My new “Think Again” column is called “Remember Bush’s Vacation” and it’s here.

Thoughts I had while reading the first three articles in The New York Review of Books at lunch today, (and one later one).

1) David Thompson’s article on Cary Grant is a complete waste of time. So Cary Grant’s daughter has written a worthless book about her dad. Big deal. Who cares? Why devote so much space to saying so over and over? If you want to know about Cary, who is my favorite actor of all time, read Ben Schwarz in The Atlantic, but even more than that, read Pauline Kael’s 1975 New Yorker essay, “A Man From Dream City” which is among the most thrilling magazine articles I’ve ever read in my life. And it’s here.

2) I read David Brooks’ book. It was sort of worth it because I learned a lot about current research in science. As a novel, it’s not much, and as an argument for Brooks’ version of conservatism, it doesn’t quite work. Apparently it’s got some significant other problems as well. I do want to second Mr. Orr’s recommendation of Matthew B. Crawford’s Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work (Penguin, 2009) which changed the way I thought about knowledge, work and their relationship to one another.

3) I think I agree with Elizabeth Drew on everything she says here.

4) This article by Edward Mendelson on Alfred Kazin, while speculative in many places, is really first rate. Smart and challenging in equal parts. These diaries, much like Saul Bellow’s letters, are a really wonderful gift to those of us who care about this kind of thing and this piece is filled with observations that inspire others on matters large and small. It also contains what I expect will be the epigram of the book I’m beginning about the remaking of American culture by this generation of Jews (and the one that followed): It’s from Alfred’s diaries: “"The beggarly Jewish radicals of the 30s are now the ruling cultural pundits of American society—I who stood so long outside the door wondering if I would ever get through it, am now one of the standard bearers of American literary opinion—a judge of young men."

Department of nitpicking with the New Yorker fact-checkers:

In John Cassidy’s profile of hedge fund guy, Ray Dalio, he writes: “Dalio is a consistent hitter of singles and doubles—the José Reyes of Wall Street.” Um, hello? Jose Reyes is the games best hitter of triples—not doubles or singles—since Lou Gehrig! Even with his injuries. Check the numbers. There is a world of difference between a triple hitter and a hitter of singles and doubles and that difference is what makes Jose the most exciting player in baseball.

It’s the Latest, It’s the Greatest….

I participated in the East Hampton Library’s Author’s Night fundraiser last weekend. Because of the spelling of my name, I was seated between Martin Amis and Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish. Martin was extremely genial and friendly even after a drunk woman spilled her drink on him. He even sold his book retail, something I refuse to do. We talked about Hitchens—Martin thought my “Dissent” piece about Christopher unfair in its inference of calculation on Christopher’s part—though I didn’t mean to imply that. (I don’t profess to know.) We also talked about Saul Bellow and marveled at the fact a book as difficult as Humboldt’s Gift—which I taught at Brooklyn College last semester—could spend six months on the best seller list. Nothing so difficult would make it today. I was late in getting there and Martin left a little early so I had to spend a lot of time disappointing people who came afterward and would have preferred that I had left and he had stayed.

But what I really want to talk about is the heroism of Dr. Abuelaish, author of I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity. This man actually witnessed an Israeli shell fall on his daughters’ bedroom and kill three of them, along with his niece, during the Gaza invasion. Here is what David Grossman said about him:"I met Dr. Abuelaish just a few days after the loss of his three daughters. We faced each other as we were about to shake hands. And then, without much thought, we held each other in a warm embrace … It is so rare, I thought, in this debilitating and devastating area we inhabit, to meet a person like him, a man who despite his own losses, continues his belief in humanity and its potential for good, despite all … Through his eyes I could see another way, a way the two nations could treat each other. A way that could extract what is good, special, and humane in both of them. I could see an alternative that could light up the great similarity of both peoples, one that gets denied and put down time and time again. This option, now so scorned and held in such contempt, suddenly sprang to life, embodied in the man I was watching."

After speaking with him for a while, I went to see Dr. Abuelaish speak the next morning at Book Hampton (and bought his book) where he told his story in honest and painful detail. I hope you will check out the foundation he began, “Daughters for Life,” and pony up some cash, here. The foundation is dedicated to the education of Middle Eastern girls. I can hardly imagine a better cause.

