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July 08, 2005

Eric Alterman: Let's Not Rush To Judgment In London!

He frets we're jumping to conclusions about the perpetrators of the mass-slaughter in the Tubes:

We don't have remotely enough information about what took place in London or who did it to engage in sensible speculation about why it happened or what ought to be done as a result. Speed is the enemy of sensibility in such situations. (So let's all try to resist the urge to exploit the tragedy to demonstrate how right we were about everything in the first place and just show some respect, and compassion, for its victims.)

In related news, Alterman also wrings his hands that we're being "far too hasty" in trying to pin Lincoln's assassination on a "contrarian actor" ("Time to round up the artists and poets, eh?") and also worries "How do we know the shark killed all those people in Jaws? Maybe it was just a big moray eel, like the one in The Deep. I question the timing."

He promises further handwringing when the sun sets tonight, but cautions, "let's make no off-the-cuff speculations about whether the sixty-million-year-old revolution of the earth will continue indefinitely. That smacks of racism to me. You know what else smacks of racism? Fig newtons, that's what."

"The Reality-Based Community"

It's far too early to make judgments about anything, except about our own intellectual and moral superiority. And we have to keep pointing it out to you because, damnit, no one else is picking up the slack.

Thanks to the finally-linkable Blogometer from the National Journal.

Have I Misread Alterman's Intent? Hubris thinks that perhaps Alterman was cautioning his leftist brethren, not saying "let's not rush to pin this on Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists:"

This is actually one of the few statements ever made by Alterman that I have not found offensive. Note his phrasing:
So let's all try to resist the urge to exploit the tragedy to demonstrate how right we were about everything.

To me, he's not only talking to his opponents, but also asking people like Oliver Willis and Atrios refrain from the kind of crap they slapped up on the screen yesterday (to no avail, obviously).

Also, I don't think he was saying "let's not rush to judgment on whether the perpetrators were bastards."

I don't see the problem there. Plenty of problems at Atrios and Oliver Willis, who will certainly keep us safe if Fox News correspondents ever try to storm our beaches.

Emphasis in Hubris' quotation, putting that stress on "we."

Plausible, I guess, but I have to say I switch between "we" meaning, you know, "we" and "we" meaning our opponents (what they're saying, or thinking, whatever) all the time. Really, when you do that, you should put the language in quotes to connote that these aren't your own words, but the (made-up) words you're putting in an unnamed straw-man's opponent's mouth; but I write sloppy, and often omit the quotes.

In the post about the Supreme Court, I first wrote that a pro-choice libertarian judge would be "acceptable;" I realized I hadn't specified acceptable to whom, and had to edit to "acceptable to Chuckie Schumer."

Maybe he means what Hubris says. I don't think so, but it is a possibility. If Alterman did mean to rap the left's knuckles, he shouldn't have been so chickenshit about citing an example.

Alterman is a hack, so I just doubt he has much bad to say about the left at all, even a minor caution. David Corn is on the left, too, but he tries, from time to time, to achieve something close to "fairness." If it were David Corn we were talking about, I'd be more likely to accept Hubris' reading.

In any event, I have to quote his quibbling, just because of that killer last line:

Plenty of problems at Atrios and Oliver Willis, who will certainly keep us safe if Fox News correspondents ever try to storm our beaches.

Amen, brother. I feel all warm and secure knowing that Filet-O-Fish will be right there to save me from the deviant sexual predations of Laurie Dhue.


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posted by Ace at 02:57 PM

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