The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Monday, February 03, 2003  

The Latest Spitballs and Paper Airplanes From the Right-Wing Media

GIVE ME A BREAK: Here’s right-wing blogger and Lucianne Goldberg fan club secretary Mickey Kaus writing about “the press,” as if in this case “the press” didn’t include Kaus himself, on its already contemptibly snide and ignorant consensus regarding Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.): “. . . a case of the Kerry-loathing press latching on to the first issue it can use to illustrate their preexisting conviction that he’s a shamelessly ambitious, calculating, options-preserving opportunist.”

That’s funny. I thought the first issue Kerry-loathing types like Kaus (and New Criterion musicals reviewer Mark Steyn) used to illustrate their preexisting convictions about the junior senator from Massachusetts was his “phony furrowed brow.”

What’s also funny is that those words -- “a shamelessly ambitious, calculating, options-preserving opportunist” -- are the same words, only more gentle, that I would use to describe Kaus.


SORRY MR. STEYN: Speaking of Mark Steyn, a man who owes much of his reputation, such as it is, to his role as the neoconservative camp’s resident expert on such weighty topics as the relative merits of artistic endeavors of the caliber of “Cats” and “Les Miserables” (See Steyn’s seminal work, Broadway Babies Say Goodnight: Musicals Then and Now.), some two weeks ago he tapped out a few lines for the National Post under the title, “Join America? They Don’t Want Us.”

Wrong again, Mark. Down here in the United States we love Canada. We just despise you.


TUCKER, TUCKER, BO-BUCKER, BANANA-FANNA, FO- . . . WHOOPS!: Sometimes I think Tucker Carlson tries -- and I mean really tries -- to be an idiot. Here’s Carlson on CNN’s “Crossfire” on January 30: “Without the American government, apartheid would still be in South Africa, just so we can get that straight.” (CNN’s transcript mysteriously leaves out the director’s note: “Cue riotous laughter from the audience.”)

Speaking for myself, Carlson isn’t someone I would turn to as an expert on U.S. foreign policy toward South Africa in the 1980s. Not only because Carlson is an unabashed apologist, even cheerleader, for every half-witted right-wing crackpot the Republican Party sends down the pike, but also because when Mandela was released from Robben Island Prison, Carlson, who is now 33 years old, was developing his best imitation of George F. Will -- albeit the sloppier version -- at their shared alma mater, Trinity College (though Carlson admitted to New York magazine two years ago that his status as a bona fide Trinity grad is not entirely clear).

Back then young Tucker was hanging out in the dorms and no doubt offering sparring partners such sparkling rejoinders as “Oh, right. That's not a believable assertion,” a phrase he used on the same edition of “Crossfire” last week, only this time he was paid for that oh-so-devastating bon mot.


CAREER TIP FOR BUDDING PUNDITS: Become a raging, gaping asshole and you too could get a regular gig at Slate or Salon. Oh, and it might help if you repatriate yourself. And develop a robust retinue of trite and irritating affectations.


THIN PUBS GO A.W.O.L.: You know what? The American Conservative stopped arriving in my mailbox. No matter, no crisis, really. Actually, it was almost two months before I noticed. Ditto the Weekly Standard.

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