Best Of The Web
“The denouement came in an article in Vanity Fair in April 2010. “I have no wish to assassinate Vidal’s character,” Christopher Hitchens, who died seven years ago this month, wrote, “a character which appears, in any case, to have committed suicide.” Removing his pen from its scabbard, Hitchens contended that the once-great man of American letters had devolved into a tired old crank: a conspiracy-addled, mean-spirited author of half-baked and half-argued screeds.
That same year, when his memoir Hitch-22 hit bookshelves, Hitchens definitively repudiated the title Vidal denied having given him: that of “his living successor, dauphin, or, as the Italians put it, delfino.” It was a literary relationship that ended as a literary feud but their broken bond was also symbolic of a post-Sept. 11 split that had driven Hitchens away from the radical American left where he built his reputation and made Vidal, as Hitchens put it, “more the way he already was.”
The two writers had become acquainted while Hitchens was still writing for New Statesman in London, before his move to the United States in 1981. Though Hitchens remained quite clearly Anglo-American and Vidal was a long-in-the-tooth expatriate, they shared a critique of American imperialism and what the latter termed the national security state in-keeping with the traditions of the radical American left. In 1991, they were among the few voices opposed to America’s lead in liberating Kuwait from Iraq’s military annexation—a war Vidal likened to a light show in the Gulf for Ted Turner’s benefit.
Cracks in their relationship surfaced during the Clinton administration. In No One Left to Lie To, Hitchens attacked the Clintons’ mendacity and triangulation from the left, and, in the spirit, chided Vidal for his role as “defender of the president and a friend of the First Lady.” Vidal was also a sympathizer of Timothy McVeigh, more-or-less blaming the federal government for the Oklahoma City bombing in a Vanity Fair essay published, portentously, in September 2001.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"THE CAPTURE of the last territory controlled by the Islamic State on Saturday was far from a final victory over the movement, as U.S. commanders and diplomats were careful to emphasize."
"How a Gay Teen, an Internet Nazi, and a Late-Night Rendezvous Turned to Tragedy. When self-loathing meets the new age of online extremism."
"Benjamin Netanyahu ignored the intelligence operations of Beijing and Moscow for too long. Now, the Israeli government is finally paying attention, but it could be too late."
"Former Nick Jr. kids are now reckoning with this all-grown-up intrepid explorer, whose obstacles are a lot bigger than Swiper the Fox. And that is a hard pill to swallow."
"At the end of last week, the three-month Treasury bills' yield rose above the yield for 10-year Treasuries for the first time since 2007, prompting warnings that the U.S. is headed for recession later this year or in early 2020."
"A team of researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology attempted to answer some questions about voting with the help of artificial intelligence (AI)."
"The experts I spoke with all said that the internet had changed the way conspiracies spread, but conspiracies, both dangerous and petty, have always been with us."
"Pop culture today is obsessed with the battle between good and evil. Traditional folktales never were. What changed?"
"Trustful parents allow their children as much freedom as reasonably possible to make their own decisions. They trust their children’s instincts, judgments, and ability to learn from mistakes."
"Arugulagate. In 2007, Barack Obama was in Iowa, speaking as a presidential hopeful to a group of farmers who were worried about the stagnation of their crop prices while America’s grocery bills continued to rise."
"To say that information exists in and of itself is akin to speaking of spin without the top, of ripples without water, of a dance without the dancer, or of the Cheshire Cat’s grin without the cat."
"Ted Cruz replaces the Democrats’ muddled manifesto with a clear and unequivocal exploration of the hatred of Jews and its particular evils."