Barry SCHWARTZ (Barijo ŜVARC) (chemoelectric) wrote,

Get out the red pencils!

Though I am 100% behind Vincent Bugliosi’s effort to prosecute Bush, Cheney, and Rice for murder, there are some bits of the book I would never have let pass my desk if I were editing the thing. There is, for example, the following vicious bout of question-begging (pp. 173,4):

[M]ost people love to rest their minds, being much more fond of talking than thinking. In fact, the majority of Americans don’t even read the daily newspaper, and of those who do, many only read sections like sports, cartoons, and crossword puzzles, not the news pages. Indeed, only one percent of Americans, I am told, read the editorial section of the paper.

... Listen to Jonathan Alter, a liberal Democrat who writes a weekly column for Newsweek. Alter is smart and fairly consistently writes anti-Bush articles. I cite Alter to show you that if he can write such lunacy, you know it is downhill from there. As late as February 6, 2006, Alter write that 9/11 was Bush’s emotional ‘‘trump card.’’ Now, why was Alter calling 9/11 Bush’s trump card? Because Alter knows, being a major political writer for Newsweek and at the center of things that 9/11 is perceived by virtually everyone as Bush’s trump card.

So people are too lazy to read Jonathan Alter, who would, if they read him, tell them ridiculous things about Bush that he says because that’s what the people who didn’t read him already thought. Could Bugliosi possibly have made less sense?

Early in the book Bugliosi claims not to be especially bright, but in the process of telling us really how wonderfully, exceptionally bright he is. His editors did him a disservice, by not using the red pencil, and by not warning him to avoid disdainfulness towards people who unluckily, and through no fault of their own, are less bright than he is—which is almost everyone.

What gall does it take to blame the ‘stupid’ common man who doesn’t read for the content of magazines written by people of superior intellect who should know better? Indeed, the question-begging displayed here by Bugliosi might be a common unhealthy side-effect of too much exposure to the mainstream media, and maybe Bugliosi should consider cutting down. They have prescription ink patches to cut down on the craving; he should use those.


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