April 29, 2007

Kevin Drum finally reads Obama's autobiography and finds it "florid and overwrought" and inexplicable.

But he knows one thing for sure: I can't possibly be right about it!

The Washington Monthly's blogger Kevin Drum loyally tries to stand up for his employer's much-snickered over story by young Alexander Konetski about his brief tenure as a copy editor at The American Conservative and how he heroically resigned because the editors wouldn't spike my Obama story, Obama's Identity Crisis, on his say-so.

Of course, there's also the possibility that Drum is subtly sticking it to his employer by quoting a particularly amusing part of the self-important Konetski's screed:


Even before I read the piece I knew I wouldn't like it. TAC's editor, who was pleased with Sailer's work, had told me as much. But I found the piece so offensive when I first read it that I jumped out of my chair and rushed into the managing editor's office to try to kill it on the spot. She and the editor promptly dismissed my objections. The piece is provocative, they said — it's edgy. It's racist, I said — and the magazine will be regarded as such for publishing it. ....The weekend after Kara and Scott dismissed my objections to Sailer's essay, I read Dreams From My Father.


In other words, Konetski jumped to a conclusion with no idea what he was talking about, then scrambled to find evidence for it.

Ironically, the Washington Monthly did an abysmal job of fact-checking an article accusing The American Conservative of poor fact-checking. Konetski, who had been hired in November, tries to give the impression that he was a Major Player at the magazine while implying that I was some obscure figure who had "submitted" an article on Obama (instead, it was commissioned) that for some inexplicable but no doubt vile reason the editors chose to believe me over a Big Wheel like him.

In reality, the editors trusted me rather than him because I had a track record of approximately 100 pieces published in TAC going back to its first issue in 2002. As they well know, I've frequently been smeared by more formidable figures than Alexander Konetski, but have always ended up with the facts on my side.

Drum's item is most interesting for his somewhat philistine but reasonable characterization of Obama's Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance:


None of which is to say that Obama wasn't confused and uncomfortable with his racial identity for much of his first three decades. In fact, that's the whole point of the book. What's more — and this is the part of Dreams I found most peculiar — it's never really clear why. In language that's often florid and overwrought, but also oddly artificial, he tells us how he feels, but the circumstances of his life are never drawn starkly enough to make it clear why he feels the way he does.


In other words, Drum implies that Obama's emotions about race weren't objectively justified by the rather pleasant life he has lived. Which is certainly true.

But after that brief foray into honesty, Drum goes back to beating the, uh, drum over my sins. Unfortunately, all he can come up with is naked assertion:


... Sailer wants us to believe that this act of black identification automatically suggests a rejection of Obama's white heritage. Unfortunately, this says more about Sailer's state of mind than Obama's. There's simply nothing in the book to seriously back it up."


Well, no, it's not true that black identification "automatically" suggests a rejection of Obama's white heritage. For example, Obama's half-white half-brother Mark, a Stanford physics student who had grown up in Kenya, refused to reject his white heritage, which caused Obama break off contact with him.

But it is true in Obama's specific case, as voluminously documented in his long autobiography, that identification with the black race involved emotional rejection of the white race. (At least, if his book is to be believed, which is a big if -- he didn't actually reject the many the privileges granted to him by such white-founded institutions as Punahou Prep, Occidental College, Columbia University, and the Harvard Law School.

At this point, all I can say is, "Please read the book." It's better-written than Drum claims, and not so puzzling as Drum found it ... if you don't make the a priori assumption that I just have to be wrong about it.


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

30 comments:

Sunglasses Ron said...

Who the fcuk is Kevin Drum, anyway? The man's obviously a peasant.

Steve, stay here and converse with world-class intellectuals such as myself.

Anonymous said...

You normally seem like an intelligent person, Mr. Sailer.

However, I have to say that your comments about Obama's book seem to stretch a small grain of truth quite a long ways.

If your quotes from the book are supposed to demonstrate some sort of radical racial separatism, then the book must be quite a collection of anodyne musings indeed.

Anonymous said...

