Tuesday, February 02, 2016


I don't have a lot of spare time and hadn't planned on reading Jane Mayer's Dark Money, which apparently treats the Koch Brothers, but as is often the case one review can make a difference:
Those who hate too much become like the people they hate, and so it is with Jane Mayer, whose Dark Money, a 450-page screed of unrelenting venom, portrays a vast right-wing conspiracy controlled by a small number of libertarian donors. Like the John Birch Society of days gone by, Mayer sees a cabal of dark forces that secretly dominates American politics. And like Joe McCarthy, people two or three degrees of separation from her villains are tarred with their brush. Fifty years ago Richard Hofstadter said that the Birchers and McCarthyites exemplified the “paranoid style” of American politics, but now it’s the Mayers who have debased American politics.
There's an inside joke embedded in this skein of spit: the Kochs' old man was actually a Bircher himself. Other than that, it's all rant. The reviewer, George Mason professor F.H. Buckley, tells us that Mayer's book "is politics at the level of Keith Olbermann, a long, unremitting, hate-filled sneer," and Mayer "is evidently a person whose mind has never risen above the arrogance and hatred peddled on the thoroughfares," a "monomaniacal bore," etc. The closest he comes to telling us how she might be wrong, though, is this:
Mayer’s world is one of dark forces and private venality, but what she doesn’t get is just how one seeks donor support. No one ever received a dime by saying they’d do the donor’s bidding. Instead, one tells the donors what one wants to do, and either gets or doesn’t get supported.
I wonder if Buckley's ever heard the one about the blind horse, the nod, and the wink. The best part, though, is this:
In reading her diatribe, I was amused to realize that I would have been dead-center in her sights, had I been important enough to be noticed.
Better luck next time, F. A few days ago the New York Times reported on some risibly faked plagiarism charges against Mayer. It looks as if Buckley's not the only one who doesn't want people to read her work, which suggests that it's very much worth reading.

I wonder if these guys know how obvious they are? Or are they just convinced that there's no point even trying to make it look legit?

UPDATE. In comments, mds: "I mean, sweet, tender Baby Jeebus on toast, they couldn't get some crank at Harvard or Chicago? They actually went with a guy at a university the Kochs have given tens of millions of dollars to?... We're talking Oscar the Grouch being outraged at accusations that the hand up his ass belongs to Caroll Spinney."

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