Friday, February 20, 2004
Arthur Silber on on how Sullivan’s denial works:
Well, "idiocy" apparently comes from sources that Secret Agent Sullivan would be all too happy to embrace if he agreed with their conclusions — but since this study would threaten his denial mechanism, he will simply ignore it. In these kinds of ways, the mechanism of denial and obedience is left intact. And the primary commandment survives, in all its lethality: the authority must not, under any circumstances, be questioned. Just as with Vietnam, the authority in this case is the United States government, and the U.S. military. As to Sullivan's final lie — the statement that "only we can choose to lose" this war, with its implication that if we lose, it would be a failure of "national will" — I dealt with that vicious slab of mendacity here.
With no effort at all, you could multiply examples such as these a thousandfold, every single day. In this manner, defenders of our current foreign policy wipe out of existence all the facts, all the costs, all the deaths, and anything else that might bring into question what is an absolute of their faith: the United States is right, what we have done and are doing in Iraq is right, our military is right, we are inherently unable to make mistakes, and the authorities must not be questioned.
posted by Sully 2/20/2004 09:41:00 AM
WILD MOOD SWINGS:
Wyeth Ruthven detects signs of schizophrenia in Sully.
posted by Sully 2/20/2004 09:30:00 AM
A reader writes re Sullivan’s quoting of Diane Wilkerson:
He knows zip about MA politics.
At c. 50 she would have had to have a parent of at least a 100 at her birth
to be one generation removed from slavery. She is a corrupt demagogue. Maybe
her idea of slavery is living in a halfway house with an ankle bracelet and a
curfew for a criminal conviction. She did while in the state senate. He could
not have picked a worse BS artist. Surely all the blowhards on both sides
reiterating banalities could have given him a better quote. Did [he] have to ferret
out a thief? People are oft judged by the company they keep.
posted by Sully 2/20/2004 09:29:00 AM
Thursday, February 19, 2004
It’s been a while since any of Sullivan’s Sunday Times of London offerings merited our attention here, much less some fisking, but this week he returns to top form with a blatant attempt to mislead the British public on the continuing questions regarding George W. Bush’s time in the Air National Guard (we hesitate to call it “service”).
First, there must have been some miscommunication between Sullivan and his interns, because while the headline on the main page calls the column “Into the Gutter,” the hed on the actual page is “Circling the Drain.” Oops.
The lede gets off to a great, overwrought start with lame attempts to breathe new life into old clichés:
It’s only February, but the atmosphere in Washington is like a fetid 100 degree summer stinker.
I’d say that mud is flying, but that feels like an insult to mud.
After briefly acknowledging the Kerry-intern thing, he gets down rather quickly to the real business at hand: insulting Michael Moore:
The latest scandal cycle began a few weeks back when Michael Moore, the lardy lefty, assailed president Bush as a “deserter” in front of Moore’s favored candidate, Wesley Clark.
Oh, so fat’s only a good thing when you’re an aging gay man? Anyway, we don’t recall that Moore used the “D” word in Clark’s presence, but only in a statement he made (video; broadband recommended) supporting Clark’s candidacy (Perhaps Clark was in the room when that was filmed, we admit, but if he was why isn’t he on the video?)
Deserter? That was a new one.
The word was (George McGovern, a decorated combat pilot himself, said it wasn’t far from the truth). The issue was not, as Sullivan goes on to admit. The media’s decision to look into the charges four years after they should have were.
We already knew that Bush killed little babies in his spare time, was cruel to animals and admired Hitler. But deserter?
Boy, such self-pity! Are things that bad for Bush supporters? (Although the first charge could be a description of the Iraq war ...)
After a more-or-less accurate recounting of the basics of the issue, Sully trips up:
Bush was also given an honourable discharge, suggesting that there was nothing awry with his period of duty
He should try reading the magazine he is still listed as a contributing senior editor of, where intern Josh Benson tells us, in a free web-only piece anyone can read, that that talking point is now blunt, as (for example), DC sniper John Allen Muhammad managed to get successfully court-martialed not once but twice while serving in the Louisiana National Guard, yet still was honorably discharged. And as he should also know Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen admitted to the same sort of behavior as Bush (Since we haven’t set up a new registration yet now that the Post has followed the New York Times’s lead, no link) and also got HDed.
