) so excessively polite to one another? Why is everything “I have great respect for Jeff Golberg” and “Megan makes a great point here” and “Matt Steinglass makes a good point about Noah Millman’s rejoinder to Jim Manzi”? Why isn’t there more of “so-and-so said something really stupid, here’s why it’s stupid, and sadly this kind of stupidity is all too typical of this writer”?

For example, I read Megan McArdle every day and her posts are often — I won’t say invariably — filled with the worst sort of silliness, e.g. “all that carbon used to be in the atmosphere so how could it be bad to put back in the atmosphere”, “my calculator doesn’t go into the billions”, etc. Why do all you official publication types insist on taking her seriously?

That’s just one example. I can think of many others. Why the big, clubby, collegial atmosphere? It’s worse than the faculty club.

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99 replies
  1. 1
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:

    I think the reason for this is the Ta-Nehisi sort of mindset he talked about in his NAACP post. The way he described it is that he found it appealing to be “theoretically cute” and use terms like “it should be noted”…

    I think the gist is that the moral superiority of being the “adult” in the discussion is a very appealing position (particularly when one’s understanding of the issues is at an infantile level).

    If you need a graphical description, it’s a similar mindset to http://xkcd.com/774/

    And yes, it’s the same mindset that underlies identifying as “independent”.

  2. 2
    whetstone says:

    Another reason: jobs. These are tiny circles which are getting tinier–they all read each other’s work, and they all seem to know each other. Don’t shit where you eat, etc.

  3. 3

    For example, I read Megan McArdle every day

    Thanks, DougJ, for doing this so we don’t have to.

    ETA: sully doesn’t question her bullshit because he’s full of it himself.

  4. 4
    Yutsano says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: If you think about it, this explains a lot you know. Or DougJ is just a masochist.

  5. 5
    taylormattd says:

    Just go ahead and ask it: Why, Erik, are you giving polite props and links to that absolute moron McMegan, and to the lunatics at Hot Air?

  6. 6

    The only roadmap the wingnuts have is planning the heist and getaway. Everything else is white noise.

  7. 7
    KG says:

    @whetstone: that’s pretty much what I was going to say. I think it comes down to the fact that you work with people and have to deal with them regularly so you try to be civil.

  8. 8

    @KG:

    I think it comes down to the fact that you work with people and have to deal with them regularly so you try to be civil.

    I’d question how many of the Atlantic bloggers actually go into an office at all. Apparently, McMegan is spending all her time trying to decipher the massive complexities of buying a house along with her bullshit wingnut astroturfing excuse for a husband.

  9. 9
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: No kidding on both accounts. Though, I gotta say, DougJ is meaner to Erik than any of the rest of us could dream of being. Meaner is not quite the right word, but close enough.

  10. 10
    suzanne says:

    ‘Cause if you’re not polite, the odds that one day that person you just tore a new asshole will be in a position to end your career is pretty high. Shit just seems to work that way.

  11. 11
    Mojotron says:

    Don’t you remember when St. Reagan descended from the heavens with a tablet bearing the inscription “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican”?

  12. 12

    DougJ,

    This post is so rude, and the manner in which you are questioning your professional, equivocating better in Mr. Kain here is simply uncalled for. I thought you were serious, turns out you’re just shrill.

  13. 13
    DougJ says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    I am just asking the questions I would want to answer if I were him.

  14. 14
    Corner Stone says:

    @asiangrrlMN: You mean because he puts it on the FP where it can’t be glossed over?
    Because myself, Midnight Marauder and a few others have been staying on topic in that regard.

  15. 15
    JWL says:

    “why are the vast majority of writers for official publications (such as True/Slant) so excessively polite to one another”?

    I’ve wondered the same thing for the past 30 years, where congressional democrats referring to their alleged republican party opponents are concerned.

  16. 16
  17. 17

    You have to pick your battles, or else become the boy who cried asshole.

  18. 18
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @DougJ: Yeah. Meaner isn’t quite the word for which I’m looking. Let me try again. Um…searing? Scathing? Something like that. Sorry. My brain is fried. See my comment to CS below, and I apologize if I’m just reading my own particular twist in your questions to Erik.

