Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Ripping on Arianna
Written by: Beck

A debate has been raging in this post wherein I tossed out some generic smear at Arianna Huffington's new Huffington Post blog. Regardless of one's opinion of the blog's many and various contributors (some of whom, and it really pains me to admit this, I'm actually a big fan of, such as Eugene Volokh).

What I haven't done is taken any direct shots at Arianna Huffington herself. Long overdue, don't'cha think? Arianna is a vapid, bootlicking prat whose trite, hollow pronouncements are evidently sculpted to please those she perceives as her primary audience, without achieving anything remotely logical or rational. Two examples should suffice.

First, she decides to discuss Howard Dean's appearance on Tim Russert's show Meet the Press. You see, Russert asked Dean some tough questions. Arianna didn't like that.

She starts out in what reads like an attempt at self parody:
There I was, as is my Sunday morning tradition, watching Meet the Press while doing yoga. (Or is it doing yoga while watching Meet the Press? Whatever.) Tim Russert was interviewing Howard Dean. At least, I’m pretty sure it was Russert. For one thing, I was in the Uttanasana II position, so I couldn’t see very well. For another, what I was hearing sounded remarkably like some White House flack
Of course, when George Bush was on Meet the Press during the election season, and Russert asked Bush a bunch of tough questions to which Bush had nothing but lousy answers (you'll recall that was the interview in which the famous episode occurred wherein Bush was asked if he had any regrets from his first term in office, and he couldn't think of a single one). After that episode, Russert was hailed as a media hero by the left, unafraid to ask tough questions of powerful people. Now that he's asking tough questions DNC Chairman Howard Dean? White House flack.
Then there's the extremely frightening conclusion to Arianna's post:
Okay, back to Downward Facing Dog
If you follow the link and scroll down to the "downward facing dog" yoga posture, well... like I said: self-parody.

Unfortunately, I can't provide you with a link to the second sample of her inanity. It's currently an excerpt at the upper left of The Huffington Post front page, under "On The Blog Now," only the excerpt isn't actually on the blog anywhere, and there's no permalink to the snippet. As such, I'll just quote the whole thing here.
What to make of an agreement that preserves the filibuster while guaranteeing that it can only be used "under extraordinary circumstances"? Isn’t that like being told by the police that you can keep your car -- on the condition that you only drive it to get away from an erupting volcano? And you live in Nebraska. The real question is what will the Democrats do now? Social Security isn’t going private; the Senate isn't going nuclear. Could it be that they can no longer avert their eyes from Iraq? As the Greek poet Cavafy famously asked: "What are we going to do without the barbarians? They were, after all, some kind of a solution."
I'm not sure if it's really even necessary for me to explain the various things wrong with this brief paragraph. But then, why miss a chance to take a few more potshots at someone I don't like?

No, Arianna, it's not like that. Not like that at all. First, you're comparing the filibuster procedure--something which was intended to only be used rarely (under extreme circumstances if you will)--to a tool one uses every single day. Were senators to use the filibuster in a manner in any way, shape, or form comparable to a car, the senate would never get anything done. Ever. In its history. Which, come to think of it, might not be such a bad thing, but then, I don't think that was your intended point.

Next, you use the escape from an erupting volcano as a metaphor for an extreme circumstance, which is fine, but then with the Nebraska line you imply that such extreme circumstances never happen. If extreme circumstances never happen, dear Arianna, why the need for a filibuster in the first place? Perhaps the Democrats have been filibustering Bush's judicial nominees because--going out on a limb here--they thought Bush's judicial nominees were extremists, and their nominations constituted an extreme circumstance? (For the record, I disagree that the Bush's nominees have been extremists of any sort--their records don't support such an argument at all--but that's not the point of this post).

Finally, she tries to bring things around to Iraq, suggesting, as she has every right to, that Iraq is a more important issue to be occupying the Senate's time than judicial nominees or Social Security reform. Followed by a quote from a Greek poet about barbarians.

You know, I'm genuinely unsure of what exactly this quote is supposed to suggest to us in this context. Are the barbarians American soldiers? Republicans? Islamists? Terrorists? Iraqi insurgents? I'm assuming that a politically correct socialite like Arianna would never suggest that impoverished foreigners are barbarians, so it must be intended as a reference to the United States. Which, if you read the whole quote, you'll realize suggests (in a condescendingly contemptuous manner) that Bush's various wars are ultimately, "Some kind of a solution."

And if there's one thing I know, that is not what Arianna had in mind. Only remaining possible conclusion? That Arianna is a pretentious twit with no idea how to cobble together a coherent statement who prefers sounding intelligent to actually being intelligent.

Frankly, I'm astonished that people like Christopher Hitchens (who, say what you will of his politics, is one of the two greatest living polemicists) are willing to allow their words to appear on the same URL as hers.

I think I'll stick to reading her on Huffington's Toast.

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