Young, charismatic, good-looking, hip, and glib are all superficial traits that supposedly cerebral liberal elites have a bad habit of believing trump experience, knowledge, humility, and what the Greeks called pathei mathos, learning through requisite pain. Once someone is acclaimed as a liberal prodigy by elites, stamped with the right Ivy League brand and aristocratic contacts that resonate through networking and cocktail parties along the Boston to D.C. corridor, all normal cross-examination seems to end.
He is anointed a genius—and then usually Nemesis strikes, in the fashion that the once just-about-to-be-appointed New York senator Caroline Kennedy could not find a polling place or finish a sentence without a “you know” (142 times in an interview), or Barack Obama became Phaethon, his crashing chariot our presidency, and his collision scorching those below him. Harvard Law can teach one everything one needs to know except how to pronounce corpsmen, establish a deadline, red line, or step-over line, and why not to be post-election flexible with Vladimir Putin who really was America’s chief conventional worry all along.
So too Mr. Farrow, who is suddenly supposed to be a seasoned celebrity pundit with good ratings. He may prove just that in time. But for now take away his degrees, his parentage, and his contacts, and he is a twentysomething earnest young fellow who knows almost nothing about the real world outside his social-economic-political embryo, and nothing about the world of TV. He would have profited enormously from a different sort of ten-year apprenticeship bouncing around local Midwest stations, earning the requisite beat experience—and safely distant from his mother’s insider friends.
The irony is that all this used to be called “privilege” or perhaps, in this particular case, even “white privilege.”