[i]Ironically, the Washington Monthly did an abysmal job of fact-checking an article accusing The American Conservative of poor fact-checking. Konetski, who had been hired in November, tries to give the impression that he was a Major Player at the magazine while implying that I was some obscure figure who had "submitted" an article on Obama (instead, it was commissioned) that for some inexplicable but no doubt vile reason the editors chose to believe me over a Big Wheel like him[/i]

Um what?

In The Washington Monthly, Konetzki claims that he was an assistant editor at TAC and that he was in the trio of editors that put the magazine together every month.

Is this factually incorrect? Because that's all he claims about his power and influence at TAC. (In fact, it's pretty clear that Konetzki's new and junior ...)

Later on in the Washington Monthly article it becomes clear that Sailer is nearer and dearer to the heart of TAC than is Konetzki:

From Washington Monthly:
“I have too many other things to worry about,” Scott said coldly. “Steve Sailer is a longtime friend of the magazine, and if you and he read a book differently, well, I’ll take his reading over yours any day.”

So this makes Konetzki small potatoes and Sailer the Big Cheese - according to the Washington Monthly (!)

So the portion of Sailer's post (italicized above) really makes no sense at all, and in fact clearly inverts the situation.

Mr. Brightside said...

Fair comment, I suppose, but Steve's point is that - if we can trust the verbatim quote - it's made to seem that Scott McConnell only published the piece, even, perhaps, against his better judgement, as a favour to an old mate.

Svigor said...

Steve, re Kucinich's Amazon - did you notice her lazy eye?

joshrandall said...

Got to sneak in here and comment re Steves previous post(dont tell Steve,ok?) about Kucinich having the most attractive loved one rush the stage and embrace the (master)debater--thats one contest Barack Obama will never win! :0 PS:Does it often take you guys 2 or 3 tries to get that 'word verification' thing right??

Anonymous said...

...but the circumstances of his life are never drawn starkly enough to make it clear why he feels the way he does.

They don't have to be; it's enough to be a 'person of color' or mixed race in American, isn't it? Due to the institutional racism that we all know blights the lives of these people in the US.

Duh.

ricpic said...

Christ! How did Kucinich nab that magnificent beast?!?!

David Davenport said...

This is off topic, but;

Global network to cut adverse drug reactions proposed

April 27, 2007

Dan Rooden, M.D.


by Bill Snyder

Vanderbilt University Medical Center's Dan Roden, M.D., and other experts are calling for the establishment of a global network to reduce the incidence of serious adverse drug reactions (SADRs).

SADRs “are estimated to be the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States, not far behind cancer and heart disease,” Roden and his co-authors wrote in a commentary published today in the journal Nature.


Serious Adverse Drug Reactions? They be talk’in ‘bout legitimately prescribed pharmaceuticals, not stuff sells on de street.

Plus more, the errors that may be the fourth-leading (sic) cause of death not simple errors of prescribing and taking. Here’s the remedy:

“One possible solution is to develop predictive genetic tests,” they wrote, but currently the numbers of reported cases of SADRs “are too small for adequate genetic analysis … a global pharmacogenomics network is needed to study SADRs.”

??? If number of reported cases too small, how they know [non-Shiite] SADRs really are fourth-leading cause of death? Maybe hype get gooberment $ here. But nebbermind:

Roden, internationally known for his research on arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms), directs the John A. Oates Institute for Experimental Therapeutics and is assistant vice chancellor for Personalized Medicine at VUMC.
Since 2001, he has been a participating investigator in the National Institutes of Health-funded Pharmacogenetics Research Network, which supports studies of how genes affect the way people respond to medicines.


http://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/reporter/index.html?ID=5505

It pays to increase your word power. “Pharmacogenetics,” geddit?. The man no say, “Pharmacosociology,” no say "Pharmacopsychosomatics,” no say "Pharmaconutrition,” no say "Pharmacoenvironmentalism.”

Pharmacogenetics … Personalized Medicine … personal genetics … nothing to do with the r-word, you be sure. This the 21st century.

Trigger said...

Yeah, that word verification thingymajig must be a real bastard for dyslexics.

Anonymous said...

If I have "too many other things to worry about", can I skip reading "Dreams from My Father" and simply choose Steve's over Drum's characterization?

Matt said...

(second try, hope this is not a duplicate.)

