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November 03, 2005

Email of the Day: Andrew Sullivan, Bipolar Bloviator

I've said similar stuff before, but I'll post alex's musings on Excitable Boy:

I hate to think what Andrew Sullivan's exes must all have endured--the man simply has no 'lukewarm' valve--he's either scalding hot or freezing cold. There's just no getting out of a relationship with a man like that on a 'lets be friends' level--I suspect Sullivan's not on speaking terms with a single old boyfriend. And whether or not Sullivan ever decides to settle down for good with the current boyfriend (which, by MA law, he can do if he cares to), he's certainly not about to marry any particular idea and settle down with it any time soon, or accept responsibility for any idea after he's fallen out of love with it--the man's an intellectual Casanova.

It's one thing to be a genuine iconoclast like Sullivan's hero Orwell--that is, to have consistent, strong personal beliefs which simply don't fit neatly into any one prepackaged ideology. It's one thing to have one major life-changing 'conversion' experience a la Christopher Hitchens. It's another thing entirely to exist with one's beliefs in a constant, unexplained, unrestrained, and uninterrogated state of flux.

Sullivan's hardly politically consistent--he reliably self-defines as conservative, but seems to expect the term to bend to his own ever-changing definition--for Sullivan, 'conservative' (like 'Catholic') is defined as 'wherever and whatever Andrew Sullivan now is'.

Exactly. It's one thing to have a change of mind. But usually people who do are a bit apologetic, a bit embarassed, and have a bit of sympathy for their one-time allies who they've now left behind. Were I to suddenly decide Bush erred in going to war with Iraq, I would make my case, but I would certainly not be venomous to war-supporters, whose opinion I had shared just a few weeks before.

With Sullivan, it's unapologetic, unabased self-righteousness on every single idea that enters his brain, even regarding those upon which he had the precise opposite opinion a few months ago.

The man went from sarcastically mocking those concerned with abusing terrorists to screeching about the US being a "rogue state" without ever proceeding through even a "conflicted rumination" phase.

The man doesn't have a philosophy. He has a Tiger Beat What's Hot/What's Not list in his brain that changes as quickly as Madonna's costumes at a concert-slash-kabbalah-ceremony.

And the emotion...! My god, the emotion! I found it exhausting to even attempt parodying Sullivan's, let us say, rather passionate form of "analysis." Who the hell can be that outraged and/or exhilerated that many times a day? He's like a five-year-old kid whose every schoolday features three Christmasses and three trips to the dentist.

I suppose one could say he's being "honest," giving us the "unfiltered Sullivan," except 1) he's pretty dishonest (still making his mind up about Bush, $100,000 bandwidth costs, etc.) and 2) please, if I must have Sullivan at all, let me have a filter. A really, really strong one.

Only an absolute narcissist could be so in love with his own musings, and so convinced of the complete righteousness of crap he just thought up five seconds ago.

Andrew Sullivan is the high priest of his own personal Cult of Personality.


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posted by Ace at 06:27 PM

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