The big attraction of the evening as far as I could tell was the appearance of Susan Lucci. Meanwhile, while waiting on line for the last of the oysters, I overheard Chuck Schumer yelling at “Too Big to Fail” author Andrew Ross Sorkin. Andrew and I have the same middle name—though he uses his and I don’t– grew up in the same town, went to the same college, and share an editor at Viking, but we apparently react differently when getting yelled at by Chuck Schumer at fancy Hampton fundraisers. Schumer was complaining “You wrote that I’m just a shill for Wall Street,” and Andrew was all, “Oh, let’s talk it over at lunch some time, Chuck.” Whereas when it happened to me in 2007 at a fundraiser for Hillary at Ron Perleman’s insanely large estate (for which I did not pay, of course), I rather enjoyed telling Schumer that yes, he was a shill for Wall Street. Worse than a shill, in fact, he was in the tank for the richest of rich: hedge fund managers who pay a small fraction of their massive incomes in taxes thanks in significant measure to the efforts of their best friend in Congress Chuck Schumer. (To be fair, Chuck was not so crazy about this, though I thought it a bit unseemly of him to complain since I doubt he actually wrote the thing) I considered stepping in to raise Chuck’s blood pressure a little, but I was on line for the last few remaining oysters of the evening and the two of them managed to wrap it up before I could make it over. My argument with Schumer, and the reasons for it, are described at some length in Kabuki Democracy.)

American Jewish Organization Supports Free Speech… Um, Never Mind.

I was extremely pleased, albeit surprised, a few months ago, to see an official of the American Jewish Committee join Cary Nelson, president of the American Association of University Professors, in embracing students’ free speech rights and distinguish between criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism. The unwillingness of so many Jewish organizations to do just this was the subject of this column I wrote in the Forward. Alas, it was too good to be true. AJC executive director David Harris felt compelled to repudiate his organization’s good sense by issuing a humiliating press release that basically read: “foggetaboutit.” This is more evidence, if any was needed, that these professional organizations wish to remain irrelevant to the way people under the age of seventy and not living in Florida actually experience Judaism and debate Israel. It’s shame that with all the money they raise and all the alleged authority with which they operate, they feel a need to kowtow to the narrowest vision of “what is good for the Jews.”

Speaking of which, who is this Jennifer Rubin woman and why is she saying these terrible things about Sarah Palin?

“Sarah Palin has taken on a pathetic quality. … She added a few Palin-esque observations—one part conspiracy and one part nonsense. … Like Palin herself, a Palin-endorsement would be a media sideshow, but ultimately lacking in significance.” -Jennifer Rubin, this week.

She couldn’t be the same Jennifer Rubin who wrote this foolish, completely unsourced and unconvincing article, could she?

“Part of the explanation lies in misunderstanding and media-induced panic. … Palin’s status as an unabashed conservative and as exemplar of the Religious Right would have been sufficient to alienate the majority of American Jews. Yet if that were all, and that is plenty, Palin still would not provoke the degree of hostility with which most Jews regard her. Something else bothers them more. That something else is Palin herself.” -Jennifer Rubin, January 2010, on “Why Jews Hate Palin,” a 4,000-word article in Commentary.

(Direct your questions to Marc Tracy of Tablet. He found the above and actually reads this stuff.)

“The T-Mobile Blues”

For those of you who find my trials and tribulations with T-Mobile interesting, here’s an update: I had my first conversation with a Mr. Jason Moten who works in the office of the president this week. I got kicked up to Mr. Moten when I told T-Mobile’s PR people that I was planning on writing an article on how awful my experience as their customer had been and to investigate whether other customers are treated similarly. In the past, I’ve gotten these things fixed at the corporate level, but this time, nada. Mr. Moten refused all my requests regarding the bait and switch operation in which two separate T-Mobile sales people a two separate T-Mobile locations had engaged—selling me phones and contracts by assuring me of $150 rebates that were later refused, but offered at least to convert my contract from a corporate one—which one of the liars referenced above had created in order to sell me a new phone–back to a personal one so I could perhaps take advantage of new offers when my daughter upgrades to a Blackberry in the Fall.

