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June 08, 2007


Speaking as a 64-year-old former teacher and then government lawyer, these folks harbor a remarkable amount of jealousy. First about the fact that some of us can, if we chose, spend the day in sweats and a T-shirt, and second that people who haven't spent their lives kissing the posteriors of editors could have the ability to put together a few coherent sentences on a topic of public interest and then post it all by themselves, and people would actually read it.

It's classic disintermediation (getting rid of the middleman) and it really scares them. Even more, they resent it that people who reside outside the NY/DC bubble could have a distance and perspective that allowed them to be right about those issues of public interest to a greater degree than the participants in groupthink were.

They won't admit it, but jealousy it is.

Congrats on finding fame. Hope fortune follows.

I was hoping you'd notice that little bit of nonsense. The most interesting thing about the comment is that Eli Lake was a philosophy major in college. I've decided that the key to the right-wing hive mind is to look closely at the ridiculous assertions they make (the ones most distant from reality) about their opponents. That's where they project their own insecurities and demons. Why do Republicans obsess over voter fraud when it clearly isn't a major problem? Because they engage in it themselves. Why does Corallo, et. al., claim that it's okay to politicize the DOJ because everybody does it? Because they really assume Dems do it just like them. So just take this paragraph:

What if the netleft, that has created the impression that there is a rising plurality that would like to abandon Iraqis to Qaeda, Quds and the Ba'ath, are just a few thousand committed Marxists in their pajamas? What if the Dems have strategically miscalculated? What if their over-compensation is to appease a vocal 1 percent of the electorate that actually draws contempt from the rest of the country?

and turn it into this:

Deep down I know that the netright, that has created the impression that there is a rising plurality that would like to keeping on killing Iraqis for 50 years, are just a few thousand committed Fascists in their pajamas. The Repubs have strategically miscalculated! Their over-compensation to appease a vocal 1 percent of the electorate actually draws contempt from the rest of the country.

See, if you know how to read them, these idiots are veritable founts of wisdom.

Famous AND powerful. I knew it all along.

Many bloggers have swatted down this smarmy little fly, but I think TBogg did it best.

Oh, and you forgot gorgeous. No wonder they're all so jealous.

I stand in awe of the 'All-Powerful' Lefty Blogosphrere writers whose every word brings gasps of orgasmic pleasures to the offices of Democratic staffers across Capitol Hill.

I have never heard of Eli Lake before this. Sounds like he is a jealous loser.

Chalk me up as a failed professor.

My favorite part of this hilarious post is obviously the comp lit stuff and "the true depths of the literary theory crowd." Count on EW for so many things that the humor sometimes doesn't get adequate props, but the timing of "Ever, I suspect..." was pure genius.

...he writes, wearing his Keens in the office.

Judging by Mr. Lake's comments, it would appear as if he spends the better part of the day trying to follow, understand and process what you've written.

I know that's what I have to do. But, then I have an excuse as you can tell from my signature.

There are only 5,000 net roots folk? Humm. I wonder where all those campaign donations came from?? The tooth-byte fairy?

A thread of anti-intellectualism runs strongly on both sides of the blogosphere. I suppose it resonates with the anti-authoritian streak inherent in blogs. But it's unhelpful, from the left or the right.

Personally I don't believe there is such a thing as "overeducated". Except, I suppose, from the point of view of someone who has just been proved a fool by an opponent's superior reasoning and knowledge. Which fits.

Just in case you don't want to look like a totally ignorant fuck when you talk about these cultures that scare you so much...

God I love the internets.
Thanks for your very well-crafted takedown of these fools. I needed that today.

But, Marcy! Comp Lit Field Marxists have been known to wear lounge pajamas... so, Eli isn't wrong there on the pajamas front... [insert fancy Latin phrase of your choice meaning "and, so"] EVERYTHING he says is correct.

ooooewwwww - pajamas front. Eli Lake. - ooooooewwwww.


don't feel too good Marcy, your standing is due to the facts and an ongoing performance record. folks working in the philosophy and psychological fields are only practitioners, and don't have performance records. their business managed to dictate their irresponsiblity as "practicing" medicine, or law, or the great mystery of the universe, 42.

you work in reality. I would bet that the vast percentage of your audience isn't a lot of goomers that don't have to perform either. those of us that are forced to live in the real world are the ones the other side are so fearful of, as we do all the work.

Since most of the Bush Crime Family's power over our nation was created through manipulation of language, I can't think of anyone BETTER qualified to analyze their reign of terror than a PhD in literary theory. And to think, EW, I was under the impression that you were "just" an expert on politics, law, human (mis)behavior, and the tubes of the Internets!

so do you own the left side of all the tubes, or do you just own the tubes on the left side of the blogosphere

and where did you get all those tubes to begin with ???

none of that really matters ...