    @Corner Stone: That, but also because of the way he asks the question. I know he’s a New Yorker, but it’s quintessential Midwestern in that it’s very polite, but the undertone is scathing. At least, that’s how I read it.

    @freelancer (itouch): You will sit down! The gentleman from New York(DougJ) is correct in sitting down!

    /Anthony Weiner

  19. 19
    srv says:

    They all want to be part of The Village, and barring that, part of their own Village.

    All probably goes back to being on the yearbook staff and not getting invited to all the big parties or hanging out with the jocks and the pretty cheerleaders.

    *and you get the impression Krugman could have given a rat’s ass about being in the cool club.

  20. 20
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    Krugman’s done some of that “I have great respect” himself, for the record. Of course, he often follows it up with a “But he’s just plain wrong here.”

  21. 21

    @asiangrrlMN:
    Will the distinguished gentlewoman from Minnesota yield for a point of order?

    I didn’t think so. :)

  22. 22
    DougJ says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    It is ok to respect people just not certain people

  23. 23

    @asiangrrlMN:

    Will you go to lunch?! Will you GO to lunch? Will. You. Go. To. Lunch?!

  24. 24
    guy44 says:

    DougJ, the very best part of his op-ed is at the end. Behold:

    “But they don’t. The Ryan plan is a fraud that makes no useful contribution to the debate over America’s fiscal future.

    David Brooks is off today.

    You don’t say.

  25. 25
    MattR says:

    @asiangrrlMN: I was gonna suggest “cutting”.

  26. 26
    BGinCHI says:

    If you weren’t very smart, you’d be careful about lashing out at others. Unless your name is Kristol, in which case your self-regard is like a bullet-proof vest/body armour thingy.

    It’s clubby is the answer. Come on. Didn’t the classic film Trading Places answer this question!!??

  27. 27
    MattR says:

    Best part of the Krugman article:

    David Brooks is off today.

    EDIT: I see guy44 beat me to it :)

  28. 28

    he enjoys being a rude asshole when rude assholery is called for, as it so often is.

    I would quibble with this. From the times I’ve seen him on the tube, he seems a little uncomfortable being the rude boy.

    IOW, some are born to rude asshole-ness, and some have rude asshole-ness thrust upon them.

  29. 29

    @BGinCHI:

    I’ll wager $1 that you’re totally wrong.

  30. 30
    Mark S. says:

    There’s also the unwillingness of self-styled centrists to face up to the realities of the modern Republican Party; they want to pretend, in the teeth of overwhelming evidence, that there are still people in the G.O.P. making sense.

    If you’re tired of the GOP’s gay-bashing, race-baiting, and warmongering, what’s the point of staying with them? The tax cuts?

    The Tax Policy Center finds that the Ryan plan would cut taxes on the richest 1 percent of the population in half, giving them 117 percent of the plan’s total tax cuts. That’s not a misprint. Even as it slashed taxes at the top, the plan would raise taxes for 95 percent of the population.

    Oh.

  31. 31
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: I WILL NOT! I will not yield! You will not sit down. The gentleman from…oh shit. I forgot where you live. Um. The gentleman with the beautiful Lady Smudge kitty is correct in sitting down!

    @freelancer (itouch): I don’t know the quote. Movie?

    @MattR: Oooh, that’s good. Yeah. Cutting delicately with a scalpel.

  32. 32
    BGinCHI says:

    @freelancer (itouch):

    He was wearing my Harvard tie. Like, oh sure, HE went to Harvard.

  33. 33
    BGinCHI says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    They used to make political movies, and they were funny.

    Now they just make movies for tweens, or something.

  34. 34
    jwb says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Or, more likely, he hasn’t yet figured out how to play rude effectively on TV.

  35. 35
    Cliff says:

    For example, I read Megan McArdle every day and her posts are often—I won’t say invariably—filled with the worst sort of silliness

    This forces me to ask the question:
    Is our Dougj’s learning?

