Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What Lit3Bolt Said In Comments

Was too cherce to leave in comments:
This [fiddling with "Dark Art of Racecraft"] is Sullivan's pet "contrarian" issue to boost his links and traffic.

In the vein of Saletan, Hitchens, and others (it goes back to Oscar Wilde, really), Sullivan has mastered the art of trolling his readers into extremely specific knots with odious opinions dressed up in superficially plausible arguments. Then, as columnist after columnist after blogger after blogger takes a whack at the giant Wicker Man Argument Sullivan has made, he pirouettes to the next topic, blithely ignoring any mention his previous odious opinion for weeks, if not months or years at a time, softening his writing with some more conventional opinions or some futuristic meta-think or some pictures of puppies and kitties frolicking in fields.

And people fall for this...


after time...

after time...

again, giving breathless attention to an upper class twit for having such SHOCKING, just SHOCKING, opinions about decent society, gossipgossipgossip.

Andrew Sullivan does not have real opinions on well, anything. Instead, he's a privateer of his own colors, always hoisting sail and weighing anchor wherever the winds are blowing. He straddles conventional wisdom, sometimes agreeing, sometimes not, but he's always careful to offer some red meat to everyone.

Thus, Sullivan can be Catholic and gay married at the same time, because he's the authority of and for gay conservatives, who hate Hillary Clinton for no good reason yet adore Margaret Thatcher for no good reason other than pure tribalism. He's always met somebody, always knows somebody, and can gossip on any topic effortlessly, dismissing who's out and approving of who's in with a smattering of columns and links.

And he is being paid to do this. Because he publishes an appeal for bipartisanship and centrism on Monday, a guessing game on Tuesday, a paean to superficial morality on Wednesday, a worrisome graph of the economy on Thursday, a picture of a puppy on Friday, a incoherent defense of Toryism on Saturday, and some poems and artwork and links on Sunday, all stolen from Buzzfeed and Reddit, and be paid 20 dollars a month by slavish fans who just love his centrist, edgy opinions of how white people are poodles and black people are beagles, cause dog breeds are just like race.

And as soon as anyone opens there mouth to say, "Well, studies show..." or "Actually, you're wrong..." or "I'm never going to give you money, you racist sybarite" he's danced away again, offering a sad picture of a dead Syrian child juxtaposed with his next post about balloons and lollipops and buttsex.
Mr. Ta-Nehisi Coats adds this:
Our notion of what constitutes "white" and what constitutes "black" is a product of social context. It is utterly impossible to look at the delineation of a "Southern race" and not see the Civil War, the creation of an "Irish race" and not think of Cromwell's ethnic cleansing, the creation of a "Jewish race" and not see anti-Semitism. There is no fixed sense of "whiteness" or "blackness," not even today. It is quite common for whites to point out that Barack Obama isn't really "black" but "half-white." One wonders if they would say this if Barack Obama were a notorious drug-lord.

When the liberal says "race is a social construct," he is not being a soft-headed dolt; he is speaking an historical truth. We do not go around testing the "Irish race" for intelligence or the "Southern race" for "hot-headedness." These reasons are social. It is no more legitimate to ask "Is the black race dumber than then white race?" than it is to ask "Is the Jewish race thriftier than the Arab race?"


Lit3Bolt said...

Oh boy, if I knew I was gonna be a front pager, I would've have put effort into spelling and grammar on that comment.

Thanks for the shout out, and letting me imitate your style. It's fun stuff and I really admire you.

Back to Sullivan, he does this over and over again on controversial subjects, usually (surprise!) coming down with a genteel thud on the conservative side of the argument, then follows up with a smattering of easily refuted e-mails from the liberal side with some "support" e-mails, possibly written by his staff and interns, to buttress his strawmen to make it seem he has broad support from liberal, conservative, and centrist bases. The truth is, no one knows who is writing those e-mails, and they can never be held accountable for facts or opinions presented because Sullivan, very cunningly, did not include comments when he started blogging, even a decade ago, when comments were all the rage and the internet was happy to receive any sort of engagement. All we know is that "a reader writes." For all we know, that reader could be Sullivan himself.

Also, I wait eagerly for Sullivan's speculations about intelligence and hair color, eye color, penis size, skull shape, body-hair ratio, pant size, height, weight, gender, and sex drive. As these are all physical traits, just like skin color, we must investigate their relation to an undefinable cultural definition of intelligence immediately and craft political policy based on the results.

Or maybe we're just trolling (laugh!).

But seriously, if you're looking for evidence that journalism today is basically an Ivy League/Eton/Oxford Club where the pundits race to bottom to see who can have the most contrary opinion vis-a-vis to the current conventional wisdom, Sullivan is pretty much it. At this point of his career, in his twilight years (any cold infection could easily do him in), he's aiming for what we'll call the Broder/Buckley treatment, where the previous conservative firebrand who made their name raging against communism, worker safety and wages, and smoking laws, now looks for safer more "centrist" territory to dwell while still holding 2-or-3-held-back-generational opinions on race, egalitarianism, democracy, and economics. Hence the the cowardly intellectual retreat of Sullivan to quotes from Oakeshott and Burke and Orwell, as if hiding in the shadow of intellectual giants who lived in very different times and political situations he can defend his own indefensible opinions.

Because, as he has on his front page, we must always struggle to see what is in front of our nose. Especially if they are ugly, Nazi-ish, Social Darwinist opinions about the fitness of races as they are constructed in the United States.

If you can't see those opinions clearly, just pay 20 dollars and scroll down. Then it will all become clear.

Thanks again, Driftglass.

Batocchio said...

I've got a slightly different take (supplemental versus contradictory) in the other thread, but good call, this deserved hoisting from the comments. Cheers!

Lit3Bolt said...

Shorter Sully:

Hahahaha you thought we talking about testing intelligence in made up ethnic groups but we were really talking about DNA testing for ovarian cancer it's a genetic marker stupid libs and ignore those giant tracks in the mud from where my interns and I moved the goalpost. Burkeian philosophy wins again!

Insert rhetorical flourish here and exit stage left, out the door and into the waiting limousine.


Ladies and Gentlemen, Andrew Sullivan has left the building.