I just finished reading Sailer's review of Dreams from My Father and I certainly don't find a level of racism in it that would demand running to a senior editor. The review seems pretty thoughtful, although I suspect parts of it depend on a misreading of Obama's book.

Such statements as "... he found solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and animosity against his mother’s race..." and "In Obama’s book, Punahou was a nightmare of racial insensitivity, with one of his fellow students even asking to touch his hair" really ought to be backed up with direct quotes from the book.

Is it Obama who describes having such feelings ("grievance" "nightmare") or is it Sailer who thinks Obama must be feeling that way?

I suppose a reviewer is not directly obliged to provide quotes to back assertions about the writer's character, so I'm left with a shrug until such a time as I read the book myself, whenever that might be.

Anonymous said...

What in the fcuking hell is white heritage?

Paddy the Greek said...

White heritage means those of your descendants who were honkies. In my case, everyone traceable back to, at least, the Bubonic Plague.

BTW, Steve, it's Konetzki, not Konetski. Don't make this guy angry, you wouldn't like him when he's angry.

Russell said...

Since people are leaving Kucinich comments here...

Doesn't he sort of strike as one of those kids who wore t-shirts with rainbows and unicorns on them in 6th grade?

Anonymous said...

The Trotskyites have been trying to take down the iSteve for years and they can't lay a glove on him! The proof is all over the internet. It's all emotional outbursts, aspersions and name-calling as argument.

Long live the iSteve. Let us judge the man by his enemies. You know the kind. People who; relentlessly chip away at the First Amendment with thought crime law; revile the Second Amendment utterly; work tirelessly for open borders in every Western nation; pervert and politicize every social science; demonize Christianity; whitewash Islam; outlaw free association; ignore McCarthy's vindication by Venona; claim the Rosenbergs were innocent; promote dual patriotism as true patriotism; suppress industry-wide the work of any author deemed heretical; and on and on until we reach Utopia, comrade.

tommy said...

Doesn't he sort of strike as one of those kids who wore t-shirts with rainbows and unicorns on them in 6th grade?

Kucinich: a level-13 wood elf paladin riding an enchanted pink unicorn. Also a disastrous former Cleveland mayor, useless current representative from Ohio, and hopeless perennial presidential candidate

Ability scores: dexterity 19; constitution 10; strength 4; intelligence 3; wisdom 2; charisma 1.

General Northwoods said...

Power is a curious aphrodisiac. A recent NYT article revealed a woman who got sexually aroused on hearing Noam Chomsky give a speech.

Anonymous said...

Steve 1,000
As*holes 0

Amazing that everyone feels free to weigh in with a critique of Steve's review of Obama's book...while admitting that they have not read the book themselves.

One genius writes:

"Your comments about Obama's book seem to stretch a small grain of truth quite a long ways." A few words later he says, "the book must be a collection of anodyne musings indeed." This last line means he hasn't read the book. So, precisely on what basis does he suggest that Steve's review of the book is inaccurate ("stretch the grain of truth")?

Another brilliant, caring humanitarian writes:

"I suspect parts of [Steve's review] depend on a misreading of Obama's book." And then, this: "I'm left with a shrug until such a time as I read the book myself, whenever that might be."

Amazing.

Again, Steve 1,000
As*holes 0

Anonymous said...

Kucinich's latest looks eerily like Morticia from "The Addams Family." (Just add black hair dye.) Yuck!

After viewing their couple photo, I had to wash my eyes out to regain my sight.

Hey, Steve, I guess this is the sort of comment you wanted to avoid by not allowing comments on the Kucinich item, huh? Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Don't say anything further of a negative nature about our pet negro, Steve. Or we will Imus you.

Love,
The Jewish Cabal
"We are not a powerful cabal"

green mamba said...

Wow, Mr. Anonymous 10:15, that was some truthtelling, or satire, or something. You really socked it to that Jewish cabal that controls everything. I bet they're going to Imus you for that. Hear that knock at your door?

Anonymous said...

I should have said "Zundel you" or "Rudolf you" or "Carter you" or "MacDonald you" or "Findley you" or "McKinney you" or...the list is long.

