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Marty-dom | The Nation

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Eric Alterman

Eric Alterman

Well-chosen words on music, movies and politics, with the occasional special guest.

Marty-dom

“I mean fuck these fancy Upper West Side rabbis”: If you want to feel sorry for the Pathetic Mr. Peretz, then here is your chance. It’s a fine piece, though perhaps a little light on what makes his sourpuss mien more than merely pathetic, but actually destructive. For that might I recommend this. But also a few quibbles. For instance, Marty says he regularly attends the Sheik Jarrah protests against evictions in East Jerusalem. I think he’s lying and it was a mistake of the author to take his word for it. He also says that longtime TNR writer “John Judis "knows zero” about the Middle East. I think it might have been a good idea to signal to the reader that Mr. Judis knows a great deal about the Middle East, more, I imagine, than Mr. Peretz; he simply does not share Peretz’s particularly blinkered view of the place. The greatest weakness, however, of what is a really fine piece is that it lets Peretz off the hook for the manner in which he got himself kicked out of TNR. I mean that is the story, isn’t it. He’s desperately clung to the title of “Editor in Chief” for nearly 40 years after having long ago lost the money from his ex-wife’s inheritance he used to buy and control it. He wrote “the spine” devotedly no matter where he was. And now, nothing? I understand that perhaps nobody wanted to talk about this, perhaps because they feared Marty would pull the plug on his long-awaited exit, if it were to be spun as his getting kicked out in the media.  I would not be surprised if it were a condition of Marty's cooperation with the piece that the subject not be addressed in any detail. But surely an author is entitled to educated speculation on the central question of his essay. Anyway, don’t cry for Marty Peretz. He may have lost TNR but he still has houses all over the world and the undying support and friendship of David Horowitz, who writes on Tablet:

“I am honored to be compared to Marty Peretz who is currently undergoing a purge by the left — one of its periodic witch-hunts of individuals who fail to toe the party line. Peretz sin — like mine — is hardly opportunism. He is being punished for attempting to tell hard truths. In the Middle East, particularly in Gaza and the West Bank where suicide bombers are national heroes and saints, and a death cult has been spawned in kindergartens and the government media, Muslim life is obviously cheap and cheap for Muslims. But Peretz has been crucified for blurting this out. The worst aspect of this public burning is the silence so far of all the writers and editors of the left whose careers he nurtured and launched. It just exemplies, [sic] what I know from my own experience, that the left has no heart for people, for the individuals who serve it. It only cares about the purity of its ideas.”

On the topic of Tablet, their list of the 100 Greatest Jewish Songs does not include what is probably the greatest Jewish song ever, Allan Sherman’s “Shake Hands with Your Uncle Max,” nor indeed, does it include anything at all from Sherman’s “My Son the Folksinger” which is the greatest Jewish album of all time. I believe that is “enough said,” but let’s give Allan the last word(s):  

I sell a line of plastics
And I travel on the road
And I have a case of samples
Which believe me is a load

Every night a strange cafe
A strange hotel and then
Early in the morning
I am on the road again

When the season's over
And my lonesome journey ends
That's the only time I see
My family and my friends

I drive up Ocean Parkway
And before I stop the car
My ma leans out the window
And she hollers, "Here we are!"

Shake hands with your Uncle Max, my boy
And here is your sister Shirl
And here is your cousin Isabel
That's Irving's oldest girl
And you remember the Tishman twins
Gerald and Jerome
We all came out to greet you
And to wish you welcome home

Meet..
Merowitz, Berowitz, Handelman, Schandelman
Sperber and Gerber and Steiner and Stone
Boskowitz, Lubowitz, Aaronson, Baronson,
Kleinman and Feinman and Freidman and Cohen

Smallowitz, Wallowitz, Tidelbaum, Mandelbaum
Levin, Levinsky, Levine and Levi
Brumburger, Schlumburger, Minkus and Pinkus
And Stein with an "e-i" and Styne with a "y"

Shake hands with your Uncle Sol mein boy
And here is your brother Sid
And here is your cousin Yetta
Who expects another kid

Whenever you're on the road mein boy
Wherever you may roam
We'll all be here when you come back
To wish you welcome home

“All shook up: As Newseum's operating costs soared to $250,000 a day, Freedom Forum's finances sank” Some really good reporting here.