I replied repeatedly to Mr. Moten’s emails telling him that as much as I objected to his refusal to address the systematic dishonesty of T-Mobile sales people, I would accept his offer to convert my account. He repeatedly ignored my emails however, and when I finally reached him on the phone, he said he had not yet converted my account because I had failed to give him my social security number. “Dude,” I replied, “you never asked me for my social security number. You ignored all my emails.” I said this two or three times but Mr. Moten continued to repeat himself, just as he had when I pointed out that the salesmen in two separate locations had lied to me about two separate contracts. It was his belief, apparently, that I should have provided him with my social without his ever asking me for it; indeed, without his even responding to my emails.

Then I asked Mr. Moten to speak to his supervisor so I could tell them of his odd expectation and inqiure as to whether this was company policy. He said in the office of the president, there were no supervisors and so, tough luck on me. Then I asked him if I would mind if I published his phone number when I wrote up my account of how awful T-Mobile’s service was because I felt certain my readers would also have questions for him and he was not so great at responding to emails. He said that I would be hearing from T-Mobile’s legal team about this. I wondered how he would know that, given that I had just brought it up. He repeated himself, (as was apparently his wont). Then I mentioned that I had consulted with my legal team and they told me that there was no law against printing someone’s phone number. Anyway, instead of being based on telepathy, his statement was apparently based on wishful thinking, as I never heard anything from T-Mobile’s lawyers, though they obviously know where to reach me.

I’m not sure how much more research I can devote to this story but if you, dear reader, are in seach of more information, or simply have T-Mobile as your carrier and have your own questions, then feel free to inquire of Mr. Jason Moten and the rest of the folks in the president’s office, you can feel free to email him and them at, though my guess is that he won’t respond to you either. If he doesn’t, you might want to try him in the president’s office, at 877-290-6323, ext. 341-8036. (Remember to be polite!)

I’m sure he will be at least as happy to hear from you as he was from me.


I was in the city last week and caught two shows. The first was Joan Osborne at City Winery. It was a stripped down show with just a piano accompaniment and an Iphone app on percussion. (Really, she said it cost $4.99. How sad is that for drummers?) She was joined for a few songs by Amy Helm, who is Levon’s daughter, the lead singer for Olabelle, and the most pregnant person I’ve ever seen on a stage. It was a really nice show, a good mix of originals, new stuff, and standards/covers. That is right up to the final encore when the crowd outvoted me on “Crazy, Baby” vs. “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted.” She’s there again tonight and next Thursday too, I believe. It’s hard not to enjoy anyone whose music you like at City Winery. I’d be going to see Bromberg’s big band there tomorrow night—which sounds like a terrific show—were I not seeing Jorma out here at the Stephen Talkhouse. Oh, and here’s a reason why performers might sometimes prefer NOT to meet their fans

Friday night I saw the Return to Forever IV show at the Beacon. Being the age I am, RTF was, for me, and a lot of people I know, the stepping stone that introduced me to real jazz back in the early seventies. I’ve remained an extremely patient fan of Chick Corea—I even went to see his horrible scientology band at the Blue Note once—but I wasn’t sure how the music would weather the years. The last time I saw the band was at the Palladium in, say, 1976.

The Beacon’s show was made up of people my age and a little older and was so male, it made an Allman Brothers show look like a Lilith Fair. It was much more like a rock show than a jazz show—kind of like an Emerson, Lake and Palmer rock show minus the lights. It was all virtuosic soloing and mooning for the crowd. Chick’s playing was superb, but Stanley Clarke is a goof; he mugs so profoundly it’s as if he doesn’t have any confidence in the music. Lenny White was also a bit overwrought while Al Dimeola was replaced on guitar by Frank Gambale, with the Jean-Luc Ponty added on violin in case that wasn’t enough.

The highlight for me was Chick’s “Romantic Warrior.” I could have used a great deal more from that period but the performance was overly democratic and one had to take the smoke with the fire.

Now here’s Reed:
I, Corporation?

Last week, while trolling for votes a few days before the quadrennial electoral shakedown known as the Iowa Straw Poll, Republican presidential aspirant Mitt Romney sought to deflect a heckler’s call for raising taxes on corporations by mounting this now well-publicized counter-argument:

Everything corporations earn goes to people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? Whose pockets? People’s pockets. Human beings, my friend.

