Sunday Bookchat

January 20, 2008

Kicking around Jonah Goldberg and his “book” Liberal Fascism is almost too easy to be worth the bother, but since his slapped-together epic has managed to land on this week’s New York Times bestseller list (misleadingly, the nonfiction list), then at least one more round of ridicule is in order. This week’s question is: Where does Goldberg get off complaining that his book is not being taken seriously enough?

Crooked Timber addresses the issue:

I’m intrigued by the question of precisely why Goldberg apparently expects this book to be given sober consideration as an important intellectual contribution to debate between the left and the right etc. Matt Yglesias attributes this to slow wittedness on Goldberg’s part. That Goldberg, after wandering into the center ring wearing his red rubber nose, baggy pantaloons and big floppy shoes, is asking in all sincerity why nobody takes him seriously, only adds to the hilarity.

Matt Yglesias goes further:

. . . there’s no real coherent argument to be extracted here at all. Nor does there seem to have been any real intention of producing one. Rather, Adam “In Defense of Nepotism” Bellow’s basic idea was, basically, let’s slap a bunch of shit together that’ll piss off liberals, generate buzz, and then maybe conservatives will buy the book. It’s cynicism, pure and true, but it makes a reasonable amount of sense. The funny thing about it is that as best one could tell, Goldberg is actually slow-witted enough that he doesn’t understand what’s happening and is apparently genuinely upset that liberals aren’t seriously debating his ideas the way one goes back-and-forth against an antagonist whose thinking you respect despite your differing perspectives. That, of course, only makes it funnier to make fun of him and that, in turn, serves the higher call of the marketing pitch.

John Scalzi, whom Goldberg has derided as unserious, has a reasonable suggestion: “if Goldberg’s going to make stupid and easily refutable statements, he should expect people to smack him down for it. ”

All laughs aside, David Neiwert gives Goldberg all the seriousness he could ask for, and gives it to him good and hard.

* * * * *

Why is Alexander Hamilton the favorite Founding Father among neoconservatives? William Hogeland thinks Ron Chernow and Richard Brookhiser (to say nothing of David Brooks) have remade Hamilton to suit their fancies, rather than history.

* * * * *

A British tobacco company is siccing lawyers on Tank, a U.K. publishing house that produces “Tales to Take Your Breath Away,” a series of abridged novels and short stories designed to look like cigarette packs. British American Tobacco claims one of the books, containing ultra manly tales by Ernest Hemingway, looks too much like its Lucky Strike cigs. Tank issued the mini-books at the start of the U.K. ban on smoking in public places. BAT wants the books pulped.

* * * * *

Firedoglake’s book salon focuses on Creating a World Without Poverty by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus.

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One Response to “Sunday Bookchat”

  1. Caveat Says:

    Did you catch Doughload Pantsboy on Jon Stewart? He’s an absolute twit, doesn’t make sense, has limited reasoning skills and isn’t talented at rationalization. He’s obviously been set up as a fall guy for those with an agenda and, as you nicely point out, is too thick to have realized it.

    When Stewart said “….WTF?”

    Doughpants responded with “WTF is the start of the conversation…”

    This piffle is from memory but it was a very nice skewering by Stewart.

    By the way, I do agree with Goldload on that one, WTF is indeed the start and it goes downhill from there.


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