James Bow, who says all sorts of absurdly flattering things about me at his blog, is promoting a meme:
Name three political individuals (they don’t have to be politicians; they can be bloggers) with whom you frequently disagree. Be careful who you choose, because you’ll have to use them in your next answer.
My fickle finger points to Ian Welsh, Kevin Grace and Antonia Zerbisas...
For each individual, identify one characteristic of theirs that you admire, or one policy of theirs that you strongly agree with and write a paragraph or two on why.
Now I really should be fixing this blog...but.
Begin with Welsh
. Ian is one of the few people I have read who managed to make a compelling case against the Iraqi war on the basis that the Americans were not as tough and nasty as the British and that to win you had to be that tough. He has been known to defend Michael Moore and take me to task for referring to Moore as "the fat bastard". He writes at The Blogging of the President
where they really are sure that the Bush regime stole the last election and that John Kerry would have been an excellent President. But, for all this Huffingtonian moonbattery, Ian consistently drives down to bedrock on economics.
There is not much doubt that money drives politics and that economic policy makes and breaks politicians in the United States and Canada. Ian, writing about everything from exchange rates though oil prices and on to the real world of car manufacturing (and that was just in the last month) can and does recognize the real world implications of policy. And, for the most part, he does not like what he sees simply because it fails his own pretty stringent tests.
Tax cut and
increased federal spending....don't think so. Shoddy workmanship and engineering hidden behind a wall of junk bonds and financial engineering...not likely. Ian has a nose for economic nonesense and, while I often disagree with his prescriptions, his diagnosis is dead on.
Best of all, like Grace and Zerbisias, Welsh can write. Clear, concise, fact filled prose; objective and all the more damning for it. The difference is that unlike Grace and Zerbisias, so far as I know, Welsh is not and never has been a professional journalist. In this he harkens back to a wonderful, and now sadly almost extinct, tradition of the gentleman amateur able to give the players a run for their money.
In a just world Kevin Grace
- with whom, full disclosure, I am lucky enough to have the occassional several beers - would be able to practice his ultramontane
blogging and journalism supported by a stippend from a grateful, if incredulous, nation.
I cannot think of a single thing, from religion to baseball on which Kevin and I do not disagree profoundly. It would worry me if, by some fluke, we found ourselves in alignment. Fortunately, even when it appears that our positions amount to the same thing, a quick examination of how we got to those positions restores my calm.
To suggest that Kevin is right wing is to entirely miss the vacuity to which such a definition is usually victim. Not something which Kevin could ever do as witness:
The secret to becoming a successful right-wing columnist is to echo the mob while complimenting yourself on your daring. That's all there is to Ann Coulter's craft, the rest is exploitation of the sexual masochism of the American male—he just can't get enough of the kitten with claws. Rachel Marsden's success will depend on the extent to which Canadian men now share the American compulsion to embrace a whiplash girlchild in the dark.
Martin Amis once told me - no really, he did - that as he reviewed more and more fiction he increasingly found all he could really do is string together quotations from a novel and let it speak for itself: so with Grace,
I don't think it's any secret I've made the Calgary Sun house style my model. All too often I fall short, but Ms Corbella is surely partly to blame! She's set the bar too darn high!! Consider the lead paragraph of J L Jackson's 1 June column:
The 61st anniversary of D-Day will take place this coming Monday—marking a day that will forever be seen as a tremendous step forward in defeating Hitler's reign of terror.
Ars longa, vita brevis—that's all you can say.
If Grace had a book or two in him, and, in fact, he does, he would have every chance of becoming Canada's answer to Waugh, likely Auberon rather than Evelyn. It is, in fact, rather more fun to disagree with Grace and simply admire the brick by brick demolition of assorted American, Canadian and secular golden calves with nothing more dangerous than a keen mind and an acid filled ink pot.Ms. Zerbisias
, aka the Zerb, first came to my attention through the good offices of Bob Tarantino who took a demonic pleasure in entirely and often hilariously demolishing her astonishing gulibility and professional anti-Americanism. A legal education is never wasted and Bob kept whacking the Zerb's sillier remarks out of the blogging park. He hit them so far that I never really felt any need to read the woman.
But then the Zerb showed up at a gathering of bloggers in TO. While a few righty bloggers were a bit sniffy about this, generally the Zerb proved to be a) human, b) good fun. Tarantino still banged her Bush dementia to the bleachers but, simply by having a couple of beers, the Zerb took a lot of the sting out of the whacks.
Apparently the form impressed her and, before you knew it, there she was with her own blog. As I wrote below, the Zerb was made for blogging and while she is still irritatingly naive when it comes to politics, she is simply brilliant writing about the intersection of politics and the higher media.
The Zerb can smell a conflict of interest
at a thousand yards and the ongoing manipulation of the news
at a mile. And yes, she does have a bias, and yes she does manage to miss the rather too obvious bias of Reuters and AP; the point being that there are very few writers covering the corosive effects of the political manipulation of the press.
I do wish she would turn her attention to the Liberal Toronto media nexus on the presentation of Harper and the CPC. Not to mention the sheer incompetence of the CPC communications folks - though she has covered Bucket's of Grewel and the idiocy of the CPC in some detail.
What I enjoy most about Zerbisias is that she brings to blogging the skill of a well experienced reporter with all the mystique of sources, hard facts, research and a capacity to connect the dots.
The key to understanding the Zerb and enjoying her lies in a respect for the craft which she brings figuring "it" out. Like most reporters, the further away from the action she is the more likely she is to get her reporting wrong - and the Zerb is a long way from Iraq. But close to home - she's tough to beat.
The further five tags...Grace and Welsh and the Zerb. And two tomorrow.