Monday, January 10, 2011

Comics to the Left of Me, Joker to the Right

I was a bit disappointed to see Jonah Goldberg quoted in the Washington Post, after my somewhat tense exchange with one of his co-workers on a C-SPAN2 panel in October, as saying that he wasn't expecting the exchange, hadn't seen it as a way to increase publicity, and thought I'd behaved badly and self-servingly.

I'd sent him an e-mail beforehand telling him that I wouldn't lay into his co-worker if he felt that by doing so I'd be sandbagging him but that I thought it might even increase book sales if I did (buy Proud to Be Right, edited by Jonah and containing my "Conservatism for Punks" essay -- as made notorious by my C-SPAN2 appearance -- now!).  He replied to the e-mail by encouraging me to self-promote but also by saying he had no problem with what he called "[h]uge Jerry Springer style 'who's my baby daddy' type fights." 

If I wanted to be maximally negative about it, I could say that over the years NR editors have now at least slightly misrepresented my actions (Jonah), sadistically romantically manipulated people (Rittelmeyer), and even plagiarized me (Buckley himself, no joke), but I still owe them a great deal -- and even being on net harmed by America's most prominent conservative magazine would be something of an honor -- so I still hope NR will long endure, and I will not harbor resentments (even these "Month of Haters" blog entries effectively end on the 23rd, absent another week's worth of hatin' arising).  I will be playing up my purely-libertarian side more in the months ahead, though.

I suppose Jonah has to be expected to keep the peace with his co-worker, not an easy task.  And admittedly he did not know that, for instance, I'd casually consulted with a military psychologist about how best to confront the sort of psyche I was likely up against on the C-SPAN2 panel, so things may have been a bit colder and more strategic than he'd anticipated.  But hey, using psy ops is kind of neocon, so I think I should get some credit for that (I'm no neocon-basher, but these do tend to be the kinds of people who defend barbarities such as dodgeball as somehow conservative). 

One evolutionary psychology expert I know has been a bit harsher in judging Jonah's response to events, calling him "a wanker," and when an evolutionary psychologist levels that charge, it has to be taken more seriously than usual -- but no hard feelings, and I will hardly deny it was a weird situation in which Jonah, who I admire, had to play peacekeeper and ringmaster at the same time -- and then go back to working regularly with our co-panelist. 

There is no such excuse for the execrable Robert Stacy McCain (a.k.a. "The Other McCain"), about whom, more tomorrow.


•Lest I sound too negative about my own extended political family here, let me
just briefly say I share the outrage over the media calling the Arizona gunman from this past weekend a Palin-style "right-wing" Tea Partier when (from the reports we've seen) he is plainly (a) deranged and (b) a Communist Manifesto-loving atheist nihilist pothead and 9/11 Truther (not that I object to all of those things, you understand).  Peaceful solutions, people.

•Maybe the press should be less alarmed about the Tea Parties and more alarmed about things like the Communist Manifesto being turned into a comic book -- or things like this New York piece trashing libertarianism, both pointed out to me by Ali Kokmen.  The prof behind the Manifesto comic is from Carleton University, as was a professor I talked to at last month's American Philosophical Association convention, who told me how left-wing that university is but soon bonded with me over the more universal topic of coping with raccoons.  Rural first, political second. 

•Lest Communism in the full-blown state-running sense seem to have been depressingly long-lived, keep in mind that my grandmother, born three years prior to the Bolshevik Revolution, is alive and kicking (ninety-seven this month, in fact, and if my longevity proves comparable to hers, I can go on fighting my political and personal enemies until at least 2067 A.D., likely longer with advances in biotech, as long as I don't do something stupid like take up smoking).  I'm sure Grandma'd agree that political fashions come and go.  Humanity -- and freedom -- will endure. 

•On a slightly more mundane note, I have noticed that if you eat Raisin Bran in a really deep bowl, you get a much better sense of how prone the raisins are to sink to the bottom.  Banana Nut Crunch today, though!

No comments: