Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Max Boot, R.I.P.

The late commentator was defending himself against charges that he had been too harsh in criticizing Liz Cheney when, for no apparent reason, he decided to write this sentence:
I wouldn’t waste my time criticizing a clown like, say, Ann Coulter, because, unlike Liz, she is not a serious person.
The first witnesses to arrive at the scene reported finding a smoldering crater . . .

(Hat tip: C.K. MacLeod.)


  1. ACT V. Scene I.
    Blogosphere. A smoking crater.

    Clown. Here's a skull now. This skull hath lien you i' th' earth three-and-twenty years.
    RSM. Whose was it?
    Clown. A whoreson, mad fellow's it was. Whose do you think it was?
    RSM. Nay, I know not.
    Clown. A pestilence on him for a mad pragamatist! He posted a rant of bile on Liz Cheney once. This same skull, sir, was Max Boot's skull, the foreign policy pundit.
    RSM. This?
    Clown. E'en that.
    RSM. Let me see. [Takes the skull.] Alas, poor Max!

  2. Boot has written some smart pieces on military/foreign policy. He has also written some stupid sh*t recently on other issues. In the immortal words of Clint: "a man's gotta know his limitations"

    Frank G

  3. I never liked him, and I hope she responds to this.

  4. Boot is a neo-con hack, pure and simple. I'm not the biggest fan of Ms. Coulter, but I'd pay good money to see her grind Mad Max into a fine powder.

  5. Act IV. Scene III.
    Intertubes. A twitter on a Crackberry.

    Brooks McFrum. Now, RSM, where's Boot?
    RSM. Moderating supper.
    Brooks McFrum. Moderating supper? Where?
    RSM. Not where he eats, but where he is eaten. A certain convocation of politic pragmatists are e'en at him. Your pragamatic is your only harlot for moderation. We whore all creatures else to fat the Moderate, and we fat ourselves for slaughter. Your fat Moderate and your lean beggar is but variable service - two dishes, but to one table. That's the Belt Way.
    Brooks McFrum. Alas, alas!
    RSM. A man may fish with the bait that hath seduced a Moderate, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that Colon. Or Bowel.
    Brooks McFrum. What dost thou mean by this?
    RSM. Nothing but to show you how a Moderate may go a progress through the guts of a republic.
    Brooks McFrum. Where is Boot?
    RSM. In heaven. Send thither to see. If your messenger find him not there, seek him i' th' Los Angeles Times yourself. But indeed, if you find him not within this month, you shall nose him as you go up the stair, into the green room of MSNBC.

  6. I like Max Boot's work. I also like Ann Coulter, both her writing and individually. She is not a clown, and she is a serious person, so Boot is wrong. However, she very much enjoys not being serious, which is a different thing entirely. The same, by the way, can be said of Jon Stewart, for example, or Steve Colbert.

    Sadly, it is fashionable among certain righty intellectuals to make a point of distancing themselves from Ann Coulter. Too bad, and not because it risks her wrath. She is a great wit, and even if she crosses some imaginary line occasionally -- and what great wit does not? -- she gives conservativism a certain light-hearted vitality that it would not otherwise have.

    The question is, why do righty intellectuals have this impulse? There are at least two reasons, one offensive and one genuine. The offensive reason, of course, is to establish their bona fides as "reasonable" conservatives so that they do not destroy their social lives. It is, after all, tough enough being a conservative in a university without having to deal with anti-Coulter blowback. So you can both understand the motive and understand it lacks a certain, well, character.

    The better reason is that Ann, along with Rush, has been so successful promoting a sort of "low brow" conservativism (see John Derbyshire on this taxonomic classification and Rush Limbaugh's impact on it) that the middle-brow version has been terribly diminished by comparison. There is a much longer essay in it, but there is something to the idea that conservativism needs to be made safe for amateur (and even professional) intellectuals again, just as it was in the day of William F. Buckley. Ann, by virtue of her huge success and charismatic personality (not to mention her relentless, and largely justified, attacks on academic liberals), makes that much harder.

    Of course, your results may vary.

  7. My main problem with Coulter is that, as a public figure, she has next to no respect for those who disagree with her. I suppose she has non-conservative friends in private, but why can't she be more magnanimous before the crowd?

    I simply cannot understand the urge to convert, nor can I imagine begrudging other individuals their freely-arrived at opinions.

    Really, it's so juvenile to express with straight face a sentiment like, "How to talk to a liberal . . . if you must"? No thanks.