  36. 36
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @BGinCHI: Who is ‘they’, please? I have no idea of whom you are referring.

    I Googled it. Mamet? Never liked him.

  37. 37
    gwangung says:

    @srv:

    They all want to be part of The Village, and barring that, part of their own Village.
    __
    All probably goes back to being on the yearbook staff and not getting invited to all the big parties or hanging out with the jocks and the pretty cheerleaders.

    Hm. How does that apply to Coates? For one thing, I just don’t get the feeling that these social status things apply to him. For another, I see him being scathing, in all manners of ways, to outsiders (particularly in areas of black community).

    I think it’s more accurate to say there’s a number of factors. One is that you don’t do it within the work space. Second, the hiring selects for people who don’t make a habit of being scathing.

  38. 38

    @asiangrrlMN:

    Kevin Spacey to Alan Arkin in Glengarry Glen Ross. This whole jackoff clubby interaction just seems really Mamet to me. And dougj is arkin, stumbling around rambling about right vs. wrong.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3EvCIU7gb8

  39. 39
    Martin says:

    Why are the vast majority of writers for official publications (such as True/Slant) so excessively polite to one another?

    Because the odds that McMegan will wind up being editor for The Atlantic and you’re going to find yourself begging her for a job are simply too high. The political journalist/commentator market really isn’t all that big and few people can afford to burn all of their bridges, no matter how flammable they are when you stumble across them.

    Krugman doesn’t have that problem. He’s got a Nobel to clear the path for him.

    For the thousandth time – what part of ‘this is a business’ do we still not get? Journalism isn’t a calling, it’s a job.

  40. 40
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @freelancer (itouch): Oh yeah. That nails it properly. Good call.

    @gwangung: Yeah, TNC is an anomaly to me. He has no problem dressing down people when they deserve it–until it comes to one of his coworkers. You may be right about not doing it in the work space. Dunno.

    @BGinCHI: WTH is Greg Niedermeyer? And, hasn’t it always been that people with money want to make more of it?

  41. 41
    BGinCHI says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    Jesus Christ, before I don’t know, 1995 or so. Maybe earlier.

    Back when a movie like Caddyshack made fun of rich people and had a gratuitous sex scene.

    Before having money for the sake of having it was the ideal.

    Or, why do they hate Greg Niedermeyer?

  42. 42
    BGinCHI says:

    @Martin:

    Wow. Look in the mirror. Yep: asshole.

    Journalism has work to do. Get your capes on and get your asses to work.

  43. 43
    Comrade Luke says:

    I love how he tears him apart, and then at the end

    David Brooks is off today.

    That just cracked me up.

    ETA: Ha – I came here as fast as I could, but people already beat me to it.

  44. 44
    srv says:

    @gwangung: We would all be a lot better off if Journalism was blue collar.

  45. 45
    gwangung says:

    @srv: I think we’d be better off if there were more outlets. (It also occurs to me that having few publications, with most of the few aimed at “elite”/affluent audiences, selects for a readership that wants “genteel.”)

  46. 46
    Mark says:

    Soft bigotry of low expectations and false equivalences yet again. Paul Ryan is the “smartest” Republican, so we have to listen to his b.s.

  47. 47
    Mnemosyne says:

    @srv:

    It used to be. The great filmmaker Samuel Fuller started off as a copy boy at age 12 and worked his way up to reporter. He never really lost that muckraking edge to his films.

  48. 48
    sven says:

    ProPublica compiled a list of what the architects of Medicare Part D are doing now.

    Very, very, depressing…

  49. 49
    You Don't Say says:

    Krugman also points out another example of what a shitty paper the WaPo has become: “Mr. Ryan’s plan calls for steep cuts in both spending and taxes. He’d have you believe that the combined effect would be much lower budget deficits, and, according to that Washington Post report, he speaks about deficits “in apocalyptic terms.” And The Post also tells us that his plan would, indeed, sharply reduce the flow of red ink: “The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan would cut the budget deficit in half by 2020.”

