TNC on Mamet:
All jest aside, I find the process that produces this sort of work to be utterly amoral. I’ve said this before, but this is the kind of writing that would get you bounced out of any decent essay writing class at a credible university. Words have meanings. You cannot change the fact that Thomas Jefferson served in the Virginia House of Burgesses because it’s unfortunate for your argument. Unless you have a name like David Mamet.
The message one derives from this is that power gives you the privilege of lying. If you are big enough, if your name rings out far enough, you may make words mean whatever you want them to mean.
Part of the problem is Newsweek publishing political analysis by people who have no actual expertise on the subject. But that’s not the only problem — not only that arguments should stand on their own, but Niall Ferguson has every expert credential you could want, and his heavily promoted anti-Obama story was every bit as replete with howlers and puddle-deep talk-radio cliches as Mamet’s. As Coates says, the ethos at Newsweek seems to be that if you’re any kind of celebrity you’re under no obligation to get things right. I have a hard time believing that nobody at Newsweek knew about the political experience of Madison, Hamilton, Jefferson et al. Hell, before he “forgot” it because it was inconvenient to his immediate line of bullshit Mamet knew it. It’s just that they apparently don’t care if a big name lies to their readers as long as he (and let’s be frank, it’s overwhelmingly likely to be a “he”) has a name that’s big enough.
Meanwhile, speaking of lazy cliches how can we forget Mr. Tom Friedman.