May 16, 2007

I cursed my fate because I had no shoes, and then I met a man who had no feet.

Who the hell said that? I can't even figure it out with Google. Anonymous, apparently. One used to hear that old saying all the time. It was a big cliché, but I don't think people know it anymore. Just when I want to riff on it.

So... well... I just want to say I cursed Glenn Greenwald's writing because I was just reading his writing, and then I ran across him on video.

IN THE COMMENTS: People seem to figure out that the saying comes from Arabian folklore. And mcg quotes the Stephen Wright version:
"I cried because I had no shoes, 'till I met a man who had no feet. So I said, 'You got any shoes you're not using'?"

AND: From the new Bloggingheads with Bob Wright and Mickey Kaus:
BOB: Glenn Greenwald is on our site right now. Did you know that?

MICKEY: Oh, God, no. Really?

BOB: Hey, Mickey. It sounds like you want to challenge him to a duel.

MICKEY: I don't want to challenge anybody to a duel. You just... you'll let anybody in, won't you?

AND: Sorry I accidentally saved this as a draft after the update. I think Blogger just moved the buttons around today, and I didn't notice!

52 comments:

Simon said...

I'm not watching it. He's such a truly vile excuse for a human being that I have to assume he's engaged in an extended art project to demonstrate the truth of evolution by showing just how close to the monkey tree some apples fell.

Simon said...

Not only vile, but boring. What a combination.

Gahrie said...

Let me guess..he did a bloggingheads episode where he was on both screens debating himself....."Elisson versus Greenwald"....

Jeff said...

As (much better human being) Jerri Blank once said,

"I cried when I had no shoes, until I met a man with no feet... Then I laughed really hard."

mcg said...

"I cried because I had no shoes, 'till I met a man who had no feet. So I said, 'You got any shoes you're not using'?" --- Stephen Wright

mcg said...

Damn, the guy really looks like his caricature.

Maxine Weiss said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55n1D9Q94Wc

vrse said...

I assume you mean this as criticism... on blogginheads, of all places.

[sigh]

pot meet kettle, her name is althouse and she's, well, a bit out there.

Maisie said...

from Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.

AUTHOR:
Sadi (1184–1291)
QUOTATION:
I never complained of the vicissitudes of fortune, nor suffered my face to be overcast at the revolution of the heavens, except once, when my feet were bare, and I had not the means of obtaining shoes. I came to the chief of Kfah in a state of much dejection, and saw there a man who had no feet. I returned thanks to God and acknowledged his mercies, and endured my want of shoes with patience, and exclaimed,
“Roast fowl to him that’s sated will seem less
Upon the board than leaves of garden cress.
While, in the sight of helpless poverty,
Boiled turnip will a roasted pullet be.”

ATTRIBUTION:
SADI, The Gulistn, or Rose Garden, trans. Edward B. Eastwick, chapter 3, story 19, p. 129 (1880).

A modern version, often cited as an old Arabian proverb, is: “I thought I was abused because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”—J. M. Braude, Speaker’s Encyclopedia of Stories, Quotations and Anecdotes, p. 338, no. 2320 (1955).

at www.bartleby.com/73/1682

Jon Swift said...

Pssst, Ms. Althouse, I think your snit is showing.

Hattie said...

Yes, it is so irritating to have to compete with Greenwald.
Hahahahaha!

Palladian said...

Mr Swift, I think you had it right, except for one detail. Forget the poor, we should eat the trolls.

But what a stringy and gamy lot are Greenwald's trolls. I think I'll pass.

XWL said...

But what a stringy and gamy lot are Greenwald's trolls. I think I'll pass.

That is the problem with trolls. You'd think with extra feeding and attention they would grow fat and succulent.

But instead they grow bitter and truculent.

(and, Prof. Althouse, if you were ever paired with Greenwald in a bloggingheads, could you resist the temptation to utter, "Glen, why the long face?")

XWL said...

Oops, I robbed Glenn of one of his 'n's above, I apologize.

He's a valuable asset as a writer, Salon is lucky to have him.

No other person is as effective at writing passages that are so mindnumbingly incapable of getting to the damn point, that his function as sleep aid is unmatched.

If they get ad buys based in part by time spent at a webpage, then all those folks who fall asleep reading Greenwald must really up their price.

Great thinking Salon!

I admit to being prone to a compound sentence or two (and the occaisonal parenthetical thought thrown in), but Mr. Greenwald is a master. Here's one sentence from this post:

In his email, Edsall linked to this post by Mark Kleiman, who says he has known Edsall for 40 years, that Edsall has an "unusual tic" where he makes "ironic" statements so seriously that people frequently misunderstand his meaning, and that "anyone who knows Edsall" would have understood "the natural inference [] that he was being sarcastic, making fun of the fact that of course people like Broder, who believe intensely in their own wisdom, distrust the machinery of direct democracy."

Here's another effectively soporific single sentence from the same post:

And while many reporters would have refrained from reporting the incident because it would be deemed to violate some implicit journalist club rules whereby establishment journalists (rather than their sources) want everything to be off the record unless everyone consents to its being reported (the Tim Russert Rule), Reed rather courageously reported what was a noteworthy incident notwithstanding the fact that it involved several highly influential journalists (angering several of them in the process).

Does Salon pay by the ton (and do they subtract from that rate per period)?

I need to become a lefty, or at least be Salon's pet righty, if they'll pay me for drivel like that.

Ricky said...

You're jealous of Greenwald because he's smarter than you are. That's why you criticize him on a matter of taste, rather than confronting any of his ideas.

blake said...

For your information, Mr. Greenwald has written a New York Times bestselling book on executive authority, broken a story on his blog about wiretapping that led to front-page stories on most major newspapers in the country, and Russ Feingold read from my blog--er, his blog.

--RT Ellersberg

Palladian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Palladian said...

"You're jealous of Greenwald because he's smarter than you are. That's why you criticize him on a matter of taste, rather than confronting any of his ideas."

Finding his ideas is like trying to fish dimes out of a settling tank at a sewage processing plant. In other words, not worth the effort.

I've seen his book on the table of anti-Bush books being sold at a dollar a pound at my local used and remaindered bookshop. They're useful to sop up spills in a garage grease pit I suppose. Perhaps gerbil bedding.

Greenwald's one of those people that partisans of a certain stripe like to say they have, but haven't actually, read. Kind of like Proust. Well, except that Proust's run-on sentences are beautiful.

hdhouse said...

AUTHOR: Sadi (1184–1291)
QUOTATION: I never complained of the vicissitudes of fortune, nor suffered my face to be overcast at the revolution of the heavens, except once, when my feet were bare, and I had not the means of obtaining shoes. I came to the chief of Kfah in a state of much dejection, and saw there a man who had no feet. I returned thanks to God and acknowledged his mercies, and endured my want of shoes with patience, and exclaimed,
“Roast fowl to him that’s sated will seem less
Upon the board than leaves of garden cress.
While, in the sight of helpless poverty,
Boiled turnip will a roasted pullet be.”
ATTRIBUTION: SADI, The Gulistn, or Rose Garden, trans. Edward B. Eastwick, chapter 3, story 19, p. 129 (1880).

A modern version, often cited as an old Arabian proverb, is: “I thought I was abused because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”—J. M. Braude, Speaker’s Encyclopedia of Stories, Quotations and Anecdotes, p. 338, no. 2320 (1955).
SUBJECTS: Self-pity

http://www.bartleby.com/73/1682.html

XWL said...

It's true of so many things, whether it's singing, or playing shortstop, or writing, hard is easy, it's easy that's hard.

It's easy to impress people with a performance that shows strain, strife and effort.

But to be in the right place at the right time, to hit the pure simple note, or to chose an economy of words over a fussilade of phrases requires self-knowledge, mastery and a willingness to be plain when plain is required.

Some people confuse obfuscatory language with intellect. Glenn Greenwald clearly does. Smart people don't need to prove how smart they are with every sentence they write.

But I can't blame him entirely. It's easy to get intellectually flaccid in an environment that rewards the correct ideas over the correct presentation.

If you present the popular notions in an academic setting it gets rewarded, even if your language sucks.

That's why conservatives, who are likely to face intellectual discrimination throughout their academic years, write better. They better know how to deliver, cause they won't get any brownie points for having the correct positions.

So Greenwald is just a product of his environment, never getting corrected for bad behavior. The longer his sentences got, the lazier he gets, the more attention he gets, and the less scrutiny can be brought to what he writes.

He can't be fisked, cause nobody can figure out exactly what point he's making (beyond Bush sucks of course).

So in summary, it's impossible to be jealous of Greenwald's intellect as his writing demonstrates a lack, rather than a surfeit, of intellect. Secondly, if you can figure out whatever point he's making (besides Bush sucks) I'd be happy to refute it. Lastly it can't be said enough times, hard is easy, it's easy that's hard.

Hucbald said...

Thankfully, Safari cannot play that video. I never thought I'd be happy not to have a "plug-in" (Whatever a "plug-in" is).

Roger said...

Greenwald...Greenwald...hmmm; name vaguely rings a bell--isnt he a pseudonym for Jeff Gannon? Lives in Brazil with Jeff Gannon, and created a phoney vita? and then reinforced by using sock puppets on his blog? That Jeff Gannon?--sorry--That Glen Greenwald? What does he do other than waste oxygen and create methane?

Peter Palladas said...

Fate? What's fate got to do with shoes?

Feet maybe if you're born without 'em, but even here I suspect the other guy came into the world with two good feet, only to have them chopped off under Sharia Law for some offence.

In which case he ought to have some spare shoes to give the other guy.

AllenS said...

"I've cursed the lefty trolls, then I met a man who had no head, and I said, that's better."

by
AllenS

Jennifer said...

You're jealous of Greenwald because he's smarter than you are.

But can his Dad beat her Dad up?

mcg said...

hucbald---alas, Safari does just fine if you have the RealPlayer or Flip4Mac WMV plugins. :(

Thanks to those who tracked down the origin of this quote!

Pogo said...

Re: "...jealous of Greenwald because he's smarter than you are."

Ann, they're right. Indeed, Greenwald is so smart he needs 2 and even 3 identities just to contain all that smartness.

MadisonMan said...

Greenwald is very hard to read unless you actually know people who talk in such a rambling, discursive and prone to digressing manner. Imagine taking a class with him teaching! The mind boggles.

Bad writing, even if you're paid for it (I assume he is), is not a cardinal sin. Reading some of the anti-Greenwald vitriol here, you'd think he was a convicted murderer or something.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"I cried because I had no shoes, 'till I met a man who had no feet. So I said, 'You got any shoes you're not using'?"

Kind of reminds me of another quote I heard.

"My shoes are too tight but it doesn't matter because I have forgotten how to dance."

Christy said...

I lasted about 5 minutes into the diavlog before clicking over into a Salon link to check out Paglia's latest. I feel your pain.

bwebster said...

You missed my favorite variant, which I recall from 30 or so years ago and have cited many times since:

"I cried that I had no shoes until I met a man who had no class."

Heh.[tm] ..bruce..

paul a'barge said...

Greenwald? I don't want to go all ad hominem and everything, but no lips and a white T-shirt under a polo shirt and a $40 dollar fey yuppie haircut?

Stankleberry said...

It's pretty hilarious that anytime anyone posts a comment supporting Glenn Greenwald, everyone assumes that it's just him doing some sock puppeting. What a dumb pile of crap that guy is.

richard mcenroe said...

But what a stringy and gamy lot are Greenwald's trolls.

Do NOT eat Greenwald's trolls. You probably DO know where they've been...

Dewave said...

Which Greenwald showed up for the bloggingHeads segment I wonder?

I used to find him merely interminably boring, but then the sock-puppetry was revealed and now I find him intensely amusing.

If he talks like he writes, however, I would never dream of wasting time talking to him when there are tons of other far more articulate and persuasive liberal bloggers out there. Heck, every single Kos frontpager (with the exception of Hunter) is better.

Tully said...

Isn't it time someone built the Automatic Glenn Greenwald?

Namazu said...

There are some very incisive comments over at bhtv by some person calling him/herself 'Namazu,' quite possibly one of the most original voices on the Internet today.

Hattie said...

Making fun of Greenwald won't work. I suspect that he is difficult for the short attention span crowd to understand, the ones who are easily bored by in depth analysis. I understand that drugs and alcohol will do damage to people who might once have been smart, making it difficult for them to follow complex/and or abstract lines of thought.
I suggest that those who have been on substances of various sorts in an effort to control their anger and other bad moods should get off them for a week or so and then look at Greenwald's blog again.
They might learn something.

