Saturday, September 11, 2004
STUPID MICROSOFT WORD TRICKS:
It has also been suggested that the documents were hard to forge because, as one commentator over at Sawicky’s suggests, the forger would have to somehow deactivate the feature of Word that automatically superscripts ordinal suffixes on numbers and then have somehow reactivated it one more time, perhaps by accident.
This doesn’t wash.
There are two ways to do something like this, and they don’t require much more than fifteen seconds work even for someone who isn’t much of a Word geek.
First the hard way: going into the feature in question, AutoFormat, itself.
You can test these yourself the way we did: go to Word and open a new document. Then go to the Tools menu and either click the two arrowheads on bottom or wait for it to extend. Go to “AutoCorrect Options.” Then under the AutoFormat As You Type Tab uncheck the “Ordinals (1st) with superscript” box. Then type in“187th,” and it should look like that.
Now go back and recheck the box. Type “187th” again and it will superscript automatically, with no effect on the preceding typing of the same characters.
The easy way, the way anyone with a little familiarity with Word would do it, is to type the word, highlight the superscript, go into the Font dialog box under Format, and uncheck the superscript box. Problem solved, with no need to muck around with your AutoFormat settings.
See, Word is designed to be flexible. And we bet it took you less time to replicate the experiment than it did to read this post.
(Yes, BTW, we’re sure this is equally possible and simple with WordPerfect. But we don’t have access to it right now).
posted by Sully 9/11/2004 11:48:00 PM
See, the superscript in the authentic early 1970s document is more inline. This is more typical of older typewriters.
posted by Sully 9/11/2004 11:38:00 PM
This is the superscript “th” from the purported Aug. 18, 1973 Killian memo. Note that the superscript is nearly a full pica or so above the text line.
posted by Sully 9/11/2004 11:36:00 PM
In honor of the one day a year when Sullivan and warbloggers can say it really still is 9/11, here’s a guest performance by U2, our Long Distance Dedication to them.
I’m not afraid
Of anything in this world
There’s nothing you can throw at me
That I haven’t already heard
I’m just trying to find
A decent melody
A song that I can sing
In my own company
I never thought you were a fool
But darling look at you
You gotta stand up straight
Carry your own weight
These tears are going nowhere baby
You’ve got to get yourself together
You’ve got stuck in a moment
And now you can’t get out of it
Don’t say that later will be better
Now you’re stuck in a moment
And you can’t get out of it
I will not forsake
The colors that you bring
The nights you filled with fireworks
They left you with nothing
I am still enchanted
By the light you brought to me
I listen through your ears
Through your eyes I can see
And you are such a fool
To worry like you do
I know it’s tough
And you can never get enough
Of what you don’t really need now
My, oh my
You’ve got to get yourself together
You’ve got stuck in a moment
And you can’t get out of it
Oh love, look at you now
You’ve got yourself stuck in a moment
And you can’t get out of it
I was unconscious, half asleep
The water is warm ’til you discover how deep
I wasn’t jumping, for me it was a fall
It’s a long way down to nothing at all
You’ve got to get yourself together
You’ve got stuck in a moment
And you can’t get out of it
Don’t say that later will be better
Now you’re stuck in a moment
And you can’t get out of it
And if the night runs over
And if the day won’t last
And if our way should falter
Along the stony pass
And if the night runs over
And if the day won’t last
And if your way should falter
Along this stony pass
It’s just a moment
This time will pass
Yes, the world changed three years ago today.
But the world has changed since it changed, too.
(Doesn’t that “night you filled with fireworks” bit sound like 3/19 in Baghdad?)
posted by Sully 9/11/2004 09:17:00 AM
Friday, September 10, 2004
READING THE LINK SO WE DON’T HAVE TO:
Sebastian couldn’t care less, it seems, about the history of typing so he takes a look at that story about the girl getting executed in Iran:Andrew: do you ever fucking read what you link to?!? (While sticking the blame for the execution on Germany is just another in a long series of lows for Sullivan. As though, somehow, Iran’s mullahs would be dissuaded by Germany’s condemnation. Not that you would know about the execution from the US media, mind you, which has managed zero articles on the topic.)
