Monday, October 08, 2007

The Trouble With Gitlin

Many commenters and emailers have made me realize that my difficulty with Gitlin was hard to peg because it was a consequence of many things. First, and I think foremost, was the self-important tendency to write as if he and his are the central actors in the historical drama known as reality. Second, it's the continuing tendency to perpetuate this narrative of the Iraq war as the consequence of the tragic romanticism of idealistic intellectuals, along with the elevation of their personal narratives. You know, instead focusing on all the dead people. Third, there's this annoying tendency to cast literally every political debate as some Heroic Clash of 1960s Ideological Opponents.

It really doesn't matter who convinced George Packer of something over drinks one evening. I don't give a shit who thought when and what about Iraq and what tragically caused them to get on the wrong side blah blah blah. It's not fucking about them and their little debate club.