Adjoran said...

GiGi is an attention whore.

Simply the fact that his intellectual superiors (which includes most functionally literate people) talk about him is enough to get him all giddy. He doesn't care so much what is said - if it's negative, he can sometimes manufacture a "blog feud" to maximize the spotlight.

If everyone would simply ignore the moron, he might not go away, but the rest of us would have less trouble avoiding his narcissistic nonsense. As it is, he's sitting at home reading this thread and masturbating: "It's all about meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

Dewave said...

Making fun of Greenwald won't work.

On the contrary, it's far more enjoyable than descending into the tangled depths of his turgid prose and try to tease out a logical point to respond to.

Besides, it would be downright rude to not make fun of Greenwald after he has so generously offered us so many reasons to do so.

JSinger said...

"I cried because I had no shoes, 'till I met a man who had no feet. So I said, 'You got any shoes you're not using'?" --- Stephen Wright

"I pitied myself because I had no shoes, until I met the man who sold them." --- Married With Children

Daryl said...

Damn, the guy really looks like his caricature.

That was my first thought. Then, it was "he is a caricature"

Patterico has taken on the task of exposing Greenwald's more ridiculous statements. How anyone can still take the sock puppeteer seriously, I don't know. Actually, I have a very good idea: blind ideological loyalty.

Hattie is only interested in showing off how partisan she is. Sticking up for a fair, honest pundit is boring and doesn't really achieve that. But by sticking up for the indefensible Glenn Greenwalds, Hattie is advertising to everyone just how ideologically motivated she is.

Mark said...

How boring. People who can not come up with real arguments to Greenwald's substantive and very accurate points accuse him of being a bad writer. How intellectually dishonest! I've talked by email with two known center-right bloggers and they both admit off the record that Glenn, while being occasionally too verbose, makes good substantive points and is not hard to read at all.
All his sentences are grammatically correct and very easy to understand (although English is not my native language).

The difference between Greenwald and Ann is that Greenwald holds Bush administration to account. He demonstrates with impeccable logic (praised by Lederman and favorably cited by Orin Kerr) how utterly dishonest and yes, criminal, this administration has behaved.
But when one has nothing substantive to say (for whatever reasons) he/she resorts to cheap shots, such as Ann did here.
Pathetic.

MasterThief said...

I would like to see the results of an "If They Mated" between Greenwald and Hillary Swank.

Aside from that, the man is really quite a pathetic debater, Smith was wiping the floor with him. Ann, if you're ever unfortunate to be paired with him on Bloggingheads, you will have nothing to worry about.

Dave said...

I know we're all thinking:

Where's Ellison? And Wilson?

Dave said...

"Greenwald's substantive and accurate remarks"

Oh, there he is.

Mark said...

Is this the best you can do, Dave? How unsurprising.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann, if you're ever unfortunate to be paired with him on Bloggingheads, you will have nothing to worry about."

Yes, I will. I'm at my worst when the other person is boring me. I won't name any names, but maybe you can figure it out.

Someone said GG looks just like his caricature. That is true, except to the extent that he looks cute in the caricature, whereas in the flesh... the wizened flesh... well, let's just say it had me thinking of a TV character I hadn't thought of in a long time: Willie the Worm.

And as for why I don't address his substantive and very accurate points or whatever: I don't read him. Don't you get it? Life is too short to read bad writing. If he won't edit his writing and show some consideration for the reader, I'm going somewhere else. And I feel sorry for anyone who thinks writing like that is a sign of intelligence. It is a sign of not caring about your writing, at best. At worst, it's a sign of trying to compensate for feelings of inferiority about your intelligence. Either way, I don't respect him, and I'm sure as hell not going to read him. And if you think I'm just avoiding the liberal perspective, I read the NYT and listen to NPR every day.

Hattie said...

Ann, Ann, Ann.
You ARE jealous. Tut tut.

Pompiea said...

"My shoes are too tight but it doesn't matter because I have forgotten how to dance."

Now I'm going to have to watch Babylon 5 again.

David said...

Here is another reason we should keep Greenwald off of video: He might blink a message to our enemies! Remember when Ann offered that up as an excuse for why he might need to wear goggles on his way to the dentist?

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