In my Think Again column, I get a little tired of these stupid Time magazine “Most Influential People in the World” issues where they invite famous people (or their publicists) to lie about one another and pretend that this has something to do with journalism. This year’s highlight: Rush Limbaugh on Michelle Bachmann. More felicitations for Time, here.
In my Daily Beast column, I worry that Barack Obama is turning into Jimmy Carter, here.
Bruce and Steve playing records and talking about the music of the early sixties for, like five hours: Hard to beat…
Two pet peeves: 1) Martin Amis has an affectionate tribute to his famous friendship with Christopher Hitchens in honor of the publication of The Quotable Hitchens. In it, he writes, “Here are some indecorous quotes from The Quotable Hitchens. ‘Ronald Reagan is doing to the country what he can no longer do to his wife.’ Now when that quote appeared in The Nation a long, long time ago, a bunch of Nation writers wrote in to complain about either its tastelessness or its sexism, or both, I forget which. There was actually a petition of sorts. I was offended, however, by the fact that the line was directly lifted from Alvy Singer, who uses it about Dwight Eisenhower at a Stevenson rally in a flashback sequence of Annie Hall. It’s a rather obvious place from which to steal a line and Hitchens was appropriately shame-faced when I told him how easily identifiable it was and how he should apologize for that, and not the other stuff. He agreed. But here it is again. And both Christopher and Amis are acting like Christopher thought it up in the first place. But really, Annie Hall? If you’re going to steal, boys, I wouldn’t begin with a movie that won the Academy Award for best picture (or best director, or both, I forget which…)
2) This one’s purely personal. The political scientist John Mearsheimer has written a nice little book, published by Oxford, about political lying. In it, he is good enough to credit yours truly, who wrote a rather big, eleven-years-in-the-making-originally-a doctoral-dissertation book about presidential lying as the only other book on the topic, and he says something nice, I forget what, but allows that because I am not a social scientist, and do not engage in much theorizing, his book is necessary OK, fine. His little book gets a nice big review in the Washington Post.