Friday, April 22, 2011

Glenn Check

I've done a lot of picking on Glenn Greenwald over the past several months. The main reason for this is that I've always maintained that for all his incorruptible piety and supposed steadfastness in the face of the crumbling political morality of those around him, he -- like fellow left wing cool kids Jane Hamsher and David Sirota -- is only interested in one thing: making sure people pay attention to him.

Thankfully, nothing proves my point like allowing Greenwald to open up a little about himself in a personal interview like the one currently running in Out magazine.

Dana Houle over at Rooted Cosmopolitan dissects what Greenwald has to say -- and what it says about the reality behind his carefully constructed image as a better progressive than you. It's honestly must-read material.

Rooted Cosmopolitan: Glenn Greenwald: Neither a Liberal Nor a Progressive/4.20.11


Clay said...

"How small and broken a brain is required to equate (a) praise for a candidate's specific views & their impact with (b) supporting them?" - GG

I think Cesca likes you already, can ease up trying to impress him any time now.

Chez said...

Yes, Clay. Because I'm not a fan of a lot of what Greenwald says, that makes me a sycophant for someone else. Makes perfect sense.

Cesca and I have been friends for quite a while, actually, and we do tend to agree on a lot of issues. But I think it's safe to say I'd take issue with many of Greenwald's self-serving stands even if Bob Cesca didn't exist on this planet. But hey, go right on quoting Greenwald -- it makes you sound clever.

Clay said...

I'm what point in this post did you disagree with something Greenwald said? All I saw you do was ascribe specious motive because you disagree with him. Which, if I'm to be fair, is exactly what I did to you, so I suppose I get to wear the "hypocrite" hat for the rest of the afternoon.

(Trust me...everyone's aware that you and Cesca are pals. The near-constant slobbery name-dropping in both directions is nearly as effective as a prime-time ad campaign would be.)

What really sucks about this (well, for me...I can't imagine you care either way) is that I've thoroughly enjoyed your blog for years now; I genuinely think you're the best writer I've ever read working strictly in this format - I've literally read you daily. And I agree with you 90% of the time...I just think you've been a giant, throbbing cock on this issue. Greenwald/Hamsher/Sirota or anyone else who criticize from outside the acceptable, pre-defined framework become Official Enemies to be dismissed because of their very existence rather than the content of their criticism. If the blogosphere had existed 20 years ago, you, Cesca, Oliver and the rest would have been railing against Chomsky and pre-9/11 Hitchens.

I could honestly give a shit about Cesca's obsession with fealty over principle because I never admired him; he always came off as a bit of a hack. I'm just not sure if/when I'm going to enjoy reading you again. But, like I said above...that's my problem, not yours. Why on earth would you care?

I'm going to resist the temptation to quote Nietzsche about the inconvenience in changing our minds about a person, lest I come off as "clever" again. I suppose that doesn't work so well when you're not a professional asshole. ("Professional" implying that it pays the bills, of course.)

Happy trails.

Chez said...

First of all, I do actually appreciate the compliment and it's certainly unfortunate if my opinions about this one particular issue make you never want to read again. I've always both benefited and suffered from the the fact that I write about so many different subjects and this site has no real singular focus; in your case I would hope that there's enough around here that doesn't have to do with politics, Greenwald, Obama, etc. that you'll keep coming back. If you don't want to, though, I can't make you. Thank you for the time you have spent reading.

As for Greenwald/Sirota/Hamsher -- the problem I've had with them and continue to have isn't that they don't worship at the feet of Barack Obama. I can actually understand a certain amount of disappointment with Obama. What bothers me is the near-constant drumbeat against him and the potential it has to create a situation where an administration that's much, much worse is ushered in. I've written far too often about this in the past -- the fact that a self-defeating political reality has to be taken into consideration at some point -- so I won't get into it again.

It's fair to ask why I ascribe motive -- specifically that Greenwald et al are looking for attention -- and to be honest for me it has more to do with tone than anything else, at least as far as Greenwald is concerned. As I said in the lead-in to Dana Houle's piece, it's never been that Greenwald has a problem with Obama or staunchly latches onto issues that I wholeheartedly disagree with or couldn't care less about (Wikileaks, Manning); it's that he wraps himself in the flag of unfaltering liberalism as he does it. I've never claimed to be a die-hard progressive but I do take issue with someone who looks down from a throne on the mountain that he's rewarded himself with and casts judgment on the entire movement. There's a certain hubris there that revels in drawing attention to itself -- and as I said, I think Houle's assessment strips the clothes off the emperor and reveals that.

Incidentally, while I occasionally lump them all in together, Greenwald is a different animal than Hamsher and Sirota. First of all, I've on more than one occasion given a lot of credit to Greenwald -- called him incredibly smart regardless of what I personally think of his opinions and absolutely copped to agreeing with him on some major issues. As for Hamsher, I hate to play this card but you're going to have to take my word for it that she absolutely cares more about herself, her image and her authority within the movement than she does about any of the issues she pretends to be fighting for. Sirota meanwhile is a bright guy but dear Lord is his theory about 80s pop culture and the modern right painfully silly; and the lengths he goes to to make those ridiculous connections to sell his new book is just groan-inducing and, yes, more than a little narcissistic.

One final thing: Why are my opinions (defenses you'd probably call them) of Barack Obama, or Cesca's, or Willis's, any less valid than Greenwald's criticisms? Why are we engaging in slavish fealty while Greenwald is Horatius at the Bridge? I'm just curious.

kanye said...

There used to be an administrator/front pager over at Daily Kos who wrote under the pseudonym DHinMi. This individual would routinely attack anyone who didn't toe the mainstream Democratic Party line with a viciousness that defied logic; a viciousness that exceeded even ego.

This went on for several years until DHinMi was revealed to be Dana Houle, Democratic Party operative/professional party hack.

He's been employed by several Democratic election campaigns and has even run a few; most notably that of Paul Hodes...which he ran brilliantly I might add.

Given his history and professional associations, along with the official commencement of President Obama's reelection campaign and Mr. Houle's recent relocation to Chicago, I don't think that it's at all unreasonable to speculate as to whether he may or may not currently be employed in some fashion by the Obama campaign...that there's a chance that his blog is in fact professional astroturf.

Steve said...

I wish I knew the answer for this. The problem is that it seems to be built into the liberal mindset to be a self critical overthinker. But when those traits lead to self defeating outcomes, you'd hope that liberal insistence of living in the real world would adjust to the facts. Whether its good intentions or egocentrism, just look to Ralph Nader for how ideological purity works out in the end.

Plus, I feel like ultimately Obama is smarter than me and most of his critics, which is not a case anybody could seriously make for his predecessor. All of those slobbering Andrew Sullivan posts about his long game are probably closer to the truth then the constant nattering at FDL.

The liberal wailing after the budget deal, only to slowly realize the degree to which he totally head faked everyone should be a teachable moment for the professional left. Of course, it won't be.