Wednesday, 3 June 2009

James Kirchick: the new Camille Paglia?

James Kirchick is a man of multiple opinions, all of them designed to shock, amuse, irritate and titillate les bourgeois.

Is he a real or faux iconoclast? Has he observed and assessed the media stylings of Christopher Hitchens, Ann Coulter, Andrew Sullivan and Bill O'Reilly then set out to carve a special niche for himself? Is James Kirchick a pretender to Camille Paglia's throne?

His recent piece for the WSJ, artfully spiced and larded with slivers of information chosen for the neocon palate would suggest so. Consider this:

The Religious Right Didn't Kill George Tiller. The left tries to smear 'Christianists' as akin to Islamic extremists.

... The organized antiabortion movement has always opposed violence against abortion providers. That has never stopped opportunistic prochoice activists, however, from conflating their passionate rhetoric with the behavior of individual criminals. True to form, on Sunday, Mike Hendricks of the Kansas City Star accused anyone who had criticized Tiller as a murderer (Tiller aborted healthy, nine-month old fetuses) of being an "accomplice" to his death.

Inserting propaganda jalapeños such as that which I emphasized above is typical of the way Kirchick selects only the unsubstantiated facts that fit his mould, blends them with a few broad spins then adds the pungent garnish. This is what Hendricks actually wrote.

By way of Canadian Cynic and frequent commenter Southern Quebec, we are reminded what Molly Ivins said of Paglia:
"I always thought the world was divided into only two kinds of people - those who think the world is divided into only two kinds of people, and those who don't. You think perhaps this is a cheap shot, that I have searched her work and caught Ms. Paglia in a rare moment of sweeping generalization, easy to make fun of? 'Au contraire', as we always say in Amarillo; the sweeping generalization is her signature. In fact, her work consists of damn little else. She is the queen of the categorical statement."

Indeed. James Kirchick has some very large and pointy stiletto heels to fill.

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