You've got a lotta nerve, to say you are my friend


More Marty Problems:

I'm sticking to the high road here, at least so far, and so I will leave it to others to psychoanalyze Marty Peretz in light of his need, as a man who has never written a book, never authored a single significant piece of journalism, and spent his wife's family fortune on a magazine that is now a shadow of its former self before being forced to sell it off, to attack, obsessively, people with genuine, even history-making accomplishments. But I do think a short "greatest hits" package of insults, lifted directly from "The Spine" speaks volumes about the pressure under which genuine liberals at TNR have historically felt themselves. I print this in solidarity with my friends and fellow liberals who have labored (or do labor) under the weight of "our" Peretz Problem:

Here are the ones I included IN THE PIECE:

Liberals who don't share Peretz's hawkishness on matters Israeli, by contrast, are regularly -- indeed, obsessively -- the objects of Peretz's ire and contempt. Here is just a tiny snippet of his daily musings from his TNR blog, "The Spine":

  • "Zbigniew Brzezinski, an admirer of the Walt-Mearsheimer protocols of the Jewish Lobby ... so marginalized that even the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies refused to give him a real professorship." [In fact, the SAIS Web site lists Brzezinski as a "professor of American foreign policy."]
  • "Anthony Lake who ... had a curious soft-spot for the Khmer Rouge."
  • "Where are the olive branchers now? James Baker? Lee Hamilton? Jimmy Carter? What a stupid bunch!"
  • "The truth is that no one has ever really cared about the lives of Africans in Africa unless those lives are taken out by whites. No one has cared, not even African Americans like [Jesse] Jackson and [Susan] Rice [the Clinton administration's assistant secretary of state for African affairs]. Frankly -- I have not a scintilla of evidence for this but I do have my instincts and my grasp of his corruptibility -- I suspect that Jackson was let in on the diamond trade or some other smarmy commerce."

Now take a look at some of those that did not make the cut:

  • "Warren Christopher, the soporific optimist who presided as Bill Clinton's secretary of state over a mind-boggling indifference to the emergence of Muslim terrorism in the world."
  • Sandy Berger, "who thought every crisis could be solved by a trade deal."
  • Jacques Chirac and Kofi Annan, "unmitigated failures in dealing with" "ethnic conflict or eliminating poverty."
  • Joe Nye is "one of those facile meliorists who seems to believe that any and all international crises can be solved with a decent measure of good will and a bit of ingenuity."
  • Edward Said ... "a fraud."
  • John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt ... "crackpots" ... a wall-to-wall conspiracy... nutsy."
  • Jimmy Carter ..." a Jew hater ... animated by a very strong animus towards Jews ... whining and self-righteous ... His combination of naivete and cynicism -- from open-mouthed shock at Leonid Brezhnev's occupation of Afghanistan to underhanded support for Saddam in his unsleeping campaign of megalomania ... mind-boggling cowardice and incompetence."
  • "PBS ... Palestine Broadcasting System."
  • Matt Yglesias ... "This will annoy what's his name who blogs a lot about me. Has he nothing better to blog about? Actually, that's how [he] makes a living: by writing about people who are smarter than him and know more about the world than him. And since neither smarts nor knowledge carry much cachet; with the left blogosphere (also not with the right blogosphere) its stars like what's his name ridicule the writers whose arguments he can't quite grasp." ... "[w]ill scream ..."
  • Mark Malloch Brown, "bloated man with bloated speech habits"; "pompous."
  • Mort Halperin, "a shameless brown-nose"; "Henry Kissinger's poodle," which "doesn't know any more than his master."
  • George Soros ..."a young cog in the Hitlerite wheel ... ostentatiously indifferent to his own Jewishness ... not a believer ... a virtual ignoramus. ... Perhaps his sense of his own purity also underwrites his heartlessness in business. As a big currency player in the world markets, Soros was at least partially responsible for the decline in the British pound." ... "the ruthless Jewish banker" [!] .... "sloppy pleas of innocence and his pathetic editing of his own prose" ... "seems to think his survival in Hitler's and Horthy's Hungary was a triumph rather like his conquest of a nation's currency or a successful call on a public security." .... "Making money is one thing at which Soros is smart, and he knows that his capacity to command attention on truly weighty issues is only because he has this uncanny knack to smash the currencies of friendly countries, like Great Britain." ... "on weed?"
  • [Peretz also holds Soros somehow responsible for recent weather-related delays on Jet Blue, though to tell you the truth, I could never even understand that one ...]

