The Weekly Standard currently features a cover "story" on Alan Greenspan by senior editor Andrew Ferguson. Perhaps we should call it a "cover apoplectic fit" brought on by the publishing of Greenspan's biography and the pursuant criticism of the administration's fiscal policies.* Greenspan has gotten plenty of ink for that criticism. (Not that I'm suggesting WS is actually carrying water for the administration.)
Here's one allegedly very witty (tee-hee!) passage from the Weekly Standard article:
"By then, Rand had published her two thick, preposterous novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and stood poised on the brink of international stardom. Her creepy philosophy of Objectivism, placing the self at the center of the moral universe, was being enthusiastically embraced, as it still is, by tens of thousands of pimply teenage boys in the dreamy moments between fits of social insecurity and furious bouts of masturbation."
This truly odd article reminds me of something Stanley Fish once said about deconstructionism, but could be said equally of Ferguson's animus toward Rand and of the apparent philosophy/animating principle behind The Weekly Standard: It "relieves me of the obligation to be right ...and demands only that I be interesting." (Well, except for the fact that the article isn't interesting.)
Just got this informal gem from a veteran editor (of another publication) who says this about the Weekly Standard piece:
"Thanks for forwarding the article. I hadn't known much about The Weekly Standards, and wondered, vaguely if it was worth anything. Answer evident. No standards worth mentioning. To attack Atlas and the Fountainhead by characterizing its admirers as pimply, furiously masturbating boys is so tasteless, vacuous, and vicious that no editors with any acceptable standards would have admitted it. Can you imagine such a thing in a well-edited publication like The Economist?
And then, there are the really vicious digs about Rand being a closet totalitarian etc., with no one shred of argument or quote or reference. It really is shockingly disgusting in an era where it is not easy to distinguish oneself in that area.
Truly, if I had a new puppy, I would hesitate to use those pages to housebreak it. Something from the newsprint might stick to its anus, soiling it.
See you Saturday."
Note: The New Individualist ran a briliant article by ed-in-chief Robert Bidinotto last March -a sort of conservative movement post-mortem, called Up from Conservatism. The article -which just one the Folio gold award for editorial excellence for the magazine -eviscerated the neocons (among other groups) -and their pervasive irrationalism, cynicism and pragmatism. This earned William Kristol a place on our cover -as a named engraved on a tombstone bearing the phrase: "Here lie the ideas of..." Highly recommended reading for those who want a thorough understanding of the factional warfare on the right and its serious consequences for the nation.