Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
Last week blogger pal Phil sent me an offline with a link to a new editorial in the Wall Street Journal. It was written by Peter Berkowitz, a college professor now serving on Rudy Giulliani’s campaign and it had some interesting observations and conclusions about Bush Derangement Syndrome, or BDS:
Hating the president is almost as old as the republic itself….Bush hatred, however, is distinguished by the pride intellectuals have taken in their hatred, openly endorsing it as a virtue and enthusiastically proclaiming that their hatred is not only a rational response to the president and his administration but a mark of good moral hygiene.
My reply to this was something to the effect that if you really want to see some Bush hatred, start a link on this story over on FARK. So I set out to prove it. Of course, the results were just as satisfying in retrospect as they were predictable in prospect (since the link was not greenlit, you need TOTALFARK access to view it — well worth the money overall, but if all you want to do is see this then I wouldn’t recommend it).
One of my litmus tests for what Professor Berkowitz has been talking about, is the substitution of caustic wit for even-handed analysis — BDS has convinced many an otherwise reasoned intellect that no matter how complicated a subject, if it can only be connected somehow to George W. Bush then a biting snarky bumper-sticker-sized one-liner will sum up everything about it, leaving no worthy detail unmentioned. To help demonstrate that I worded the headline as Hating President Bush might inflict damage on your intellect. If you’re ready to type in a snappy comeback, it probably already has.
I was hoping to snag some haughty directions from some of the dedicated leftists, of the “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” variety. To my surprise, the dedicated left-wingers skipped right past that and busied themselves with proving the point, with snarkisms such as “What’s wrong with hating him simply because he’s a stupid asshole?” But you know, FARK is always good for giving you additional perspective on something. And it wasn’t long before user VictoryCabal tossed up a “rebuttal” by…drum roll please…Glenn Greenwald.
Okay, well this was interesting. Glenn Greenwald is pretty much the opposite of what I was talking about — you can’t get too much more distant from a one-liner bumper sticker slogan than Greenwald. He’s earned a reputation for grinding out monster treatises, that make my own ravings look like knock-knock jokes by comparison…no mean feat, that. But at least when you’ve finished a Greenwald piece, you know pretty much everything about a given subject that you’ll ever want to know.
Ah…actually, that last statement was a bit of humor. It’s not really true. It would probably be more accurate to say when you’ve read a Greenwald piece, you’ll see Mr. Greenwald’s intended thesis supported by cherry-picked evidence in every way that thesis can conceivably be supported…which is in itself a tragedy, because the core thesis to a Greenwald column is invariably something Greenwald himself would not confess. The thesis is always something ridiculous.
In this case, if stated, it would read something like this: “I intend to demonstrate that the Wall Street Journal is something you should not be reading if you’re a good liberal like me, and that since this editorial came from the Wall Street Journal, you should not be reading it unless you’re ready for me to call you a bad person for having read it.” Or…something like that. I read this Greenwald “rebuttal” top to bottom, and believe me, it attempts to prove or support absolutely nothing outside of that narrow scope.
The logic used by Mr. Greenwald is rather embarrassing. What he’s arguing is the essence of the argumentum ad hominem logical fallacy: He hopes to make his readers less enlightened, by pitching to them that they shouldn’t be reading the Wall Street Journal, showering them with anecdotes from the mid-1990’s in which WSJ was either caught off-guard, snowed, joshed, bullshitted — or observed being more inspective and critical of this-or-that Clinton scandal than Mr. Greenwald thought they should have been.
On the actual content of Berkowitz’s editorial, Greenwald is silent. So calling this a “rebuttal” is kind of like calling a Michael Moore film a “documentary.” It’s not altogether bad, what Greenwald wrote. It’s just poorly described. It should be given a different title, something like what I said above. Something like “I avoid WSJ and so should you.” But it is a rebuttal to nothing.
What’s embarrassing about Greenwald’s logic, is that it would be devastating to it’s author. Greenwald is the guy who got caught sock-puppeting last year. Ace of Spades compiled as decent a write-up on the episode as anyone else, and if you don’t know what sock-puppetry is you will by the time you finish. But since those articles investigate their selected subjects to the extent that Greenwald intends to investigate his, they come up a bit dry. A little short on entertainment value. So if you’re after that, you’d probably prefer Wuzzadem’s illustrated parody which has become an Internet classic.
In short, Greenwald is a self-promoting fraud, a self-flatterer, a show-off and if he isn’t an out-and-out liar, the best that could be said about him is that he regards blatant deliberate deception very casually if it is friendly to his goals. Allowing an energized zealot to cherry-pick your facts for you is always a bad idea, but allowing an energized zealot like Greenwald to do it is a very bad idea.
This is to be concluded not from apocrypha or legend, but rather from observed and documented events.
Glenn Greenwald, this time you have blown your foot off. At the neck. And, in so doing, you demonstrated Prof. Berkowitz’s point for him. BDS is damaging to the intellect of those who allow it to fester. Giving your “rebuttal” a fair hearing, we see someone with a very high opinion of himself who promotes himself as an accomplished scholar of constitutional law, setting out to refute the professor’s point, and rather sturdily proving it instead.
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