Now, setting aside Romney’s annoying habit of injecting John McCain’s favorite verbal tic—“my friend”—into conversations with people who clearly aren’t his friend, what was more telling in the exchange was just how thoroughly the concept of conflating corporations with individual citizens has permeated Republican thinking. When the back-and-forth happened, Romney was working the crowd. Suddenly confronted with a question not bathed in conservative adulation or ginned up anger at Obama, he had little time to formulate a tightly controlled campaign response and so he instead lapsed into pure, unadulterated conservative dogma. To wit, Corporations contain multitudes. They are just like you and me. In fact, they are you and me. And so, by extension, why would anyone want to take from the “people’s pockets?”

This attempt at an extreme makeover of corporate power by Republicans is of a piece with their long-time fetishization of small business (which is increasingly a bipartisan phenomenon) and their more recent rhetorical find-and-replace treatment of “rich” with the odious Orwelliam term “job creator.” Of course, Romney’s off-the-cuff response was more than just an oversimplification, it was “deeply wrong” as the Times’ Paul Krugman explains. And to take a favorite turn-of-the-phrase out of the political coverage playbook, I’d note that even the Libertarian politician Ron Paul disagreed with him.

Paul the Elder’s response caught me off guard, I admit, although I suppose one shouldn’t underestimate the willingness of competing Presidential candidates to sandbag one another if given the chance. But my surprise was more rooted in the fact that Romney’s claim seemed like a pitch perfect line one might have heard in the libertarian cult-favorite movie Robocop 2, which portrays a violent and drug-addled city of Detroit as falling victim to a hostile takeover by a ruthless and manipulative multinational corporation known as OCP. Indeed, the first time I saw the Romney clip I immediately flashed back to this bit of dialogue from the film:

MAYOR: What about Democracy? Nobody elected you!

CEO: Anyone can buy OCP stock and own a piece of our city. What could be more democratic than that?

Despite sounding very much like the villain in a schlocky, sci-fi movie from two decades ago, Romney nevertheless doubled down on his “there’s-an-I-in-every-Inc.” message and launched a fundraising push to capitalize on what his campaign has inexplicably taken to calling a “defining moment.” (Talk about defining “defining” down…) However, it’s worth noting that in extending this “moment,” Romney now substitutes the still loaded word “corporations” with the no doubt better poll-tested term “businesses.” Even cheesy movies and hollow campaigns deserve an occasional rewrite, I guess.

Unfortunately, most of the campaign media viewed the whole incident either through the narrow prism of the horserace or glossed over the statement as simply another in the “weird Mitt” annals, with little interest in digging deeper into the ideology underpinning it. Case in point, Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who wrote one of her trademark feckless, jokey columns lampooning Romney’s ridiculous statement but then unwittingly added in an even more ridiculous statement of her own:

Romney may not have realized that he was articulating the same fundamental concept of the American right that Justice Antonin Scalia propounded in the Citizens United case, when the Supreme Court opened the way to Super PACs and a flood of surreptitious new donations in politics. (A former official at Bain Capital, Romney’s old private equity firm, admitted recently that he was the one who anonymously gave $1 million to a pro-Mitt Super PAC.)

I’m sorry, but this is simply punditry malpractice in the first degree. The latter sentence simply lays waste to the logic of the former. To actually believe that a prominent Republican presidential candidate like Mitt Romney could have unknowingly stumbled onto the same line of thinking as one of the most hardcore conservatives to ever serve on the Supreme Court is mind-bogglingly naive. For her to imply that broadening corporate power and advancing corporate rights hasn’t been a major ideological goal within all corners of the Republican Party for decades does a disservice to every reader of the Times. What’s more it begs the question: What, exactly, has she learned from doing her job the past 16 years?

Certainly, a Times columnist with an ounce of analytical curiosity might wonder why the continued enfranchisement of corporations and expansion of their power has brought our country to a point that Romney characterizes in his gossamer campaign book, “No Apology,” as “difficult times.” But good luck getting much in the way of substance out of the usual Beltway suspects. Instead, you’ll have to broaden your search to find more compelling explorations of this topic. One great place to begin is this insightful essay on Al Jazeera English, which I recommend reading from start to finish.

