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(Note to literalists: the Watched column presently contains only a smattering of 'warblogs' because the facilitator of the template-change--Dr. Menlo--is not very familiar with them, and will be adding more as they are sent to him. Also, this blog may contain areas of allusion, satire, subtext, context and possibly even a dash of the surreal: wannabe lit-crits beware.)


[Watch this space for: Pentagon and Petroleum, The Media is only as Liberal as the Corporations Who Own Them, Wash Down With, and Recalcify]


Monday, October 21, 2002


Some days back, when the estimable Atrios was compiling his lexicon of terms describing the wildly illogical and dishonest practices of G. Harlan Reynolds, I volunteered a neologism that while lacking the euphony of "Glennuendo" and "Disinglennuousness" seemed a bit more comprehensive: Harlatanry, defined as G. Harlan's charlatan insistance that he's qualified to dispense his prejudices as something approaching fact. Lamentably, Atrios decided against the term's inclusion. After having the New York Sun reject innumerable requests of mine to undertake an advertisement in its august pages, I had grown accustomed to rejection, so the hurt was minimal.

That doesn't mean that there isn't any Harlatanry in evidence. On the countrary, the Instapundit volcano of intellectual fraud erupts with force today, as Glenn mounts a spirited defense of Charles Johnson and his nifty warblog (credibly called a "hate site" by some). As always, Glenn advances his argument largely by linking, allowing himself the post-facto luxury of denying endorsement of material he "merely" linked to.

I have little desire to engage the Tarantos and Johnsons of the warbloggergarten. After all, they can bill their sites as a comprehensive reckonings of all the naughtiness committed by Arabs and Muslims - a simple reportorial exercise - though those whipping their hobby horses with excess vigor are often doing something other than what they claim. Israel Shahak, a learned and serious man, went to the grave in disrepute, his own friends and colleagues expressing wonder about his anti-Semitism in their obituaries and remembrances. And Taranto and Johnson - neither of whom closely approach Shahak in terms of learning or seriousness - are held up as realists if not heroes.

And that's what Glenn is doing. Note his rush to call the engagement of Johnson a "smear campaign," a campaign in which Anil Dash's effort is cited specifically. Yet if he had actually bothered to read Dash's piece, he would have seen plainly that it concerned itself with what Johnson actually wrote, linking to specifics throughout. A "smear campaign," Glenn, is far more similar to that series of cool, disinterested links you deployed against Scott Ritter and his alleged receipt of Iraqi payola motivating his about-face.

The Harlatanry is most pronounced in this pronouncement: "Johnson is a lefty who's faced reality, which apparently makes him offensive to those who prefer not to." Is this the launch of another PsyWar? Is he serious? Is he saying that anyone not manning an lgf-style warblog is somehow incomplete in their confrontation of reality? The Professor's crippled faculty for logic is awful to behold. What marks would he give to a student peddling such schlock? How badly would an opposing attorney in a court of law decimate The Professor if he dared venture such flawed reasoning?

We were moderately amused when Professor Reynolds exhibited his unfamiliarity with the queer argot by likening those calling Andrew Sullivan the "Blog Queen" to those employing the term "nigger" and took a swipe at Atrios by saying Atrios, in his response to Glenn's accusation via link that Atrios was homophobic, "says that they're worse at Free Republic, which seems to me to be a pretty lame defense." Today Teach tickles us further when he writes that one of his faithful sweathogs "references IndyMedia as a far more plausible example of a hatesite." Now that's a proper defense!

• • • • •

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