[lbo-talk] Downloadable Hitch

Michael Smith mjs at smithbowen.net
Tue Dec 20 13:51:24 PST 2011

On Tue, 20 Dec 2011 16:07:07 -0500 Max Sawicky <sawicky at verizon.net> wrote:

> I always thought his defense of Chomsky was admirable.
> http://www.chomsky.info/onchomsky/1985----.htm

It's a fine piece. Clearly he put a lot of work into it. But his later stuff shows the unmistakable truth of some editor's (admiring) comment that Hitch knocked off his columns in half an hour.

Apologists for the oligarchs don't have to work so hard. Or to invert an old piece of wisdom:
>From those to whom much is given, little
is expected.

It's interesting to enumerate the good qualities of the Chomsky piece: attention to detail; a comprehensive knowledge and good memory of the contents of the 'weeklies', as Hitch calls 'em -- quaint phrase, these days. And of course a nice racy prose style and a big gift for phrase-making -- 'blunt in both prongs' is really enviable.

He doesn't show himself much of a *thinker* of course. But his purposes in this piece didn't require that or want it. Non omnia possumus omnes; we do what we can. I wonder though whether he wasn't always a bit of a chameleon -- not in a calculated way, necessarily, but just a guy who always said and thought whatever the popular kids said and thought. As the intelligentsia plunged to the right he plunged with it.

That Oxford Union debating style is quite good at making people seem a lot more intelligent and thoughtful than they are.

Still: Not a monster. At worst, a sad case, and at best maybe a lovable rogue.

-- --

Michael J. Smith mjs at smithbowen.net

http://stopmebeforeivoteagain.org http://www.cars-suck.org http://fakesprogress.blogspot.com

Any proposition that seems self-evident is almost certainly false.

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