We bleg and you deliver. A reader writes:
Andrew Sullivan is a man of ferocious concentration; indeed, whether Sully is raging against church abuse cover ups, torture, or Israeli policy, the only thing that can possibly sidetrack him is South Park. Or the latest YouTube sensation. Or anything about beards. Or windows. Then probably beards again. Regardless, when Andrew Sullivan’s attention is fixed and his wrath unleashed, he becomes a sort of “Mama Grizzly,” if you will, hunting his target without relent.
Speaking of Mama Grizzlies, many have questioned his obsession with all things Sarah Palin. But is it really so odd that our beloved blogger would be so drawn to someone oft-characterized as a bear? No doubt some smart ass will point out that this joke falters because Sarah Palin is a woman. Well, I heard, from a very reliable source, that Andrew may have a theory about that issue as well. But I don’t want to start any rumors.
He looks like a muppet procreated with an egg.
If you're going to properly roast him, then you'll have to go find the video of his double-handed ass-scratch during the closing credits of Real Time several years back.
OK here I go ...
As much as I love Andrew on a blog, I have to say he really sucks on TV. First of all, his accent is off. It is somewhere in between England and the US and not a good place. It makes him sound like an obsessed fan of William F Buckley who can't quite get the east coast snobby sound right no matter how much he practices in front of the mirror.
And the beard. OMG. Talking about the beard on the blog is one thing, but then we all actually saw it that night on Colbert... As Wallace said to Grommit "It's gone wrong". Let.the.beard.go.gray.
And finally the coke spilling episode on Bill Maher. That was just weird. I have not seen anyone do that before or since. All Dish readers were embarrassed that night. It's not so much the spilling as how totally uncomfortable Andrew was the rest of the show. Clearly a decade of blogging skills do not transfer to TV.
Although I read Sullivan, and link to him, and appreciate his doggedness about torture and other civil liberties, I feel he's never made a full, straightforward apology for his "fifth column" remarks, both this one:
The middle part of the countrythe great red zone that voted for Bushis clearly ready for war. The decadent Left in its enclaves on the coasts is not deadand may well mount what amounts to a fifth column.
And where he seems to think he offered some kind of retraction:
I have no reason to believe that even those sharp critics of this war would actually aid and abet the enemy in any more tangible ways than they have done already. And that dissent is part of what we're fighting for. By fifth column, I meant simply their ambivalence about the outcome of a war on which I believe the future of liberty hangs.
I've seen him be full-throated (as he was in yesterday's essay) about his apology for cheerleading the war. And I've seen him vaguely nudge around the edges of pre-judging, like he did in yesterday's essay as well:
I was wrong - but more than wrong, I was dismissive of those who turned out to be right. Some of those I mocked I did so for the right reasons.
Sorry, not good enough. Not explicit enough. And he still seems to harbor ("I did so for the right reasons") disdain for those of us in our enclaves on the coasts who love our country deeply, who cherish the right to call on our government to answer to us when the gravest of steps is taken, who passionately participate in our democracy and our electoral process. We were not ambivalent about the outcome of a war. We were opposed to our steamrolled, clearly obfuscated entry into it. Still, he hides behind the "some of those I mocked I did so for the right reasons."
Until he fully and explicitly retracts those specific remarks, I don't think he will have earned the respect he could more easily have claimed as a moral man, flawed and willing to fully admit mistakes when wrong. He has been diminished by those words, and only a wholehearted and specific retraction of them could restore, in my eyes at least, his reputation.
Andrew Sullivan has, on occasion, apologized at passionate length for his failings. To me, however, Sully has never inflicted worse harm upon his readers than on twice sharing photographs of Vice President/War Criminal Dick Cheney's own passionate length, here and here. The pic is thankfully hard to find these days, but here it is. God help us; there may be more.
Sully, have you no shame, sir? At long last, have you no shame?
Well, except from being obstinately religious and politically naive I think one can only hold an overarching emotionalism against Andrew. On the plus side there is an unusual attempt at honesty and an also rare ability (in conservatives) to get enthused about a particular Democratic leader.
Ah but the emotions: one can set the watch for the angry fanfare every time Obama has dealt with LGBT rights in (his usual) cautious demeanor. Same for the torture policy (the non-persecution of the torturers of the previous administration). In both cases I agree with Andrews positions, but in both cases I think his emotions regularly get the better of him, and it does not illuminate the issue.
What pissed me off most during my years of reading The Dish was the time in the pre-corporate days when Andrew put out a call for donations to support The Dish. I sent off some money and the very next day Andrew announced he was closing up shop and going to P'Town for the month. Well, thank you.
There’s an old axiom I just made up that states: The internet is 80% porn; the rest is just a waste of time. Within the waste of time spectrum, a full fifth, or 4% of the entire vastness of cyberspace, is occupied by the voluminous and inane ramblings of the time-wastiest blog of all: Andrew Sullivan’s “Daily Dish.”
At first glance Andrew appears to be a man whose head was attached upside down; upon closer inspection it turns out this is merely an unfortunate hair configuration, part personal choice and part no choice whatsoever. A quick perusal of his work, however, reveals that while his head may be right side up, it is clearly also screwed on backwards.
I’m being unfair, of course. Andrew’s blog has been a fountain of personal growth for me. For example, I used to not like the Pet Shop Boys. Now I fucking hate them.
No one is celebrating the wonderfully degenerate junk-food quality that’s right there in the name of the thing: the Daily Dish. Isn’t it obvious that this blog is one of the Internet’s great soap operas? Of no party or clique, and on good days, all the hissy that’s fit to throw. The Paul Revere bareback rides to warn us all that Sarah Palin and her vagina is coming! The pot bust! The long-suffering husband’s cameos! The Beaches-style beach snapshots! The clarion calls for the arrest of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, John Yoo, etc. etc.!
And like every other soap opera, no real closure. Ever.
This is a man for whom great art is embodied by the Pet Shop Boys, South Park, and some of the most dreary Sunday-devotional verse and essays ever reduced to fair-use excerpts that don’t violate copyright law. And don’t get me started on the superannuated “awards” and the annoying habit of proclaiming disinterested social isolation while citing Hitch and all those first-name basis bloggers I’ve never heard of because I have a life.
Okay, enough. Time to hit refresh.
Why I love the Daily Dish: I get to publish embarassing material about my boss and get paid for it.