No One’s Better Than Ezra (At Playing to Type)


Ezra Klein on my book:

There is fascism at home, but Goldberg is not drawing attention to its adherents, much less waging war on them. He’s ignoring them, and cheapening the word that describes their vicious ideology by sprinkling it across a lot of blather about Whole Foods and smoking bans.”

He also calls John Holbo’s “review” of my book “one of the finest pieces of writing I’ve ever read in the blogosphere.” Of course Holbo hadn’t actually — what’s that word again? oh right — read my book before he crafted this oh so fine piece of writing. Once again, Ezra is so perfectly, comically, Ezra. He himself famously finds it very hard to read books (It’s hard and it’s boring and it takes a really long time, he says). So he outsources criticism to people who haven’t read it either. It’s a pas de deux of phone-it-in hackery. Which is about as much as I’ve come to expect from the whippersnapper, as Mickey says.

Ezra also credits David Neiwert whose review is exactly the sort of shallow, cliche ridden, attack- the-messenger stuff that I would expect Ezra to find so persuasive. More on that in a moment. But I find it hilarious that the part Ezra thought sufficiently profound to highlight was, in part, the bit where Neiwert insists that the fascist threat remains on the right and in particular that there’s a threat of “totalitarianism” from “dogmatic individualists.”


Neiwert, what with all of his credentials and seriousness might want to explain how a dogmatic individualist can be a totalitarian, since totalitarian in the academic literature he so esteems defines totalitarianism as anti-individualism. Totalitarianism is about trying to define the lives of others through state power. Individualists might be bad or wrong or selfish, but they aren’t any of those things because, again, they’re frick’n individualists! Anyway, more on Neiwert’s review after I deal with some deadlines. It should be fun.

Update: From a reader:

Jonah: I finally read the Ezra comment you and others have been ridiculing.

He says:

’I’ve been blessed to hear many great orations. I was in the
audience when Howard Dean gave his famous address challenging the Democratic Party to rediscover courage and return to principle. I have heard Bill Clinton speak of a place called Hope, and listened to John Edwards bravely channel the populism that American politics so often suppresses.’

Blessed to hear great orators, and his examples are Dean, Clinton, and Edwards! What maturity and perspective! Hilarious.

Update & Correction: Please see this post above. 


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