Krautmas only comes once a year …

by Henry on September 16, 2014

But here are two belated presents – take your choice as to which one you put beneath your poisonwood tree.

George Scialabba tries to see (as George always does), the good side.

For the tragic waste of Krauthammer’s considerable talents represented by Things That Matter, a good deal of the blame should doubtless go to the bad habits fostered by op-ed writing and talk-show commenting. Krauthammer is an expert simplifier, summarizer, and close-quarters scrapper. His skill at producing zingers is enviable. But remarks are not literature, and zingers are not political wisdom. You can’t surprise yourself, breathe deeply, get to the bottom of things in 800 words or 20 seconds.

By and large, the quality of the eighty-eight pieces in Things That Matter is proportional to their length. Hearteningly, Krauthammer mentions that he is, at long last, writing a book: two books, in fact, one on domestic policy and one on foreign policy. Perhaps in the course of them he will, at least occasionally, surprise himself and us, vindicating Mill’s generous hope.

Mark Liberman doesn’t.

It’s a tribute to our nation’s culture that a man like Krauthammer, who so consistently expresses blatant quantitative falsehoods about national leaders, is not only out of jail but comfortably established as a commentator for a major media outlet.

{ 48 comments }

1

MPAVictoria 09.16.14 at 8:07 pm

“It’s a tribute to our nation’s culture that a man like Krauthammer, who so consistently expresses blatant quantitative falsehoods about national leaders, is not only out of jail but comfortably established as a commentator for a major media outlet.”

Yep.

2

LFC 09.16.14 at 8:23 pm

Geo: “Krauthammer mentions that he is, at long last, writing a book: two books, in fact, one on domestic policy and one on foreign policy.”

This is very bad news. Fortunately the contents of the bk on foreign policy are anticipatably (if that’s a word) summarizable in about two sentences, so no one will actually have to read it. (Except the people being paid to review it, whom I rather pity in advance.)

3

john c. halasz 09.16.14 at 8:43 pm

Both links go to Scialabba.

4

Hob 09.16.14 at 8:57 pm

The Liberman piece is here— it’s brief, addressing just one of K’s lies, but it provided the last paragraph above.

5

Dr. Hilarius 09.16.14 at 9:01 pm

In my tangential thinking, the statement about Krauthammer’s employment being a tribute to our nation’s culture, reminds me of Hunter Thompson, in his Hell’s Angels book, making a similar statement about it being a tribute to Detroit’s auto industry that an biker with a police record for public cunnilingus could find work on the assembly line.

6

CJColucci 09.16.14 at 10:35 pm

Where’s Richard Widmark when we need him?

7

Peter Erwin 09.17.14 at 1:25 am

As Liberman explains in a reply to a comment, “… the point of the remark about prison was that (at least since the expiration of the Alien and Sedition Acts) America generally allows people to engage in cynical and dishonest attacks on political leaders without fear of judicial intervention, a fact for which I’m grateful.” (Of course, the part about “comfortably established as a commentator for a major media outlet” is clearly not means as praise for American culture…)

(And the HTML formatting of the Crooked Timber OP makes it look like Liberman’s remark is something Henry is saying, which probably ought to be fixed…)

8

Keith Ivey 09.17.14 at 4:07 am

If Henry were just a little more famous or political, there’d already be charges of plagiarism flying because of the missing blockquote markup.

9

Dave 09.17.14 at 5:33 am

“…who so consistently expresses blatant quantitative falsehoods about national leaders…”

Cite one.

10

rea 09.17.14 at 3:25 pm

“Cite one.”

http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=14625

Which, as was pointed out above, is the article Henry meant to link to at the second link in the OP.

11

William Timberman 09.17.14 at 4:03 pm

Crabbed when he isn’t positively vicious, this Krauthammer. I might find it possible to be charitable toward him, but not when he wants me up against the wall, and himself in command of the firing squad. Jesus supposedly managed it, but for the rest of us, it doesn’t come naturally. Should Das Schiff mit acht Segeln und fünfzig Kanonen drop anchor in my harbor some day, I suspect I’d have some hard choices to make.

