Chait stains: Chait trolls Kevin Williamson

In no order:

1 – I like Kevin Williamson, a lot. One of the things I listen to is Mad Dogs and Englishmen, his podcast with Charles Cooke. Who is also an NR writer.

Along with Douthat, I don’t think there is a brainier, more reflective set of political pundits out there. The rest of the field, conservative and liberal, pales in comparison. With them it’s an advanced discussion of politics analyzed quite expertly against classical philosophy and literature.

Ezra Klein and MattY argue this stuff with a much more awkward grasp, when they do. Josh M is a one trick pony, he’s a snark merchant. Chait is smart, has written smart things, but has been overcome by the urge to be a sardonic quote. He’s also a mere Obama sycophant these days.

So I do see Chait’s critique here as weak, drive by snarking.

2 – Williamson isn’t a racist. All you have to do to observe that is read and listen to his stuff.

3 – I dunno, monkey allusion has the makings of a racial allusion, but see item 2. One thing is, Williamson is both a wordsmith and recalcitrant. If he wanted to describe something using primate adjectives, he wouldn’t be cowed out of it because other connotations.


5 thoughts on “Chait stains: Chait trolls Kevin Williamson

  1. pm1956

    I read Chait’s piece, and I agree with him about Williamson here.

    Let me tell you why–I grew up in St. Louis. I know Ferguson well. Williamson’s little story, his anecdote, takes place in East St. Louis, which is nowhere near Ferguson. You won’t learn anything about Ferguson or St. Louis in East St. Louis. You only go to East St. Louis if you want to write about corruption or poverty or how the 2 are linked. That is not the story of Ferguson.

    The fact that Williamson goes to East St. Louis to write about Ferguson tells me that Williamson wants to write about stereotypical white fears of Black American “gangster culture”. In my book that is racist, because it is Williamson seeking out and validating the pre-existing racist fears of NR’s readership. And it doesn’t apply to Ferguson.

    Sorry to burst your little bubble of hero worship, but Williamson’s piece is racist. And crappy journalism. If he is brainy and reflective, it certainly is not on display here.

    1. Erik Petersen Post author

      I sense some umbrage there. Latest Cooke / Williamson podcast is a discussion of this idea, in which Williamson is in agreement.

      I don’t have any sense I can persuade you to make use of your time by listening to the podcast, but if you did I think you’d have to describe Williamson as something other than a ‘racist’.

      He isn’t one, and Chait is trolling.

  2. pm1956

    OK, I have to take some of that back–neither Williamson nor Chait meant or implied that East St, Louis was in any way important to the events in Ferguson. That was my mistake, based on the fact that this came out at the same time Ferguson is in the news. I have to assume that there is no connection between Williamson’s observations in East St. Louis, and the events in Ferguson.

    That certainly means that my assertion that his piece is crappy journalism does not stand.

    As best I can tell from what part of Williamson’s article that i could read (gated), he is talking about East St. Louis as a failure of IL Gov. Quinn’s. To an extent, that is valid, although the pathology of East St. Louis extends back to the 1950’s, at least. Hard for Quinn to take complete responsibility there, and there have been quite a few GOP governors in IL during that time.

    But I do think that there is more than a hint of racism about Williamson’s article. What a strange anecdote to lead with…


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