February 2008


Jo·nan·ism -noun

1. The belief that everybody you hate is exactly the same.

2. The belief that evidence that nobody takes you seriously means you are very serious.

3. Any attempt to popularize these beliefs in book and associated website form.

[Origin: c. 2008, from ‘Jonah Goldberg’ and ‘onanism’; see calling all toasters]


Summary of Paul Fussell’s ‘A Power of Facing Unpleasant Facts’, an essay apparently unavailable on the internets:

Wise advice on how to take criticism.

He quotes Samuel Johnson (112):

An author places himself uncalled before the tribunal of criticism, and solicits fame at the hazard of disgrace.

E.M. Forster (113):

Some reviews give pain. This is regrettable, but no author has the right to whine. He was not obliged to be an author. He invited publicity, and he must take the publicity that comes along.

Edna St. Vincent Millay (113):

A person who publishes a book willfully appears before the populace with his pants down . . . . If it is a good book, nothing can hurt him. If it is a bad book, nothing can help him.

John Keats (113):

Praise or blame has but a momentary effect on the man whose love of beauty in the abstract makes him a severe critic of his own works.


Fussell’s taxonomy of authors’ wounded responses to criticism.
(Illustrated by amusing quotations from authors’ angry letters sent overhastily to the editors of major literary review magazines.)

1) Assert your confusion, because so many “honest” readers have loved your work.

2) Embrace the loser’s precept: if others won’t praise you, praise yourself.

3) Expose the hidden, discreditable motive the reviewer has for panning your work (e.g., your work has been more favorably received than the reviewer’s).

4) Melodramatically portray a negative review as revenge settling old scores (e.g., for a negative review in the other direction).

5) Attribute a negative review to commercial jealousy (note archly that the reviewer has a competing work in the bookstores).

6) Assert that the reviewer has “not understood” your work (but as Fussell points out, this is a double-edged sword, because a lack of clarity is presumably your fault).

7) Point out in excruciating detail how the reviewer is wrong (offer to send a brief to anyone writing to ask for it).

8) Exhibit pure self-pity. (“Sir–Your cruel review of my _______ reduced me to tears, of course, as its author doubtless intended . . . .”)

Which brings us, naturally, to The Learned Load, who appears determined to stamp! stamp! stamp! his little feet in public until he gets some good reviews. Today, he’s rilly rilly toally toally mad at Keith Olbermann for noting his groundbreaking and thoughtful comparison of Barack Obama and FDR to Adolf Hitler:

Keith Olbermann is, of course, not really worth taking seriously. But you’ve got to love the staggering ignorance behind his continued insistence that fascists weren’t socialists because they beat other socialists to death. Golly. How many socialists did Stalin kill? Pretty much all of the show trial victims weren’t mere socialists but hardcore Communists. I guess Stalin was anti-Communist. Hitler’s Night of the Long Knives involved the slaughter of Nazis, so I guess by Olbermann’s logic Hitler was anti-Nazi. Most lefties can’t stand Joe Lieberman, I guess they’re anti-Democrat.

Mr. Buckley, this is your legacy.

fussell-1982.pdf , courtesy of J-.

Inspired by discussions of Cuba’s place in the world here, here, here, and doubtless other places.

Human Development Index

12 (4) Flag of the United States United States 0.951
51 (1) Flag of Cuba Cuba 0.838
52 (1) Flag of Mexico Mexico 0.829

Freedom In The World

Flag of Cuba Cuba 7 7 Not Free
Flag of Mexico Mexico* 2 3 Free
Flag of the United States United States* 1 1 Free

Happy Planet Index

6 Cuba 61.86
38 Mexico 54.39
150 United States of America 28.83

Like, what?


… I keep trying think of something to say about this, because the silence is so awkward. I don’t really have anything, but I’ve come up with:

1. Dear God, I accept that this is pretty much Chix With Dix. Following your son’s example on the cross, I will graciously accept that there is really no plausible alternative reading here, and that somehow Captain Ed’s change of URL is supposed to make Chix sprout, well, Dix. And that I share a planet with this shit.  All I ask, God, in your mercy, is that you give me Edward Scissorhands hands so I can claw my fucking brains out. In your mercy.

2. God, I’m not trying to be funny with you.

3. Dude … WHAT?

…UPDATE: Oh thank Christ.

Eric Alterman is wrose then Hitlery:

As you may recall, Goldberg’s primary claim to public attention derived from exploiting the disreputable part his mother, Lucianne Goldberg, played in Linda Tripp’s betrayal of Monica Lewinsky. Then employed as the vice president of Mom’s right-wing literary agency, Goldberg told reporters he planned to pen a “Bonfire of the Vanities-type thing about stories peripheral to the scandal,” with imagined movie deals to follow. Well, the only person who might imagine making a movie of the book Goldberg finally did write a decade later would be Mel Brooks. Liberal Fascism is the “Springtime for Hitler” of intellectual history. The book reads like a Google search gone gaga. Some Fascists were vegetarians; some liberals are vegetarians; ergo… Some Fascists were gay; some liberals are gay… Fascists cared about educating children; Hillary Clinton cares about educating children. Aha! (I see from my own ten seconds of Googling that cult leader Lyndon LaRouche beat Goldberg to this argument by five years with an essay titled “How Liberalism Created Fascism,” published by his presidential committee. Hmmm.) People, this is a book that argues that Woodrow Wilson “was the twentieth century’s first fascist dictator” and that it is “impossible to deny that the New Deal was objectively fascistic.” […]