So Judith Miller has finally found her natural home at Newsmax. And yet she was the lead reporter for the New York Times on the Bush/Cheney plans for war. How again, does that fit in with notion that the paper is ground zero of the global liberal media conspiracy? Just asking…

The Mail:

Here’s LTC Bob: you can write him at bateman_ltc@hotmail.com

I am so tired of war.

Some of you say you are tired too, and argue. I will not argue the validity of your positions, back home.

I am 43 now. Not old, but no longer young. I have been a soldier for our nation for 25 years. You, through your elected civilian leaders, have decided where I would go. Sometimes it was to the Middle East, sometimes it has been elsewhere. A few weeks from now it will be to South Asia.

I am tired, but I understand.  What needs to be done needs to be done.

President Obama, like his predecessors, knows that he must send people like me to places we would all rather not go.

And it sucks.

I mean seriously. It sucks.

Adventure is for teenagers. 

But I know why we are doing it. Even though I know, and feel, the cost. See, for me it is not taxes. For me it is not a moral/diplomatic issue. For me it is my friends, my former students, my former soldiers, and they are dying. But what this President, and even the last one, has made clear about Afghanistan, is that it matters. And it matters enough that we need to be, well, who we are. And I mean all Americans.

Yea, who are we?

Let us be honest. Let’s talk big.

We Americans are the most annoyingly belligerent nation of self-obsessed morons that has ever existed upon the face of this planet. We make the Romans look polite. We make the French look chaste. We make the Russians look subtle, and we make the Japanese look normal. We are a country which largely consists of the people who were kicked out of all of the polite countries, and though we seldom mention it, we are actually really proud of that fact. We are a people who look a challenge in the face, and laugh, because we are so collectively argumentative, abusive and combative that we cannot even imagine a problem we cannot beat, solve, destroy or buy our way out of. Seriously.

And so now we have Afghanistan.

I would be depressed. Except. Except that I am like you. With all those other things about us…there is more…I am irrepressibly optimistic, perhaps irrationally so, because, well, because I am an American. I hate being irrational. But then I love being an American. And so, I am trapped between the two. I believe in our goodness, our fundamental intentions, I believe that a country which can rip itself apart, and then come together again matters. I believe that a nation which finds in itself the power to win two world wars has some gumption. And…and I believe that the nation which created both Seinfeld and White Christmas, is good. And so, friends, believe it or not, so does most of the world.

So I trust. I trust that my men and I, the ones who do the sad things, can make this happen. I do know that we are doing it for the right reasons, and I hope that we are doing it in the right way. Only time will tell I suppose. I don’t pray, myself, but if you want to toss one or two our way, that would be sort of cool. Thanks.   

Morgan Sheridan
Albuquerque, NM
In reading your article wherein you noted the "increasing conservative bent of our military's officer corps", I thought of Mikey Weinstein's Military Religious Freedom Foundation almost immediately, since the military academies have been filled with cadets hewing to evangelical, fundamentalist ideologies since the early Reagan era.  As an Air Force veteran (1974-79), I am deeply disturbed over the deliberate suborning of our military leadership wherein they answer to G-d first and country second.

The conservative bent was deliberately cultivated for a long time.  It would be lovely to see ROTC trained officers able to challenge the existing conservative culture in today's military forces.

Michael Green
Las Vegas, NV
Dr. A., sorry but you lose me when you say that it isn't enough that Obama wanted to make the system work.  I agree with you that, in an ideal world, we would have seen a lot more legislation passed that would have done a lot more good.  But neither of us lives in that ideal world, and after all that you have written about Kabuki Democracy, it strikes me that, just as all of us can do better, our fellow lefties could do better than form circular firing squads and hold their breath until they turn blue every time they don't get absolutely everything they want, and you can do better than what you wrote in The Daily Beast.

Fred Leonhardt
Portland, OR
Who's the leader?

What Palin said about lame ducks when she resigned as Governor of Alaska:

And so as I thought about this announcement that I wouldn't run for re-election and what it means for Alaska, I thought about how much fun some governors have as lame ducks... travel around the state, to the Lower 48 (maybe), overseas on international trade—as so many politicians do. And then I thought—that's what's wrong—many just accept that lame duck status, hit the road, draw the paycheck, and "milk it". I'm not putting Alaska through that—I promised efficiencies and effectiveness!

What President Obama said at the end of the most productive lame-duck session in history:

“One thing I hope people have seen during this lame-duck: I am persistent,” Mr. Obama said, with a flash of energy, at a valedictory news conference. “If I believe in something strongly, I stay on it.”

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