On the Opinion Page: April 13, 2008


In which The Gay Recluse scores selected opinion pieces in The Times.

Frank Rich/The Petraeus-Crocker Show Gets the Hook

The Short Version: Even I can’t get outraged over the Iraq war anymore.

In his words: “Yet I must confess that, sitting in MoMA, I kept looking beyond the frame of Mr. Morris’s movie as well.”

Score: D (Derailed)
Rich’s writing in this column is unfocused and tentative; what he fails to acknowledge — and what would be far more interesting — is that as little as most Americans care about the war in Iraq, they care even less about newspaper columnists like Frank Rich. The story of any empire in decline can be compelling, but Rich — whose unflinchingly pompous nature is oddly reflected in the Republican assholes he loves to rant against — fails to give us much insight into his own condition (beyond the above quote). So we are left unmoved by his plight, even when we agree with his more superficial political points.

Nicholas Kristof/Extended Forecast: Bloodshed

The Short Version: Gosh, even global warming is unfair!

In his words: “Some experts believe that the damage that the West does to poor countries from carbon emissions exceeds the benefit from aid programs.”

The Score: F (Failure)
In this column, Kristof wants us to act surprised that — omg! — the consequences of global warming may disproportionately hurt those least responsible for it, as if this were an exception and not a rule throughout the entire course of civilization. It’s particularly ironic that Kristof, who has spent more than his fair share of time in war-torn countries, has not digested this most fundamental truth. In the end, embarrassing columns like this perpetuate the stereotype of the weak-minded liberal, which of course sets back the very cause he purports to support. Sad.

Maureen Dowd/Standing By His Woman

The Short Version: Let’s hope Bill brings Hillary down, because I hate both of them.

In her words: “But the dubious deals of her husband, a seven-diamond influence peddler, do provide an unsavory contrast with some of the candidate’s positions.”

The Score: B- (Basic)
Dowd’s typically gossipy critique of the Clintons is not exactly enlightening, but it does provide a bit of a safe harbor after we have already endured the disasters of Rich and Kristof this week, and for that we are somewhat grateful.

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