(Sullivan’s post, arguably, is par for the course given that MedienKritik translates the German headline of the article as “A less cruel execution,” when the German text, Eine Hinrichtung, die weniger grausam sein soll, means “An execution that should be less cruel.” Added: A reader argues a more accurate translation would be: “An execution that’s supposed to be less cruel.”)
posted by Sully 9/10/2004 03:09:00 PM
SORRY, WE’RE STILL NOT SOLD:
This dispute over the authenticity of the memos is worth a paper by someone somewhere, as it’s an ideal (we think) example of an argument tailor-made for blogging. Thanks to Google, everyone can rather rapidly acquire some expertise on the history of typewriters and type and share it with the world to back up their opinions.
That said, we are still wary of claims for the authenticity of the Killian memos.
The major argument for seems to be that well, that’s how Killian was thinking at the time, according to Hodges. He may indeed have ... whatever his widow says, it’s perfectly plausible to say one thing at home and others with your coworkers.
But that says absolutely nothing really relevant about whether the memos themselves are genuine, not when issues relating to the technology of document creation are, as they say, controlling.
Kos does indeed make some excellent arguments along those lines, mostly as counterarguments to some ahistorical claims by righties, but before you take it all in see what Steve Mussina has to say, based on some actual personal experience with now-obsolete technology.
The stumbling block we still have is that damn superscripted “th.” Josh Marshall claimed last night that one of the other Bush docs uses a superscripted “th” at one point.
But (and maybe this is why he now seems to have backed away from this), we looked at it (even with his hint, it takes some time to find) ourselves and we can’t say it validates the Killian docs for three reasons:
1. The most striking thing about the “th” is that it’s in a different point size. Kos asserts, and he may well be right, that typewriters were available at that time which could use combinations of keystrokes, as Word and WordPerfect now do, to create nonstandard characters.
But the one superscript Josh found looks like someone merely rolled the bar up a few points to create a superscript and then rolled it back down. The “th” seems to be in the same size (If we can, we’ll make some images of these and post them later, which would be the first pictures in the history of this blog).
2. The document Josh links to could have been created not at Ellington where the 111th was based, but the ARPC in Denver, seeing as it makes reference to the end of Bush’s term of service (such as it was). If so, that makes it of little relevance to how Killian, much less any senior officer in the TXANG, would have typed.
3. Throughout almost all of the documents known to be genuine, “th” is never superscripted anywhere else. This suggests that even considering Kos’s very valid point that military clerks would certainly have a reason for superscripted ordinal suffixes, it was not standard procedure to do so. And procedure counts for a lot in the military.
Max Sawicky, of all people (or maybe not), agrees with us on this point, again citing personal experience that it’s improbable that an Air Guard officer would have had such a sophisticated machine available for personal use.
We have another quibble with the Killian doc that no one else seems to have brought up, either.
The three apostrophes in the purported Aug. 18, 1973, memo all seem to be, on close examination, the “smart” open-and-close Alt+0146 kind ( ’, if you need it explained) rather than the dumb kind (') that we try our damndest to clean up in quoted material here.
We really can’t imagine a typewriter back then allowing its user to choose between the two different kinds of apostrophes. Or, if Killian did indeed have one, that he’d be that fastidious with a quick and dirty memo to the file.
However, as we’re sure you all know, Word and WordPerfect in their more recent versions default to that particular character unless you tell it otherwise.
posted by Sully 9/10/2004 02:21:00 PM
YOU OUGHTA KNOW:
Jo Fish finds some irony in Sullivan’s close attention to the Killian memos.
posted by Sully 9/10/2004 02:13:00 PM
NOT DEAD YET, OR JUST PLAYING POSSUM?:
The idea that it would be “extremely important” to his followers to know that bin Laden is still alive or not is an arbitrary assumption and thus should not be the basis for action without any clear idea as to whether al-Qaa‘idah truly is the sort of cult of personality Sullivan seems to wish it were.
