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March 15, 2008

Almost Almost Famous

As noted by Ralph Luker at Cliopatria, I have a piece in The New York Times Book Review. After a dozen times or so, you get to be blasé about this. And so blasé about it I shall be -- although appearing in the Times wins valuable points with my mother-in-law, always a good thing.

But this time they have added a short profile of the reviewer, including a drawing. It is based on a photo. Still, I don't think the glasses and beard are quite that big in real life.

The piece is gratifying mainly because it mentions Phyllis and Julius Jacobson. Every so often some event or book will make me miss them so much it hurts, since we'll never get to hash it out. (Julie died five years ago; Phyllis had a very bad stroke in 2000 and now lives in a nursing home in Brooklyn; the last time we went to see her, there was a brief period of recognition but she faded fast.) A really fine short biographical account of Julius was written by Barry Finger for the socialist journal New Politics, which P&J founded.

As I told the Times in part of the interview they didn't use: the rumor that anti-totalitarian leftists like P&J all ended up as neoconservatives is one of the great slanders of contemporary American politics.

Posted by smclemee at March 15, 2008 8:57 AM


Just came over to tell you I saw the review, but hadn't seen the Up Front piece. Well done on both accounts. Eric should have called his book "Conservative Communism: The Secret History Of The American Right From Sun Tzu to My Mommy" and put a smiley face with slitty eyes and a coolie hat on top...instant bestseller. Big missed opportunity there, imo.

Posted by: Tim at March 15, 2008 10:51 AM

Thanks! I think you're getting your pundits scrambled -- no connection, or resemblance, between Alterman and Jonah Goldberg.

Alterman is a smart and capable guy who wrote a disappointing book. But it is nearly impossible to be disappointed by Goldberg. My expectations for him are so low as to be, effectively, a limbo pole nobody could ever dance under.....

This seems like a good opportunity to endorse once again Jon Swift's classic LOLcats preview edition of Liberal Fascism:


Posted by: Scott McLemee at March 15, 2008 10:59 AM

Oh, I like Eric very much! I just think we're going to have to stoop to the cheap tactics of the neocon wags if we're ever going to beat them back to the ooze out of which they coagulated. Eric's far too smart and decent for that, alas. (My sarcasm don't work too good on saturday mornings, sorry)

Posted by: Tim at March 15, 2008 1:51 PM

That's a great drawing.

Posted by: Anthony Paul Smith at March 15, 2008 7:42 PM

Wasted ink. There is no way to yell effectively at the talking heads on Fox News.

Your piece in BookForum offers much more (as does Sennett), but you should be aware that such technique is highly operative in hi-finance as well (via dsquared) as part of the bubble machine (and that Ben Bernanke is now engaged in monetary policy bricolage).

Posted by: nnyhav at March 16, 2008 12:10 AM