    But the budget office has done no such thing. At Mr. Ryan’s request, it produced an estimate of the budget effects of his proposed spending cuts — period. It didn’t address the revenue losses from his tax cuts. “

  50. 50
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @You Don’t Say:

    Krugman also points out another example of what a shitty paper the WaPo has become:

    Just looking at their front page, on-line, the featured columnists for tomorrow:
    Michael Gerson
    Chuckie Krauthammer
    Robert Kagan
    and Israel’s (that is, Bibi Netanyahu’s) ambassador to the USA

    Smell the fairity and balancedness!

  51. 51
    Steeplejack says:

    @asiangrrlMN:

    The gentleman with the beautiful Lady Smudge kitty is correct in sitting down!

    I would pay cash money to see that on C-SPAN.

  52. 52
    IM says:

    That is quite silly. Krugman is an economist and an columnist. he is attacking an politician. a politician of the other side. Columnist and public intellectuals attack politicians, especially those of the other side, all the time. The risk is zero after all. The politician can’t really start a argument and he won’t influence decision in academy and newspapers and being in the other camp, hiring him as advisor is not happening anyway.

    So that is an bad example. It is like calling Ryan brave because he is attacking some democratic politician or even better some foreign politician.

    Krugman is attacking other columnists all the time, including his colleagues at the Times. But even that is not his club, his club are academic economists.

    And here he was e. g. very soft on Bernanke because Bernanke hired him and he thought that Bernanke was a good Dean at Princeton and he liked his earlier academic work. Greenspan was a villain – not part of the club – but Bernanke had done nothing wrong.

    This has changed now, I think. But look at Brad Delong, oh so scathing at the press, but always giving economists the benefit of the doubt.

  53. 53

    @arguingwithsignposts: Don’t forget, as time has gone on in this recession/depression he’s even become more shrill towards his former boss. He doesn’t really call out “B-52” Ben by name(usually), but he’s basically said the Fed has failed its mission.

  54. 54

    @IM: If you notice, as the chance of a double dip has increased, Krugman is now getting shrill towards Bernanke.

  55. 55
    IM says:

    All that said, it is a powerful column. In this limited space he demolishes Ryan and point outs the problems with “centrists” and the press.

    [Yes, he is hard on Bernake now. But I just wanted to propose fair standards. Or would you call Ryan brave if he attacks, say Chavez?]

  56. 56
    DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective says:

    Dear Dog Community, how come you can hear so well but can’t write music worth shit?

  57. 57
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Steeplejack: I would make a horrible senator. I can’t stand all that gentleman gentlewoman crap. And, I would be liable to say something exactly like this if I were elected. Actually, I would be more likely to say, “The gentleman from Texas is completely full of shit!” When I lose my temper, I get irrational. How you be? I’ve missed you.

    @sven: I could only skim. Depressing, but not surprising.

  58. 58

    @DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective:

    The dog community is obsessed with rolling in shit.

    Btw, your handle fucking rocks.

  59. 59
    DickSpudCouchPotatoDetective says:

    @freelancer (itouch):

    Aw thanks, but it’s just what Mrs. Potatohead named me when I sprouted.

  60. 60
    SRW1 says:

    Why the big, clubby, collegial atmosphere?

    My guess: Because the number of persons concerned is limited and the members of the club are bound to run into each other when participating in public events like, for example, panel discussions. Because it makes you queasy to share a stage with people you have called assholes and who therefore may be incentivized to call you an asshole as soon as you make the slightest mistake on such a stage. Kind of a pre-emptive self protection, really. I don’t hit you, you don’t hit me.

    … being a rude asshole when rude assholery is called for, as it so often is.

    The challenge here is presuambly in the ‘called for’. Misjudge that once or twice and your peers might consider you a jerk.

  61. 61
    kay says:

    I don’t think it’s rude at all.

    Krugman takes it apart on the merits, which is why I think he’s a great advocate.

    I’m so glad someone finally mentioned Medicare Advantage.

    We had a voucher program for health care. It was vastly expanded in 2002, and 1/5 of seniors are currently enrolled in it.

