October 24, 2008

"Leon Wieseltier is the literary editor at The New Republic."

And by "literary," we mean that he endorses political candidates and says things like "when he picked Sarah Palin, he told the United States of America to go fuck itself."

37 comments:

Crimso said...

Given their repeated problems in the past with respect to making shit up, I'm surprised anyone still reads them.

Sofa King said...

OF course, by "United States of America" he means "me and my coastal elitist friends."

PoNyman said...

The 'literary editor' at the New Republic is the equivalent title of the 'chief editor' at any other magazine.

(Sorry, I couldn't help it.)

Bissage said...

"I don't know how you guys walk around with those things."

-- Elaine Benes

rhhardin said...

Go fuck yourself is Vice Presidential, not Presidential.

``That's Adam Clymer, major league asshole'' is Presidential. (real audio)

``Big time.'' Vice Presidential.

Roger J. said...

Oh, Leon, baby--thats got to sting.

Bart DePalma said...

Actually, it can be reasonably argued that, when he picked Sarah Palin, McCain did tell the wealthy coastal elites (like the folks paying big bucks to hear Obama run down bitter folks in fly over country who cling to their guns and religion) to go to hell.

As the literary editor at the New Republic, Wieseltier probably does believe NYC makes up the entire United States and probably doesn't even know a "bitter clinger."

Whines like this come to mind every time I hear someone claim that the Dems are the party of the "little guy" and the GOP is the party of the "rich." That claim lost all legitimacy back in 1980 when the blue collar Reagan Dems bolted to the GOP.

reader_iam said...

Leon Wieseltier needs to be introduced to the paragraph key. I don't keep a scythe in my pocketbook.

Zach said...

It gives an interesting indirect commentary on what he thinks about being a literary editor, doesn't it?

This is a point I wanted to raise in the threads about politics in the classroom. If you're an expert in one thing, your opinion is most valuable when talking about the thing you're an expert in. If popping off about politics substitutes easily for talking about literature, even though you're an expert in literature and have largely conventional and uninsightful political opinions, then literature must not be very important!

reader_iam said...

I mean, talk about groaning exertions!

Original George said...

Historical tidbit:

Michael Straight, the editor of the New Republic from 1948 to 1956 was a KGB spy and had been since the 1930s when he worked at the US State Department.

As the linked article indicates, had he not been a member of a spy ring in the 1950s and had he volunteered the names of other spies, countless lives might have been saved in the Korean War.

Later, he offered himself to the Democratic Party as a Congressional candidate. He was a close friend of Mrs. Kennedy, his step-sister. Nixon appointed him to a top spot in the National Endowment for the Arts.

How unbelievable. Imagine being the editor-in-chief of one of the nation's most prominent political journals during the Cold War, the influence you would have over the national debate, and you're controlled by the KGB.

We may be glad that today there are no politicians, journalists, or other national figures who are in any way under the influence of any hostile powers. We do know that John Murtha was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Abscam scandal. Nothing like this could ever happen again.

reader_iam said...

(Zach, my last comment was not in response to yours.)

Trevor Jackson said...

LOL, Reader. Lots of people don't know how to write for the Web.

As for his "endorsement," people should really read the whole thing. It's far more critical of Obama than of McCain. It's also myopic:

He says, "For all his articulateness, I still do not know what most moves Obama--what are the two or three grand proposals that he would put before the Congress and the country in the early months of his administration."

If he really believes this, he hasn't been paying attention, or he has decided not to believe what he hears.

reader_iam said...

Heh. And now I'm thinking of old-timey laxative ads.

TMink said...

Bart wrote: "Actually, it can be reasonably argued that, when he picked Sarah Palin, McCain did tell the wealthy coastal elites (like the folks paying big bucks to hear Obama run down bitter folks in fly over country who cling to their guns and religion) to go to hell."

Indeed. It is how McCain secured my vote.

Trey

reader_iam said...

Can Palladian photoshop Wieseltier on his throne?

Meade said...

"...he told the United States of America to go fuck itself."

It's funny because if you take literally the literary editor's literation, by picking Palin McCain is in fact telling the United States of America to stop fucking itself.

reader_iam said...

What we also need is Trooper with some good fart jokes.

Palladian said...

It's exciting when literate people say "fuck"! It's the frisson that results from the sweaty entanglement of high-brow literary intellectual cache with inarticulate low-class violent verbiage! Wouldn't it be positively titillating to hear TS Eliot bark "Fuck you, stupid cunt!" at a woman who bumped into him on the street? Wouldn't it be absolutely delicious to hear the Brontë sisters get into a catfight, with Anne screaming "You fucking bitch!" at Emily as she pulled her hair?

There's nothing that expresses authenticity better than the hearty deployment of the f-word during a high-minded conversation. It puts a man of letters in touch with his animal self, makes him feel like a real man for a change. I encourage it! Say it with me, Sons of Eli and Oxonians:

FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!

reader_iam said...