Contextual oldie but goodie of the day: MY NEGRO PROBLEM -- AND OURS, BY NORMAN PODHORETZ, FEBRUARY 1963

'Signing Statements' Study Finds Administration Has Ignored Laws -- ANYONE CARE? It's really CHARLIE SAVAGE'S STORY

Rudy took the cash, blew off 9-11 for speaking gigs, HERE

Worse than Nixon, continued: PAGING ROSE MARY WOODS

Globalization and REDISTRUBUTION -- I'm for it.

A word about Terry Gross:

I never listen to the radio, even Air America, even NPR. But I took a 'book on tape' out of my favorite socialist institution, the public library, of Terry interviewing a bunch of writers like Philip Roth, Jimmy Baldwin, Allan Ginsberg, Stephen King, Richard Price, and a few others. Boy, it was terrific. Terry was smart, well-read, sympathetic, human, funny and likeable. I guess I will have to adjust my habits a bit, regarding that download to the iPod thing. If you have the same prejudices as I do, reconsider this one.



Eric on "Sicko":

I have a few problems with it, but it's by far Moore's best film: good humored, compelling, and, amazingly, it's actually fun. I went with Siva. He reviews it HERE.

Sal, Beatles Realist, NYCD, on McCartney:

The best way to describe MEMORY ALMOST FULL, the new release from the not-so-cute-anymore former Beatle, is what I like to call "The Keith Richards Phenomenon." Remember when you saw a picture of Keith Richards in 1977? You thought to yourself, "Man, this guy looks terrible!" Then, you saw a picture of Keith in 1987, and he looked so much worse that it made the 1977 picture look like a Cary Grant headshot in comparison. Now, you see a picture of him from 2007, and that 1987 picture, where he looked like death warmed over, suddenly makes him look like Frankie Avalon. So, basically, Memory Almost Full is Keith Richards, while "Vanilla Sky" is Frankie Avalon.

Now, I don't care about the ugly divorce. I don't care that the man was part of the greatest musical group in the history of musical groups. And I really don't care about the Starbucks deal. What concerns me is that there have been favorable reviews from reputable critics of Sir Paul's new CD, "Memory Almost Full." As a Beatles diehard, I have to say that it actually hurt me physically to listen to this record.

From the opening mandolin strums of the insipid-even-by-McCartney's-standards lead track, I knew that for the next 45 minutes I'd be thinking things like, "Maybe 'Pipes Of Peace' wasn't so bad," and "Do you think he'll ever write another classic like 'Ebony & Ivory'?"

But let's be real, Paul McCartney really hasn't put out quality material in years. Even 2005's Grammy-nominated "Chaos & Creation In The Backyard," was little more than the type of throwaway material the Beatles use to give to Ringo. Yet, one listen of "Memory Almost Full" and "Chaos..." suddenly becomes a winner.

The first single, "Ever Present Past," is a harmless pop tune, as long as you don't mind the fact that he ripped off the melody of the standard "Don't Get Around Much Anymore." "House of Wax" is a laugh riot, with its "spooky" production that sounded better as background music on SCTV's "Monster Chiller Horror Theater." And how about this? "If you really love me baby/ Nod Your Head ... Nod it up, nod it down/ Side to side, 'round and 'round." Those are lyrics from the abrasive, yet thankfully short track "Nod Your Head." Brilliant.

