James Wolcott doesn’t like me (Apparently Wolcott has a blog now). His specific gripe is that I use what he calls the “Jonah Goldberg Limited Take Back.”
It works something like this. First I say something like: “James Wolcott is an aging precious writer for Vanity Fair whose work is best known as the pointless filler between the articles spoiled wives in the Hamptons actually read.”
Then, I say something like this, “Okay, that was a bit unfair.”
In tribute to Jimmy I won’t say the second part. Though I must say I’m flattered that he’s reading my column regularly. That’s a lot more than most of us can say about his.
As for the “substance” of his criticism (lest someone think I’m ducking). His first example — when I wrote “John Kerry is a sphincter. Okay, that’s a bit juvenile.” — is fair enough. But at least I was recognizing my “rhetoric” was tongue in cheek. In other words, I don’t take myself too seriously. James Wolcott on the other hand could write a grocery list and be disappointed he didn’t get a Pulitzer.
As for his second example, one needs to see it in the context of the article I wrote. I think it stands on its own merits and I don’t apologize for it. Perhaps Wolcott’s real problem is with lively writing. That would certainly explain a lot.