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The Podhoretzic Line Continues Its Reign

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Commentary magazine searches the world for its new editor, and finds….John Podhoretz. Jim Henley is reminded of an old joke.

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  1. It’s almost as outrageous as David Friedman going to the University of Chicago and becoming a libertarian economist in his father’s footsteps. Which is to say, not very.

  2. Ken-
    Except, its not.

    There is one editor of Commentary. There are hundreds of Ph.D students at the University of Chicago. David Friedman earned his Ph.D at Chicago in Physics–not economics. Your analogy is silly.

  3. Was Friedman judged at the U of Chicago and as an economist on his own merits? I think so. Why not take the same approach to Podhoretz? Criticize him for what he’s written or edited, or what he writes or edits in the future, not for his last name and genetic background.

  4. I think that’s what Jim Henley is doing, Ken. He is saying that John is not qualified based on his past writings.

  5. Why not take the same approach to Podhoretz?

    Becasue we have too much respect for Commentary Magazine for that.

    Criticize him for what he’s written or edited, or what he writes or edits in the future, not for his last name and genetic background.

    How about if I criticize him for saying, on the National Review cruise, that the Iraq War was “a great success” that “could not have gone better.”

  6. Ken-
    “Was Friedman judged at the U of Chicago and as an economist on his own merits? I think so.”

    No. He was not. David Friedman was not judged AS an economist at Chicago, because he was not studying to be an economist.

    Morever, Milton Friedman was a Professor (albeit a famous and prominent one), not the President of U of Chicago. Norman Podhoretz edited Commentary for over 35 years. The magazine and the man were closely linked.

  7. A small snippet from the second link:

    Junior Podhoretz is neither learned nor stylish in his writing, and his conservatism takes all the heroism of floating in amniotic fluid.

  8. what’s this Diary of a Rat ad of Gore on the left? I don’t really want to click the links and give some hack a page view but I am curious.

  9. Rick, you seem to have missed the word AND in my original sentence. Studying physics at Univ of Chicago and being an economist are both areas where somebody could have made crude innuendos about Friedman being where he is because of his father, which would be unfair.

    Joe, at least you’re making a point about something Podhoretz actually did, which differentiates you from Brian and Rick.

    Steve, the Henley post is better than Brian’s post, in veering closer to having substance.

  10. You know, Ken, blog posts simply aren’t the place for all the beliefs, reasoning, and evidence lurk implicitly behind the implications of a post to be laid out. You know that.
    But yes: the implication behind this post is that Podhoretz’s accomplishments as a writer, thinker, reporter, or editor do not, in my opinion, qualify him on its own to edit an august intellectual, literary, and political mag such as COMMENTARY.
    And the link, in the by-now-classic style of blogging, gives a bit more comedy, context, and bile to the implied point. Are you really so new to blogs that this is all a mystery?
    Or would you care to launch here in a blog post your detailed defense of the world-class quality of John P’s writing, thinking, editing, etc? I don’t actually expect you to, by the way. Nor is it your intellectual responsibility in the context of a blog comment to do so. Now was it mine in an attempt at a wry bit of news-link to do so.

  11. I second that, JasonC. Gore really does look rat-like in the picture (not that I have anything against rats – they’re kinda cute).

  12. And by the way, I usually enjoy his film reviews in the WEEKLY STANDARD, in a folksy sort of way. Sorry I didn’t mention that in the post as well.

  13. And by the way, I usually enjoy his film reviews in the WEEKLY STANDARD, in a folksy sort of way.

    They’re okay, although I think Ross Douthat is the better weekly-right-wing-fishwrap movie critic.

  14. Brian, granted I’m probably being harder on you than the one sentence post deserves. As for Podhoretz, I think he has done some good work, and probably gets judged more harshly, not less, because of who his father is. As for Commentary, it’s a great magazine which I did some writing for over a decade ago, and which I’ve had my disagreements with as have you, and it’s not self-evident to me that JPod will make a hash of it.

  15. I took the entire post to be needling nepotism, and the cult of personality around mags like Commentary (same editor for 35 years and then replaced by his SON? WTF?

    But then I’ve always thought Commentary was a silly magazine…

  16. “Jim Henley is reminded of an old joke.”

    The only old joke I recall about Commentary was Woody Allen’s that if you merged Dissent (Irving Howe’s socialist magazine, a rival during the 1950s with Commentary for the loyalty of the fabled “New York Intellectuals”) and Commentary, the result would be Dysentary.

    Seriously, I think Henley’s point was that while John Podhoretz may be a good political columnist [I don’t think so but YMMV] he does not have the literary/cultural qualifications to run Commentary–which after all was not originally intended to be a *solely* political magazine. (On a political versus cultural continuum, Commentary would be somehere between the Weekly Standard and the New Criterion.)

  17. The girl on the right, someone stole her pants! Won’t you think of the poor women in the world who have had their pants stolen. Give now. Give generously.

  18. And by the way, I usually enjoy his film reviews in the WEEKLY STANDARD, in a folksy sort of way.

    I’m not that familiar with his work in the Weekly Standard, given that I tend to avoid bloodthirsty rags published by psychopaths, but I question the critical judgment of the guy who wrote this:

    “Just to whet your appetite: The upcoming Cinderella Man, starring Russell Crowe and directed by Ron Howard, is a thrilling piece of work. No, more than thrilling. I left the screening room this afternoon exhilarated, moved, excited, stirred and overwhelmed, convinced that Cinderella Man is one of the best movies ever made.

    … As for Russell Crowe, there’s almost no superlative that wouldn’t be appropriate. Crowe hasn’t made a full-on comedy yet. If it turns out he can do that too, Russell Crowe will then have proved himself unquestionably the greatest screen actor not only of our time, but probably of all time.”

    I don’t particularly have anything against Russell Crowe, he was good in LA Confidential at least, and if you wanted to make some weird contrarian case that he is among the greatest actors ever I’d probably listen before laughing at you, but “unquestionably”? Jesus.

  19. “How about if I criticize him for saying, on the National Review cruise, that the Iraq War was “a great success” that “could not have gone better”

    Given your past history, if Mr. Podhoretz had advocated shutting down CBS News or the inprisonment of the government’s critics, you would have gone out of your way to lend your support to him.

  20. Call me crazy and heretic, personally I enjoy Reason and Commentary. Both magazine have relevant points of view.

    As far as I’m concern, John Podhoretz and Nick Gillespie have interesting opinions.

  21. Given your reading comprehension, thug, I’m not surprised you’d think that.

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