    It’s a horrible deal for taxpayers, although seniors love it, because they aren’t paying anywhere near what it actually costs. All it did was shift costs. The public Medicare program is subsidizing the private Medicare program. Since younger and more affluent seniors are the people who opted into Medicare Advantage, poor and old seniors are subsidizing those health club memberships we’re always hearing about, with higher public-program premiums. It was an absolute scam. The best thing about health care reform is the cuts to Medicare Advantage.

    Paul Ryan should have to explain why voucherizing Medicare failed the last time we tried it, in 2002. Figures Krugman is the only person who made the obvious connection.

  62. 62
    rickstersherpa says:

    Bob Somerby at the Daily Howler and Eric Altermann in his blog both write about the Village phenomena and the rapant careerism and the Village’s high school like social mores. Further, the Graham-Weymouth families that control “Kaplan” (the WaPo) is not really concerned about the deficit as much they are motivated by the desire to dismantle social security and maintain the Washington D.C. as an Imperial Capital. Hence the lovely profile of Paul Ryan without subjecting his plan to 1/10th the scepticism they treated the Democrat’s health care initiative, because his plan pushes the meme that “Social Security is broke, and must be dismantled.”

    Most of these reporters want to be management (editors) some day. Therefore stupidity, as long as it serves the prejudices and doctrines of the powers that be that control their fate, is awarded. Unfortunately for the powers that be, reality has a way of punishing stupidity in the long term.

  63. 63
    matoko_chan says:

    why are the vast majority of writers for official publications (such as True/Slant) so excessively polite to one another?

    DougJ……..it is the premise that both sides are the same.
    Maybe that was true once upon a time…..it is not true anymore.
    Its why TNC sticks up for Weigel and Douthat, and why Sully links McMegan and AllahP.
    We are not the same.
    I guess it is why Cole gave Kain a platform.
    The false equivalence is that bad, stupid and wrong ideas deserve fair representation.
    Sully and TNC especially go around in pantswetting terror of a uniparty system if the GOP goes under. Douthat, Kain, McArdle, Weigel, all go around in pantswetting fear of alienating their base by telling them the truth.
    I say let them burn.
    we survived the death of the Whigs, something else will arise to take the GOP’s place.
    No more lifesupport for conservative failmemes.
    No more welfare epics for conservative pundits.

  64. 64
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    …why are the vast majority of writers for official publications (such as True/Slant) so excessively polite to one another? Why is everything “I have great respect for Jeff Golberg” and “Megan makes a great point here” and “Matt Steinglass makes a good point about Noah Millman’s rejoinder to Jim Manzi”? Why isn’t there more of “so-and-so said something really stupid, here’s why it’s stupid, and sadly this kind of stupidity is all too typical of this writer”?

    Honor among thieves.

  65. 65
    Booger says:

    Damn you guys all to heckfire. I wanted to make the Brooks comment. What a perfect close to the whole thing.

  66. 66
    matoko_chan says:

    @J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford: that is cute, but it isnt the real reason.
    the real reason is that America is self-segregating into two biometically differentiated political aggregates….old white christian conservatives, and young multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and multi-religioned liberals.
    Again, the two aggregates are NOT DEMOGRAPHICALLY EQUAL.
    In our democratic meritocracy, the Jeffersonian “talents” and “virtues” that supposedly elect the optimal representation for the nation have been selected against by conservatives.
    That is why that slimy poseur Douthat wants to come up with some “different” meritocratic values that conservatives can compete at.

  67. 67
    Remember November says:

    all true. In public they say this. Get a few Appletinis into Sully and I’m sure he’ll let slip the dogs of snark. I was at the NY Press post-Bloomberg in a dress party and the things they say when others are across the room…

  68. 68
    matoko_chan says:

    And if you retarded assholes all insist on the Marquis of Queensbury rules we are going to end up in a forever war.
    That is why i <3 Taibbi and Krugman…..they represent.

  69. 69

    @matoko_chan:

    It’s too fucking early in the morning to listen to your hysterical bullshit matoko. The House wingnuts are always submitting crazy ass bills for one insane reason or another that have no chance of getting passed. And none more than Louie Gohmert TX. It is propoganda he is putting on and you are answering it with equal propoganda.