Because if it isn’t, it is dangerously underestimating it to say that it is. Indeed, there are some who say Zawahiri is the real brains and Osama is the money guy and public face (you know, kind of like the Bush administration).
We think, in fact, that bin Laden’s low profile is an even better argument that he lives.
Put it this way ... given the value his Islamism places on martyrdom, wouldn’t his death be trumpeted to the heavens? Wouldn’t the idea that he escaped American capture and retribution be seen as a sign from Allah that the cause was just? You know, “If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can imagine ...”
And there are earthly strategic reasons for this — in fact, one of them dovetails neatly with Sullivan’s own flypaper theory. If the U.S. presence in Iraq is indeed a draw for al-Qaa‘idah operatives, why give the U.S. a reason to refocus elsewhere? Bush has an election coming up, after all ... any hint of bin Laden anywhere else would doubtless bring the heat on al-Qaa‘idah in Pakistan or Afghanistan (we think it is a reasonably safe assumption to make that, well, let’s just say, al-Qaa‘idah prefers the devil it knows) with detrimental results to the organization and its many friends in Pakistan’s ISI. If Bush won’t mention his name, why should Osama?
We’re fully aware of the pitfall of assuming your enemy is as smart and rational as you would be in his position, but in this case we may be genuinely underestimating the wiliness and cunning of the man who has gotten away with killing 3,000 on American soil for three years minus a day.
Of course, let’s also not forget that the Republicans have to be hoping this is true too so the very valid Democratic criticism that Bush has just let Osama go is no longer an issue.
posted by Sully 9/10/2004 01:00:00 AM
Thursday, September 09, 2004
FORGERIES? — BUT PERHAPS NOT FORGED BY THOSE YOU IMPLY ARE DOING IT:
The best analyses of President Bush’s military “record” we’ve seen are, of course this site and this, helpfully linked by Nick Kristof in yesterday’s Times.
Basically, we’re sort of amused by the forgery claims. It must suck to be a conservative blogger today, having gotten a credible case going that the memoes, which made what had been strongly circumstantial now pretty much explicit, so much so that the White House’s chief defense is that “well, how do we know what a dead person was thinking?” (duh, isn’t that why people write things down?), only to have the White House itself moot all that by releasing its own copies of the memos.
While we have to admit we’d like it explained why an early-1970s typewriter used for the mundane task of writing a personal memo for the file has the capability to write a superscript “th” (given the frequent use of the suffix in military documentation, we allow that it’s entirely possible that the typewriter in question could have had a key for it ordered as part of the contract, but we’d like more knowledgeable feedback on it (or other memos in which, say, “st”, “nd” and “rd” are not superscripted or spelled out, which would lend credence to this theory), we wonder if perhaps the Powerliners and Freepers are on to something.
But they might wish they weren’t. For the Lechliter report, linked above (warning: if you read it prepare for a document thick with military acronyms and bureaucratic arcana. You may wish to have someone from JAG or personnel handy), notes that one document in the official version released by the White House has a fax banner dated 1995 across the top. Why?
There are also gaps and oddities all over the record noted at both sites. The preponderance of the evidence suggests to us (as we think it would to any reasonable person) at least an attempt to tamper with the record at some point.
This isn’t just innuendo; consider how, right after Bush was sworn in as governor, Texas’s motor-vehicle authorities took the unusual step of issuing both him and Laura new driver’s license ID numbers, which had the practical effect of making it that much harder to find out about both of their past DWI arrests. Consider also the gaps and anomalies in the Harken paper trail (which, ironically enough, is less open for public examination than his Guard records).
