Sunday, November 05, 2006

Vanity's Fair?

Personally, I'm glad that, in linking to a an attempt at satire by Clark Stooksbury, Rod again acknowledges the existence of this blog and his most consistent critics -- though I'm personally still waiting for him to acknowledge the bulk of the substance of our criticisms.

And in defending his position that staying in Iraq is worse than pulling out, I'm glad to see him acknowledge, "Of course there is no shortage on the left, and on the extreme right, of people who delight in America's and George W. Bush's failure in Iraq" -- though he misses the point that, in desiring a GOP defeat Tuesday, he supports giving PRECISELY those sorts of leftist lunatics majority power in Congress.

But in light of an NRO symposium of some of the "neocons" cited in the press release, I wonder if Rod was a bit too quick in leaping on Vanity Fair's transparent attempt to influence the midterm elections.

David Frum, who's mentioned in Rod's excerpt, says that Vanity Fair "added words outside the quote marks to change the plain meaning of [his] quotations."

Michael Ledeen says that the author "confirmed that words attributed to [him] in the promo had been taken out of context."

Eliot Cohen found the timing of the press release to be "tendentious, to say the least." Richard Perle says that he was lied to about his comments not being released until after the election, and Michael Rubin calls the release "a pre-election hit job."

What they say about Iraq is as important as what they said about the press release.

Frum: "My most fundamental views on the war in Iraq remain as they were in 2003: The war was right, victory is essential, and defeat would be calamitous."

Perle: "I believe it would be a catastrophic mistake to leave Iraq, as some are demanding, before the Iraqis are able to defend their elected government. As I told Mr. Rose, the terrorist threat to our country, which is real, would be made much worse if we were to make an ignominious withdrawal from Iraq."

Rubin: "If we abandon Iraq, we will not only prove correct all of Osama Bin Laden’s rhetoric about the US being a paper tiger, but we will also demonstrate -- as James Baker and George H. W. Bush did in 1991 --— that listening to the White House and alliance with the United States is a fool’s decision. We can expect no allies anywhere, be they in Asia, Africa, or Latin America, if we continue to sacrifice principles to short-term realist calculations. It’s not enough to have an attention span of two years, when the rest of the world thinks in decades if not centuries."

If he has any integrity at all, and if he wants to retain any credibility at all, Rod Dreher will publicize this article with at least as much visibility as he gave the Vanity Fair press release.

I think Dreher has a nasty habit of pointing out articles that vindicate his foolish position on Iraq while ignoring those that don't. The NY Times accuses the Administration of corruption, and Rod's there. The same paper reveals that Iraq was perhaps a year away from building a nuclear bomb, and Jim Geraghty, Ed Morrisey, and Dean Barnett at Hugh Hewitt's blog all notice, but guess who didn't?

The writers cited in the Vanity Fair press release believe that they were misrepresented and lied to. Rod gave the press release coverage; will he give equal time to those who were cited in it?


Blogger pikkumatti said...

Rod won't give equal time to the cited writers, because that's not the purpose of his blog, remember?

From the comment by Rod Dreher hisownself in the combox of this post last month.

Oh good grief, I'm not going to become a liberal Democrat because I'm not a liberal. I could conceive of becoming a very conservative Democrat, but not in the Democratic Party that exists now, which I perceive as hostile to religious and social conservatives. I don't blog on Harry Reid's land deal because I have only extremely limited time these days -- new baby in house -- and because frankly, I'm not that interested in it. Harry Reid is not in my party or my political tribe. I didn't vote for Harry Reid or anybody he's associated with. I did vote for Bush, twice, and have voted for the Republicans at every turn. I have earned a right to be pissed off and disgusted. If all you can say is "you must be dying to be a liberal," I think that's pretty pathetic.

See? He's on the Republican team, so he is free to criticize the Republicans. He's not on the Democrat team, so he has no cause to criticize them or to support the Republican cause.

He's an honest opinion journalist, that's all.

8:52 AM  
Blogger pikkumatti said...

Doggone it, why didn't Blogger take my link?

Here is the link to the Rod post last month.

8:55 AM  
Blogger Pauli said...

