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Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Lord of the Fleas

The original neoconservatives, neoliberals and liberal hawks criticized liberals, leftists and defeatists for parasitic negativism -- for sneering at the USA, capitalism and the military while living off of it, like fleas irritating their host while sucking away. The claim was that privileged radical chic critics had no positive proposals but only criticisms of the necessary imperfections of the people who actually got things done.

Fleas have lesser fleas upon their backs to bite them, and the neo * critique is a parody of itself when the critics' critics become focused on the the critique of criticism and neglect to make positive proposals.

Ezra Klein presents "a challenge to these hawks to say what they think, not merely what they think about what others think."

I have long considered neoconservatives to be parasites' parasites, but I didn't have a blog (this is first in a series of how I suffered in the decades I lived without blogger boo hoo).

So I have a question. Who is the lord of the fleas ?

Norman Podhoretz
Irving Kristol
Martin Peretz
Michael Kinsley (I love him but when was the last time he got around to actually stating an opinion after mocking the hypocrisy and idiocy of others)
Christopher Hitchens
Kenneth Baer

No need ask if anyone has noticed that the lesser fleas have still lesser fleas

And so ad infinitum in comments ?

update: Come on. go over to my daily kos diary to break the tie between Podhoretz and Lieberman

Update: Glenn Greenwald votes for both.


Anonymous said...

Michael Kinsley, last I recall was busily purging the Los Angeles Times of thinking columnists. So, no, I do not love him, but quite the reverse. I am so tired of these pretend amoral intellectuals, who know nothing, feel no compassion, but pretend to know everything and care for everything.


Anonymous said...

At least, by the way, Ezra Klein has come to understand how wrong his wish for war was. But, I wonder whether Klein and Josh Marshall and Matthew Yglesias and others who understand now what they did not understand in 2003 even now understand what war really is. I wonder.

My parents understood what war was before the war. I only hope, but cannot tell, that these writers have come to understand what Martin Luther King sought to teach.


Anonymous said...

After all, if the best and brightest took us to Vietnam, I do not recall many of the best and brightest complaining loudly before Iraq and those who complained did not complain from the perspective of a King. But, King had already lived and was supposedly remembered but did they remember and do they now?

Do these best and brightest understand Joseph Heller or Kurt Vonnegut? Why did my parents understand? Why did I understand my parents?


Anonymous said...

Oh, and speaking of the beloved and best and brightest, and well, you know, Old Chap. Evidently, British defense company BAE in return for a $100 billion contract from Saudi Arabia, paid a $2 billion finders fee to the Saudi Ambassador to America, whose father happens to be Sauid Minister of Defense. Tony Blair, you know, Old Chap, worried about fierce Saudi reprisal on finding out about the, well finders fee, covered up the finding.


Anonymous said...

No; Joseph Heller could never write a suitable history of this period. Never, for all the amazing talent.


Anonymous said...

October 23, 1961


"Catch-22," by Joseph Heller, is not an entirely successful novel. It is not even a good novel. It is not even a good novel by conventional standards. But there can be no doubt that it is the strangest novel yet written about the United States Air Force in World War II. Wildly original, brilliantly comic, brutally gruesome, it is a dazzling performance that will probably outrage nearly as many readers as it delights. In any case, it is one of the most startling first novels of the year and it may make its author famous. Mr. Heller, who spent eight years writing "Catch-22," is a former student at three universities--New York, Columbia and Oxford--and a former teacher at Pennsylvania State College. Today he is a promotion man busily engaged in the circulation wars of women's magazines. From 1942 to 1945 he served as a combat bombardier in the Twelfth Air Force and was stationed on the Island of Corsica. That experience provided only the jumping-off place for this novel.

"Catch-22" is realistic in its powerful accounts of bombing missions with men screaming and dying and planes crashing. But most of Mr. Heller's story rises above mere realism and soars into the stratosphere of satire, grotesque exaggeration, fantasy, farce and sheer lunacy. Those who are interested may be reminded of the Voltaire who wrote "Candide" and of the Kafka who wrote "The Trial."

Multiplicity of Targets

"Catch-22" is a funny book--vulgarly, bitterly, savagely funny. Its humor, I think, is essentially masculine. Few women are likely to enjoy it. And perhaps "enjoy" is not quite the right word for anyone's reaction to Mr Heller's imaginative inventions. "Relish" might be more accurate. One can relish his delirious dialogue and his ludicrous situations while recognizing that they reflect a basic range and disgust.

Joseph Heller's key sentence is this: "Men went mad and were rewarded with medals." His story is a satirical denunciation of war and of mankind that glorifies war and wages war cruelly, stupidly, selfishly. So Mr. Heller satirizes among other matters: militarism, red tape, bureaucracy, nationalism, patriotism, discipline, ambition, loyalty, medicine, psychiatry, money, big business, high finance, sex, religion, mankind and God....