What if, we wonder, someone on Team Bush (Chalabi?) really did forge the memos as a defense against some sort of imagined plan of attack (what, we can’t imagine, but then we didn’t think there was much in the way of WMDs in Iraq before the war either) and is now feeling the blowback of not telling anyone else they were faked.
The White House and the Bush campaign, after all, would look a lot worse if they copped to that. Releasing the memos themselves and stipulating to their authenticity would be the only prudent damage control.
UPDATE: Steve Mussina says everything we were thinking in response to later developments on this story.
posted by Sully 9/09/2004 01:33:00 PM
Sullivan doesn’t go as far in this direction as The Other Richard P. (Pipes, the Harvard Russian historian best known for implying that the Soviet Union’s failure to acquiesce to U.S. hegemony would leave only war as an alternative. But also a member of Team B, the wildly off-base late-’70s intelligence initiative that set the tone for the disastrous treatment of intelligence that led to the Iraq war) does in today’s New York Times.
Expect this man, whose book sometimes makes us want to bang our heads against the wall but whose knowledge of Russia and its history is unrivaled and who has undeniably rendered a great deal of service to his adopted country, to be thoroughly vilified by right-wing bloggers no more than a third his age as an appeaser and apologist for terrorists.
Of course, what’s needed here on all sides of the debate is an acknowledgement of the quandary terrorists cause: a power that might previously have been amenable to accepting and accomodating some demands of those they dominate will, after being hit by terrorists, no longer have any interest in doing so because it will be impossible not to be seen as caving into terrorists. Just how do the Russians (or, for that matter) Israelis save face?
posted by Sully 9/09/2004 01:21:00 PM
AND JUST WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THIS ATTITUDE MIGHT HAVE MATTERED?:I’m past making excuses for this — because I want us to win the war against terrorism.
With enablers like this, we can understand so much better how the Bush Administration as much as allowed 9/11 to happen.
If you’re trying to impress Atrios, Andrew, it’s not going to work.
posted by Sully 9/09/2004 01:15:00 PM
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
WHAT HE AND THEY ARE DOWN TO:
Many bloggers have blogged about the Log Cabin Republicans’ decision not to endorse Bush, and by extension Sullivan’s attitude toward it and Imperious Leader.
Most of them said pretty much what you’d expect them to. But Glen over at A Brooklyn Bridge went a little further:The LCR and folks like Andrew Sullivan frustrate the hell out of me. I understand being conservative within a certain range (one that does not include any of the unholy trinity named above); I’ve got a pretty conservative side myself. I understand “working within the system.” But they seem to have battered spouse syndrome: “He really loves me! He hasn’t beaten me today!” At what point do you pick up the kids and some clothes and just get the hell out of there?
posted by Sully 9/08/2004 11:33:00 PM
LET THE HYPOCRISY CONTINUE UNABATED, WHATEVER HAPPENS TO HIS POLITICS:
Just who the hell is Sullivan to criticize Coulter for her TV-watching when he writes long articles celebrating the tawdriness of contemporary pop culture for The New Republic?
posted by Sully 9/08/2004 08:40:00 PM
MAYBE IT’S NOT JUST SULLIVAN:
You’ll be as surprised as we are to read who said this:The news from Illinois just gets more and more depressing, doesn't it Kathryn? I’m beginning to think Alan Keyes (R Saturn) is a Democratic plant. Depressingly enough, I’ve been involved in some heated debates with fellow pro-life Catholic conservatives regarding the Keyes candidacy. Some of them consider it treason to criticize Keyes, because he’s pro-life. Such tunnel vision! If Nicolae Ceaucescu, the communist dictator who banned abortion in Romania, came back to life and declared for US Senate, you’d have these lemmings cheering him on because HEY, he's pro-life!
posted by Sully 9/08/2004 08:35:00 PM
OUT OF THE MEMORY HOLE AND INTO THE PRESENT:
A reader at Atrios finds evidence that Sullivan once again ever-so-slightly altered a past writing — in this case his infamous Sunday Times fifth-column column (see link in post below) — by the addition of two key words.The decadent Left in its enclaves on the coasts is not dead — and may well mount what amounts to a fifth column.
