[guest post by JVW]
Nat Hentoff, who gravitated from the political left towards a more eclectic mix of conservative and libertarian beliefs but who remained a staunch defender of the First Amendment throughout, died earlier this evening, as announced by his son on Twitter:
Hentoff was an East Coaster his entire life, born and educated in Boston and later a fixture in the East Village scene of New York City where he served as a columnist for the Village Voice. Mostly associated with liberal causes such as civil rights legislation, campus free speech, and protesting the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 70s, Hentoff scandalized leftists when he later came out against abortion, supported Israel, and criticized political correctness over the last two decades of his life. The Village Voice dropped him as a columnist after a half-century of service in 2008, at which point Hentoff joined the Cato Institute and began writing for WorldNetDaily.
I’m not a devoted follower of jazz, so I haven’t had the pleasure of reading any of Hentoff’s writing on Dizzy Gillespie or Duke Ellington. I was surprised to learn that he apparently also wrote about country music, which seems an unlikely interest for an East Coast urban athiest with Jewish parents, so I’ll have to try to find some of that writing and check it out.
In celebrating the life of Nat Hentoff we honor someone who stayed true to his belief in our Constitutional liberties, but who did not let political dogma outweigh his conscience or his keen sense of right and wrong. May he rest in peace.
Trump advisor Monica Crowley (actually, her ghostwriter, I’m guessing) plagiarized large sections of other people’s work in a book published in 2012. Crowley “will serve as Trump’s senior director of strategic communications for the National Security Council.” Interesting to me is not the plagiarism, so much as the Trump transition team’s reaction:
Trump’s transition team is standing by Crowley.
“Monica’s exceptional insight and thoughtful work on how to turn this country around is exactly why she will be serving in the Administration,” a statement from a transition spokesperson said.
“HarperCollins—one of the largest and most respected publishers in the world—published her book which has become a national best-seller. Any attempt to discredit Monica is nothing more than a politically motivated attack that seeks to distract from the real issues facing this country.”
They lie so effortlessly. It comes with practice.
Your job, should you wish to accept it, is to minimize Crowley’s plagiarism in the comments below, so as to serve Trump’s partisan interests. Suggested angles of attack include:
- 1. There are more important things going on in the world. This one is good because there are always more important things than plagiarism going on in the world. It’s a classic line of attack for scandals where someone is caught red-handed.
- 2. It’s not really plagiarism. This is a tough one, but channel Trump. He can lie bald-facedly about anything. You can too. Give it a try!
- 3. It’s CNN. Ignore the facts in front of your nose and attack the source.
- 4. What aboutism. I call this “You mean like?”ism but that’s not as catchy. Find examples from the other side of people doing the same or worse. Cite them without explaining why it matters.
- 5. Attack the blog post. A variant of other maneuvers, in particular #1, this tactic distinguishes itself primarily by the addition of vitriol towards the author of the post that brought this to your attention. Bonus points for using the phrase “Trump Derangement Syndrome” (TDS will do), declaring that the site is no longer worth reading, or other similar cheap personal shots.
- 6. It’s old news. Best used in conjunction with #3 and/or other techniques.
Points will be deducted if you acknowledge the plagiarism and say it is inappropriate without applying at least one of the aforementioned techniques. Include at least a splash of #1 to avoid the penalty.
Whatever you say, say it loud and with great fervor and self-righteousness. That usually helps.