All your trolls are belong to me

we couldn't have found a better "Overlord Of The Lefty Tubes" if we tried

I'd like to point out my own favorite part of Eli's post. Even in the mystical fantastic worls where lefty bloggers think they control everything, the guy still can't bring himself to write the phrase "a rising majority to abandon" our military invasion of Iraq. He has to say "plurality." He's even afraid to make a straw man.

Sometimes close reading of texts can be real fun.

Keep going, Marcy. You put the "I" in Illuminati.


would somebody please tell these assholes that some of us wouldn't be caught dead in pajamas ???

try explaining the concept of "Commando Blogging" to one of these Journalistic Quacks, and see how long it takes chicken noodle network to break the story

hundreds of bloggers apparently don't wear anything at all as they tour thru the innertubes ...

Keep going, Marcy. You put the "I" in Illuminati.

I am intrigued to know who the other half is, as you rightly point out if you are the one he is talking about - who is the other?
Digby, Jane, Christy, Watertiger, Swopa, TRex, etc. etc.
He should get his head out of his a**e and realise that, like the dinosaurs, the MSM is dying because their brains can't grasp that people want news and well thought-out opinions - not cliches and stenography and the constant repetion of GoP drivel.

The most dangerous failed professors I know of are neocons and Republicans like Newt Gingrich, Fred Kagan, Bill Bennett, Phill Gramm and all the other "academics" at the AEI, Heritage, Hudson, etc.

Oh, and Marcy, there isn't a day that goes by where I don't question my decision to go into the family business of law instead of that comparative literature PhD I was thinking about instead! :)

This is a classic case of projection. Hard to believe that Eli Lake's bit of paranoid bile is unrelated to Eric Alterman's recent Nation article on the newspaper Lake writes for, the NY Sun.

The Sun actually is a few dozen neocons making themselves appear more numerous and significant than they are by sinking millions into a giveaway paper that they pretend has a real readership by gaming circulation figures.

The target is not actual subscribers, or advertisers (who remain unimpressed) but gullible mainstream journalists.


The best lawyer in our family really--really--should have been a CompLit professor. I'm hoping that after he makes partner he'll quit and go into academics.

We have yet to talk in depth about my little dallying in his field of expertise, though.

Personally, I was offended that the "failed lawyers" did not merit a mention by Mr. Lake. Heh heh. By the way EW, that list of unfulfilled tasks you described is pretty daunting, better get back to work young lady! Many nuts to crack and balls left to bust.....

I have to laugh at the pundits and media who are so intimidated by the blogosphere that they have to either demonize it or marginalize it's influence by criticizing, stereotyping, and misrepresenting the blog's authors and commenters... they are very afraid becasue they are losing their influence and audience.

Marcy you are too smart and sexy for your Keen sandals! And I mean that in the best way ;) Keep on writing -- your audience is only growing as the msm's audience is fleeing in groves because many are finally realizing what corporate tools and hacks the msm are...

Ishmael, you are so right about: "The most dangerous failed professors I know of are neocons and Republicans..." and too many to even list!

Terras Irradient.

Failed Marxist English professor here, who then went into law and has practiced antitrust law for thirty years.

I'm so ashamed.

OT, but too tempting not to speculate about - AmericaBlog has posted pictures of Shrub drinking (near?)beer with Chancellor Merkel - and this morning W, according to Sarkozy, was too queasy to come out of his room - apparently Bartlett, loyal to the end, says that Bush had some "stomach trouble", but after a few hours he should be OK! Bottle flu perhaps?

And since we are spending a lazy Friday, what are the chances that Paris Hilton will pull a "White Bronco"? It would be the biggest story since 9-11, every network would cover it.

Welcome Comrade Basharov! :)

uhm, about that "failed perfesser" concept, I'm a bit confused

I thought that the word "Professor" meant that you already were a failure

Those Who "Can" Do. Those who "can't" teach

so you're tellin me there's people who failed at bein a failure ???

kinda figures that they would mostly be repuglicans

(ducking and running)

Ah, a very civil response to an intemperate provocation. I shudder to think how the other, uncivilized half of the leftnet responded. They must be the DFH we hear so much about. God help us all, don't show this to Jane.

Ah, this Eli Lake wrote the screed that is the subject of this post?

"Eli Lake:
A philosophy major, Lake knows his Trinity education has served him well as a journalist. He names Jerry Watts, Cheryl Greenberg, Maurice Wade, Howard DeLong, Adrienne Fulco, and Jack Chatfield as professors who “gave me a lot of personal attention and encouraged me to think critically about the texts we were reading.”

Charcoal pot, meet lampblack kettle.

"classic disintermediation" very good, Mimikatz....something we might be able to do without outsourcing!