Added words in italics. They do make a difference.The former at least has one little toe in the land of metaphor, the latter doesn’t. Sullivan literally and explicitly suggested that the “decadent Left” and their soulmates, Muslims advocating theocracy, would join hand in hand.
posted by Sully 9/08/2004 05:29:00 PM
DAILY DISH SERVED COLD:
Innocuous amongst his postings tonight is the short link to the critiques of Michelle Malkin’s Lock Up Weird-Looking Foreigners Except (Of Course) Me Before They Kill Us All or whatever she chose to call it.
One wonders why Sullivan suddenly chose now to note this, especially seeing as he was on vacation right when most of the interesting discussions of the book were taking place.
That’s why. Regular readers of this space may well remember that, when he decided that right before that vacation, Malkin was none too blunt when expressing skepticism about his claim that the money was necessary to pay the increased costs of a blog with decreasing traffic.Sounds like someone’s getting ripped off.So, in that light, this entry can only be seen for what it is ... the sort of petty score-settling we’re bound to see more of among conservatives whatever the election results.
UPDATE: TBogg has another example, involving one of Sully’s friends.
posted by Sully 9/08/2004 01:47:00 AM
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
SOWING THE WILD WIND:
Atrios has a long post up today about Sullivan basically summing up what we said all late last week ... that The Blog Queen’s ostentatious distaste for the Bush administration and the Republicans of late rings quite hollow when contrasted with his rhetoric immediately after 9/11.
Indeed. It shall be interesting to see if he responds to this, seeing as Atrios long eclipsed him in traffic counts.
One annoying habit of my liberal brethren in the blogosphere is to seize on any harsh denunciation of the Bush administration by Andrew Sullivan as a breath of fresh air, or something. Look, there are moderates and open minded Republicans whose opinions we can respect and whose opposition to the Bush administration is more than welcome, but Andrew Sullivan is not one of those people. Andrew Sullivan is one of those people who, as Charles Pierce has suggested, should simply be shunned by all decent people.
Sullivan was literally concerned that the “decadent Left” was plotting treason against the country, desiring to aid and abet terrorists. And, with this began the mission by armchair warriors everywhere to do what they imagined was their duty — to hunt down and destroy anyone who was insufficiently enthusiastic about whatever the latest Bush administration policy was. This warblogger mission was, in their eyes, a noble mission. At least as noble as, say, enlisting. Thus began the process of the marginalization of anyone who would seriously question the course of this “war on terror.” Disagreement with the Bush administration became disagreement with “America.” People who were “anti BushÏ became “anti America“ and “pro terrorist.”
You reap what you sow. If the patriotically correct police had been a bit more concerned with the actual battle against terrorism, instead of whatever Susan Sontag wrote that week, they may have noticed that the administration was diverting money and resources away from Afghanistan and towards Iraq. They may have noticed that the desire to go to war in Iraq — something the warbloggers such as Sullivan who, having been disappointed by the premature ejaculation of the conflict in Afghanistan eagerly joined — would ensure that their first pet war would be a disaster both for us and for the people of Afghanistan.
Then we got to pet war two. Sullivan and ilk called us appeasers. Compared us to Chamberlain. Said we were “objectively pro-Saddam.”
Once again, if we hadn’t been living in that climate, nursed by Sullivan and propagated by our mainstream media, we may have had more people asking tough questions about Afghanistan. Asking tough questions about the reasons for war. Asking tough questions about the disastrous handling of post-Saddam Iraq. None of these things concerned Sullivan. His mission was to tar dissenters as treasonous supporters of dictators.
So, who the fuck cares what Andrew Sullivan thinks about anything?