Sullivan then must admit that the records released by Bush raised more questions than they answered and seem to further confirm, through the absence of a required waiver over one of Bush’s arrests, that strings were pulled to get him in the Guard.
But, as usual, the big story is that someone rather peripheral to the story has perhaps been discredited.
On Friday, the Boston Globe, one of the papers pursuing the story hardest, severely undercut Burkett’s claims, citing another named source who denied any memory of the alleged event Burkett said he was a witness to.
But as Matthew Yglesias points out, the Globe story only says the supposed corroborating witness to the records destruction doesn’t remember it ... not that it didn’t happen. Nor has that whole aspect of the story been seriously undercut, either.
Finally he gets to a more-perfunctory recounting of the Kerry-Polier thing (carefully rephrasing his defense of Kerry’s marital privacy to exclude any “legal issue”) and concludes, as he often does when he’s scrambling to fill this space, I don’t really know anything except that it’s going to get dirtier.
We actually tend to agree, but only in the sense that, as Walter Mondale once said, he couldn’t quote Ronald Reagan accurately because when he did it got called mudslinging.
posted by Sully 2/19/2004 12:48:00 PM
DAMN, THAT KEYBOARD AGAIN ...:
The upshot of the Iraq war may well be a realignment of internal European power - to America'a advantage.
posted by Sully 2/19/2004 12:06:00 PM
A CASE OF THE RANTS:
Jo Fish on Sullivan’s latest gyrations:
Every time some wingnut (like the Duchess) starts in on how terrible and what a bad man Hussein was, I have to wonder: were you asleep (or being gestated) in the 80s? Guess that Sullivan realy was, he must think that the photo of Donnie the Dick shaking the Evil One’s hand at the conclusion of a deal was photoshopped.
posted by Sully 2/19/2004 12:05:00 PM
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
MAYBE HE’LL BLOG:
Also from O’Neill comes the news that Sullivan’s supposed friend Boris Johnson has hired none other Andrew Gilligan of BBC infamy to write for him at The Spectator.
posted by Sully 2/18/2004 09:51:00 PM
P O’Neill looks at Sully’s attempt to keep the Kerry-libido flame alive:
So this new Lewinsky affair rests on what the father of the woman who didn't have an affair with Kerry is alleged to have said about his voting intentions over the course of a weekend?
He also notes that this story is rather ironically placed in one of those British tabloids that feature Page 3 girls and other such tidbits.
We add for ourselves that there may be another reason for the “hell of a misquote,” one Sullivan cannot claim to unfamiliar with from his own editorial experience: it was a fabrication, the sort of thing that happens all the time in Britain and Australia’s yellow press and makes the difference between a reporter (and we use the term loosely) putting bread on the table and putting up for the dozenth round of pints for his mates at the competing publications.
posted by Sully 2/18/2004 09:48:00 PM
SOTTO, SOTTO VOCE:
Just in case anyone catches it, Sullivan made sure to put his first-ever admission that his great and good friend Matt Drudge might actually be wrong about something at the end of that post about the exit polls understating the Edwards surge in Wisconsin. And only by implication.
(Also, Hesiod strongly disagrees that Edwards’ strong showing has anything to do with a supposed broader appeal).
posted by Sully 2/18/2004 05:41:00 PM
TBogg has a little fun with Sullivan’s assent to Derbyshire:
If it’s war they want, it’s war that they shall have. Gentlemen! Prepare the milky load cannons!
Although, Tom, you know where that last link should go (If we have accomplished nothing else in our time in the blogosphere, it is in making sure that particular millstone is glued to Andrew Sullivan’s neck).
posted by Sully 2/18/2004 10:34:00 AM
BUT WHAT ELSE WAS IT?:
How was the American intervention in Haiti in 1994 (which, lest we forget, restored a previously elected democratic leader to power and did not require the lengthy deployment of enough American troops to preclude any serious intervention elsewhere) in any way shape or form not foreign?
Reminds us of the old joke where a Brit is registering at a hotel in some other country. The desk clerk says “Ah, yes, a foreigner I see” which earns the response “Not a foreigner. ENGLISH!”
posted by Sully 2/18/2004 10:31:00 AM
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
ANYTHING FOR A FRIEND:
From Atrios, we find that Sullivan’s longtime agoniste Michelangelo Signorile is amused by how quickly Sullivan went back to the party line on the now-debunked Kerry rumors last week, and how he condemns the invasion of privacy while letting the principle culprit, Matt Drudge, off the hook.