  70. 70
    matoko_chan says:

    @General Stuck: nope im not.
    1. pushback against Wikileaks (where even some ppl here got punked by warpimp propaganda).
    2. Newt, Palin, Romney all burnishing their anti-Islam warmonger chops. Romney’s book, Palin’s rave against Obama yest, Newts mosque meltdown….
    3. Time cover of noseless girl published context free.
    4. Anti-Park51 hystrionics.

    add it up.
    Foverwar against al-Islam coming soon to a theatre near YOU.

  71. 71
    fourmorewars says:

    Hey, I don’t know who Steinglass is, but the first two examples are obviously coming from people to the left of rightwingers, being polite to rightwingers. Question is, can you likewise go through McCardle’s or Goldberg’s work and find anything similarly polite coming the other way? Or is it just one more example of the only ones observing this false civility being the center/left?

    God, I remember watching the NewsHour years ago, when Alan Simpson was a frequent guest. And everybody said he was refreshing and delightful and etc., and I just remember him being a cranky asshole who didn’t seem to accomodate to anything to the left of him, ever.

  72. 72
    JonathanW says:

    Of course, this was the best line in the whole column:

    “David Brooks is off today.”

  73. 73
    matoko_chan says:

    @General Stuck: alsotoo
    the step up in anti-Iran rhetoric, the meme being pushed that O is an apologist for Hiroshima and soft on terrorism and a secret muslim and hates Israel.
    one thing those assholes are great at is message discipline.

  74. 74
    matoko_chan says:

    Why do all you official publication types insist on taking her seriously?

    because she’s all they got for a quasi-serious female pundit that isn’t batshit fuckin’ crazy like Coulter and Ingraham.
    like i said…..not all memes are equal.
    bad crazipants memes shouldn’t get equal representation just because the conservative bench is nanowafer thin.
    there is a reason for that.
    50 years of memetic selection for racists that despise science, intellectualism, and higher education will tend to do that.
    although both sides exhibited fact-blocking, ONLY CONSERVATVES exhibited backfire effect.

    BOTH SIDES ARE NOT THE SAME.

  75. 75
    That's Master of Accountancy to You, Pal says:

    @fourmorewars: I think that there are two different phenomena going on here. The first is an excess of professional courtesy. I agree that this is a serious problem and inhibits the value of discourse. Within this sphere, the reason you get less of it from the right wing columnists is that they aren’t professional journalists in the same way that their opponents are. Bill Kristol doesn’t have to worry about not being employable because he’s pissed someone off by being rude. He’ll just get another job at a right wing think tank. The lefty columnists don’t have this option to the same extent.

    The other part of it is that you have completely different personality types. Right wing columnists tend to be destructive assholes because their whole program is fundamentally destructive. Our side is making very different arguments, and is going to attract people who are more prone to thinking that reasonability is a virtue, because, if you are trying to build, it is. It’s a Catch-22: if the left doesn’t respond to the nastiness of the right, the right wins by getting away with complete bullshit, and if the left does respond in kind, the right wins because the nature of the discussion makes it impossible to be constructive. Absent a change in philosophy in the management of media, I don’t see a way out of this dilemma.

    Krugman is an exception because he’s an economist. It’s a professional requirement to be a complete asshole. They have an internship between their junior and senior years dedicated to learning to be the biggest jerk they possibly can be. Much like doctors learning to have poor penmanship in medical schools, it’s a very effective program.

  76. 76
    Brian says:

    I saw Doug’s question for Erik, but I didn’t see an answer by Erik in the comments.

    Maybe he’s saving it for a post of his own.

    Is anyone compiling a list entitled Unanswered Questions for Erik? Without a list, he might forget to answer quite a few questions before his stay at Summer Balloon Juice Camp comes to an end.

  77. 77
    matoko_chan says:

    @That’s Master of Accountancy to You, Pal: and that is true because of the composition of the respective bases. that is why there is Obama crit on the left from the extremist, but on the right the leadership IS the extremists, like Grandmaw Grizzly.