Though the United States may be falling behind the rest of the world in real income, education standards, infrastructure, life expectancy, and who knows what else, in his essay UC-Irvine history professor Mike LeVine points out that we’re still far and away the world leader in one area that Romney would no doubt approve of: bestowing rights to corporations.

Indeed, the US has long been at the vanguard of granting increasing rights to corporations, first considering corporations as citizens and residents of the states in which they live. By 1886, in the famous Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad case, Chief Justice Morrison Waite opened the proceedings by declaring: ‘The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a state to deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does.

That the court’s Chief Justice pre-emptively dispatched any arguments to the contrary says a lot about the foundational merits recognizing corporate personhood. Or, to be more precise, it would say a lot if this rather momentous (and, by the way, completely unsubstantiated) legal proclamation by Waite wasn’t just as likely to be one of history’s greatest inter-office mixups, as Boston College political science professor Ken Kersch points out in this book review over at the Law & Politics Book Review:

Through an oddity arising out of an exchange of memos between Waite and the court reporter, however, the theory of corporate personhood was written into the reporter’s preface to the final Supreme Court opinion—which was published as a bald assertion, with no status as law, as the subsequent lively debates on the Court on this point showed. Nevertheless, Kens explains that ‘Waite’s offhand remark has mutated or been molded into a key moment in the establishment of a doctrine of corporate personhood that guarantees to corporations virtually all of the rights the Constitution guarantees to persons made of flesh and blood’ (p.124). A key instrument of this mutation was the iron-willed and indefatigable [Associate Justice Stephen] Field himself, who cited Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad incessantly as having adopted his pet assertion as law (Field is the true progenitor of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), which was anchored in a theory of corporate personhood).

That our country’s unfortunate tradition of broadening corporate enfranchisement might at least partly be blamed on a clerical oversight is, of course, galling. But, to be fair, this anonymous clerk isn’t solely at fault. Several Supreme Court cases prior to Santa Clara had already affirmed some legal rights of corporations and you’ll find no bright line connecting the former case to Citizens United (Santa Clara isn’t directly cited anywhere in the judgment).

Still, case law builds upon itself over generations, citation by citation. And sometimes all it takes is one judicial decision—stare decisis!—and a determined jurist—like Justice Field, whose active promotion of corporate rights 125 years ago suggests a poster of him might be hanging on the wall in current Chief Justice John Roberts’ chambers—to fundamentally reroute judicial doctrine and change the complexion of our democracy forever.

How might our democracy in a post-Citizens United world function? Well, look to the 2010 midterms as an early dry run. According to this study, outside groups spent over $290 million on federal independent expenditures in that election, with more than one-third of that total—$132.5 million—coming from groups with anonymous sources. Next year’s presidential election promises to ratchet up this spending an order of magnitude, and Republicans are swiftly taking advantage of the newfound leniency on corporate “free speech” by forming unlimited-donation Super PACs, free-spending independent 527 groups, and non-profit 501(c)(4) organizations that aren’t required to disclose the identity of their donors. (Romney has one Super PAC, Michele Bachmann two, and brand new presidential candidate Rick Perry already has six.)

So then, what’s at stake in the next election isn’t just a set of policy choices and budget priorities, it’s also the very face of our democracy itself. If someone like Romney were to win, our country would no doubt slip further down this slope of corporate personhood. We could expect even more examples of unchecked corporate power distorting our political debates and drowning out the voices of the people, of inalienable rights of the individual being trampled by the manufactured rights of the moneyed few.

People make up a nation; corporations make up a conglomerate. It is the former not the latter that America must use as its guiding principle, as Justice John Paul Stevens so eloquently reminded us in his dissent in the Citizens United case:

[C]orporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their ‘personhood’ often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of ‘We the People’ by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.

The mail:
Ed Tracey
Lebanon, New Hampshire
Professor, with the recent revelation that Ralph Branca – who has borne the burden of the 1951 Bobby Thomson home run remarkably well, citing comforting words that his Jesuit priest told him – in fact had a mother who was a Hungarian Jewish emigrée and thus can be considered a Jew: I very much like the concluding sentence from an essayist in Commentary Magazine – "There is no question that no matter which group can lay claim to him, he was always a mensch".