Andrew Sullivan perfunctorily attacked the rumor as politically motivated – without actually criticizing his good buddy Drudge. Perhaps Sullivan, who is clearly still incensed over my having exposed his online "bareback" sexcapades two years ago, had to come out against the invasion of privacy if he wanted to remain indignant about the past stories about him and his own behavior.
But soon enough, he was slapped down by fellow right-wing blatherers Jonah Goldberg (writing on National Review online and criticizing Sullivan for saying the smear came from the Republicans) and Jonah’s infamous mother Lucianne, one of the cretins at the center of the Lewinsky affair, who wrote a letter to Sullivan’s site. Like a good little beagle, Sullivan fell back in line and soon began excitedly speculating on how far Drudge’s Kerry smear would get in the mainstream press, hoping it would prove how influential he and his fellow right-wing bloggers have become. Some on the right even began linking to the National Enquirer’s coverage, so hard-up were they to get this story going.
posted by Sully 2/17/2004 12:42:00 PM
Monday, February 16, 2004
We apologize once again for those little furballs that appear in place of extended characters on our blog lately. We recently updated our template with some new blogs on the blogroll (check ’em out) and this seems to have happened since. Not our fault, we think, hopefully Pyra will get on this as they have in the past.
posted by Sully 2/16/2004 01:35:00 PM
Sebastian notes that Sullivan feels differently about anonymity when it comes to people who email him.
posted by Sully 2/16/2004 01:33:00 PM
DON’T POKE FUN AT ACADEMICS WHEN YOU DO THIS:
It’s Zarqawi, not Zarkawi (There is a difference, in case you asked, and if NRO could spell it the right way why can’t Mr. Big Shot Beach House Former Trendy Magazine Editor? Huh?).
posted by Sully 2/16/2004 01:27:00 PM
WHEN IS ENOUGH ENOUGH?:
Has it ever occurred to the Sage of South Goodstone that maybe, just maybe, academics have that attitude because as Volvo-driving NPR-loving liberals they find themselves under threat and verbally abused and misunderstood in the wider culture? What we see in those anecdotes is “well, for once we can speak freely and vent.”
Funny. Years ago conservatives were crowing about how they’d swept all those Brie-eating leftists out of positions of power and into teaching positions where, one presumes, conservatives were content to let them remain.
We recall how Todd Gitlin, in a book he wrote that was somewhat critical of the academic left of the early 1990s whose title and accompanying Amazon link escapes us at the moment, sarcastically titled one chapter “Marching on the English Department While the Right Took Over the White House.”
Oddly enough, now, it seems that conservatives now think that they should have been taking over the English department, too.
All of which leads one to the inescapable conclusion that, as we suggested earlier, conservatives want not to be loved but to be loved alone, that they will not be satisfied merely by rendering liberalism marginalized and impotent (not that, as Howard Dean proved, they could ever have) but by completely eliminating any liberal aspects of the conversation from our political discourse, in line with their completely-erroneous-but-nonetheless-implacable belief that contemporary liberalism is some sort of intellectual abberation that will go away for good once they apply the proper amount of pressure.
Maybe conservatives would object to this characterization. And maybe it isn’t so. But it is the perception they created and continue to foster among their ideological opponents. And until they deal with it, they’re going to have to deal with politically left-leaning faculty advisers and teaching assistants.
posted by Sully 2/16/2004 01:25:00 PM
A QUICK ONE:
Jo Fish sums up Sullivan’s increasing gay-marriage quandary.
posted by Sully 2/16/2004 01:11:00 PM
Sunday, February 15, 2004
FOR THE OBSSESSIVELY CURIOUS: WHAT HE DOES WITH YOUR MONEY:
Funny the things you can find checking out the Google pages that lead people to your website.
Apparently Provincetown’s Conservation Commission puts its minutes online, and about a year ago Sullivan’s application came up.
It wasn’t a big deal — he got approved unanimously — but we can find out exactly what it was he did:
The applicant wants to combine the two units into one and increase the size of the windows on the east side of the building.
Anyone have an idea how much that would cost in a seaside town in the middle of the winter?
posted by Sully 2/15/2004 12:01:00 PM