UPDATE: John Whiteside (see, we read your op-ed!) adds his thoughtsI still love the essay he wrote years ago, before he went off the deep end, about the nature of friendship. I wish I could read it now without remembering what he’s been writing for the last few years.
posted by Sully 9/07/2004 01:13:00 PM
YOU DON’T SAY:Blogging may be a little erratic.
Truer words he has never blogged.
posted by Sully 9/07/2004 11:46:00 AM
Sunday, September 05, 2004
A BUSH ENDORSEMENT HE MAY BE SURPRISED BY, BUT WILL PROBABLY IGNORE:
Abu Aardvark, who reads the Arabic-language media because, well, he can and it’s his job, reports that the conventional wisdom in that part of the world didn’t get the Mighty Wurlitzer’s memo on how to spin things.In the Arab press, I’m seeing more and more people essentially saying that Bush would be better than Kerry. And these are not just the usual suspects, the ones who publish in English in the Wall Street Journal and National Review. I’m talking about Arabists and Islamists, in places like al Quds al Arabi and al Jazeera. The logic? Kerry has been extraodinarily pro-active in his pro-Israeli statements and policy positions. Arabs and Muslims pay attention to this, and are worried. Bush is the most pro-Israeli president in history, in their view, but — some argue — in a second term he won’t have to worry about re-election and might be willing to confront the Israelis in a way that a first-term Democratic President won’t.Imagine that, the people who might really know thinking Kerry will be more effective at fighting terrorism than Bush!
Meanwhile, Kerry's decision to wage a hawkish campaign emphasizing a better, smarter, tougher war on terror worries a lot of Arabs and Muslims. Arab and Muslim moderates worry that Kerry will end up being tougher than Bush, and just haven’t seen very much from him to reassure them. Michael Moore’s Saudi-bashing (and Kerry’s ‘tough on Saudi’ position) can sound like more general Arab bashing to many Arab ears. And radicals are pretty happy with Bush’s policies, which have inflamed anti-American sentiment and bogged US forces down in Iraq.
While it would be nice if Abu provided some examples, we feel we must disabuse our Middle Eastern friends of this notion that Bush might be tougher on Israel in a second term. Remember that a big focus of a Bush second term will be about keeping the road clear for Jeb, who, since conservatism within the Republican Party has effectively been replaced with Bushism for almost the last three years, will have the advantage as Cheney isn’t going to run afterwards. While Bush himself will not be seeking a third term, the family will. And that’s why nothing is really going to change.
(BTW, it wouldn’t hurt Democrats if they started the kind of panting and fearmongering about Jeb now that Republicans have been doing about Hillary for the last four years. At the very least it gets the checks in).
posted by Sully 9/05/2004 09:52:00 PM
JOURNALISTS BEHAVING BADLY, UPDATED:
A long while back we were involved in taking up Jim Capozzola’s question as to whatever happened to Ruth Shalit, the other Hot Young Writer to leave The New Republic in disgrace a decade or so ago (for plagiarism mainly, as well as some mistakes in the lengthy and controversial article about racial issues among the staff of The Washington Post (one of which landed the magazine in court as a city official found that he had been indicted, contrary to real life) but there were allegations that she made a few things up as well like her more infamous successor Stephen Glass). Her screwups cannot be laid at the feet of any editor save Sullivan (who, in all fairness, did discipline her once. But Leon Wieseltier, whom it sounds like she was screwing at the time, has also been held liable in some accounts, and that may have been part of the power struggle between the two that ultimately forced Smalltown Boy out).
Unable to get another job in journalism immediately after she was forced out, she rather noisily turned to advertising after a year or so. This eventually set up Salon to give her a gig as its ad-industry columnist.
This kitten doesn’t change its spots, alas ... as David Talbot should have realized before he cut that first check. The usual corrections, one of which went on for several paragraphs, eventually led to allegations that she had completely fabricated part of one article. There was another parting of the ways, and were there any justice in the world, Ruth would have followed the example Glass set after his fall from the ivory towers and worked at a video or convenience store like any other self-respecting Gen Xer.
