Monday, April 21, 2008

Punditry gone bad...

"... I'll say one thing about Malkin: she is independent, and I admire that about her. She is extremely polarizing, ridiculously partisan and quasi-fascist in her politics, but I can't help but admire her pluck. She has made a name for herself almost entirely by her own efforts, she's extremely hard-working, innovative and ballsy, and takes her own side to task from time to time. She's also managed to rise above the disgusting misogyny and racism that has been thrown in her direction. Don't get me wrong: her McCarthyite bomb-throwing is repellent a lot of the time. But the blogosphere forces you to take the good with the bad and none of us is perfect. Any individual who has wrested control of the discourse from the media establishment and forged their own path is part of the solution." Link

Frankly, I couldn't disagree more. Her posts, at least when I read her blog a year or two ago, were pure monarchical zealotry: the executive does what he pleases during war-time and shouldn't be questioned. Perhaps she does take the republicans to task from time to time, but it seems to come from a place of astonishment... how dare those republicans act more like.... traditional republicans.

Her posts strike me as without logic, reason, or merit, and she represents, at least to me, a serious problem facing our political discourse. How can we possibly come together as a nation when we can't speak about the same issues in similar terms? How can we argue about the validity of invading a foreign country when our pundits cannot even agree, when faced with strong supporting evidence, that the whole thing is a colossal mess. Indeed, even if we cannot agree that it's a mess, we need to at least be able to speak calmly about what _is_ happening over there.
Just to clear the brush, I'm a registered independent, I support the armed forces with a zeal that perhaps matches Malkin's love for her own brand of politics.

But frankly, I find her writing to be poisonous. She represents a kind of buffet style media where you can get exactly the kind of news, opinion, and fact that supports whatever position you wish to have. It promotes talking points, argument and disagreement without substance, and the "shouting past" tactics that somehow passes for debate in this country.
Her "pluck" and "balls" are admirable. But then so were McCarthy's, so are the President's. The ability to fly in the face of convention is only an admirable skill if it produces positive results. In this case, if you look at the current state of our discourse, I would put fourth that her "pluck" is not only disingenuous, it is also very damaging.

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