thursdays are for magazines

Commenting On Commentary, With A Denby Cameo Because Of Course

Let’s look at Commentary magazine, the famous neocon rag now edited by John Podhoretz, who can be easily analogized to Bill Kristol, I guess, for having a much more intelligent and talented father and then sort of soiling the family legacy in the name of pride and stupidity. Or hey, for a more zeitgeist-y example Ms. Meghan McCain is also a good comparison. So, John “Blogette” Podhoretz is the Meghan McCain in this situation and Commentary is his monthly Twitter. What has Meghan Podhoretz been tweeting about as of late? Foreign policy, the economy, and, what’s this, long-time New Yorker intern David Denby, whose first foray into cultural relevance has been an unmitigated disaster.

“Stimulus: A History of Folly”: Let’s take this metaphor that Obama used this one time, on teevee, in attempts to explain his economic policy to all of America when all of America could think about was why there is a black character on 2 1/2 Men tonight. And why is he not as funny as Charlie Sheen? Anyway, so right, jumpstarting the economy, Obama explained, is like “jumpstarting” a “car”. Except, hello!, so much more complicated! argues Commentary. At least twice as complicated. For example, Keynes was all about public works projects, except that might not be enough! See: R, FD for evidence. His new deal didn’t actually do all that much to “jumpstart” the “Depression.” That’s just a Political Myth, like the notion that there are paper copies of The Politico. Really, says Commentary guy James K. Glassman, the key to most everything is low interest rates, except even that will take forever and a half, probably. [Stimulus: A History of Folly]

“The Coming War on Sovereignty”
: Okay, here’s this gist: Radical Obama is straying way too far from the principles outlined in the—I’m not even kidding—Peace of Westphalia of 1648, which gives “nation-states”, a term meaning “country” in AP European History parlance, the right to protect their borders. This new plan cooked up for Obama called A Plan for Action is nothing like the Peace of Westphalia, and everything like New Europe, where Westphalia is Germany and up is down and sovereignty is being impossibly lame by listening to other countries and rejecting Kaiser George W. Bush of Westphalia’s policy of unilateralism, as outlined in the famous treaty Doing Whatevsies Because Why the Hell Not of 1648. Oh and did I mention this piece was written by John Bolton? Did I even have to? [The Coming War on Sovereignty]

“Omissions of the Times: Problem: Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. says that the New York Times is doing a good job preserving the neutrality of its coverage of Gaza. Only Commentary is not so sure Mr. Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. is telling the truth. So, Commentary does a close reading. One staff reporter of Sulzberger’s City of New York Paper Newspaper uses verbs like “pummeled” to describe planes flying into buildings. This is loaded language! Another time, this reporter, Taghreed El-Khodary, called the experience of being in Gaza “terrorizing.” No, no don’t hold back; tell us what you really think, etc. So anyway, this Commentary piece goes on to pick random words out of random articles by El-Khodary in apparent attempts to demonstrate a bias. Except being in Gaza is of course terrorizing, and what is this Commentary fellow, Rick Richman, even talking about? [Omissions of the Times]

“The Hunting of Denby”: Ha ha. Well, well, well. Hello old friend. Right off the bat, Commentary‘s reviewer [One of your editor's favorites, the very funny Mark Steyn -- Ed.] makes a friend in your Wonkette, describing D.D., snarkily, as “not Anthony Lane, the other one.” So true. Commentary calls out Denby for being weird and relativistic and prissy. D.D.’s weird tautology can be expressed as such: Basically, everyone that criticizes something Denby likes (mediocre Beatles albums, Al Gore, failing at being a stockbroker, etc.) is snarky. Mock something not favored by your anti-hero, and there is no problem. And, Commentary argues, the worst part about D.D.’s strange diatribe is that it’s boring. [The Hunting of Denby]

[Commentary]

About the author

Juli Weiner was Wonkette's beloved intern and books columnist and then morning editor until she was hired away by Vanity Fair in 2010.

View all articles by Juli Weiner
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32 comments

  1. Sussemilch

    He wrote an entire column on how Pelosi said “five hundred million jobs” instead of “five hundred thousand jobs.” Dear sir, it has not been so long that we have forgotten the eight-year free pass we gave the Grand Master of Malaprop, so do us a kindly gesture and shut the fuck up.

