The longtime maximum leader (read: owner) of The New Republic, Martin Peretz, has just started a blog which has an even worse name than that mag's main, The Plank (rumored to be the Web's only 100 percent wooden blog).
Welcome to The Spine, boys and girls, written by "a man in his mid-sixties, a family man with children, a teacher at Harvard for almost four decades, formerly of the New Left (very important to understanding my spine) now of the center, at the helm of The New Republic (which I have deliberately maintained as undogmatic center-left) for 32 years."
Like the Visigoths and the Klingons before him, Peretz–a man in his mid-sixties who isn't afraid to heavy-pet on the first date, who has written more hit singles than multi-talented philosopher Steve Allen, and whose morning stool is filled with chunks of the Yalies he ate for dinner the previous night–takes no prisoners, as can be seen by this insight, every bit as penetrating as the notion that when you assume, you make an ass out of you and me:
One cannot grasp the meaning of the mass murders in Iraq without knowing something about the history of Mesapotamia. One cannot grasp French behavior in international affairs (and in internal social conflict, too) without seeing France as it has seen itself, the envoy of civilization to everyone in its arc. One cannot grasp the insistent religiosity of America without grasping that the colonies were religious commonwealths. And so on and on. History may be fragmented. But it is also whole.
And listen up Spicoli–the Mr. Hand of political writing is talking to you, if only you weren't too stupid and ignorant and distracted to read past his typos and take home the bigger point about history:
Contemporary journalism is afflicted by sheer amnesia. It is has no grasp of grand history. That is axiomatic. Journalists don't even pretend to know history.
And how do we know this is true? Because "every time I see Al Sharpton on television, I wonder why this great and phantasmagorical liar is being put forward as a witness to anything. Has journalism no judgement[sic]?"
Mebbe, mebbe not. But we know this much: Marty Peretz has no proofreader.
But he does have something more important: A spine that starts at the top of his back and goes all the way to the bottom.
More, much more, here.
And Lee "sprezzatura" Siegel, the comments boards is are open.