I've got a new "Think Again" column here called "Deal Me In," about the last defenders of Bush and his war, particularly Kristol the Younger.
I was at a book party the evening after the opening of Sicko, and there was another guy there whom I'd never met, and I didn't catch his name, though he had a pretty pronounced Brit accent. My point about the movie was that while it was mostly terrific, Moore's best by far, it was foolish of him not to mention that while the Cuban health system may be terrific, the country itself is not so hot in other ways. I'm not down with the jailing of homosexuals, for instance, nor the lack of free speech, free association, freedom of religion, etc. But this guy's point, spoken in those faux-clever tones that only Brits can manage, whether being clever or not, was that he thought it curious of Moore to mock those American yahoos who say single-payer health insurance will lead directly to socialism and then take his victims to Cuba for health care. Didn't that appear to undercut his point? he said. I said, why, no, it didn't at all. In fact, I didn't even understand the connection. He said, well, it just seems like an error in strategy. I said, why? He couldn't really answer, and thought I was being overly aggressive, I suppose, so I dropped it, because really, what the hell do I care if some guy wants to sound clever at a party and is really making no sense whatever? But here's my point: Why should he bother making sense? If the fellow wants a career sounding clever on American cable and radio talk shows and the like, there is no reason in the world why he should bother making any sense. Making sense takes too long, though not as long as pointing out why someone is not making sense. More often than not, when I do cable TV, the question that is put to me simply does not make any sense. Yet to point this out is to show bad manners and moreover, it gets in the way of the point I wanted to make in the first place. So there's no value whatever in pointing it out. And the thing metastasizes from there, frequently going off into outer space in terms of logic or what we know to be true about the real world. But no one cares because everyone's interest is served. This young man will probably end up a star.
Anyway, in Sicko-related commentary, Ezra Klein wrote a decent column about the MSM's obsession with fact-checking the film, here. Imagine a world in which CNN applied the standards of contextualization and complexity to presidents and vice presidents that they apply to left-wing documentary filmmakers.
Yes, it's true what they say about liberals: I support the legalization of both marijuana and prostitution, but I wish bloggers would stop calling journalists who parrot the neocon line on WMDs, et al, "whores." Whores are honest, hard-working people who provide society with a necessary and useful service, albeit one most of us find distasteful, or at least profess to... The same cannot be said of, say, Fred Barnes.
Speaking of my hatred for all that is sweetness and light in my people's place on this here planet, some days, when I read "The Spine," I shake my head in sheer amazement that this man ever got to own the most important magazine of American liberalism. But on other days, I shake my head in amazement at, well, the wonder of God's creations.
Here is one of the latter:
IRONY, AUGURY OR HAPPENSTANCE?:
I've been staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel for the last few days, a truly elegant hotel with staff that is attentive (without being stiff), tasteful and capacious rooms, an atmosphere very much old Hollywood and other accoutrements, big and small, that assure you that the establishment is not owned by Ian Schrager. When I arrived in my room, I found a bottle of splendid champagne. Who was it from? The "Sales Director, Middle East." An irony? an augury? A happenstance? I may be sounding like a flake. But this place is terrific.
Addendum: The Beverly Hills is owned by the sultan of Brunei.
Also, is this the headline of the year, or what?
JUDY MILLER ON THE CASE
What has been missing from the stream of Rupert Murdoch-centered analysis is a detailed discussion about the negative fall-out the Wall Street Journal faces from being so closely aligned with the Fox News television empire. What's going to happen to the newspaper's integrity when it's used as a high-profile marketing tool to help boost the Fox Business Network and, indirectly, Fox News? Read more here.
No letters today. They were not so hot, apparently.