Shannon Jacobs
Interesting column, but I recommend calling it "super-ignorance". It’s always been true that people tend to believe what they want to believe, but the Internet now makes it possible for any fool to completely saturate his input channels only with so-called evidence of EXACTLY what he wants to believe, no matter how crazy. They call it search engine personalization, but I predicted it a couple of years ago as ‘pandering to the users’.

The resulting problem is the inability of democratic or republican or any rational governmental institutions to function. It’s not a house divided against itself. It’s more like a house with many rooms in separate wonderlands that even Alice couldn’t handle. Rational discussion of real-world problems and realistic negotiated solutions? What planet did you say you were from?

Robert Lukens
Wyomissing, Pennsylvania

Evidently you broke into my storage unit and perused my LP collection. Many of the same favorites, although I was particularly thrilled to see Graham Parker on your list. "You Can’t be Too Strong", regardless of ones position on abortion, is one of the more powerful – and gut wrenching – songs ever written. Nice list….thanks for that. I needed a break from the lunacy.

Only one of many information dysfunctions afflicting us. I still think knowledge is a good thing, but data is morally neutral and can be misused quite easily. Consider advertising that fundamentally distorts reality since it’s cheaper to improve the perception of and desire for the product than it is to produce a superior product. Consider super-envy where impoverished people learn about the American lifestyle and conclude we are living like kings by grinding their faces in the mud. What about the threat of finding potential lunatics by their rantings and driving the authorities crazy with bogus reports while the bogus reports and resulting investigations may help drive the potential nuts over the edge? Big Brother? What an ancient and minor league worry.

Lisa Smith
Quincy, MA

Dr. A,

I once had problems with another mobile carrier similar to yours. I canceled the contract when they couldn’t/wouldn’t resolve my problems and, of course, stuck me with the large cancellation fee.

Until I complained to the FCC, that is. Funny how they couldn’t wait to refund me my cancellation fee once I got word the FCC was investigating my complaint. It probably costed the company more to deal with the FCC than to refund me, I suppose. I got my fee and a nice sucking-up letter from someone in a VP’s or president’s office. Made me feel all nice and toasty inside, thinking that us libruls actually understand that gubmint works for us once in a while :-).

Here’s the link to their complaint page for wireless.

Sondra Carney
Frazeysburg, OH
My, my, my! The Healy person (is it a Patricia or a Patrick?) seems to be upset (I could tell by the dozens and dozens of exclamation points). I shall refer to this person simply as Healy or ‘the Healy Person’, as it’s easier than doing the P.C. his/her, he/she business or worse, using ‘they’.

I have learned, through many years, that I can communicate most effectively and accomplish more when I treat even those I dislike or those with whom I disagree as human beings who might have something to contribute to a conversation. Humor is an important ingredient too: getting people laughing gets their attention and is more likely to get them to listen to you and, on good days, respond intelligently and thoughtfully. I especially like finding bits of subtle sarcasm in reporters’ writing. Kindred spirits, you know…

The people I laugh at, not with, are those who seem to believe that hatred is the best means of communication. Hatred and death wishes and rants and raves and the not-too-subtly expressed opinion that all who disagree with the exclamation-point-heavy rants are all wrong in every respect! Didn’t your mama ever teach you that you catch more flies with honey than with your special brand of vitriol?

What I seriously do not understand is why someone who has such a strong hatred of all of us on the left (you know, the Nazi, Socialist, Communist left) even subscribes to or reads The Nation. Maybe it’s because there’s nowhere else they feel they can openly express their true selves. Powerless people whose only path to power is hatred–pure, vicious, and uncontrolled–when intelligent discussion would get them infinitely farther down the path to intelligent self-expression.

Haley person, I worry about you. One thing that might help is if you learn that wearing out the exclamation point key on your computer does not make you right. It only shows the world that your communication skills could use some work. One of the first things I learned in English class in junior high is that if you need to add that much "emphasis" through punctuation to make your point, you really have not managed to communicate effectively. And outside of the potential damage to your keyboard, your kind of anger and hatred is really quite damaging to your health and well-being.

One other possible benefit of modifying your approach and improving your skills: if you give others a fair hearing, you could actually learn something from them or, better yet for you, they might then take you seriously enough to learn something from you. Good luck on that one.

I loved the article that triggered your irrational rant, and that’s why I subscribe to The Nation.

Editor’s Note: To contact Eric Alterman, use this form.

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