Palladian: Your comment is making my mind ping with a "I-just-can't-quite-retrieve-it" reference to some scene in a movie, one from quite a long time ago. All I can recall is overuse of that word (on purpose, as a device) and dissolving into laughter at the scene. Anyone hearing the same distant bell?

Palladian said...

Hmmmm...

Original George said...

Last scene of Stanley Kubrick's last movie. Last word.

Simon said...

Echo Bart and Palladian.

Oh no, with this endorsement, McCain's grip on the "people who read New Republic book reviews while stroking their beards" demographic may be at risk!

Richard Dolan said...

Palladian would make a better literary editor for TNR. He's certainly right about Wieseltier's tone-deafness.

But it's not just Wieseltier's pathetic effort at wielding the f-word as his own little badge of honor and authenticity. His entire piece has the sound of a man trying to talk himself into something that he knows to be a mistake. More than most, I suspect, Wieseltier sees that Biden was right about the testing of O that is coming, as well as O's inevitable failure and the terrible losses that will result. But, courage being in short supply, Wieseltier goes with the flow while pretending that he believes in what he's saying and about to do.

Unfortunately, life is not just a literary text that we get to deconstruct into whatever narrative sounds good for right now.

LarsPorsena said...

"It's exciting when literate people say "fuck"! It's the frisson that results from the sweaty entanglement of high-brow literary intellectual cache with inarticulate low-class violent verbiage! Wouldn't it be positively titillating to hear TS Eliot bark "Fuck you, stupid cunt!" at a woman who bumped into him on the street? Wouldn't it be absolutely delicious to hear the Brontë sisters get into a catfight, with Anne screaming "You fucking bitch!" at Emily as she pulled her hair?

There's nothing that expresses authenticity better than the hearty deployment of the f-word during a high-minded conversation. It puts a man of letters in touch with his animal self, makes him feel like a real man for a change. I encourage it! Say it with me, Sons of Eli and Oxonians:

FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!

There are moments when Palladian is just sublime. I'm fucking envious.

Synova said...

Well! I was going to say that phrases such as, it was not without an exertion of casuistry are what make him a literary editor and then add some remark about the contrast to "f*ck"... but dang Palladian anyway!

It's the frisson that results from the sweaty entanglement of high-brow literary intellectual cache with inarticulate low-class violent verbiage!

Darcy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CraigE said...

His entire piece has the sound of a man trying to talk himself into something that he knows to be a mistake.

See also: Althouse post-neuterality.

Doyle said...

I'm no fan of L-Wies, but that's a good line.

sean said...

Leon Wieseltier is (a) about the worst writer I know of and (b) filled with deep hatred for Christians. I think it must be very sad to be him.

On the bright side, when Andrew Sullivan left the New Republic, Wieseltier wished him "a long and fruitful life." So you say, psychopathology sometimes produces wit where a mentally healthy person would just be boring.

From Inwood said...

Palladian

Your comment is lapidarian.

I’ve sent it to a few friends who have from time to time excused incoherent, inarticulate, inane rants from the “oppressed” as a sign of what you mockingly refer to as “authenticity”.

The old cliché: “speaking truth to power” has become “speaking authenticity to intellectualoids”.

Old Leon is more interested in being histrionic and épater le bourgeois than in making a serious contribution to the discussion.

blake said...

The problem with these massive smear campaigns is that people actually believe them.

McCain picked someone who has more executive experience than the three of them put together (arguably, since McCain ran that army base, but at least more than Obama + Biden + Edwards + Clinton), who's actually accomplished things in her post, and who represents the original ideals of feminism better than any candidate.

Bart makes a good point, in that the writer doubtless identifies himself and his class with America.

Which dovetails nicely with Trevor's comment If he really believes this, he hasn't been paying attention, or he has decided not to believe what he hears.

Why would he? I think he obviously believes some of it--probably the stuff he hears from nearby folk. But the misinformation has been flying hard and fast.

jdeeripper said...

The man has the word wiesel in his last name.

Sarah Palin wouldn't lower herself to bother to shoot such a pathetic creature.

Deer, elk, caribou, moose, bear, wolves.

Substantial mammals.

Sofa King said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sofa King said...

reader_iam said...
Palladian: Your comment is making my mind ping with a "I-just-can't-quite-retrieve-it" reference to some scene in a movie, one from quite a long time ago. All I can recall is overuse of that word (on purpose, as a device) and dissolving into laughter at the scene. Anyone hearing the same distant bell?


Here it is:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUaFOepKW20

Theo Boehm said...

No F-bomb in this story. A bit musty, but good maybe for a petit frisson, if you consider the only recorded words between Samuel Johnson and Adam Smith:

Dr. Johnson: You lie, Sir!
Adam Smith: You are a son of a bitch!


Two enlightened men in the Age of Enlightenment.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I haven't been this fucking impressed since I heard Nixon on the Watergate tapes.