We last heard from Ms. Shalit in the Princeton alumni magazine, in which we learned she was living in LA and working on a novel. Yawn.
Well, her wedding announcement ran in today’s New York Times.
Those of you reading this online without access to the print edition should realize that this wedding ran in the favored spot the Times reserves for weddings it wants to draw some attention to: the top-left corner of the first page of announcements, the first place the reader’s eye is drawn to. Ari Fleischer’s wedding ran there. So did the nuptials of Kristyne Lategano, widely known but never officially acknowledged as Rudy Giuliani’s de facto wife during his mayoral tenure.
According to this we learn that:
The bride, 33, is a contributing writer for Elle magazine, based in Los Angeles, and a freelance writer. She graduated magna cum laude from Princeton.
Wow. Sure what gets you that top spot in the country’s most widely-read weddings page. We’re sure Bob Woletz gives that honor to just any West Coast freelancer for a woman’s magazine ... after all, there aren’t too many of them out there.
And it’s not like her husband’s résumé (producer of “American Candidate”) or pedigree is all that noteworthy by Times wedding-page standards (notwithstanding the extraordinary effort they go to in laying it out, which is sort of a giveaway here).
So, clearly the only reason we can think of that Ruth Shall-Not-Eat’s wedding made the top spot in the Times was the bride’s notoriety as a repeat-offending journalistic outlaw ... the very thing which the text so circumspectly omits.
Is there no end to the rewards for failure and misconduct by the good-schooled and well-connected, however minor? This is the sort of thing that should get conservatives going (but doesn’t, tellingly). This is the sort of thing that does disgust us with the Times in general and Bob Woletz in particular.
QUICK UPDATE: Well, look what happens when you Google after Technorati tells you none of the other blogs it tracks have picked up on this.
Cathy Seipp, a friend or acquaintance of La Plagiarista whose blogroll suggests she’s either a) sort of libertarian right-leaning like Shalit supposedly was, b) somehow part of that circle or c) both (yes, as this WSJ op-ed (here reprinted on her blog for those (like us) who don’t think the Journal’s op-ed page is worth spending money on) seems to suggest), blogs about Mr. Shalit’s conversion to Judaism. Oh, she’s National Review’s West Coast columnist. That settles it. (If you find her writing insufferable, go here).
Apparently Ruth herself has also kept busy writing about politics for Details.
LATER UPDATE: Atrios answers our question, driving the traffic here way way up (almost 7,000 hits on a holiday!) and Steve Gilliard (whom we are very pleased to have been linked by) includes the whole post and adds some thoughts:
But for some reason, Shalit is hired by Salon to write about advertising. This is one of the reasons David Talbot and I don’t get along. Because I was stunned that a known plagerist would be hired by them to write about her industry. And of course, she fucked it up and Salon was burned. But then, that was no surprise either. Talbot has reformed to some degree, but back in the bad old days, he was rather sloppy with the hiring.Exactly.
Shalit then disappeared from journalism.
Now, why did Shalit have such a charmed career? Because she and her sister Wendy were, for lack of a better phrase, fuckable. Nobody cared what Shalit wrote as long as they could hop in bed with her. Now, to be fair, this has nothing to do with Talbot, who was 3000 miles away from his writer, but it sure cut her slack in Washington. While Wendy made a point of her virginity, Ruth, well, that wasn’t the issue with her. She was cute, and that caused a lot of “sympathy” in Washington. Print newsrooms, as a rule, are a room full of ugly, male and female. Wearing makeup will get you noticed. Mini-skirts? Jesus, that's enough to get you a line of boyfriends, age
appropriate or not.
Which is how she was protected for so long. It’s interesting that Cathy Seipp is now a right wing hack. Because I’d bet that she’s the reason that Shalit was hired by Salon, since Seipp was one of their lead writers for several years. Now it all makes sense.