12

Dave 09.17.14 at 4:51 pm

@rea:

OK, you did get one, I’ll give you that. But (a) this was a phone conversation with Hugh Hewitt, a pretty weak citation, especially when he prefaces it with “I believe”; and (b) your source is mildly illiterate: Krauthammer *doesn’t say* there are 29 “I”s, he says “29 references,” where he explicitly gives “as commander-in-chief” as an example. So *I* just wasted a passel of *MY* time to get the accurate count, which is at least 18 (10 “I”s, 3 “me”s, 2 “my”s and a few descriptive references to himself)… but yes, still a far cry from 29, I’ll admit… and in no way a disqualification of the charge of narcissism.

Nonetheless, the war cry I objected to is larger: “…who so consistently expresses blatant quantitative falsehoods about national leaders…” So that really means you can point to *at least* a couple of more, correct?

13

MPAVictoria 09.17.14 at 5:06 pm

How about anything the blood thirsty maniac ever said about Iraq Dave?

14

Dave 09.17.14 at 5:10 pm

@MPAVictoria … um, yeah, bloodthirsty :-) Any citations from the, er, “maniac”, that you’d care to cite? On a different topic, have you considered a career in drama? Comedy? Any medications?

15

rea 09.17.14 at 5:34 pm

[Dave]: “Cite one”
[rea]: Okay [cites one]
[Dave]: Not good enough! Cite another!

Rather than go crazy counting self-references, perhaps you might simply consider the self-evident lunacy of Krauthammer’s claim that Obama talks much more about himself than other presidents have.

16

cs 09.17.14 at 5:36 pm

@Dave the person accusing Krauthammer of being a liar is Mark Lieberman at Language Log. I suspect that if there was some way to search through previous Language Log posts for references to Krauthammer, you might find some other examples.

17

MPAVictoria 09.17.14 at 5:37 pm

“um, yeah, bloodthirsty :-) Any citations from the, er, “maniac”, that you’d care to cite? On a different topic, have you considered a career in drama? Comedy? Any medications?”

Ah yes. Those of us who oppose perpetual war in the Middle East are crazy….

“It’s that time of the year again – it’s been five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months plus five months since Charles Krauthammer told us

Hans Blix had five months to find weapons. He found nothing. We’ve had five weeks. Come back to me in five months. If we haven’t found any, we will have a credibility problem.”

http://crookedtimber.org/2012/04/22/happy-krauthammer-day-2/

18

MPAVictoria 09.17.14 at 5:38 pm

19

Dave 09.17.14 at 5:46 pm

@rea: “…the self-evident lunacy of Krauthammer’s claim that Obama talks much more about himself than other presidents have.”

“Self-evident?” Really? How is that even possible? I’m guessing that you’re just blathering here and that Krauthammer is correct, just based on what I’ve heard myself. In any case, to avoid any further non-sequiturs, what I’ve been questioning is this: “…who so consistently expresses blatant quantitative falsehoods about national leaders…”

20

Dave 09.17.14 at 5:49 pm

@cs: Liberman caught *one*… he *isn’t* the one who said, “…who so consistently expresses blatant quantitative falsehoods about national leaders…” which is what I’m challenging.

21

Dave 09.17.14 at 5:55 pm

@MPAVictoria: Possibly you just want to calm down a bit? My challenge was — for the umpteenth time here — against the claim that he “consistently expresses blatant quantitative falsehoods about national leaders”… and that’s about it. Your silly interpretation (“Ah yes. Those of us who oppose perpetual war in the Middle East are crazy”) is derived from nothing I said. And your link above is to just another slanted left-wing rag… what on earth are you trying to prove???

22

rea 09.17.14 at 5:55 pm

Dave, why don’t you go over and read Liberman’s linked article before you tell us what it says?

23

MPAVictoria 09.17.14 at 6:09 pm

“Possibly you just want to calm down a bit?”

How about I don’t? I will not be “civil” as these assholes try and push us into another never ending war.