First, from MOSAIC, a campus newsletter for the Trinty community is this column about SUCCEEDING, featuring Eli Lake '94

A philosophy major, Lake knows his Trinity education has served him well as a journalist. He names Jerry Watts, Cheryl Greenberg, Maurice Wade, Howard DeLong, Adrienne Fulco, and Jack Chatfield as professors who “gave me a lot of personal attention and encouraged me to think critically about the texts we were reading.”

It was ideal preparation for the kind of analytical processing of information he does now. Lake, who wrote for the Tripod at Trinity, started his journalism career writing for various Washington, D.C., newsletters, covering the Environmental Protection Agency and the Education Department before landing a job as the Washington correspondent for The Forward, the oldest and largest Jewish newspaper in the country. From there, he made the leap to UPI. He hopes to someday write for The New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. link

Tbogg delivers the smackdown:

13 years later he works for The New York Sun.

That would be this New York Sun:

The Audit Bureau of Circulations confirmed that in its first six months of publication the Sun had an average circulation of just under 18,000.[11] By 2005 the paper reported an estimated circulation of 45,000.[12] In December 2005 the Sun withdrew from the Audit Bureau of Circulations to join the Certified Audit of Circulations, whose other New York clients are the free papers The Village Voice and amNewYork, and began an aggressive campaign of free distribution in select neighborhoods.[13][14] As of 2007 the paper claims a readership of 150,000.[15]

The Sun's online edition has been accessible for free since August 2006.[16]

While the Sun claims "150,000 of New York City's Most Influential Readers Every Day," according to April 2007 article in The Nation, its [the Sun's] own audit indicates that "the Sun is selling 13,211 hard copies a day and giving away more than 85,000. (By contrast, the Daily News sells about 700,000 copies a day.) In an attempt to lasso subscribers in certain New York ZIP codes, the Sun recently offered free subscriptions for a full year, an unusual way for a newspaper to build circulation."
Well, it isn't the Pennysaver, but it's not exactly the New York Times either.

That has got to hurt. link

These types of attacks are good news. They are losing the info wars to truth and now they are looking for ways to undermine it with another layer of lies. Thier desperation is my salve. Keep hammering at the EW. Smart people of influence are listening.

Keep hammering at 'THEM' EW

"I am the only "over-educated literary theory PHD" that I know of in the lefty blogosphere..."
Come now, EW, Bérubé has to be writing at least half the posts in the lefty blogosphere under hundreds of pseudonyms, and I thought he made 'theory' what it is today.

No Confidence vote on GONZO in the Senate on Monday. 'bout time. Finally we'll know who Rove actually has in photos with dead hookers

'cept for senator Hutchison - I'm pretty sure she IS a dead hooker.


Ah, good point (though he's straight English, which is milquetoast in the grand scheme of literary theorying as compared to Comp Lit). Besides, he's on sabbatical from the blogosphere.

Bérubé's persona appears these days at Crooked Timber and Pandagon, unless someone is imitating him.

Um, okay.

Then let's just say he doesn't qualify as a "failed professor" in any sense of the word.


I'm going to keep hold of my half of the blogosphere, you see...

Great work, EW. As of approximately last Thursday, the "netleft" consisted, according to these same sources, of DFH college dropouts blogging from their moms' basements, in their jammies, of course. To have acquired a PhD, failed ambitions and vast political power in one week is quite an accomplishment (may be time to lose the jammies, however).

this is gettin kinda complicated (and nobody has explained how you become a "Failed Professor yet), but I got two more questions anyway ...

#1 if emptywheel controls half of the blogospere, who controls the other half of the blogosphere ??? (and is that a half of a half of the innertubes)

#2 if emptywheel controls half of the blogosphere, and skippy is the overlord of the blogtopia, what exactly is Kos the kommandant of again ??? (and did Kos really get promoted to Chairman ???

answer those two questions, and I'll think of some more ...

LOL, it's true. I spend most of my time deliberately manipulating Google to make myself more RICH AND POWERFUL!!

Oh, wait.

I guess--make up half the lefty blogosphere

we knew you towered over toobz like a Colossus, but even then....

ew -

Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Structuralist Party, then?

Eli can Foucault off.

Mr. Lakes imagines this to be a zero-sum game. Having at last found paid employment, this time as a writer - and cultural commentator, but only if Bobo Brooks is the gold (pyrite) standard - he despises anyone who threatens his work or hoped for prominence, especially if they're better.

I think a lot of print media "stars" are in the same boat and just as scared. They should be; outsourcing is happening to everyone not in the CEO suite. These "stars" have extensive organizations and staffs behind them and do things bloggers can't do. But their writing isn't all that much better, their stories aren't really better crafted, and sometimes their facts and arguments don't hold up to the slightest wind of criticism. Who really thinks even a Brian Williams or any of the news readers on CNN could make it as a street reporter, where nobody cared what he looked like?

