need more stuff?

October 14, 2003

I've always liked Gregg Easterbrook

Daniel Radosh

I've always liked Gregg Easterbrook as an essayist, even when I disagreed with him. He's thoughtful, analytical, and a good writer. But in his new blog, he's the opposite of all those. I can't even understand it. Perhaps it's actually written by a monkey manipulating the keyboard with its mind.

I understand why The New Republic thought giving Easterbrook a soapbox would be a good idea, but I'm sure they're regretting it now. Here's a sampling of his recent ramblings, poorly thought out and constructed even by blog standards.

Gregg on snowmobiles:
I can attest that the sound of snowmobiles shattering the snowy calm is quite maddening. But then again, if public lands are public lands, what do we do about the fact that many average people enjoy snowmobiling? Manhattan chardonnay-circuit tut-tutting about the rustic rubes on their snowmobiles--see this New York Times editorial--never takes into account the populist aspect. And what about the snowmobile sales and service industry, a significant sector in some mountain states? Snowmobiles in Yellowstone should be banned, the Times tut-tuts, and the snowmobile economy should "adjust to the new reality." Imagine if residents of Montana demanded that there be no noisy garbage trucks in Manhattan, that noisy printing presses be banned and The New York Times "adjust to the new reality."

Um, Gregg, we don't have all those garbage trucks around here for recreational purposes. Believe me, come up with a quieter way of collecting trash and we'll sign up. Meanwhile, I've lived in NYC my whole life and never once heard the Times presses. They're probably in Jersey somewhere, and I'm willing to bet, without even doing any research (something you should appreciate) that they're in a building in an industrial park where they're not disturbing anyone other than the people who work there. You should've gone with SUVs blasting their stereos, except, of course, that there ARE noise laws in NYC that address that, even if they are rarely enforced.

Now onto his thesis, which I will paraphrase as "Kill Bill = The Holocaust," and which really requires no response.

Set aside what it says about Hollywood that today even Disney thinks what the public needs is ever-more-graphic depictions of killing the innocent as cool amusement. Disney's CEO, Michael Eisner, is Jewish; the chief of Miramax, Harvey Weinstein, is Jewish. Yes, there are plenty of Christian and other Hollywood executives who worship money above all else, promoting for profit the adulation of violence. Does that make it right for Jewish executives to worship money above all else, by promoting for profit the adulation of violence? Recent European history alone ought to cause Jewish executives to experience second thoughts about glorifying the killing of the helpless as a fun lifestyle choice. But history is hardly the only concern. Films made in Hollywood are now shown all over the world, to audiences that may not understand the dialogue or even look at the subtitles, but can't possibly miss the message--now Disney's message--that hearing the screams of the innocent is a really fun way to express yourself.

Next, Gregg wades into the murky waters of racism.

And while I also don't doubt for a minute that even well-dressed African Americans have trouble hailing a cab on the street in D.C. or other big cities, bear in mind, cabbies roar past well-dressed whites too. When I'm trying to hail a cab on the street in D.C., even wearing coat and tie, I find an average of three empty cabs roar past before one stops. Okay, this could be my looks. But it could also mean that what some African Americans interpret as an I-don't-want-your-business racial slight is actually a moment that happens to everyone.

Yeah, that's gotta be it. No doubt he just happens to get turned down for bank loans too.

And finally, there's the notorious, "'no' means 'get me drunk and take advantage of me'" post that was neatly and thoroughly eviscerated by the great Dahlia Lithwick. I'm hoping Gregg will get up the nerve to defend himself, but so far, he's dodging. Read the exchange yourself, but the crux of his argument is: "Maybe half the sex in world history has followed an initial 'no'."

Or maybe that's just you.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.2