A little late on topic. But we couldn’t resist. We noticed Hitch as effete l’enfant terrible (and dissed padawan) carefully salute Irving’s passing. Much of Hitch’s bitchiness we suspect is his own fragile, truculent self image as a leading public ‘intellectual’. Hence, Hitch’s touchiness about his shallowness and failure to be a ‘made’ man. Meanwhile, Krauthammer in a reprise from 2005 grafts Hollywood liberal elegance onto the rough hewn Kristol, beknighting him as ‘Our Own Cool Hand Luke.’
Still, it’s odd. How many today accept as part of the landscape (and thus wave away) his most destructive legacies. Some try to use his demise as a bizarre inverted ju-jitsu anti-neocon meme.
Bruce Bartlett, for example, makes formulaic gestures to today’s political moonscape — much of it Kristol’s handiwork, direct or indirect — but he genuinely seems to mourn more Kristol’s decision to close ‘The Public Interest’. Trauma can do things to a man. And Bartlett’s seen the mau mau up close when he was necklaced for breaking the magic Kool Aid circle. Still, to feel longing for an AgitProp vehicle discarded when no longer useful misses the forrest for the tree as it were.
We surfed a bit and noticed Andrew Sullivan cited Bartlett, too. Sullivan’s more comprehensive linking of Kristol to our irrational politics is more on point. He correctly draws the dots from both the passed and current Kritsols to today’s Beckism and tomorrow’s inevitable nostalgia for it all.
When Kristol passed a few days ago we sat down to post an item. Made sense given the whole raison d’etre of this place. But then we saw the NYT label him a leading ‘conservative’ intellectual. Suddenly, we knew, there was no point. Game, set, match. We report. You decide.