Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Read George Will - lose brain cells

George Will has written one of the stupidest, most inane articles I have ever read. It's actually kind of sad, because he really means to make Senator-elect Jim Webb look like an idiot, but it completely backfires. He has decided that George Allen's move to attack Jim Webb's words on a page was a good one, and he has dutifully followed in the footsteps of the now unemployed campaign members. Some highlights include:
A week after the election, he (Webb) published a column in The Wall Street Journal that began this way: "The most important -- and unfortunately the least debated -- issue in politics today is our society's steady drift toward a class-based system, the likes of which we have not seen since the 19th century. America's top tier has grown infinitely richer and more removed over the past 25 years. It is not unfair to say that they are literally living in a different country."

Well.

In his novels and his political commentary, Webb has been a writer of genuine distinction, using language with care and precision. But just days after winning an election, he was turning out slapdash prose that would be rejected by a reasonably demanding high school teacher.

Never mind Webb's careless and absurd assertion that the nation's incessantly discussed wealth gap is "the least debated" issue in American politics.

And never mind his use of the word "literally," although even with private schools and a large share of the nation's wealth, the "top tier" -- whatever cohort he intends to denote by that phrase; he is suddenly too inflamed by social injustice to tarry over the task of defining his terms -- does not "literally" live in another country.
Um...what? OK, but I get what Jim Webb is saying. I understand what he means. He said "it is not unfair to say that they are literally living in a different country." Well, we KNOW that he doesn't really mean that they are not in the United States of America, but the "world" a poor person lives in compared to that of Paris Hilton most certainly WOULD seem like "another country", don't you think? Actually, Jim Webb paints a picture of the land we live in a pretty realistic light.

More...
But notice, in the same sentence that the word "literally" appears, the word "infinitely." Earth to Webb: Words have meanings that not even senators can alter. And he has been elected to be a senator, not Humpty Dumpty in "Through the Looking Glass." ("When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.") America's national economic statistics are excellent; Webb could actually tell us how much richer the "top tier" has become, relative to other cohorts, over a particular span. But that would require him to actually say who he is talking about, and that takes time and effort, and senators -- Webb is a natural -- often are too busy for accuracy.

Based on Webb's behavior before being sworn in, one shudders to think what he will be like after that. He already has become what Washington did not need another of, a subtraction from the city's civility and clear speaking.
OK, back up. George Will is attacking Jim Webb's writings and speech, and in the same article he does so, he drops the following literary masterpieces:
Earth to Webb
(seen Zoolander?)
And he has been elected to be a senator, not Humpty Dumpty in "Through the Looking Glass."
(Um...right...)
He (Webb) already has become what Washington did not need another of, a subtraction from the city's civility and clear speaking.
(OK, buddy, here's the thing. If Bush is a "clear" and "civil" speaker, I will gladly take Jim Webb's big, fancy SAT words, ok? I happen to be the type of person that would LIKE their POTUS to be a little above the fray and well-educated.)

I apologize if reading this made your brain hurt.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, just your misspelling of "asinine." Have to be extra careful when you're writing about bad writing...

8:57 PM  
Blogger Phriendly Jaime said...

Thanks. I'll take care of that.

It's still a ridiculous article.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Brad said...

This is pretty ridiculous. I've always held Will in much higher esteen than his blowhard cohorts Krauthammer and that local dingbat McKenzie, but this is one is pretty out there. It's very whiny, he wants so badly to insult Webb but can't find any faults, so he just picks out little trifling things to quibble about. I would like to say I expect more from these people, but the truth is those hopes were dashed ages ago.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Brad said...

And, yes, anonymous, that word I typed should be "esteem." (Pre-emptive typo defense)

9:47 PM  
Blogger Terry said...

Nice find. Nice to know the GOP is still waging it's war on the middle class even after these elections.


Hey anon, if you're going to play grammar nazi head over to the biggest offender of them all - swacgirl.

10:02 PM  
Anonymous andreac said...

I stopped reading Will in the 1970s after a single episode. A very pregnant woman in CA had been attacked by her boyfriend who did not want the baby, and the baby died. Will argued that if abortion were legal, then what the man did could not be made criminal. Will intentionally ignored and manipulated the argument that the individual patient, not a third person, has the right of bodily integrity and self-determination. It's in the 9th and 10th Amendment. So the patient gets to decide what medical procedures she is exposed to, not her boyfriend, girlfriend, father, judge or neighbor. That would mean no attacker, with or without a judicial robe, could tell her that she had to stay pregnant or that she couldn't stay pregnant. Will's arguments were so wacked out.
I don't know how he ever got a reputation as a smart guy. He picks he conclusions and writes backward and ends up nowhere.

10:45 PM  
Blogger wagonball said...

As I remember George Will's vault into the MSM, as he was flipping from a Dem to Rep, Nancy Reagan befrended him. In repayment George was believed to be the one who leaked Jimmy Cater's debate book to Reagan Camp in 1980. He hasn't changed much with pompass psuedo intellutalism.

1:11 PM  
Blogger wagonball said...

As I remember George Will's vault into the MSM, as he was flipping from a Dem to Rep, Nancy Reagan befrended him. In repayment George was believed to be the one who leaked Jimmy Cater's debate book to Reagan Camp in 1980. He hasn't changed much with pompass psuedo intellutalism.

1:11 PM  
Blogger JPTERP said...

George Will was way too subtle with this column.

I would recommend re-reading the last paragraph first and then starting from the beginning again.

As a commentator pointed out on the Post website, Will uses the pregnant pause . . . . to indicate . . . . he is not serious.

If the column seems ridiculous on its face, that's because it is.

Buried near the end George Will tips his hand:

"Jim Webb is a natural".

If you read the article "literally" then you will miss the point.

The real target of the article is G.W. Bush. Granted it takes about 5 readings to get beyond the literal meaning of this column.

11:23 PM  
Blogger Phriendly Jaime said...

Oh my GOD...


I love all of you so MUCH...

11:51 PM  

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