  78. 78
    Sentient Puddle says:

    If you didn’t catch it, Krugman’s blog post about where the funny numbers are in Ryan’s roadmap is pretty much required reading as well. See if you can spot the problems before he points them out!

    And on McArdle, regardless of any sort of idea of “professional courtesy” or whatever, I say she doesn’t deserve to be treated with much respect because of the insufferable smugness she always infuses her writing with. It’d be OK if she were right about a few things. But when she writes about how organisms are made up of carbon and so maybe carbon in the air isn’t that big a deal and thus environmentalists are crackpots, that just calls out to be treated like the dumbfuckery it is.

  79. 79
    Bulworth says:

    K-thug is certainly shrill today.

  80. 80
    Tom Hilton says:

    This brings me to another question I have for Erik: why are the vast majority of writers for official publications (such as True/Slant) so excessively polite to one another?

    Why on earth would you consider that a problem? Why would you think rude disagreement is better than polite disagreement?

  81. 81
    Tom Levenson says:

    @IM: Re DeLong soft on other econs — simply not true. He is an economist, so he believes (correctly in my non-economist HO) that he and his colleagues have a distinct body of knowledge that is or can be useful. So he says nice things about economists who he thinks make sense. But from Holz-Eakin to Mankiw and beyond, he’s as nasty as I would wish. Ditto Krugman — see e.g. his well known NYT Mag article on how the Chicago School (fresh-water economics) got everything wrong and continues to do so.

  82. 82
    Tom Levenson says:

    @matoko_chan: (A) Except McArdle is batshit crazy and (b) the pro-courtesy afforded her is beginning to crack, as in when (I recall immodestly) her Atlantic colleague Fallows quietly linked to one of my shrill screeds about her in his vote for an Elizabeth Warner appt.

    To repeat one of another Atlantic-ite’s most icky-poo twee lines, “know hope.”
    ;)

  83. 83
    matoko_chan says:

    @Tom Levenson: jazakallahu khair but i can’t get hope while Sully and TNC (fuckin’ TNC, man!!) are still propping creepers like Douthat and Weigel.

  84. 84
    LikeableInMyOwnWay says:

    rude assholery is called for

    Oh sure, now you tell me. I could have used that advice five years ago. All the times I have been sweet and polite … for nothing. Nothing. I could have been ripping somebody a new asshole.

  85. 85
  86. 86
    Corner Stone says:

    @matoko_chan: First of all, I despise you for making me read that article.
    But I laughed out loud because after giving Obama advice, Mr. Kristol ends his piece with this:
    “Then major cuts in domestic discretionary spending in the budget early next year, and military action against the Iranian nuclear program—and you’ll have a real shot at a successful presidency.”

    So ~ tax cuts, no deadline for Afghanistan, argue against the mosque at Ground Zero, cut the social safety net, and oh ~ BTW, bomb the shit out if Iran while you’re at it.

    The Perfect Republican Remedy for What Ails You(tm) !

  87. 87
    Tonal Crow says:

    Speaking of McMegan, she’s featured on an upcoming Merrill Lynch webcast “Preparing for Higher Taxes”. The email promo says, in part:

    To help you understand how the coming changes could affect you, I recently led a conversation with a distinguished panel of industry, tax and policy experts.

    The program also features Harold Ford Jr., among others.

    If these are “experts”, it’s no wonder Merrill almost went bankrupt.

  88. 88
    liberal says:

    @IM:

    But even that is not his club, his club are academic economists. And here he was e. g. very soft on Bernanke because Bernanke hired him and he thought that Bernanke was a good Dean at Princeton and he liked his earlier academic work. Greenspan was a villain – not part of the club – but Bernanke had done nothing wrong.

    Your point is reasonable, though note that at least Krugman fairly viciously attacked the “freshwater” econ idiots.

    This has changed now, I think. But look at Brad Delong, oh so scathing at the press, but always giving economists the benefit of the doubt.

    BDL has in the past spoken somewhat warmly of the Antichrist Greenspan, so yes, he’s a total scum. Not to mention his asshole policy of deleting comments on his blog.

