Puff Job Career

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Jonah Goldberg's obituary of Helen Thomas is on the money, justly indicating that too many others have been puff pieces. A lack of actual accomplishment and an animus against the United States and Israel emerge as the two dominant themes of Thomas's career:

Still, as time went by, the awards poured in as Thomas became a Washington institution, with cameos in Hollywood movies and even The Simpsons. But the "odd thing about her awards and citations," [Jonathan] Chait noted, "is that they almost never mention any specific contributions she has made to journalism save for being female and, well, old." [minor format edits]
Ironically, her views on Israel made the woman who knocked down doors quite eager to lock them behind her. It was widely rumored -- and reported by Slate magazine -- that she kept pro-Israel New York Times columnist Bill Safire out of the Gridiron Club for years until he turned 70. When Slate asked her about this, she replied, "I don't think I'll talk to you anymore," and hung up. [minor format edits]
Goldberg claims he can come up with only one explanation -- that used by Delta House as its "defense" in Animal House -- for Thomas's plaudits:" But sir, Delta Tau Chi has a long tradition of existence to its members and to the community at large." He gets the laugh, and such a joke is surely what this person deserves. I thought at first that Goldberg could have been more explicit about the fact that Thomas's iconic status said much more about her promoters than it did about her, but I changed my mind on that: Simply pointing these things out will be enough for an independent thinker to figure this out for himself.

Past a certain point, connecting dots can amount to helping an intellectual opponent pass himself off as open to rational argument. That is more than the perpetrators of this fraud deserve.

-- CAV


Steve D said...

I agree that it’s more than the fraudsters deserve. It's also good writing technique to let the reader figure out this type of stuff for himself (connect the dots); turn a one-way lecture into an interactive conversation with the reader and thereby allowing your main point to eventually settle even deeper in his mind (as it did yours and mine). All excellent writing (fiction and nonfiction) produces this sort of dialogue. I say good for Goldberg.
It seems to me that many (although perhaps not all) those of the anti-American or Israel bent and statist’s of all types down through history, have very little in the way of real accomplishments. The deeper reason why this is so, might be an interesting subject for a future post.

Gus Van Horn said...

"... allowing your main point to eventually settle even deeper in his mind..."

Thanks for making that point about writing explicit. I had only experienced the effect, and had not thought about attempting to use it.

The issue you raise about the promotion of nonentities by the left is indeed interesting, but I think it would require at least several posts to explore adequately.