Thursday, January 17, 2008

Best Lead of the Month

'It is like the tulip craze, this primary season, except that nobody knows which ones are the tulips. The Clinton panic, his even more than hers, the cracking of their feeling of entitlement to power, is delightful to witness (if she loses the nomination or the election, she will not have lost, she will have been denied); the Obama question--isn't he lovely?--has an increasing number of people wondering whether loveliness, and a loamy reiteration of the enduring American fantasy about the transcendence of politics, is a sufficient qualification to rule. Meanwhile an unprecedented number of Americans are typing and hyping their opinions about the contest: the barricades are down, the punditocracy is dead, and the technology has killed it. The people are their own commentators. So the temptation to add one's own incandescence to the din is easy to resist. Anyway, I have something better--more primary, if you will--to write about. Another wristwatch has been taken from the wrist.'
--from literary editor Leon Wieseltier's Washington Diarist column in the current issue of The New Republic. To review past best leads of the month, go here.


At 3:22 PM, Anonymous Mr. Bluster said...

Pardon me for disagreeing, but I find this paragraph a bit "florid" and overly delighted with itself. And not particularly accurate.

At 5:33 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Bluster my man, you're of course not only welcome to but even encouraged to disagree. And yes, he can be florid and over the top, in fact that's generally his default position as a writer, and thus I can only take him in small doses (he wrote a book about mourning his father called Kadish, which is the Jewish ritual calling for mourning your parent for a full year after death, and I've often wanted to at least skim it, but don't know if I could take him in book length). But in this case, I enjoyed his high wire act. And of course it helped that I happened to agree with him completely about the egregious Clinton couple, though not about Obama.

At 12:03 AM, Anonymous Mr. Bluster said...

(Unable to leave well enough alone...)

"Tulip craze" (reference to a classic instance of the economic bubble in 17th century Netherlands) - Can today's voters collectively be said to be buying futures on any or all of the candidates? I don't think so.

"The Clinton panic" - I read a lot of political blogs, and to me, this phrase reflects wishful thinking. Both Hillary and Obama have had their highs and lows recently. Also, the author appears to be stimulating himself by juxtaposing the sexual connotation of "a woman denied" with Bill Clinton's past.

The Obama sentence would be pretty loamy itself, if loam were composed mainly of fertilizer.

"The punditocracy is dead, and the technology has killed it. The people are their own commentators." - Regardless of the existence of blogs, has there ever been a greater infestation of mindless talking heads?

"...add one's own incandescence to the din..." - The author deliberately mixes his metaphor and fluffs himself at the same time.

"I have something better--more primary, if you will--" - His high school yearbook advisor must have had a crush on him.

At 5:43 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

This all made me chuckle. I'd say you deconstructed him and his paragraph till there wasn't much left but the entrails. You have a withering pen, Mr. Bluster.


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