Thursday, November 11, 2004

Alterman on Crazy Andy

This is about right:

Speaking of people offering a lot of free advice, I suppose Andy Sullivan is not really a slobbering, muttering idiot in real life but he sure does play one on TV. I’ve never seen Bill Maher’s show before—and thankfully, the Time Warner DVR stopped taping before he started grabbing his ass, but I was embarrassed for Andy, if that can be believed, when he started screaming nonsensical insults at an absent Noam Chomsky, (with whom I strongly disagree on almost everything, for the record). I didn’t take notes but I recall Andy whining about Chomsky’s speaking fees—hey it’s just the free market that makes them so much higher than Andy’s—and mine, for that matter. And his screaming that there can be no debate over the meaning of words like “freedom” and “democracy” was so silly it refutes itself. Also unfortunate for Andy was his insistence that, and again, I paraphrase, “no one in the world accepts the figure of 100,000 Iraqis dead,” which Chomsky used in his interview with Maher. Well, actually, if you look at Little Roy's blog today, you’ll see that the only peer reviewed study of the issue—given the fact that the U.S. government refuses even to attempt this count—gives just that figure. Today, Andy is a bit more circumspect in his language and calls the figure “a little fishy.” The Economist is also critical. To tell you the truth, I think it’s high too. But the “no one in the world” quote is simple idiocy and cedes the argument to Chomsky, since he actually has a source and Andy only has his insults.

Oh yeah, this is what might be called the “money quote.” Right after Maher interviewed Chomsky, Andy turned to Maher and said, “That’s why you lost the election.” Maybe it’s me but I didn’t realize that the Democrats had nominated Noam Chomsky as their candidate. In fact, I didn’t even know he was one of their advisers, or played any role in the campaign, or that any one who did even spoke to him or had a good word to say about anything related to his abilities as a foreign policy analyst. I also thought Andy actually voted for the guy who did run; you know, the one who didn’t have the platform that not only endorsed a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage but also insisted on banning all civil unions. Some people seem to think that the Democrats' refusal to condemn people like Andy was the reason they lost the election in that heartland with which he professes to be in such close contact. I suppose I don’t blame him for blaming MIT Linguistic professors instead.