"So much centrist scolding depends on this routine! Take the specific thing that people are criticizing, remove enough of the particulars to turn it into an abstract proposition, then defend that abstract proposition in pious general terms."
Yes, and not just Serious Civil Centrists, though they are conspicuous offenders; it's one of the first lessons you learn in Debate Team on how to defend the indefensible in any context. Somebody stabbed somebody twenty times? "Why is there such reflexive outrage over vigorous arm motion? Are we as a society really going to..." etc.
I love this newsletter. This and Today in Tabs are my must reads every day. Thanks for what you do!
I wish someone would wake Chait up to the reality of mediocrity that passes on the Right for critical discourse. The daily violation of Twain’s Law (better to remain silent and be thought an idiot than open your mouth and remove all doubt) by the Mandels and Shapiros is only added to by the insipid defense of them by the Chaits of this world.
"She may be wrong, but she's not an idiot," said well known idiot Jonathan Chait. How many times now has Indignity pointed out Chait being idiotic? I've lost count. After awhile - and not a very long while, either - it seems to me that what I'm going to call Firefly's Law applies: "Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you - he really is an idiot."*
Considering how much time you must spend reading the twaddle spouted by such twaddlers, I fear for your mental health. Just remember, please, that all of these people - Chait, Mandel, Shapiro and so, so many more - are charlatans. That they're well paid for their bloviating doesn't make their bloviations any less ridiculous. Chait, in particular, is egregiously smarmy; could anything be smarmier than tut-tutting about laughing at an aggressively obnoxious person who has just made a spectacular fool of herself in public? (On second thought, I really don't want to know what could be smarmier.)
*Said by Groucho Marx's character, Rufus T. Firefly, regarding Chico Marx's character, Chicolini, in the courtroom scene of "Duck soup" (1933).
Thanks for the lucid critique of the Right's "war on wokeness." It's definitely more of a shibboleth than a useful way of looking at the world.
It's funny to me that, in of Chait's defenses of Mandel, he goes out of his way to classify her as "not a complete idiot" and "not a moron". Gee, thanks!
Either it's hedging in his defense of someone who stands out amid the myriad right wing shouters as a real horrorshow, or a habit growing out of his performance as "The Only One Smart Enough To Police The Discourse".
It's also funny because Mandel really does seem like an idiot.