The Clarksbury post is hilarious, thanks. I always figured that the reason we didn't have "stuffy rules and Commandments" was that we weren't a church, just kind of a cyber comedy club where people come in for a joke or two. If you don't think we're funny, go somewhere else. Or stick around and gripe -- we'll laugh at you!

I know some of the stuff gets serious here. I think that's usually right before I show up.

As our fearless founder quipped "Like the butterfly my season is short, but glorious." (CC 6:3:6pm)


11:27 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

well, if we are a church then pauli and i must be cardinals, along with pikkumatti and diane. i propose we elect bubba pope/great gandalfian wise leader, ok bubba? how does vladika bubba sound? OTOH, maybe we should take new names. "benedict" has a nice ring to it ... i know the name has already been taken, but that doesn't mean it's off limits, by any means. anyone can call themselves benedict. anyone at all.

11:47 AM  
Blogger Clark said...

My post here has numerous actual quotes from the Times article that most certainly does not say that Iraq was a year away from having the bomb in 2002. Such as these:
"But in recent weeks, the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq's secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb."
. . .
"With the public increasingly skeptical about the rationale and conduct of the war, the chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence committees argued that wide analysis and translation of the documents -- most of them in Arabic -- would reinvigorate the search for clues that Mr. Hussein had resumed his unconventional arms programs in the years before the invasion. American search teams never found such evidence."

Now you have no excuse for spreading this story.

12:29 PM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

In absence of Rod, I’ll debate you guys. I think that one of your criticisms is how traditional values is a solution to modern problems. Whenever you use the word “value” it is very difficult to enumerate the term. It is hard to measure. I think you can measure the change on a small community due to a Walmart. However, modern technology makes possible the notion of a small rural communities hosting technology firms.

Advocating for traditional values does not mean that you turn the clock back a hundred years. It means that you build a culture based on these values at this time. I think that it is foolish to attempt to return to agrarianism. With respect to modernity you leverage that which fits within those values. One concept that I promote is active creation in opposition to passive consumption. Active creation says use your spare time to create. Passive consumption is the opposite. One simply passively observes. Active creation is one area where simplicity will help to solve some modern problems.

I don’t want to clog you combox with long justifications. You guys know both sides of the arguments, give me something to drill down on. Perhaps I can change your mind.

The Republican maligning would be acceptable if he were sticking it to both parties. At least his criticism would be comprehensive. He zeros in on the Republicans only. Just like the Vanity article, it is timed for the election. He is helping domestic and foreign enemies win. He is also making it harder for folks like me who want to promote the ideas that he writes about.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Clark, between you and Ed Morrisey, you are not more trustworthy on this issue; in discussing things said and written by Rush, Ramesh, and myself, you've proven to be more interested in cheap shots than the truth.

1:18 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

By Stooksboy saying that contra crunchies have started the Church of Rod Dreher is Bad, implicitly there is an assumption that crunchy conservatism -- as we have been saying all along -- is the Church of Rod Dreher is Good.

(Bubba has mentioned this already today, but the symmetry is worth pointing out again.)

Add that to the fact that Rod has converted to a religion that he himself describes as small and uninfluential, and in doing so Rod adopted the name of the *Catholic Pope*, whose church he was *leaving*, and you have more evidence that some sub-conscious identification with and longing for a similarly papal authority is happening here.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Actually, Morrisey addresses your point, Clark, in the last update to the post to which I linked:

What the critics of this post seem to miss is this:

1. Saddam still had all of the relevant documentation to restart his nuclear program, so the UNSCOM and UNMOVIC teams obviously did not "destroy all vestiges" of Iraq's nuclear program. After all, the documentation is what the Times proclaimed as a dangerous breach that would allow Iran to build a bomb.

2. If the FMSO documents on the website are dangerous to publish because they might assist Iran in designing a nuclear weapon, then obviously they were dangerous sitting in Saddam's files. Missing that particular point seems willfully dense at best.

3. Saddam had unexpurgated copies of the IAEA report in his files -- the ones that the UN inspectors are so unhappy about being hosted at the FMSO site. I wonder how that happened?

