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March 20, 2005

Susan Estrich, SuperWoman, Plays the Mom Card

...to avoid debating Cathy Seipp on the radio about her continuing campaign to be more annoying than usual.

She says she had to tuck in the little ones and could not possibly find a cordless phone with which to call into the show.

Maybe that's why Michael Kinsley doesn't publish more of her columns -- maybe he keeps trying to contact her for a piece, but she's puttering around the house picking up roller-skates and Tickle-Me-Elmo's and always stumbles over the vacuum-cleaner on the way to pick up the phone.

In related news, Kinsely has been so effectively chastened by the haus-frau mau-mau that he's willing to tell ludicrious lies. The lie in question? That Maureen Dowd is "the most influential columnist of our time."

He brings up Larry Summers in this column; good, I was going to as well. Just as Larry Summers was forced to recant his heresies -- as somone said, he was punished for not professing enough belief in the Gods of the City -- so is Michael Kinsley forced to do penance.

Winston Smith was forced in Room 101 to declare 2 + 2 = 5; and so Michael Kinsely is now forced to claim something even more illogical and incomprehensible -- that Maureen Dowd's eight-grade slam-book comedy stylings make her "the most influential columnist of our time."

I can imagine alternate universes, based upon strange systems of mathematics in which 2 + 2 does equal five, and in which parallel lines not only meet, but meet as frequently as their schedules will allow, catching dinner and a show together and then going back to one line's pied a terre to engage in some form of hot cryptogeometric copulation.

But I cannot fathom a plane of existance in which Maureen Dowd is "the most influential columnist of our time."

Apart from Wonkette, and the various interns/ghost-writers who churn out much of "Wonkette's" burblings-- who the fuck is she influencing, exactly?

Oh, right. Why, I see George Will engaging in her childish name-calling alpha-girl style all the time. And I'm told Jack Germond intends to begin mentioning Queer Eye For the Straight Guy in every column he may write henceforth. And reliable sources tell me that from now on, Max Boot's foreign-policy analyses will be entirely based on junior-high crush-party politics.

Susan Estrich may have been out of line to bring up his battle with Parkinson's in such a nasty manner, but face it, the man has gone from being a genuine must-read first-rate talent to barely-tolerable hack and a soporific shill. Who knows why. Maybe, like many, he was doomed to burn brightly and then simply flicker out.

You want to know who was influential? Michael Kinsley was influential. His just-on-the-right-side-of-snide manner -- combined with the crystal-clarity of his prose and his openess to challenge liberal canards (and conservative ones too, of course, but that's hardly remarkable in a liberal) -- made him one of the best columnists in America through the eighties and nineties.

You can see his influence in the amateur leftist webzine Slate today, except that writers like Tim Noah can't get away with Kinsely's snarkiness, since they don't possess his wit, his charm, his brains, or his facility with the written word. All these writers are able to do is to ape his attitude, the sneer of the superior, except they just can't get away with it-- they're not superior. Or even somewhere in the middle.

Their attitudes are writing checks their gifts can't cover.

But the days when Michael Kinsely could get away with this are, too, sadly passed. He is unfortunately just another left-wing hack who isn't even interesting enough to read for the purpose of getting miffed.

If It's On a T-Shirt, It's Gotta Be True Update: DeeDaGo sends:

Credit Update: When I posted this, I could not find the email nor the blog that had referred me to the Kinsley column. It was tom from The New Editor.

Pardon my lack of a proper hat-tip. I really did look but I couldn't find it... until three seconds ago.

The link in the main article has been changed to point to his site.


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posted by Ace at 06:51 PM

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