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March 11, 2009 3:10 PM   Subscribe

Ross Douthat, senior editor of The Atlantic and co-author of Grand New Party [nyt review], has been chosen as a new opinion columnist for the New York Times, replacing William Kristol and joining David Brooks as one of the paper's conservative voices.
posted by billysumday (45 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I was hoping Daniel Larison would get it, but Ross is also a huge step up from Bill Kristol.
posted by fatbird at 3:12 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


A developmentally-disabled lump of coal would have been a huge step up from Bill Kristol.
posted by dersins at 3:14 PM on March 11, 2009 [11 favorites]


I'll do anything for information, but I won't Douthat.
posted by rdone at 3:16 PM on March 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'll do anything for information, but I won't Douthat.

I Douthat.
posted by billysumday at 3:16 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Rhymes with "asshat"?
posted by Joe Beese at 3:17 PM on March 11, 2009


"Dow-thut," according to Wiki. Accent grave over the "thut."
posted by rdone at 3:19 PM on March 11, 2009


Yeah, Douthat's a good writer and smart. But I doubt that he really represents a very wide swathe of American conservative opinion. He's kind of a red tory, it seems to me. Hopefully he's the sign of the future, because it's good to have reasonable political parties. That aside, it shouldn't be a prerequisite for an op-ed writer that he or she be representative of a widely held strain of thought, but that's sorta been the point of the NYT's in-house conservative.
posted by Kattullus at 3:27 PM on March 11, 2009


The odd thing: no matter who they get as a conservative, to add to Brooks, the Right in their blogs will continue to refer to the paper as Leftist. And why not? When you turn the pages, you go from right to left.
posted by Postroad at 3:44 PM on March 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Isn't Douthat neoconservative? Sullivan mentioned today that he often is an eloquent proponent, anyway.
posted by LooseFilter at 3:46 PM on March 11, 2009


Considering the other conservatives who write/blog for The Atlantic, it could have been a lot worse. For example, they could have hired Andrew Sullivan or Megan McArdle, and then I could have, you know, killed myself.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:47 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't have minded Sullivan, actually.

Douthat is only just 30 years old this year. Hm.
posted by LooseFilter at 3:51 PM on March 11, 2009


Sullivan is not a conservative, at least as American conservatism is defined now.
posted by empath at 4:03 PM on March 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


as American conservatism is defined now.

You mean "straight"?
posted by dersins at 4:06 PM on March 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


He voted for Obama.
posted by Richard Daly at 4:20 PM on March 11, 2009


Although, actually, he didn't because he's brittish.
posted by Richard Daly at 4:20 PM on March 11, 2009


I misread that as "Douchehat." I didn't mean to.
posted by katillathehun at 4:21 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would just like to thank Ross for making the alumni magazine from school - prep school, where both he and Barbaro at the NYT graduated - even more insufferable.

One of these days we're going to find pictures of Cabaret '97. One of these days.

That being said, he's not a terrible guy. He's very, very opinionated. He's very smart. But dangerously, if he hasn't changed substantially, he used to love getting into arguments just for the sake of provoking people. I really hope he's tempered that down now that he's, you know, gotten laid older.
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 4:47 PM on March 11, 2009


Seems to me the Times can't make up its mind. Douthat's definitely a good writer, but if "good writer" were the criterion, there might be thousands of others to choose from who wouldn't be conservative. They also chose him because he's conservative - but he isn't really, not in the sense of the "conservative movement" in the United States these days. If you want a good writer, go for a good writer; if you want someone who represents a strand of thinking (I'm being charitable, calling it "thinking") that is totally unrepresented in the NYT, then go for some National Review crazy. I'm not sure of the point of doing neither, or rather both, but very half-heartedly.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 4:56 PM on March 11, 2009


The editor of the Atlantic was born in 1979?

I feel... what's that word. Old. Yeah, that's it.
posted by jokeefe at 4:59 PM on March 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


I misread that as "Douchehat." I didn't mean to.

I do that all the time. On purpose though.
posted by grobstein at 4:59 PM on March 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hold on a second. He refers to stem-cell research as "embryo killing"? The hell with him then. Whippersnapper.
posted by jokeefe at 5:00 PM on March 11, 2009


The editor of the Atlantic was born in 1979?

It's just a title for a senior writer, as far as I can tell. If it makes you feel any better, the actual editor of the Atlantic was born in 1966.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 5:02 PM on March 11, 2009


Ross is a late-twenties-year-old public intellectual with the sensibility of a 60-year eminence grise, the range of a Hitchens, the pitch of a conservative AJP Taylor, the conscience of a Neibuhr and the intellectual honesty of his frequent sparring partner, Andrew Sullivan.

Laying it on a bit thick, are we?
posted by blucevalo at 5:30 PM on March 11, 2009


Oh, and Mr. Ambinder -- it's Niebuhr, not "Neibuhr."
posted by blucevalo at 5:32 PM on March 11, 2009


It's just a title for a senior writer, as far as I can tell. If it makes you feel any better, the actual editor of the Atlantic was born in 1966.

Unless The Atlantic's different from the industry norm, the senior editor job is usually a hands-on, day-to-day editorial position involving lots of story generation and shaping and sometimes a lot of work with writers on their pieces - this in addition to writing display copy, front-of-book items and even the occasional feature.

Magazine editing, though, is a young man's game generally - very long hours, relatively low pay, lots of what I like to call "professionally mandated socializing" - and so it's rare at most publications to find a senior editor older than 40 and not uncommon for them to be in their late 20s.
posted by gompa at 5:36 PM on March 11, 2009


David Brooks is a fucking tool.