4. Since the rest of the FMSO documents came from the same locations as the ones that the NYT proclaims as authentic and dangerous, that means that the rest of these documents are authentic as well. That's the primary point of this post -- because when one looks through the documents, it becomes clear that Saddam had many connections to terrorism, and had active WMD programs right through 2002.

Even if your interpretation is correct, ain't it funny how Rod hasn't said a word about the story?

1:25 PM  
Blogger kathleen said...

what can i say? dime-store psychoanalysis works when applied to dime-store psyches.

1:25 PM  
Blogger pikkumatti said...

If y'all give me a vote as a cardinal, I'll vote for Bubba.

And to respond to Cube, I have no problem with the use of "traditional values" in these Modern Times. The problem that I have with the Crunchy One is that he elevates matters of taste to matters of Truth. And then classifies us (e.g., those who like Roberto Beningni) accordingly. And on larger matters, his words get worse (the unthinking rubes who remain behind in the Roman Catholic Church).

Hey, things change. To use the analogy of tear-down houses in older neighborhoods (or Rod's Pet Peeve of McMansions), neighborhoods will change. They can change for the better, they can change for the worse. But they will change in any event. I want to live in a neighborhood where people are investing. And I want to live in a culture in which people are investing, not just running the place down.

So adopt the good new things for the good that they are. (Wal-Mart $4 prescriptions are a good thing -- and if they weren't doing it, someone else soon would.) But fight the evil.

And plant a garden (or in my case, fix an old bicycle).

6:55 PM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

"The problem that I have with the Crunchy One is that he elevates matters of taste to matters of Truth."

First I get the biggest kick out of your John Bolton pic.

Part of the problem with this debate is because I can write the following:

I don't interpret Rod's writing to elevate matters of taste to truth.

I also know that it is my bias that keeps me from seeing it as a style issue. I don't draw esteem from eating artisan cheese. I help the local guy. Food should not be the main issue either. It is attitudes. I think materialism is one of the main justifications for support of abortion.

6:28 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

But that's just it, Cube. Rod's approach is every bit as materialistic as that of the McMansion Dwellers. It's a refined, snooty, PBS-y, elitist, insufferably self-congratulatory materialism. But it's still materialism.

And it's nothing new. I've known people like that all my life. You can't bung a brick in Harvard Square without hitting one.

7:36 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

And I should add---you aren't like that at all!!!!!

7:36 AM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

Diane, I will try to reply tonight. Big rush now.

7:49 AM  
Blogger pikkumatti said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:32 AM  
Blogger pikkumatti said...

Do over. Sorry about that.

Rod elevates matters of taste into matters of Truth in his writings by how he addresses things he finds to be non-Crunchy. To wit: He walks out of mass at Our Lady of Pizza Hut. He looks for evil in Wal-Mart offering $4 prescriptions. And, of course, in how he refers to those remaining behind at his parish (and in the Church in general) in The Conversion Story.

BTW, I too try to help the local guy when his goods and services warrant. When his goods and services do not warrant, I help him by not buying from him (so competitive pressure can help him improve).

Thanks for the props on the John Bolton picture. I woke up one morning, put on my glasses, and saw John Bolton in the mirror.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

Everything that I have written about on my blog is wisdom I've gleaned from poor people who made something of themselves or Holy Mother Church. It’s trying to help people to consider that they are not helpless.

Rod is writing about people who don’t put style first. These are folks who are actually walking the walk. I’ve always disagreed with his housing and political chapters. I think that McMansion stuff is horrible to stick on people. Home School is tricky. I am not really critical of it, but I don’t really want to do it. Just what we do at home now, my kids are thriving in the public schools. So far no problems. Our children hit kindergarten with all year end requirements met.

My main point in this comment is despite Rod, I still support a lot of those ideas--sans the stupid marketing name. St. Escriva has influenced my thinking a lot about work. Our lives intersect eternity, and our actions reflect that. Our works can be an expression of our faith. Dreher’s problem is he is still somewhat immature. No one he respects has reached him on his use of language and reason yet. His priest needs to have a “come to Jesus” with him.

Please consider that our side of the fence has problems too, I know plenty of conservatives that are not living right either.

7:38 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home