  89. 89
    liberal says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    DeLong soft on other econs—simply not true.

    You’re wrong. Aside from having said mildly positive things about Greenspan, which alone says a lot, I dissed one of BDL’s econ friends, one Richard Green, some professor of real estate economics or something.

    I pointed out that, based on a previous exchange I had with RG, RG apparently didn’t have a correct understanding of the centuries-old concept of “land rent”. (Or, of course, he pretends not to understand because doing so makes himself better received by those in power.)

    What did BDL do? Delete my comment, of course.

  90. 90
    liberal says:

    @matoko_chan:

    …that O … hates Israel.

    That’s funny, because it’s pretty clear that the president least favorable towards Israel since 1980 was Bush 41.

  91. 91
    liberal says:

    @JonathanW:
    Heh. I didn’t think it was the best line, but I did think to myself, “Ah, yes, a great way to start my day!”

  92. 92
    liberal says:

    @rickstersherpa:

    Bob Somerby at the Daily Howler…

    I think Somerby is definitely on to something. Whenever I see a writer for some alternative outlet make the leap to the MSM, I look back at their work and see many punches pulled.

  93. 93
    liberal says:

    @Tom Hilton:

    Why would you think rude disagreement is better than polite disagreement?

    That’s a difficult tactical question.

    I don’t think being polite is much of an ends in itself. There’s lots of polite people who, in more important moral dimensions, are despicable.

    Rather, it should be looked at in cost/benefit terms.

    Cost of being rude: potential dismissal as a crank.

    Cost of being polite: if one is polite towards e.g. McCardle, one risks being read as tacitly legitimizing her as someone who should be listened to.

    Of course, the best tactic is to thoroughly demolish someone like M with a superficially polite but substantively entirely disabling and crippling analysis, but there aren’t that many people who can write that way (at least not quickly).

  94. 94
    matoko_chan says:

    @Corner Stone: The Perfect Republican Remedy for What Ails You™ !
    yup…..the forever war.
    Hey, Kain, call out these assholes if you want me to read you.
    otherwise, STFU with your quasi-reasonable pandering.

  95. 95
    Svensker says:

    Deleted for stupidity.

  96. 96
    Tim Ellis says:

    If you like that tone and those politics, you might really enjoy PZ Myers as well. It’s one of my favourite blogs.

  97. 97
    driftglass says:

    Because…

    Rule 1: There is a club.
    Rule 2: You are not in it.

  98. 98
    Tom Hilton says:

    @liberal:

    I don’t think being polite is much of an ends in itself. There’s lots of polite people who, in more important moral dimensions, are despicable.

    But surely you agree that all else being equal, civility is better than incivility–that without it, much of daily life would be (or, alas, all too frequently is) intolerable. Right?

    In which case, the question becomes when and whether circumstances outweigh the default preference for civility over incivility.

    Another question to consider is why you’re saying what you’re saying. If the purpose is to convey information, then a hostile tone actively undermines that goal (unless you’re trying to communicate exclusively with people who already agree with you). In the example of McArdle, rudeness isn’t going to help you get across to anyone who doesn’t already think she’s an idiot.

    If the purpose is to use language as a weapon, then incivility serves the purpose. That said, while there may occasionally be a place for the latter, any substantive (which is to say, liberal) political program is heavily dependant on the former. For better or worse, liberals thrive when people actually communicate with each other, and the right thrives when people scream at each other.

    Of course, the best tactic is to thoroughly demolish someone like M with a superficially polite but substantively entirely disabling and crippling analysis, but there aren’t that many people who can write that way (at least not quickly).

    I would suggest that people who can’t (or think they can’t) write that way learn how; or, failing that, at least maintain a modicum of civility while writing as best they can.

  99. 99
    redoubt says:

    @matoko_chan:

    50 years of memetic selection for racists that despise science, intellectualism, and higher education will tend to do that.

    Sixty years. The McCarthyites were proud anti-intellectuals; that attitude led directly to Vietnam. They used to sneeringly refer to Adlai Stevenson and other people who used their brains as “eggheads.”

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