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In a desperate attempt to outdo the usual stunts of Harvard professors, Niall Ferguson appears to have opened mouth and inserted cat. The piece that he published on Monday in The Financial Times opened with a startling comparison of President Barack Obama to the 1920s feline cartoon character Felix. “Felix was not only black,” wrote Ferguson. “He was also very, very lucky.” Were bloggers going to let this slide? Apparently not. Here are a few takes:

  • Fun Times at the Faculty Club, The Atlantic's James Fallows suggests. "I look forward to Ferguson's discussing this over a beer with his Harvard colleague Henry Louis Gates."
  • What Happened? asks Matt Yglesias. "I really enjoyed The Pity of War and have spent  years being amazed by how nutty Ferguson is as a columnist and pundit.
  • Not Even Intelligent, agreed Ezra Klein of The Washington Post and Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic. "I'm sure Ferguson has the sort of brain-power that could extinguish galaxies," Coates began, explaining why he felt compelled to continue reading past the lede. But "it's not as if that ... unfortunate opening precedes some brilliant argument," writes Klein from his own corner of the web. Coates puzzles over the column's closing, which suggested that Obama "take note" of Felix the Cat's short-lived luck, as audiences turned to "mice like Mickey and Jerry": "Right." Declares Coates. "Obama should take note. From a cat. Because, you know, the cat is black too. Like Obama."

Response, professor?

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