Friday, July 13, 2007

Salon's Glenn Greenwald, or why do these guys always have such friendly drawings for their byline?

Glenn Greenwald is a Salon columnist who almost makes you think he's a conservative plant. His mean-spirited, virulently partisan writing would probably make anyone outside of his normal Salon/Huffington Post/Kos readership cringe. Why then, you ask, am I even bothering to write about him? Perhaps because this past hour is one I will never get back, and by documenting what I've found I can save someone else the trouble. Okay, that's neither true nor honest, for there is already too much reliance on secondary sources and canned rhetoric in the world. So, for no good reason, here is a fairly complete sampling of the titles of Glenn Greenwald's blog entries for the past few weeks followed by my own commentary. I found myself getting more confrontational as I wrote, so I apologize upfront for the general tone - next time I won't try to read so much bad-tempered writing in one sitting.

Tucker Carlson, stalwart defender of sexual privacy A good introduction to the world of Glenn Greenwald, a world where sarcasm, cherry-picking facts and a generous helping of self-righteous anger are your unwavering diet.

Our broken political discourse A standard if unoriginal topic for discussion in political circles becomes unintentionally ironic given his tone. C'mon, Glenn - be part of the solution.

Sen. David Vitter, a leading Christian social conservative Sigh. Sarcasm again. What's unsaid here is that if you're possessed of an amoral or materialist worldview then you can't to be labeled a hypocrite - just ask Jon ("So, was that out of line? Well I'm only a comedian!") Stewart.

The ongoing journalistic scandal at the New York Times and
The NYT's growing pro-war fan club Mr. Greenwald fumes that the usually reliable liberal Paper of Record has drunk the wrong Kool-Aid. Well I thought dissent was patriotic.

Yesterday's ruling on NSA warrantless eavesdropping Spinning a setback into a victory based on wordy technicalities is certainly nothing new in political circles, but Mr. Greenwald's greatest strength seems to lie in this very lack of novelty, this dogged insistance on sticking to familiar talking points. Oh my goodness! I just had the thought - perhaps he think he's the liberal George Bush! Well, no wonder he's so angry!

Why has world opinion of the U.S. changed dramatically since 2000? Perhaps the millionth expression of liberal incredulity over how the current Administration can't see the obvious uncoolness of it's brazen nationalism and utter lack of introspective nihilism.

Notes on A Tragic Legacy - "Various matters concerning my book, including its debut on the NYT BestSeller List"

The tragic collapse of America's standing in the world Mr. Greenwald's unending reliance on standard liberal tropes has by now lulled me into a dream state where I see an image of Barbara Streisand and Jane Fonda staring intensely into the camera cheek to cheek, a single tear from each commingling in mute encomium to the infinite sadness of a progressive Paradise Lost.

Lewis Libby owes his freedom to our corrupt political elite Even more galling is that in Bush's America patriots like Mark Rich are afraid to show their faces outside of New York and LA. Oh well, you can't get good Chinese takeout in Flyover States anyway.

Michael Gordon trains his stenographer weapons on Iran Once again noting that if the NYT can't be counted on to toe the line, the "real" War - the War of Ideas - is going very badly. Wake up, sheeples!

Our rotted press corps, a division of "Camp Victory" The irony of lambasting the press corps using the same "if you're not for us, you're against us" logic of his simian evil twin seems to be lost on him.

Interview with Helen Thomas If you're going to interview someone else to hammer home your own speaking points, it's probably safest to choose someone who thinks as much like you as possible.

How did the Bush administration use its secret eavesdropping powers? Without pieces like this, it's easy to forget that many liberal pundits are, sadly, a product of their environment, relying heavily on the scaremongering and distrust of authority they learned from all those scary dystopian books and movies they were exposed to in high school.

Blogs and the establishment media Summary: "Without the fearless liberal blogosphere around to recognize my inestimable genius, you would all now be reading William Bennett purchased under duress from the state-run Barnes and Noble."

Standards of American justice under George W. Bush Hmm, higher or lower? I know - let's ask our friends at the NYT Op-Ed page!

A Tragic Legacy released today
FDL Book Salon FireDogLake momentarily relieves Mr. Greenwald of his tireless self-promotion duties.

McClatchy reports on shift in Iraq propaganda and
Everyone we fight in Iraq is now "al-Qaida" Flogging - I'm sure he thinks boldly - the familiar liberal canard that Al Qaeda in Iraq is a nothing more than a Bushite fabrication designed to facilitate the Administration's consolidation of power. I didn't read far enough to see if he gets bonus points for making references to a) The Skull and Bones Society b) Bush family ties to Arab sheiks or c) Orwellian ideas of continual war and thought crime.

Krauthammer's plan to deny Palestinians gas and electricity A fitting last citation and another bold, Greenwaldian choice - ridiculing a braver and much deeper intellect by using his Weapons of Choice: misrepresentation and sarcasm.

Well, with writing that runs the gamut from "conservatives are really stupid and evil" to "did I mention I'm on the NYT Bestseller list?" you can count on Mr. Greenwald to always meet your expectations. By the way, the practices elaborated on above called to mind another prominent example of the genre, although the pundit pictured on the left seems a little unsure of his greatness, thus requiring the strategic placement of cuddly animals and a distant admirer. I'll have to keep a lookout now, for perhaps we are witnessing the emergence of a new phenomenon: The Acid-Tongued-but-Cartoon-genic Blogger.

UPDATE: I have just been reading about Mr. Sullivan's recent pronouncements as well as some long-standing controversies regarding him of which I was unaware. (really I'm just too busy to keep up and too disconnected to care). In retrospect, my singling out of him now feels more like overkill. He has refined the Art of Alienating All Hues of the Political Spectrum and brought it to a level not seen since Richard Nixon, and to further dwell on his situation would be petty. He is also a man with some vestiges of religious sensibility, so I think he would rather have my prayers than my feeble attempts at humor.

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