September 7, 2005

John Podhoretz averts his maidenly eyes

After John Derbyshire bravely defends me once more in NRO's Corner against John Podhoretz's fatwa against my New Orleans article and its mention of the lower average IQ of African-Americans, JPod sputters:

I have read only two things by [Sailer] in the past few years, both of them e-mailed to me, and I regret having soiled my eyes, my brain and my sensibility with them.

This is another example of the typical attack on me -- the "point-and-sputter" diatribe devoid of logic and facts.

Inevitably, responses to Pod the Lesser's sallies traditionally fall into the "point-and-laugh" mode -- for example, his former colleagues at the Washington Times coined the pun Podenfruede for their group ritual of reading Pod's latest effusion and laughing at his shortcomings as a writer, thinker, and human being. Since JPod doesn't give anyone anything to sink their teeth into -- it's hard to point out the fallacies in JPod's logic when all he is expressing is mindless rage and thuggish threats. So, "point-and-laugh" is natural.

Still, my readers might be interested in some of the logical contradictions related to Pod Minor, even if rationality is not, personally, his thing. For example, will he next condemn Commentary and the American Enterprise Institute?

I ask this because the sentence in my New Orleans article that called "the most disgusting sentence yet written about Katrina" simply applied to the disaster the facts printed in the feature article in this month's neoconservative Commentary magazine (and also posted on the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute's website): "The Inequality Taboo" by Charles Murray, the Bradley Fellow at AEI.

Indeed, my previous article "Charles Murray Reenters America's Inequality Debate" was a celebration of the article's publication by Commentary, where Big Little Pod's father, Norman Podhoretz, is "Editor-at-Large" after a distinguished quarter-century career as Commentary's Editor-in-Chief. Further, many of the foreign policy pundits that Commentary routinely publishes are domiciled at the AEI, and the think tank gave Norman Podhoretz its Francis Boyer award in 2002.

Indeed, Norman Podhoretz has said:

"I'm a defender of The Bell Curve. I think The Bell Curve has been subjected to the most vicious lynching of any book since Making It."

That was Podhoretz Major's first autobiography, which came out 27 years before The Bell Curve.

Perhaps, JPod's attacks on me are a surreptitious, indirect form of Oedipal warfare upon his father, since he knows by now that every time he attacks me on race, IQ, and crime, I will shine the spotlight of attention on the fact that his father holds equally politically incorrect views on the same subjects.

We should pause for a moment of sympathy for John Podhoretz. It can't be emotionally easy having such a formidable figure as Norman Podhoretz as your father. Financially, of course, being connected has been very easy for John, but it must be tough on his dignity to go through life being known among the punditocracy as the world's leading example of nepotistic incompetence and regression toward the mean.

More generally, JPod's Oedipal anger reflects the understandable resentment of the second generation of neoconservatives (the "minicons") looking back on the heroic first generation. The first generation -- Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Nathan Glazer, James Q. Wilson, Andrew Greeley, and so forth, with Charles Murray as probably the youngest member of that pantheon -- were primarily social scientists studying domestic issues of race, ethnicity, and crime. (As a literary critic, Norman Podhoretz was an odd man out among the quant jocks, but he was a trenchant writer on black crime even back when he was a self-proclaimed radical leftist. As he aged, he has, of course, become more obsessed with foreign policy, but that's a natural progression for an elderly gentleman with four grandchildren abroad.)

The minicons, in embarrassing contrast, are primarily pundits obsessed with Middle Eastern affairs.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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