Of course, we wish Ms. Shalit and her newly-minted Jewish husband — Shalit took her religion seriously, even back in the day — the best. Of course, the fact that she’s a plagerist and he’s some kind of reality TV
scumproducer is a match made in hell. Or LA, you pick. The Beltway folks protect their own, always have, always will. Which is why we must challenge them.
We ought to say that, even in her TNR days, Shalit was not without talent. Under a serious, hands-on editor’s tutelage, she could turn out good stuff. Her profile of Tony Coelho, full of really revealing quotes from the man himself, was never challenged and should be required reading for anyone seeking to understand how the Democrats lost control of the House 12 years later than they really should have, and the difficulties the party is still trying to extricate itself from. After being shunted to features, she wrote a spot-on critique of the angel mania then sweeping certain corners of the culture pointing out just how distanced it was from the Biblical concept.
But she let her ambition and libido get the upper hand, and the story of her career will always be one of a born women’s-magazine writer who somehow got to cover politics for a major journal.
SON OF UPDATE: Dakota Feinstein, while suggesting that
Charlotte YorkMr. Barrett’s (how so Love Story ... he doesn’t have a brother named Oliver perchance?) stepfather’s past position as editor of the Times magazine may have been what got the wedding up there rather than Shalit’s notoriety (we doubt that ... the connection is rather tenuous and, while that is often enough to get you on the wedding page, it doesn’t get you into that top spot ... certainly Cristyne Lategano’s (thanks Steve for correcting our spelling of her first name!) placement there can only be explained by her past), nevertheless wonders:
I wonder how Ruth's new father-in-law feels about her journalistic ethics. Maybe he’s not worried, since Ruth is currently a contributing writer for Elle, and a freelance writer, where she can do no harm, and she will have to refrain from using big words ...
Meow. Meanwhile James Wolcott, new to blogging but already showing a sharp appreciation of the form (see? You can learn things doing research!), picks up the story and adds some information on the fate of Wendy Shalit, Ruth’s little sister:
I was never fortunate enough to meet this diminutive mantrap. I did have a few interfaces with her sister, Wendy, whose ghost-pale and complexion and demure demeanor had older men splashing on the Aqua Velva and lining up to “mentor” her. Her doll-like features and little-girl voice brought out the Humbert Humbert in them (who was it who pointed out that an anagram of Humbert Humbert was “rub them rub them”?). Wendy had begun her precocious career reporting from the slut trenches of college for Commentary, soon becoming the magazine’s most promising starlet since Fernanda Eberstadt. With the publication of A Return to Modesty , she seemed to be on her way to a wonderful career appearing on panels and talkshows and carnival rides.(Link in original) Actually, IWRC, wasn’t her family Israeli (though all daughters born here) to begin with before she made aaliyah?
Then I noticed Wendy wasn’t at the usual parties, making the usual scenes, being quoted whenever some pop star did something trampy. I finally asked what had become of her and was told she had turned Orthodox Jew and moved to Israel.
And isn’t there a Shalit baby sister somewhere out there? Lauren or something like that? Perhaps she has wisely decided not to thrust herself into the public eye.
ONE MORE UPDATE: LA Observed takes note.
FINAL UPDATE: A commentator at Gilliard adds this interesting wrinkle.If anyone is really interested in this, then they should check into said stepfather’s history at The New York Times. Rather than using the occasion of a wedding to advertise Ed Klein’s latest Kennedy brand hack book (I don’t think you can get more gauche) and publisher (one Amazon reader called his last book, which apparently he didn’t even write, “Regurgitated Slop,”)maybe they should have mentioned that he was fired from his position from the Times magazine in quite the controversy. I guess bad journalistic ethics run deep in that family, which sounds like they value image over truth.
Hmm. We couldn’t find the specifics on that; perhaps they’re not Googlable.
posted by Sully 9/05/2004 08:30:00 PM