Thursday, January 26, 2006

This Month's Best Lead

'History will record the week that our laissez-faire government fiddled while a major city drowned, the fourth most popular nonfiction book in the land, according to the New York Times, was an itemized account of the ways in which liberals are ruining the country. There is, of course, nothing particularly new about this: baiting liberals is a popular pastime that seems to gain strength whenever catastrophe is afoot--NASDAQ meltdown, 9/11, hurricanes lining up like planes on a carrier deck to attack the Gulf Coast. Besides, assailing liberals is fun, and the genre long ago outgrew the narrow limits of political writing. We hate liberals in the movies and we hate them in academia; we despise them for their twee vegan restaurants and for their infernal artwork and precious sexuality. Before long, no doubt, we will have anti-liberal cookbooks and mutual funds that invest only in companies that piss liberals off.'

--from the lead paragraph in this month's Harper's Magazine, in a book review of Bernard Goldberg's banal & idiotic 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America, by the author Thomas Frank. We'll try to remember to keep bringing you our monthly favorite (and of course we'll gladly accept your nominations, gentle readers), in the continuing belief that if a piece of writing doesn't begin well, it might just as well not have been written.


At 8:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great lead. I flipped through that book a few weeks ago at Borders. "Nothing to see here, folks. Move on."

At 9:34 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks for visiting, Miles. I've been meaning to ask you how that ethics for engineers class is going.

At 9:32 PM, Blogger MaryB said...

Thanks for spotlighting the recent article in Harper's. I am such a fan of the magazine. The minute I pull it out of the mailbox, I read it from cover to cover. It makes me want to run up to people, slap them, and say "Wake up! Wake up!"

Now polls show that most Americans aren't that concerned about illegal wiretapping. Sigh. Obviously, everyone's still asleep. And yet, it's the bad old liberals who are destroying the country? (sound of head repeatedly smacking the wall)

At 12:38 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

It'll be interesting to see how much Harper's both changes and stays the same with a new editor. And it's also important to remember that their peculiar brand of against-the-grain truthtelling isn't supported by the economics of magazine publishing, but by the good graces of many millions of dollars injected by the MacArthur Foundation insurance fortune over the years.

At 4:00 PM, Blogger MaryB said...

Yep. Time (rather, Harper's) will tell.


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