At It Again

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on August 11, 2011

Those who frequent the blog written by the Inspector Javert of Trig Palin’s matrilineal line can be forgiven for thinking that he has a macro installed on his computer to spit out passages like this one:

9.14 pm. Pawlenty just described assassinations of scientists as “good work”. He also says there should be “no daylight” between US policy and Israeli policy. Between his own president and the prime minister of a foreign country, Pawlenty is with the foreign power.

(Emphasis mine.) You know, this is such unbelievable nonsense, and while I would expect someone with Sullivan’s education not to constantly issue these kinds of dog-whistle remarks, I guess that with Sullivan, I have to resign myself to being consistently appalled. There is nothing whatsoever wrong with saying “between the Obama Administration’s stance on a particular foreign policy issue, and the stance of Country X, I’ll go with Country X.” It doesn’t make one disloyal, or unpatriotic to write or say such things. If you want to argue that the Obama Administration’s stance on a particular foreign policy issue is better than that of Country X, you can certainly feel free to do so, and perhaps you might even be right, but the point is that you can make that argument without insinuating that your opponents are somehow traitors. Equally notable is the exceedingly strong likelihood that Sullivan had no problem whatsoever siding with foreign countries that disagreed with Bush Administration policies when he decided to turn against the 43rd President–after accusing “[t]he decadent Left” of constituting “a fifth column,” back when he did support the Bush Administration, of course.

I suppose that someone is going to point to Sullivan’s habit of accusing the other guys of being traitors as evidence that I cannot and should not take him seriously. Indeed, as an intellectual force, Sullivan has pretty much exhausted himself; his blog posts mostly are filled with sound and fury, signifying generally fawning treatment of Barack Obama and his supposed ability to play 6.02 x 1023 dimension chess, along with enough “meep meeps” to make one wish the Internet and blogs had never been created. But that doesn’t mean that bad writing and bad thinking ought to go unremarked upon–especially when they appear on a blog that boasts a large (if generally undiscerning) readership.

Oh, and if Sullivan is going to keep accusing people who support Israel of being disloyal, then I am going to link to this. No, I still don’t believe that Andrew Sullivan is anti-Semitic; my own feelings on the matter are somewhat more complicated. But just because Sullivan isn’t anti-Semitic doesn’t mean that his rhetoric isn’t ugly. I once gave Sullivan a chance to answer some questions for me, and perhaps clear the air regarding his stance on Israel and Jews. Too bad that his effort on that score was, at best, incomplete.

UPDATE: Please read this before thinking of offering a certain brand of comment.

  • Ken McCracken

    Duck. Barrel. Gun.

    Why bother with Sullivan?

  • Quilly Mammoth

    I have maintained for several years that Mr. Sullivan suffers from a form of AIDS Dementia Complex. ADC was very common when the first really effective medicines were introduced…they were strong enough to extend life but not enough to fight the damage caused by immune activation of  brain macrophages and microglia.

    New, more effective medicines may be slowing this damage, but not completely stopping the process. Most victims, in the end, still pass away from complications of the body attacking itself. Sadly there are publishers profiting from Mr. Sullivan’s misfortunes.

    • Anonymous

      I have written before, and will write again that since commenters here either aren’t physicians, or if they are physicians, they are in no position to diagnose Andrew Sullivan from afar, that we should refrain from saying anything about how his medical condition might influence his writing. From everything that I have read, Sullivan is–thanks to the many advances made in fighting HIV/AIDS–in robust health. I wish him a long life, and refuse to extend to him the excuse that his writing is impaired by bad health. And unless a qualified medical doctor personally examines him and says otherwise, others should refuse to extend to him that excuse as well.

      • TMLutas

        Having seen some pretty amazing feats of “distance diagnosis” from my physician wife, I think your position in the case of Andrew Sullivan is right for the wrong reasons. There is a class of ailments that leaves enough visible physical traces that one can diagnose without an actual examination. I do not believe that dementia from AIDS to be one of them though. The test to sift out the real from the false is a bit different than what you lay out, however. 

      • Quilly Mammoth

        Fair enough.  Nevertheless the last line of my comment stands. Publishers are making money off of Mr. Sullivan’s neuroses…and it’ sad.

  • David Horton

    Avogadro’s Number in a political blog?


    Otherwise, spot on.

    • Anonymous

      One does what one can in order to keep up one’s geek credentials.

  • Anonymous

    Sullivan has gall to lecture US citizens on how we should behave — when he isn’t one.

  • Mike

    I disagree.  While it is impossible to truly know what is in someone’s heart, I think the evidence strongly suggests that Sullivan is an anti-semite.

    • Jack

      Well, sometimes the patient doesn’t cooperate with the examination and all you have to go on is what he writes….
      Sullivan isn’t a journalist, he is a media surfer, riding the wave of blog hits to a well  paying job.  Triangulating as required.  Who knew that ignoring essential truth, logic, fairness and simple decency could pay so well?

      My guess is that Palin would be happy to provide all of her medical records as long as Sullivan would release his, and submit to a psychiatric interview.  I am quite sure that Andrews would make the more interesting reading.

  • M Simon

    6.02E23 is close to Avogadro’s number. Are you implying that he is a mole?

    • Anonymous

      I caught that as well.

  • M Simon

    Ah. I see someone down thread caught that too.  Your geek cred is safe with me.

  • Anonymous

    Sullivan has both Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome as well as Kluver-Bucy syndrome. Look ‘em up.

  • Florida Rob

    “…I would expect someone with Sullivan’s education not to constantly issue these kinds of dog-whistle remarks…”

    You could say the same of Obama but, like with Sullivan, you wouldn’t be considering his target audience.  They ~love~ teh whistle.

  • Jim O’Sullivan

    Need I really remind everybody?
     In 2003, when he was a rabid supporter of Bush and the Iraq war, Sullivan started asking his readers for money. After several blegothons, his readers discovered to their dismay that their payments had been de facto contributions to the Kerry campaign, as Sullivan turned against the war, and begin attacking its supporters with the same venom he had previously aimed at doves. Then, right after Kerry lost, he rattled his tin cup again. Almost immediately after that last bleg, he “retired” from blogging, presumably with money that he would never earn.  (assuming anyone was still sending him cash). Then he reappearred a few months later with a paying gig for Time’s website.
    It was at some point during that process that I stopped taking him seriously. I don’t understand why anyone else still does.

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