front_cover_mini.jpgAs dumb as Liberal Fascism may be, Goldberg has managed to sound even dumber when discussing it. He has modestly described his book as “a very serious, thoughtful argument that has never been made in such detail or with such care.” And in an interview published in Salon, he actually makes the statement, “The only reason [Mussolini] got dubbed a Fascist and therefore a right-winger is because he supported World War I.” Of course, out here in the real world, we think of Mussolini as the fellow who founded what would become Italy’s National Fascist Party and became a proud dictator in its name, which would strike most people as a better reason to dub him a Fascist. […]

I’m tempted to call the publication of Liberal Fascism an intellectual scandal, but I remember that I live in a country where White House press secretary Dana Perino can admit to having no idea what the Cuban missile crisis was. (“Wasn’t that like the Bay of Pigs thing?”) And it thrives in a culture where Ann Coulter not only rules bestseller lists but has found herself, according to the nonprofit Media Matters, interviewed nearly 200 times on at least thirteen programs on MSNBC, CNBC and NBC, not including the period she worked there. True, Goldberg does not call people “faggots” in public or speculate merrily on the joys of mass murder, but his scholarly method is most definitely Coulterian. Like Coulter, he’s got a bunch of footnotes. And for all I know, they check out. But they are put in the service of an argument that no one with any knowledge of the topic would take seriously.

National Review and the Poor Man Institute, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their very awesome theory that W.I.C. = The Holocaust, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength. Even though large sections of brains may have oozed out our ears to avoid further exposure to our odious stupidity, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in our office chairs, we shall fight in our mom’s dens and basements, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing waistlines on the internets, we shall defend our egos, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the cable news shows, we shall fight on the bookshelves, we shall fight in the editorial pages of the LA Times, we shall fight in Iraq Afghanistan other parts of the internet which weren’t covered by my previous reference to the internet; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, we were to be reduced to tears because people are mean and nobody takes our serious and thoughtful ideas seriously and thoughtfully, then our moms and their friends would continue to get us cushy talking head jobs, until, in God’s good time, we get bored of it and start carrying on about some other God-damned horseshit. So nyah.

Jingosphere utterly, unequivocably, undeniably, ludicrously, pathetically wrong.  Film at 11, right after Dog Bites Man.

Jake Tapper, ABC News:

I might suggest those on the blogosphere upset about this story would be better suited directing their ire at those responsible for this problem, which is certainly not new.  That is, if they actually care about the men and women bravely serving our country at home and abroad.

As Publius observes: na ga ha pa.

Good one, Jake – and best of luck to you on that. The futures market looks pretty grim on that particular outcome though.

Like the Terminator, they’ll be back. The thing about the Malkin/Aces/Reynolds wing of the blogosphere is that wrongness is no obstacle to writing. In fact, it just makes them double down. If anything, the number of words they devote to a topic is directly proportional to their demonstrable wrongness. […]

What I do hope happens, though, is that the mainstream media takes notice of their non-credibility. The mere fact that a critical mass of these people is squawking should not – ipso facto – guarantee a spot in mainstream news coverage. They have proven themselves unreliable again and again. And just like the mainstream papers don’t report everything that comes out in the National Enquirer (Mickey Kaus excepted), neither should they feel bullied into a writing a story about whatever Michelle Malkin happens to be screeching about that day.

I, too, hope this.  Na ga ha pa.

Camille Pagila:

On the climate-change front, Denis Dutton, founder of the superb Arts & Letters Daily Web site, has created a new site, Climate Debate Daily, as a forum for both sides in the ferocious controversy over global warming. The site’s lucid dual format is exactly what has been needed to shed scholarly light on this heavily politicized battle, which has been very difficult to follow for everyone but fanatical true believers.

Thank God someone has finally taken this debate to the scholarly forum of the internets, where the time-tested analytical techniques of “fisking” and the “fact-checking of asses” can, at long last, be brought to bear.  And I must once again as for a moment of silence to mourn the big tragic accident which killed all the world’s scientists, destroyed all their lives’ work, and left us in this nightmare world of pure opinion.  Still, they left us the internets, so I guess no real damage done.  Hmm, I wonder if the Zionist Rosicrucian conspiracy killed all the scientists with their space lasers in order to replenish “proteus”‘s herds of gay sex/snuff slaves?  Perhaps someone will set up a superb website where we may examine both sides of this puzzling issue.

The old-guard feminist establishment has also rushed out of cold storage to embrace Hillary Clinton via tremulous manifestoes of gal power that have startlingly exposed the sentimental slackness of thought that made Gloria Steinem and company wear out their welcome in the first place. Hillary’s gonads must be sending out sci-fi rays that paralyze the paleo-feminist mind — because her career, attached to her husband’s flapping coattails, has sure been heavy on striking pious attitudes but ultra-light on concrete achievements.


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