My brother from another mother, there is no longer any need to ridicule goyim's suspicions. It's out in the open now. Time to FLAUNT our power. The trailer trash can't do a thing about it.

Neil said...

Steve 1,000
As*holes 0

Amazing that everyone feels free to weigh in with a critique of Steve's review of Obama's book...while admitting that they have not read the book themselves.


Calm down, calm down.

Svigor said...

Kucinich: a level-13 wood elf paladin

Hah! Kucinich is so obviously a gnome.

daveg said...

My brother from another mother, there is no longer any need to ridicule goyim's suspicions. It's out in the open now.

Yes, and is especially gratifying that our goyim lackey's like Fred Barnes now do the arguing for us.

Matt said...

Sailer misreading Obama to illustrate Obama's "self-pity":

"The person who made me proudest of all, though, was [half-brother] Roy. Actually, now we call him Abongo, his Luo name, for two years ago he decided to reassert his African heritage. He converted to Islam, and has sworn off pork and tobacco and alcohol. He still works at his accounting firm [in America], but talks about moving back to Kenya once he has enough money. …

Abongo lifted up his glass of fruit punch for a toast.

"'To those who are not here,'" he said.

"'And to a happy ending," I said.

"We dribbled our drinks onto the checkered-tile floor. And for that moment, at least, I felt like the luckiest man alive."


Sailer:
I love that last sentence in the autobiography that Random House paid Obama to write at age 33. That not only "for that moment," but that day in and day out he just might be one of the luckier men alive never occurs to him.

So Obama has a moment of joy, about which he states, "And for that moment, at least, I felt like the luckiest man alive" - and this is supposed to indicate Obama's self-pity?

First, if you ALWAYS felt like the luckiest man alive, you'd be nuts.

Second, it's a very common phrase. You've gotten married, say, and looking back at the moment when you put the ring on your beloved's finger, you comment, "And for that moment at least I felt like the luckiest man alive" - THAT'S self-pity?

Sheesh, no - this is self pity: "I felt a little happiness break through the gloom, for a moment at least."

Sailer goes on to bring in Lou Gehrig to illustrate that Obama is actually a whole lot luckier than a dying man. Um, ok.

Anyhow, how's Obama supposed to have phrased that, "Just for the moment, I felt like the luckiest man alive. Of course, my privileged existence as an upper-class American had already made me extraordinarily lucky compared to most of the people in the world." I wouldn't think Sailer the type of person to demand that everyone wrap their phrases in PC circumlocutions.

Anyhow that sort of thing is why I don't trust Sailer as a reviewer. Where he does bring up quotes to show his point, they don't actually prove his point at all. How much, then, should I trust him where he makes assertions not even backed by quotes?

ricpic said...

The key to why unique restaurants or hotels or shops have a much smaller percentage of black workers in their employ than do the large bland chains is that in the small establishments it is vital that every worker work! Where a room isn't really cleaned, food comes to the table cold, a sales clerk is inattentive - and there is no margin for error - a slacker can mean the end of the business. And the percentage of blacks who are slackers is notoriously high. Small business owners know this. Of course they don't talk about it but they act on it -- or they're soon out of business

Abongo said...

I don't think book reviewing is really Steve's forte.

burpdot said...

Obama's church has:
1. Commitment to God
2. Commitment to the White Community
3. Commitment to the White Family
4. Dedication to the Pursuit of Education
5. Dedication to the Pursuit of Excellence
6. Adherence to the White Work Ethic
7. Commitment to Self-Discipline and Self-Respect
8. Disavowal of the Pursuit of "Middleclassness"
9. Pledge to make the fruits of all developing and acquired skills available to the White Community
10. Pledge to Allocate Regularly, a Portion of Personal Resources for Strengthening and Supporting White Institutions
11. Pledge allegiance to all White leadership who espouse and embrace the White Value System
12. Personal commitment to embracement of the White Value System.

Switch "White" to "Black" and read the archived copy of his church's about statement before they delete it: http://web.archive.org/web/20060411204951/http://www.tucc.org/about.htm

This trollery was cut and pasted from Ghost of Tiber.

I'm totally like whatever. At least Turd Blossom is rumored to be a freethinker.