The Rittenhouse Review

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

Wednesday, May 25, 2005  

I’m Not Sure I Even Thought It
Okay, Maybe Some of It

I can’t believe I missed this from more than a month ago, this being New York Press’s annual list of the 50 Most Loathsome New Yorkers. (Yes, they got it down to 50 in a city in which mere loathsomeness is considered both a character flaw and a personal failing.)

Rittenhouse readers perusing the list of the loathsome might find their eyes locked upon number 41, Norman Podhoretz, editor emeritus of Commentary, about which the Press writes:

It’s been a good millennium so far for the city’s most loathsome elderly intellectual. The Bush White House awarded ol’ Poddy the Presidential Medal of Honor last year for his decades of tireless support for arms racing, unprovoked aggression and death squads. His wife Midge Decter, meanwhile, was awarded a National Humanities Medal for her decades of faithful imitation of a menopausal Mathew Arnold. His leaden-witted son John finally escaped the shadow of fellow mini-con William Kristol and took over that sophisticated journal of ideas known as the New York Post op-ed page. Just half a bloodline away, son-in-law Elliot Abrams wormed his way back into the foreign policy establishment like Iran-Contra never happened. So you’d think Stormin’ Norman would be happy. Hell, last year the Free Press even published a 500-page Norman Podhoretz Reader. But Norman ain’t happy. Norman’s never happy. His latest piece in Commentary is one long cry of pain and hurt that his own designation for the Clash of Civilizations -- “World War IV” -- hasn’t yet become an international relations meme on par with Walter Lippman’s “Cold War” or the central, permanent organizing principle for Western Civilization, aka the American imperium, with him and Midge at the stormy helm. Someone needs to just die already.

And people think I’m snarky?

Also (deservedly) among the loathsome, several of whom have been on the receiving end of criticism at this site: Graydon Carter, editor of Vanity Fair at No. 8; Andrea Peyser of the New York Post at No. 13; Ed Koch, former mayor and closet conservative, at No. 18; Katie Couric of “Today” at No. 24; Lawrence Kudlow, identified as an “economist” (?) and “pundit,” at No. 28; Bill O’Reilly of “The O’Reilly Factor,” at No. 29; Thomas Krens, director of the Guggenheim Museum, at No. 36; Karen Schwartz of the New York Sun at No. 39; Frank Bruni, food critic of the New York Times, at No. 40; Max Boot of The Wall Street Journal and the Weekly Standard at No 45; Judith Regan of ReganBooks at No. 48; and the guy in the number-one slot, but if I told you his name here you wouldn’t read the list over there, would you?

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