Just had to say it.
posted by baphomet at 5:38 PM on March 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Didn't he write an article a while ago about some philosophical argument that watching porn was really cheating, even if your partner didn't care? Google says yes.
posted by delmoi at 5:38 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


thank god it's not that dimwit mccardle, although i would have enjoyed her presence on the page inasmuch as i enjoyed kristol, which is to say, masochistically.
posted by Hat Maui at 6:21 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


as American conservatism is defined now.

You mean "straight"?


No, no, no. *Closeted.*
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:39 PM on March 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wait: could somebody explain to me why the Times needs a conservative on the payroll?

I'm a liberal. I like to read and support liberal newspapers and periodicals. I don't like to give my money to conservative newspapers and periodicals. I used to buy the Sunday Times every week.
But that was a long time ago.

The New York Times used to be a reasonably centrist/leaning-slightly-liberal newspaper. They stood up to Richard Nixon. But that was 35 years ago.

Today, they give wheelbarrels of money to people like Judy Miller, and David Brooks, and the unspeakable Kristol.

Someday the NYT will carry liberal opinion writers on their payroll: and when that happens, I'll once again be willing to give them some of my money. But not until they fire all of the conservatives they're currently paying. If they want to be supported by liberals, they should not pay for and print conservative columnists.

You would think that somebody at the Times could figure out why they're in such a steep decline: their potential audience isn't interested in paying for conservative propaganda.

We already get quite enough of that inflicted upon us from every other corner of the American media.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 6:52 PM on March 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Someday the NYT will carry liberal opinion writers on their payroll: and when that happens, I'll once again be willing to give them some of my money. But not until they fire all of the conservatives they're currently paying. If they want to be supported by liberals, they should not pay for and print conservative columnists.


GAAA! This is America! The media is supposed to pretend that they are "unbiased"! If they don't do that, then, well, uh, something bad happens. Communism or something; I forget.
posted by kiltedtaco at 7:43 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ross Douthat is also a conservative Catholic, I believe. If not, he is certainly liked by them.

Oh, and Rush doesn't think he's a real conservative anyways since Bill Moyers had him on his show, so he's already been tossed from the shrinking tent.
posted by cimbrog at 7:47 PM on March 11, 2009


He refers to stem-cell research as "embryo killing"?

Well I guess technically it is. Not that I have a problem with it. Or that they wouldn't die anyways. But technically.

Wait: could somebody explain to me why the Times needs a conservative on the payroll?

Okay, well... because sometimes I like to read opinions different from my own, rather than living in an echo chamber that makes me feel good. I wish conservatives would try this sometime. So why should liberals lower themselves to that level?
posted by fungible at 7:56 PM on March 11, 2009


Ross Douthat is also a conservative Catholic, I believe...

Yes, convert. Somewhere between 1996-8, iirc, although his childhood had a bit of church-shopping that included a long stop in the speaking-in-tongues aisle.
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 8:11 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


sometimes I like to read opinions different from my own

If only there were some way to do that other than reading the Times.
posted by aaronetc at 8:50 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty happy that Bill Kristol's star is rapidly dimming. I don't wish the man any ill-will, but I always think, "How could Miracle Max believe this?" when I read his work.
posted by boo_radley at 8:56 PM on March 11, 2009


Someday the NYT will carry liberal opinion writers on their payroll: and when that happens, I'll once again be willing to give them some of my money. But not until they fire all of the conservatives they're currently paying. If they want to be supported by liberals, they should not pay for and print conservative columnists.

This sentiment makes it seem pretty ironic that we use "liberal" the way we do.
posted by grobstein at 9:17 PM on March 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, and Mr. Ambinder -- it's Niebuhr, not "Neibuhr."

Speaking of Niebuhr, there's an article about him in the latest New York Review of Books: What You Can Learn from Reinhold Niebuhr
posted by homunculus at 9:25 PM on March 11, 2009


It's nice to see Pumpkinface doing well as yet another worthless NYT columnist, or as I like to call it, affirmative action for rich doughy white men.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:25 PM on March 11, 2009


It's nice to see Pumpkinface doing well as yet another worthless NYT columnist, or as I like to call it, affirmative action for rich doughy white men.

Hey, Maureen Dowd isn't doughy!
posted by delmoi at 9:39 PM on March 11, 2009


:::barf:::

NOPE.

not feeling better.
posted by liza at 11:04 PM on March 11, 2009


Douthat's an interesting writer, quirky rather than hackish. Obviously, in terms of readability, he's worlds above Bill "Every Column a Press Release, with Some Mayonnaise on Top" Kristol.

Politically, one gets the sense that he's less Republican than really, really... Catholic, in an old-timey way. As though, given his druthers, he'd predicate each new column on the challenge of uncovering some new and hitherto unnoticed evil lurking within the spiderweb of earthly corruption called Vatican II.
posted by darth_tedious at 11:55 PM on March 11, 2009


Douthat's a conservative, but he's one with a foot in the real world, which puts him light-years ahead of Kristol, and most of the rest of the party, honestly. I read his blog regularly, and while I disagree with him a lot, he's at least able to make a sane, coherent argument for his side most of the time. The Times could have done a lot worse.
posted by EarBucket at 6:00 AM on March 12, 2009


Douthat on harvard Asians:
“If I really wanted to offend Harvard Asians, I might sit down and write an article in which I was, well, a tad critical of the Asian community. For instance, I might suggest that there was, let’s say, a slight trend toward ethnic self-segregation, or a slight proclivity for the sciences over the humanities among Asian-Americans. And I might, if I were so inclined (not that anyone would be), get downright nasty and suggest that a large chunk of these self-segregated, math-and-science types are self-absorbed, clannish and downright weird.”
posted by delmoi at 12:36 PM on March 12, 2009


Douthat on harvard Asians. . . .

Context. Seems like typical college-outsidery stuff. What do you think is its significance?
posted by grobstein at 5:14 PM on March 12, 2009


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