James Wolcott puts it aptly in LIPSTICK FASCISM: “Conservatism and sadism have
become indivisible.” (The stimulus is Ann Coulter’s comment
in re: Gannon/Guckert: “Press passes can’t be that hard to come by if the White House allows that
old Arab Helen Thomas to sit within yards of the president.”) Meantime, Bob Herbert reminds us
this morning in his column: “It’s Called Torture.”
I’m a great admirer of Louis Menand’s take on things — usually. This morning I’m not so crazy
about his lukewarm take on Hunter S.
Thompson in the New Yorker, but I can
live with it. Not so with Stephen Schwartz’s hatchet job in The Weekly
Standard, which is something else entirely. It concludes: Thompson “was flattered to be described
as chronicler of ‘the death of the American dream.’ In reality, he described a nightmare from which
America awoke years ago.”
Well, Schwartz must still be having nightmares. I remember him as a teenage freak who used
to come into the City Lights Bookstore in 1966 and ’67, spouting Surrealist doctrine and
declaring himself the San Francisco incarnation of a Surrealist movement that didn’t exist. His
freakishness consisted of a three-piece suit, not some hippie garb, the intense babble of an
academic proselyte and a self-regard bordering on the autistic. (He eventually converted to
Sufism.) He was wrong then. He’s wrong now. And my bet is he’ll always be wrong.
Postscript: If you cared about last night’s Oscars show, here’s why you shouldn’t have.