Timothy Noah at Slate dreads former Harpers editor Lewis Lapham's new magazine Lapham's Quarterly, and sums up the message of Lapham's entire career as, essentially, "the more things change, the more they stay the same." Oh, and Bush sucks.
Noah surveys decades of static Laphamisms with lovely and admirable cruel wit, ending with this Lapham mad lib:
Just fill in the blanks below.
The Bush administration's forbearance as Gen. Pervez Musharraf proclaims, like [vainglorious monarch], that [famous megalomaniacal statement] recasts [open Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire to any random page, close eyes, plunge finger into text, and insert here a précis of incident described therein] as opera bouffe. The sham outrage teases forth memories of the contortions displayed by [famous Ottoman acrobat of the 15th century] or the prevarications of [obscure three-fingered gangster of the 1930s] as the Katie Courics and Wolf Blitzers of their day distracted the starving masses with [celebratory ritual performed by an island-based indigenous people] and competitions to mimic the cry of the mighty [extinct animal from the Cretaceous period].
I took on the reflexive anti-capitalism of Lapham-era Harpers in this May 1998 reason feature. Why, the more things change….!