Bubble Wrap: The Nation vs. The Weekly Standard
August 30, 2002 3:04 PM   Subscribe

Bubble Wrap: The Nation vs. The Weekly Standard "Back in the '60s, the left was the home of humor, iconoclasm, pleasure. But over the last two decades, the joy has gone out of the left -- it now feels hedged in by shibboleths and defeatism -- while the right has been having a gas, be it Lee Atwater grooving to the blues, Rush Limbaugh chortling about Feminazis or grimly gleeful Ann Coulter serving up bile as if it were chocolate mousse"
posted by owillis (9 comments total)
If this is true, I think it's because of the anti-PC backlash, which has spread like a virus through the right amd moved on to infect the left. Since the late 90's, conservative pundits have grown out of constantly going out of their way to offend what they consider to be delicate leftist sensibilities - they just tell it like they think it is. PC-bashers on the left, who tend to be Eminem and Bill Maher fans, go running around like there's this great new "offend everyone" sensibility that they've just discovered and have to let everyone in on.

Although I'm thinking more of Christopher Caldwell and James Taranto than Rush and Ann, who do still go out of their way to offend.
posted by transona5 at 3:15 PM on August 30, 2002

Have these guys read Commentary? It's so wild and whacky . . . and conservative! (P.S.: Liberals who want to amuse are more likely to head into general magazine writing, or entertainment.)
posted by raysmj at 4:01 PM on August 30, 2002

Powers writes of the Weekly Standard:
Snappy and pointed, it's designed to compete in a world that has many magazines.

What has this guy been smoking? Even among DC policy wonks, the turgid prose of the wonk uber-rag Standard is kind of a joke. I enjoyed his criticisms of the Nation, though, a magazine whose editorial self-importance is legendary, but this article amounts to little more than a journal entry. "Dear Diary, I think I like the Weekly Standard better than the Nation. "
posted by Ty Webb at 4:02 PM on August 30, 2002

posted by y2karl at 5:01 PM on August 30, 2002

I feel kind of churlish in pointing out what most on the left are unwilling to say: The Nation is a profoundly dreary magazine

Oh? Based on the discussion this column generated on the Left Business Observer list, I think Lefties are perfectly aware of The Nation's faults. So Powers might as well find another naked Emperor to point at. Besides, there are certainly better models for an improved Nation than The Weekly Standard--The Baffler, Dissent, the old Partisan Review, or a heterodox Economist. The Nation could learn something from all of them. Who needs the likes of the "mirthless" Kristol and Barnes, the supercilious Brooks, or the self-parodying Coulter?
posted by octobersurprise at 6:57 PM on August 30, 2002

I’m not sitting on the fence, but leaning on it from the leftward side… but general point here about the left being too damn dour is sad but true (generally). GW certainly provides plenty of fodder -- why isn't the left making him into a laughing stock? Even the currently popular logic about invading Iraq (as infuriating as it is) is begging to be made fun of. I heard Gephardt sum it up the other day in an interview and for a moment I thought I was watching SNL.

Another unfortunate truth, observed first-hand -- the left spends *far too* much energy on internal bickering, "she said, he said" gossip, small-minded backstabbing, shunning other groups because they're not orthodox, whatever, etc. type stuff -- utter waste of time and energy.
posted by Kneebiter at 8:02 AM on August 31, 2002

GW certainly provides plenty of fodder -- why isn't the left making him into a laughing stock?

Because that's cast as the sort of unAmerican treachery for which certain columnists would like to see people shot? Or perhaps it's because it's much easier to leave it to non-Americans?
posted by riviera at 8:41 AM on August 31, 2002

This piece was spot-on. I myself abandoned the left for precisely the reasons mentioned as problems with the Nation- dour, joyless, essentialist, nihilistic- a glass of cold water in the crotch. It seems increasingly that the left is where Puritanism and dogmatism have fled, and frankly, I thought liberal meant free and easy. Though I'm not a republican, maybe republicanism is the new liberalism?
posted by evanizer at 1:58 PM on August 31, 2002

I love how some people are now the arbiter of what I should and shouldn't say. Fun.
posted by owillis at 8:23 PM on August 31, 2002

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