  2. Serolf Divad

    Here’s the difference between science and right-wing ideology:

    If you’re a scientist and claim that you’ve discovered cold fusion, you become a laughing-stock and you career basically collapses once you’re shown to be full of shit.

    If you’re a Right-wing pundit and claim that you’ve discovered the economic equivalent of cold fusion, you become a laughing-stock for a brief while, but soon after continue to enjoy a long-running career of right-wing punditry nonetheless.

    Right wing punditry is not about being right. It’s about being Right-wing.

  3. Mr Blifil

    JPod. In a weight class by himself. He speaks with a rather pronounced lisp, I’ve noticed. Only sayin’. I’m sure he’s an EXCELLENT father…

  4. SayItWithWookies

    That first article (which I am not going to continue reading because I already have a headache) reminded me that I saw a clip of Victoria Jackson on some Fox show last night. She was yelling that Obama was a commmunist because he was going to raise the tax rates, and said “He’s going to punish me for being successful,” a remark that passed unnoticed by her fellow right-wingers.

    If Ms. Jackson has anything to be concerned about, being punished for success has to be way down on the list.

  5. wheelie

    Wow. I can’t remember the last time I found Wank Steyn funny; I think it was about 2002. But his Denby article was pretty entertaining.

  6. Neon Trotsky

    Fun fact for John Bolton: “nation-states” did not exist in 1648. 1648 is only when “states” first came to exist, in any modern sense of the term. Making nations and states coterminous was a phenomenon that didn’t really start until the 19th century. Fail.

    Also, if you like the Westphalian system so much, with its cuius regio, eious religio, does that mean we’re all black separatist Christians/secret Muslins now that Barry reigns over America?

  7. Lascauxcaveman

    MEDIOCRE Beatles Albums?

    Oh, you assholes are SOOO dead to me…

    (I keed, I keed. Nice piece o’ writing, Juli. Wading through all that commentary and keeping the funni, much less keeping awake.)

  8. drrty martini

    I tried reading the Bolton thingy…but I fell asleep and had horrible dreams of mustache rides.

  9. TimeCubist

    [re=264088]Neon Trotsky[/re]:

    John Bolton don’t need none o’ yer dang book-larnin, feller.

  10. Joey Ratz

    [re=264092]Lascauxcaveman[/re]: Agreed. Getting anything more than nosebleeds out of reading Commentary is an accomplishment in and of itself. Keep it up, Juli!

  11. snarkattack

    BTW, that picture of Podhoretz is so revolting, my eyes literally fell out of my head and threw themselves under a passing truck. Now I have to dictate my commentary to the office flunky.

  12. Lascauxcaveman

    [re=264167]Ken Layne[/re]: Yeah. You can’t help but like a guy who drops the word ‘aperçu’ in a column.

    (Yes, I had to look it up)

  13. masterdebater

    “Stimulus: A History of Folly”

    I have to start reading slower. I thought it said “History of Molly”, my old girlfriend.

  14. Atlas Spanked

    Oh my gawd! Bolton wallows in the same psychotic comic-book-constitutionalism as every black helicopter, militia-weirdo, tax sniveler in Northern Idaho. “Sovereignity.” Yeah. Right. Whatever. And he doeesn’t even know history. And he was our U.N. Ambassador!!!

    Republikkans are de-evolving faster than lobotomized flatworms.

    Legal question for this drooling walrus and his d-wad neocon brethren: If you’re sovereign, and you don’t have a U.S. visa, does that make you an illegal alien?

  15. Pop Socket

    Probably the most succinct and accurate Denby pan yet. And it’s a pretty crowded field.

  16. Bruno

    Correct. Nation-States is one of those AP filler words you could use to make your 10-page essay a little closer to complete rather than adjusting margins, line spacing and kerning.

  17. Jukesgrrl

    [re=264219]masterdebater[/re]: Awww, you saw the word “Stimulus” and you thought about your ex-girlfriend? You might want to get in touch with Bristol Palin. I hear her hookee is lonelee.

  18. gjdodger

    Jesus, you guys and Denby are like Cartman and that kid who ended up accidentally eating his parents. No, I don’t want to see your pubes.

  19. gjdodger

    So…what are you all doing for White Bitch Month? I’m thinking of going to the Grace Slick Revival.

  20. thatguyoverthere

    Paper copies of The Politico? I saw one last night! Honest! There was a guy reading it in the dive restaurant in Chinatown I was at…I had to look at it two or three times to believe it.

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