I was waiting for the nastiness to start. And so it has. Here’s Alex Pareene who long ago carved out the time-honored junior hack’s role of denouncing alleged hacks more successful than him. I’m not going to bother with most of this garbage since I have actual work to do, but since Pareene has been taunting me on twitter about how he’s “bullying” me, I figured I’d take the bait enough to acknowledge the piece. You can read it for yourself and draw your own conclusions about its merits and the intent behind it.
But one general point: Pareene and many of my critics over the years seem fixated on this idea that I am desperate to be taken “seriously.” I’ve always found this claim to be odd. If I was so desperate to be taken seriously — which I will admit I probably was in my 20s for the usual reasons — I would not write the way I write. I would not talk the way I talk. None of you would know anything about my dog, and my Twitter pic would not be Cosmo in a birthday hat. I can fake the Washington tropes of self-seriousness as well as anybody. The only problem: I don’t see why I should bother.
I think what confuses some people is that while I don’t take myself all that seriously, I do take ideas seriously. But even that doesn’t mean one has to stop having fun or start treating everything like it’s of deadly, earth-shattering importance. If you read the Tyranny of Cliches, you’ll pretty much see the same person you’ve known from NRO and the G-File for years, because that’s who I am. (Ironically, Bill Kristol, much to my pleasant surprise, made something of the same point in his generous introductory remarks about me yesterday at AEI). Indeed, that’s why I enjoyed writing this book so much more than Liberal Fascism — because I got to write with my voice, something I felt I couldn’t really do in my first book. If you don’t like my voice or my ideas, you probably won’t like me. And that’s okay with me.
Moreover, as a conservative, I honestly believe in being a happy warrior when at all possible. First of all, you sleep better. Second, conservatives are constantly cast as grumpy, anally retentive, bigots. If you can demonstrate in your arguments and your actions that you come from the same country and the same culture as everybody else it helps. My friend Andrew Breitbart and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on every issue, but on this we were in complete agreement: Enjoy yourself, it pisses all the right people off. And if you can make people laugh and think in the process – and make a living from it – you’re way ahead of the game. And when the trolls start attacking you for it, it’s a sign you’re being effective.