Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Brad DeLong On Unintentional Self-Parody

It's Self-Parody, Just Not Intentional Self-Parody: Archive Entry From Brad DeLong's Webjournal

An important thing to keep in mind about Saletan and his "Kerryisms." A couple of things, actually. One is that now that he's getting grief for the feature, he's not going to stop, because he's convincing himself that he's afflicting the comfortable. Kerry supporters are upset because they can't take the heat they've given GWB for his verbal malaprops. Except that GWB means to say one thing and manages to mangle it into something else. Kerry may use a lot of words, but he seems to be saying exactly what he wants to say. Could he be briefer? Sure, sometimes. But sometimes he's making a point of distinction. You can't always speak in broad and vague sentences when you're trying to be specific.

The second things is that there's no way in hell that Saletan will ever quit doing "Kerryisms," because to stop would mean that he's taken the criticisms to be true and he can't let that appear to be the case. Journalists are supposed to be omniscent, or at least present the appearance of being so. It's why the New York Times won't specifically name Judith Miller when they claim that they made mistakes in their coverage. The vague "we" diffuses responsibility among many people, while naming names would mean that (gasp!) one of their reporters was wrong. The horror!

I've got the image of Saletan digging in his yard, and people are running towards him, waving him off and telling him to stop. He's convincing himself that it's because he's close to the buried treasure and they want it for themselves. What they're trying to tell him is that he's about to hit a gas main and it's going to blow up in his face.

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