Jeffrey Rosen Versus Clarence Thomas

What Alan Jacobs said. I am by no means in the "Clarence Thomas, Real American Hero" camp, and much of Rosen's analysis seems to me astute. But I am persistently puzzled by the unwillingness of white male journalists, in particular - for whom a meritocracy-plus-affirmation action system of advancement provides constant validation, and constant confirmation that they're getting ahead on innate talent and hard work alone - to generate sympathy for a figure like Thomas, who feels, for not-incomprehensible reasons, that his successes have been won (as Jacobs puts it, quoting, Stanley Fish) "in such a way as to render them bitter to the taste." You don't have to like him or agree with him to understand, better than Rosen seems to, where his anger might be coming from.

I would also add, to Rosen's remark that "it is no more possible to feel pity for [Thomas] than for Britney Spears," that the comparison is ridiculous (persecution by the paparazzi is by no means comparable to the combination of segregationist racism, affirmative-action condescension and Uncle-Tom vitriol that has made Thomas the angry man he is today) and that even if it weren't I do feel pity for Britney Spears, and I'm a little puzzled by anyone who doesn't.