Every soldier who's won a medal knows there are a hundred others who also deserve one. Blogs give the writers among them the platform to prove it. Good on 'me.

This is quite an exhilirating collection of posts.

I truly arrived when I failed as a Marxist Sociologist and took up roofing. Some day I'll have to try it in my jammies.

WTF was that? Magic and cereal? I was so enjoying the pj's thing.

There are plenty of bloggers with doctorates in literature, though it's hard to say how many are failed professors.

Marcy, this Eli fellow is just expressing his fantasies. The rightwing blogosphere is a lot like the Republican Party, they just can't believe thier cult delusions aren't shared equally by everyone.

The right-wing blogs really suck, they always have. They are nothing more than a vain attempt at emulation, a mimic of the very thing they condemn. They are a shadow of the "real" blogosphere, which is not right or left or centrist, it is, like our nation, a combination of all those.

I would suppose the biggest difference is that, none of us takes the blogs for granted, no one just accepts the truth of anyone's words the way we have always been towards the mainstream traditional media. We don't "believe" everything we read or see or hear on the blogs, we double-check every issue to make sure the story is the same on the rest of the blogs.

With the old-line media, we were just expected to believve what they said.

At least the blogs have taught us to question the assumption of truth. If a story or issue survives braod and widespread blog scrutiny and skepticism, then it is eventually proven true.

But if it is BS, it will get torpedoed before it gets very far on the blogs.

"a lot of print media "stars" are in the same boat and just as scared."

so beware the cornered beast...

Damnit smintheus, you're ruining my buzz. I thought I owned this half of the territory. It's getting crowded in here!

As to failed, all of a sudden today, I decided it was a worthy moniker. I am, indeed, a former academic who never entered the tenure track. Though I had a soft tenure track offer on the table when I said goodbye. That seems like noble failure to me. But as far as teaching? That, I was damn good at. The whole professor thing, that's another matter.

Thanks for that post emptywheel. I've been a lurker, but was pleased that a blogger whom I admire so much (since I first followed your liveblogging of the Libby trial) is a complit ph.d. just like me that I felt moved to _finally_ say hi and thanks. I admire you for your guts, stamina, clear-thinking. You've definitely chosen a the less-traveled road--at least in the opinion of this prof minus the Gucci.
I am looking forward to seeing your posts again at FDL, too.

Another failed prof of note, and the biggest argument against majoring in philosophy without a safety net: William Bennett. As far as emptywheel goes, you make my day most days. Then I go out and build stone walls with my degree in philosophy tied around my neck to keep the sweat soaked up. Keep up the good work.

When they can't attack your argument, they will attack you personnally. Where have you seen that pattern before?

Emptywheel, I wasn't including myself; my degrees are in Classics/ancient history.

Don't know what a "failed professor" is except somebody who professes nonsense. That would seem to apply to some of Libby's staunchest supporters, such as Fouad Ajami (wrote about his hilarious amicus-Libby letter the other day at Unbossed).

I spent all of Shabbos thinking about this post.
I had to get in that even in the Daily Kos community, to have the level of deviousness and compromise required to really have socialist views and to express the unformed mainstream liberal views seen there day after day, a beloved figure would not be ostracized simply for going on a right-wing radio show. Also there are many beloved diarists such as bonddad who are willing to give their names and have yet to express a single socialist view.
The post shows Lake's contempt for liberal blogs. If he had bothered to do any digging he would see that Edwards's view that the war on terror is a "bumper sticker slogan" is not particularly challenged. He would also have room for speculation about how many "Popular Front Democrats" like MB there are. All of this would support his point that listening to the liberal blogs is not necessarily listening to the people, or even listening to wisdom. But "Marxist" is hyperbole. It can only come from someone who has been in the conservative bubble for years.
I can say with the same amount of evidence that Americans tend to get impatient with long and pointless wars, even if they are for the best humanitarian causes in the world. The unity of WWII was an exception.

Feder-slam update: Federer lost 1st set, up break in 2nd.
I have some degree of envy for anyone who can finish a Ph.D. in any of the humanities, since for me to write anything complex is like getting blood from a rock.

EW, my mom got tenure. But she also loved teaching and was skeptical about the whole professor thing at the same university, because the research was such a pitiful excuse for same.

he's straight English, which is milquetoast in the grand scheme of literary theorying as compared to Comp Lit

Oho, I knew it would come to this someday, Marcy. Them's fightin' words. I'll see your Gucci boots and your "French Freud" special issue of Yale French Studies (volume 48, 1972, I believe) and raise you a pair of pajamas and the complete works of Raymond Williams. We'll just see who's doing the literary theorying around here.

Then we can get back to manipulating the google so as to convince technocrat staffers for Dems on the Hill that there is a rising plurality that would like to abandon Iraqis to Qaeda, Quds and the Ba’ath. Heh. Heh heh. Heh.

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