Movable Snipe: Coulter, Lolitas, and Waugh

To: Daphne Merkin From: John Derbyshire Subject: Coulter, Lolitas, and Waugh Dear Daphne, Coultergate! For heavens’ sake, it was just Ann being Ann. What a fighter the gal is, though! I saw her on Hannity & Colmes last night, totally … Read More

By / March 6, 2007

To: Daphne Merkin From: John Derbyshire Subject: Coulter, Lolitas, and Waugh

Dear Daphne,

Coultergate! For heavens’ sake, it was just Ann being Ann. What a fighter the gal is, though! I saw her on Hannity & Colmes last night, totally not apologizing, blasting away at all the conservative weenies who, says Ann, are just letting liberals dictate the agenda. I’m with Ann on this point, while also somehow being at one with the liberals in finding Ann a bit… scary. Then some slagging off of my own blog-home, NRO, of K-Lo and Jonah. This gets my back up. I can give noogies to my NR colleagues, call K-Lo’s pet project a cult, or tell Jonah he doesn’t have a religious bone in his body and ought to come right out and say so; but I don’t care to see other people doing it. It’s family business. But then James Wolcott gets right back in my good books with an affectionate sketch of Clive James, of whom I’ve been a big fan since those Observer reviews Wolcott mentions. Loved Clive’s autobiography, too. His advice to schoolboys on what to do if you cack your pants in class was, I thought, invaluable.

I feel about Reason the way I feel about strenuous physical exercise—a jolly good thing, in the grand cosmic schema, but somehow not for me. The first headline I saw on Hit and Run amply, abundantly, confirmed that feeling: Pediatricians Continue to Resist the Government’s Urine Grab. Uh-huh. Then: “Can private-public toll partnerships revolutionize the way we drive?” Pass. Kerry Howley’s piece on the sexualization of little girls (thongs now come in kid sizes etc.) was nicely counterintuitive, and played right into my growing irritation with
Bill O’Reilly’s furious jihad against “child abusers,” a category that, on the Big Mick’s expansive definition, would sweep up several harmless and really very nice old men of my own childhood acquaintance into the O’Gulag along with, to be sure, the very occasional genuine monster. And then—oh boy!—a YouTube clip of the old Soviet National Anthem! Priceless! The pop version (second link in that posting), by contrast, stank.

“News and views from a hawkish liberal Jewish perspective,” says the banner at Kesher Talk. I had Babelfish translate that into Hebrew and then the Hebrew back out into English. Funny—it came through as: “We’re guilty as all get out about blacks, Hispanics, and all the other people we are smarter and richer than, but don’t even think about messing with Israel!” Well, it’s nice to know where you are right up front. Some Judaic stuff—Rosh Chodesh Ellul, Simchat Torah—that all bounced right off my poor, and poor, gentile brain. Fair enough, it’s a Jewish site—just so long as they feel guilty about me, too. What else? Some talk about that Wilson gal & the Plame guy, pure insomnia cure as far as I’m concerned—I’d rather read about Rosh Chodesh Ellul. Then—Rudy! They got my attention there. A good, long, interesting post about Rudy’s dark side. Yeah, yeah, but the guy understands key things—e.g. that govt. spending is mostly squandered, that govt. bureaucracies are mostly incompetent, that govt. programs of every kind, including wars and “diplomatic initiatives,” almost always do more harm than good—and this is a new thing in our national life, at least since Ronald Reagan, pbuh.

At Design Observer, I found myself looking right into (so far as physical laws permit) the cross-eyed squint of
Evelyn Waugh, “as good a writer as it is possible to be while holding untenable opinions” (G. Orwell). (Imagine a stare-off between the late EW and the current President of Iran! It would rip the fabric of spacetime.) There followed a nice bit of Waughiana. Scrolling down, the next mugshot is of Idi Amin, who had a personality even nastier than Waugh’s, and who could not even write fiction. (At least Saddam Hussein tried.) And, nut job though Idi undoubtedly was, his random thuggery did less harm to Uganda, and killed fewer Ugandans, than the more systematic nation-wrecking of his predecessor and successor, the quasi-Leninist hack Milton Obote. Then a lot of postings about design—it’s a design website, duh. Where’s that Rosh Chodesh Ellul link?

Matt Yglesias is one of those names I’ve been hearing bandied about for ever, yet never really had much clue who he was—like the Plame guy, or Ludwig von Mises, or Jessica Simpson. Well, here I am, looking at his blog at last. Wall to wall political wonkery, lightly seasoned with some TV arcana. Must try, must try, … zzzzzzzzz.


[Check back at the Daily Shvitz for Daphne's reply.]

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