Hitchens on Palin

Watch how a real maverick works.

The emphasis on experience is in many ways the wrong one (rather as it has been when directed at Sen. Barack Obama). The problem with Gov. Palin is not that she lacks experience. It’s that she quite plainly lacks intellectual curiosity. It is not snobbish to harbor grave doubts about somebody who seems uninterested in reading for pleasure or recreation and whose only interest in her local public library is sniffing round its shelves for books that ought to be removed for expressing impure ideas.

At numerous rallies where the atmosphere has been, shall we say, a little uncivil, Gov. Palin has accused Sen. Obama of accusing our forces in Afghanistan of simply bombing villages. Only a moment’s work is required to discover that the words complained of were never uttered in that form and that they occurred in a speech that stressed the need for more ground troops as opposed to more airstrikes (a recommendation, by the way, that begins to look more sapient each week, at least in respect of the airstrikes). Again, I have a question: Did Palin know that she was telling a lie? Or did her handlers simply assume that she would read anything that was put in front of her, however mendacious? And which would be worse? And when will she issue the needful retraction? There seems no way of putting her in a forum where these points could be raised. So, continued media coverage of her appearances is no better than lending a megaphone to a demagogue, the better to amplify her propaganda.

Categories: media, Politics

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3 replies

  1. I have such a weakness for smart, hyperliterate people. So I’ve always liked Hitchens. Recently, of course, it’s usually been against my better judgment.
    The old saying is that a conservative is a liberal who got mugged. I think he got mugged by 9/11 — more specifically, by the response he saw, or thought he saw, from the Left.
    I keep hoping he’ll be smart (and honest) enough to realize that he’s gone from the frying pan into the fire. It seems like he may be cracking.
    But I’ve been wrong before.

  2. It’s a well-written piece, and like J says, I want to believe that Hitchens is over his post-9/11 nervous breakdown. But every time I’m tempted to hope, I recall his bewildering appearance on Real Time with Bill Mahr when he defended Bush, the Iraq War, and his own defense of these on the grounds that Laura Bush loves W.

  3. Hitchens is smart, and he’s right, but he’s shouting down a well. Intellectual curiosity is not an asset for an American politician; it leads to doubt, and nuance, and a recognition that some things are complex, and none of those wins elections.

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