Thursday, October 14, 2010

GOLDBERG RETURNS FOR FURTHER SELF-HUMILIATION. You will recall Jonah Goldberg's attempt to -- well, not so much refute Anne Applebaum's column on conservative anti-elitism as to misrepresent it and then attack the misrepresentation. Even on those terms he did a lousy job.

Yesterday Applebaum responded to Goldberg with extraordinary patience (especially considering that she noticed, as I did, that Goldberg "actually attributes arguments to me that I never made"), explaining in simple words that right-wing bitching about elites conflicts with their meritocratic views, and is particularly ridiculous coming from conservatives who are members of elites themselves.

Goldberg re-stumbles onstage with a bucket on his foot and what he thinks is a winning comeback: What Applebaum doesn't understand about him and his fellow wingnuts is that they use "elite" as code! And he's actually mad that she didn't impute to him the bad faith that he admits of himself:
I’m trying not to let my exasperation get the better of me...
...'cause when I do my face turns red and my pits smell really, really bad.
...so let me explain what I think she is missing. Attacking the Ivy League is a very old, very recognizable shorthand in American political discourse. What Applebaum is doing is reading these statements literally, and painfully so.
I mean, really! I'll bet she doesn't even know about the "uppity" connection! Fart.

Goldberg also isn't done attributing things to Applebaum that she didn't say:
She is also asserting that Ivy League simply means the smartest and the best, as if there was no plausible case that the Ivy League’s reputation is any way overblown or underserved.
I wished as hard as I could, so hard I think I pulled a muscle, that Goldberg would try to make that case immediately, using as an example his skill at walking around with a bucket on his foot. But again God was deaf to my pleas.

As to Applebaum busting him for making shit up, Goldberg huffs, "Applebaum is now moving the goalposts," which in this context means she's getting into the weeds and Goldberg has to noodle it and anyway he has to walk Cosmo and farrrarrrt -- that is, nothing:
What I objected to was the bizarre insinuation that what is motivating Tea Partiers and other conservatives these days is a backlash against elite education, academic achievement, or the rise of the meritocracy as personified by the Obamas. That remains what I dismiss.
This is as fine an example of "You were supposed to hear what I meant to say" as you'll find anywhere.

Goldberg also receives non-help from Jay Nordlinger, who says that Bill Buckley wasn't an elitist despite having every attribute of an elitist because Bill Buckley was always talking about how he hated elitists. Unfortunately he began rambling before he would inform us that George W. Bush may have gone to Yale but he by God cleared brush at his ranch which, by the way, is in Texas.

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