24

Dave 09.17.14 at 6:17 pm

@rea: Ah, I see, thank you, I stand corrected, the “quantitative” quote above *is* from Liberman… lacking the indentation, it appeared to be Henry’s text.

25

Yama 09.17.14 at 6:36 pm

Many thanks, Henry.

26

rea 09.17.14 at 6:47 pm

Dave–you really think Obama talks more about himself than other presidents? I’m old enough to remember hearing Eisenhower, and it seems to me, as I said, self-evidently absurd. But, if you don’t believe me, you might check out the 18 (18!) links given by Liberman in the linked article. Or, you might count the number of self-references here:

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=25818

Or in, essentially, any other major presidential speech for the last couple of hundred years.

27

Dave 09.17.14 at 7:16 pm

@rea: Well, if by “talks more about himself” you mean, do I believe he is vainer and more narcissistic than any other president in recent history, I’d give an unqualified “yes”. I’m not sure that counting references is a particularly meaningful way to assess narcissism or egotism, but I know it when I hear it ;-) I’m old enough to remember hearing Ike’s speeches on TV as well, but not old enough to have retained any impressions. What I often hear in 0’s oratory is defensiveness, blame, and professorialism — don’t know if I’m using that word correctly — but he, like Professor President Woody Wilson, seeks to be revered for his brilliance; and in 0’s case, for his panache as well. Just my impression.

28

rea 09.17.14 at 7:33 pm

@Dave: It is, indeed curious that the person who starts off demanding objective evidence from others ends up explaining that his own position is purely based on unsupported and unsupportable subjective impression.

29

Dave 09.17.14 at 8:06 pm

@rea: Oy. A ridiculous assertion. An *objective* accusation was made against CK, and I replied, “cite one”. Later, *you asked me* if I thought 0 “talks more about himself” — a purely *subjective* evaluation — because I’d said it was my guess that he did in response to your “self-evident” nonsense. Oy.

30

MPAVictoria 09.17.14 at 8:08 pm

“Oy. A ridiculous assertion. An *objective* accusation was made against CK, and I replied, “cite one”. Later, *you asked me* if I thought 0 “talks more about himself” — a purely *subjective* evaluation — because I’d said it was my guess that he did in response to your “self-evident” nonsense. Oy.”

You seem concerned….

31

rea 09.17.14 at 8:11 pm

@Dave: How curious that you think whether Obama talks more about himself than did his predecessors is a “purely subjective evaluation!” But we are rudely monopolizing the thread, so I’ll shut up on the issue, and not express my subjective impression of your motives and reasoning.

32

Dave 09.17.14 at 8:16 pm

@rea: Don’t agree that we’re “rudely monopolizing” anything ;-) Please describe for me how you would first define, and then measure, “talking about oneself”. Eagerly awaiting your dissertation.

33

cs 09.18.14 at 3:03 am

Dave – that is really goalpost shifting on your part: there has been an often heard claim by some pundits (see that Language Log post for links to lots of examples) that Obama talks about himself excessively and that this can be demonstrated by his excessive use of pronouns like “I”.
Now, faced with some evidence that Obama doesn’t use pronouns like “I” as much as these pundits claim, you want to say that the claim that Obama talks about himself excessively is just subjective.

Plus, if it really is totally subjective, you should be at least open to the idea that your impression is strongly biased by your dislike of Obama. (At least I’m assuming you dislike Obama over and above your impression that he talks about himself too much.)

34

J Thomas 09.18.14 at 5:04 am

Rea, please just back off. Dave eagerly awaits your dissertation in which you define and measure “talking about oneself” in reply to his 2-line challenge.

“The best defense is to be offensive.”

He has sidetracked all attacks on Krauphammer and turned the thread into people attempting to defend Obama against ridiculous attacks. The more effort you put into chasing his red herring, the happier he will be.

35

MikeN 09.18.14 at 5:36 am

I did love this quote from Hitchens, (no link, but obviously pre-Dubbya):
“To be able to bray that “as a liberal, I say bomb the shit out of them” is to have achieved that eye-catching, versatile marketability that is so beloved of editors and talk-show hosts. As a lifelong socialist, I say don’t let’s bomb the shit out of them. See what I mean? It lacks the sex appeal, somehow. Predictable as hell.”