OK, I am being a bit over the top. Sort of. The record really is a stinker. Tuneless and joyless. But, that upsets me less than the misleading positive reviews from so many. Evan Serpick, in Rolling Stone, references everything from early Beatles straight through to "Abbey Road" for the sake of hopeful Beatlemaniacs, as well as Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, for those who only know McCartney as the guy who was too dumb to sign a prenup when he married Heather Mills. There is a "suite" of songs towards the end of the record. THAT is the only thing about those songs that resembles side 2 of "Abbey Road." And a few synthesizers along with pulsing rhythms do not a Nine Inch Nails song make.

Poor Ringo is a laughing stock, and his last 4 releases -- "Time Takes Time," "Vertical Man," "Ringo Rama" and "Choose Love" -- all had better production, excellent hooks, "Brit Invasion" melodies, and the charm that made The Beatles the most beloved band in the world. Does this mean Paul has to stick with the Beatles formula? Of course not. Just call a spade, a spade. You tried, Sir Paul and you failed. If your ex-wife never danced with the stars and your CD was relegated to the "M's" in the last remaining record stores instead of having prime placement in the most popular coffee shop in the world, 2007 would not be Paul McCartney's time and "Memory Almost Full" would get 2 stars from everyone (except Anthony DeCurtis, of course).

Correspondence Corner:

Name: Chuck Williams

Hometown: Kansas City

Regarding Dan from SC's e-mail about Hilary's treatment by the WP editorial on free trade, have you also noticed that her husband, the former President, is many times referred to as Bill Clinton, while the other former Presidents are almost always referred to as former President(Ford, Carter, Bush I)? It seemed to me to be especially obvious during the Tsunami fund raising last year, when many press accounts would mention former President Bush and Bill Clinton. I guess the distinction could be between the current President and his father, but why not just former President for both Bush I and Clinton?

Name: Scott

Hometown: Richmond, Va.

Dr. A.,

It seems this de facto identification of religion and the right wing by the MSM is having an adverse effect on the population's overall inclination to self identify as "religious." Go figure...

The Atlantic

Name: Seth F.

Hometown: Evanston, IL

Great piece on Marty. I always wonder if Ruth R. Wisse is proud to be the Martin Peretz Professor of Yiddish Literature at Harvard. Sure, Ruth and Marty are of one mind on Israel, but ... still.

More to the point, I couldn't resist sending in my favorite of Marty's posts from The Spine. Pure genius if you ask me:

"Poor Tom Friedman. He is looking for a Muslim Martin Luther King. There is none, Tom. If one were living on earth, they'd break his windows. Imprison him. Or kill him. Finished."

Hat tip to Matt Yglesias.

Name: Ken

Hometown: Cherry Hill, NJ

For those of you that haven't seen this yet, prepare to get outraged all over again. It is bad enough to constantly condemn people who disagree with you by arrogantly and mindlessly (and, almost always, incorrectly) chiding their failure to "support the troops." However, it is a whole new level of despicable the way these people make such a litmus test of their narrow definition of supporting the troops, and then lord over a system that so brazenly and so demonstrably does so little to actually support them.

Stop me if you've seen this one before, but we can soon expect the following: The president and his people will all express appropriate outrage and righteous indignation, then create a bipartisan, blue-ribbon panel to leave no stone unturned in getting to the bottom of the problem, fire a couple of mid-level managers/generals, take some photo-ops of some minimal cosmetic changes, and move on to more important matters like finding more people to accuse of not properly supporting the troops. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Come on, guys, Walter Reed is in Washington, D.C., and you've already been publicly pilloried over fantastically poor treatment there. They cannot possibly be allowed to claim ignorance again ... can they?!

Name: Rachael

Hometown: Kirkland, WA

I have to agree with Kate from Honolulu -- the Obama video was distasteful and vaguely creepy. I can't think of one positive thing that it highlights about the candidate or his views, or about his supporters (especially female supporters). I believe it behooves the left to marginalize such trivialities in order to keep a keen focus on issues, issues, issues.

Eric replies: Rachael, one positive thing: Humor.

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