[Ken] Silverstein's dander is up because he thinks I called him "America's worst pundit." But the rest of the world understood pretty well that I was referring directly to William Kristol, whom I discussed in the previous paragraph.... He then goes to the trouble to find a bunch of things I said in a conversation which, ripped out of context, sound wrong today. But I'm guessing that if I went to the trouble of going back and looking directly at the quotes in question, I could find sufficient qualifiers purposely ignored by Silverstein to demonstrate that I was not saying what he pretends I am. (And don't forget, Silverstein is quoting something I said in conversation, not something I wrote in a monthly magazine. Ann Althouse did the same thing to me in both her blog and in a New York Times op-ed. This is one reason, aside from a lack of time, I stopped doing bloggingheads.tv. It's ridiculous to say something in conversation and to have people treat it as if, well, as if you wrote it in a fact-checked monthly magazine.)"In conversation"? He said something in a public dialogue on Bloggingheads. It's not like I publicized something he said to me in a private conversation. I have no interest in this current hissyfit about Ken Silverstein, but why drag me into it and insinuate that I did something underhanded? You can read my blog post (and NYT column) for yourself. I took something he said seriously and argued against it. What on earth is his problem? My guess is he has some shame about having uttered the words "I think it would be good if we had some sort of, you know, blogging — you know — council, where we could condemn people." He should also have some shame about attacking me baselessly and totally out of context like this. And he's the one who wanted to enforce standards! Ha!
AND: Speaking of criticism from out of nowhere, can anyone explain why Amanda Marcotte is trashing me here? The closest I can come to understanding her point is that she interprets the phrase "shameless sybarite" as unalloyed praise.
UPDATE: Eric Alterman calls me "insane" in this new post, which — since I'm sitting on the floor at O'Hare with nothing to do — I'm going to fisk:
Ann Althouse is insane, continued: Read her here. The story is this: I made a point, yesterday, about the fact that one tends to be more considered in print, particularly print in a monthly fact-checked magazine, than in casual conversation. She saw her name there and has become hysterical over something I clearly didn't say -- and you can check the tape below -- notably, that bloggingheads.tv somehow constitutes a "private" conversation.Well, Eric saw my post here and has become hysterical over something I clearly didn't say — and you can read the post above. I didn't say that Eric thought that Bloggingheads is a private conversation. I said he was reacting as if I'd done something underhanded, which might have made sense if I'd repeated something from a private conversation. But since it wasn't at all private, and in fact was especially public, my taking his quote seriously was perfectly justified and not at all underhanded. I didn't like seeing my name dragged down for no reason and I wrote this post to complain. He could have apologized, but instead, he wrote another post and called me insane. That's insane.
She then takes her own, imaginary reading of what I wrote and goes on to speculate that I feel a secret "shame" about what I said.Actually, Eric, I'm sure you're shameless. That was a joke and a dagger to punish you for attacking me.
This is exactly the kind of thing, I suppose, one would expect from a woman who attacks other women for having boobs.And Eric, since I never did that, you are lying about me — in an especially sexist way.
Perhaps Althouse should get together with the similarly challenged Ken Silverstein and the two of them can do this kind of thing all the time, but in private.That's what passes for a masturbatory fantasy in the mind of Alterman.
In the meantime, allow me to recommend a book I just finished teaching to my students, Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death, in a new 20th anniversary edition from Viking, which contains some extremely useful musings on the advantages of thinking in print compared to musing in conversation -- particularly televised conversation. Think before you blog, people; a mind is a terrible thing to waste, and so is my time.Alterman is incoherent. Blogging is writing. In any case, both speech and writing are valuable. Obviously, when Alterman was teaching that book to his students, he was speaking. We human beings do both, and conversation has a long and honorable tradition, longer than writing. We get a good sense of what people are by hearing them speak. It has a special trustworthiness that writing lacks.
Look at how we insist on hearing our political candidates speak, and we don't get that much out of their policy papers (which others have crafted and polished). We judge people by how they seem when they speak, and I judged Alterman harshly for the revelation of the mind I glimpsed when he said "I think it would be good if we had some sort of, you know, blogging — you know — council, where we could condemn people." Imagine if he were a political candidate and said something like that. It would be the end.
(And I'm not trashing bloggingheads, which is among the best of these conversations. It's just that the medium is by definition limited, and so is my time, which was the main reason I stopped doing them. I told Rob I would be glad to do a few once Why We're Liberals is published because, well, one has to promote one's real work.)Yeah, he'll go on video to flog his book.
And he did trash Bloggingheads... which he can't go on, because something shockingly repellent oozes out. It's gruesome!
AND: Who's Rob? Does he mean Bob Wright?