36

Dave 09.18.14 at 6:03 am

@cs: “Now…you want to say that the claim that Obama talks about himself excessively is just subjective.”

Has nothing to do with “Now,” or ever… I never said it wasn’t subjective. My original post was a challenge that CK “consistently expresses blatant quantitative falsehoods about national leaders”, a completely objective — quantitative — evaluation… when, so far, a total of *one* has been cited.
——
“Plus, if it really is totally subjective, you should be at least open to the idea that your impression is strongly biased by your dislike of Obama.”

*Open* to the idea??? I’m in total agreement! But did you hear 0’s words tonight? “As your commander in chief, I won’t commit you and the rest of our armed forces to fighting another ground war in Iraq.” There he goes again, CK was right!

37

sharculese 09.18.14 at 2:49 pm

Omigod Dave just call him uppity. We know it’s a huge strain on you not to.

38

Dave 09.18.14 at 3:29 pm

@sharculese: If you actually believe you can conclude that, you have walnuts where your brain should be ;-)

39

Jerry Vinokurov 09.18.14 at 3:31 pm

Jesus Christ, a grown fucking adult that repeatedly uses a winky emoticon as a signifier of his own smugness.

40

Dave 09.18.14 at 3:34 pm

Jerry Vinokurov, yet another drama queen on this site with not a lot to say, ostensibly.

41

Jerry Vinokurov 09.18.14 at 3:38 pm

Don’t you have anything better to do with your time than ruining the comment section of one of my favorite blogs? Wait, I know the answer to that one…

42

sharculese 09.18.14 at 3:40 pm

It’s true. I honestly believe it’s taking all of your emotional strength to only be kind of an angry racist manchild in a public space.

If this isn’t the case (it is the case) then I suggest you spend more time on private self-reflection and less trying waaaaaaaay too hard to come up with ‘lol so random!’ style comebacks.

43

Dave 09.18.14 at 3:48 pm

@sharculese: You’re a tragic victim of LBR (lefty brain rot)… my condolences. You and your coreligionists insist on believing that anyone who dislikes 0bama, your Christ-child, is a “racist”. But an actual example of racism — i.e., what you and your microcephalous ilk think about accomplished Blacks who *also* dislike 0bama (e.g., Clarence Thomas, Ben Carson, Tom Sowell, and many many more) — is of no interest to you.

44

sharculese 09.18.14 at 3:56 pm

You’re absolutely right Dave. I apologize for judging people not on the color of their skin but on the content of their character.

45

The Temporary Name 09.18.14 at 5:35 pm

You and your coreligionists insist on believing that anyone who dislikes 0bama, your Christ-child, is a “racist”.

Which leftist thinks that? Name one.

46

MPAVictoria 09.18.14 at 5:36 pm

“You’re a tragic victim of LBR (lefty brain rot)… my condolences. You and your coreligionists insist on believing that anyone who dislikes 0bama, your Christ-child, is a “racist”. But an actual example of racism — i.e., what you and your microcephalous ilk think about accomplished Blacks who *also* dislike 0bama (e.g., Clarence Thomas, Ben Carson, Tom Sowell, and many many more) — is of no interest to you.”

Poe’s Law. Has to be.

47

mattski 09.20.14 at 7:26 pm

Dave,

do I believe he is vainer and more narcissistic than any other president in recent history, I’d give an unqualified “yes”. I’m not sure that counting references is a particularly meaningful way to assess narcissism or egotism, but I know it when I hear it.

Department of Engaging Right-Wing Trolls

Speaking of narcissism, Dave, I understand that GWB is fond of painting pictures of himself. Also, I understand that in his memoir GWB cites the high point of his presidency as the time he caught a particularly large fish, and the low point of his presidency as the time that Kanye West called him a ‘racist.’ So, it’s good to see where his priorities lay!

48

Walt 09.20.14 at 7:53 pm

Well, Dave sure vomited all over this thread.

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