The year of arguing crazily!


And the tone-challenged land of the swells: Who was Nancy Lanza?

We’ll recommend this lengthy profile from yesterday’s Washington Post. Last week, we were stunned by the uninformed tripe which appeared at one liberal outpost concerning this question.

Because it’s Christmas Eve, we aren’t going to link or even name names! But the world isn’t served when we liberals give ourselves over to “imagining” about the dead, especially when we keep noting the fact that we don’t have any real idea what we’re talking about.

Yesterday, we thought the Post provided a fuller profile of Nancy Lanza. Though here too, we’ll advise caution.

We saw one very foolish profile of Lanza last week. But then, this has truly been The Year of Arguing Crazily.

In today’s column, Paul Krugman continues to discuss one part of this growing problem. We’ll have more thoughts at the end of the year about the craziness of our American discourse. But the crazy dumbness of our discourse is now perhaps its distinguishing characteristic. And the spreading foolishness isn’t restricted to just one side of the aisle.

(Although that side of the aisle has been making a joke of our public discourse for years.)

What explains the downward spiral of our American discourse? Opposite Krugman on today’s op-ed page, we may see part of the answer.

Yesterday, the Sunday pundits discussed the killing of children and the societal deadlocks highlighted by the so-called fiscal cliff muddle. This morning, atop the Times op-ed page, Delia Ephron discusses an additional problem.

Her piece appears beneath this headline: “The Hell of Online Shopping.”

The funerals continue in Newtown. The plutocrats continue to push the nonsense at which Krugman marvels. But Ephron and hers have problems too!

Her column starts like this:
EPHRON (12/24/12): A few days ago, I got an e-mail from my sister Amy in Los Angeles saying she and her husband had received boxes from J. Crew. Christmas presents from me, she assumed, since I had ordered them online and told her to expect them.

But for whom, she asked? The cards were buried deep in the packaging, and one of them was missing. Nothing was gift-wrapped, either (although I had requested and paid for it). The boxes contained two pairs of shoes (although I had ordered only one pair), a man’s pullover and a sparkly pink woman’s sweater. The sweater was for a friend who also lives in Los Angeles, but somehow ended up being sent to Amy’s husband.

I called J. Crew to complain, and what followed was tedious and time-consuming...
According to the leading authority on her life, Ephron wrote You’ve Got Mail, the popular film which was directed by her sister, the late Nora Ephron. For that reason, you might think this column was tongue in cheek.

Sorry. The column seems wholly serious; this is especially clear by the time we reach its conclusion. Along the way, the problems keep piling up:
EPHRON: My sister offered to gift-wrap and deliver my friend’s present. This was especially kind because traffic in Los Angeles is awful, as bad as New York’s during the holidays, which is one reason I order on the Web. But rather than make life easier, Web shopping only complicates it in new, more frustrating ways.

My husband, in charge of buying for all the children in our life, announced one evening that he had bought all his presents. To be done with Christmas shopping was so exciting that you’d think he’d used up some calories to do it, when in fact he’d never left his desk. The next morning he got an e-mail from Hammacher Schlemmer saying the item was out of stock and would ship after Jan. 1. So he had to phone and cancel the order. He then had to Web-shop all over again.
At this point, Ephron returned to her own recent problems, which include the fact that the J. Crew web site doesn’t gift-wrap shoes.

We’re sure that Ephron is a nice person. The same is almost surely true of the editor who decided to publish this column in this very unusual Christmas season.

But especially in this Christmas season, this columns strikes us as light-years past tone-deaf. We’ve often told you: In part, our public discourse has fallen to ruins because our elites have much too much wealth and fame—and because people with too much wealth and fame often end up like the people we meet through this column.

We’re sure that Ephron is a nice person. But that column and its weird tone-deafness comes straight from the land of the swells.

We were struck by that column today. Who would write or publish a column like that in this particular season? More significantly:

Can you expect moral and intellectual guidance from top-notch elites like this?


  1. I may be wrong, but I didn't know all op-eds had to clear an intellectual threshold before being published. (no sarcasm intended)
    Perhaps her piece may have been more suited for the Living section? Technology? Shopping?

  2. If William Safire were still alive, he would have hit Somerby for saying "the...web site doesn't gift-wrap shoes". I imagine the web site only sits on the server and doesn't do much else than pass orders onto the people who will fulfill them.

    Pedantic? Why, yes.

  3. Bob wrote: "Can you expect moral and intellectual guidance from top-notch elites like this?". Evidently you do. You are continually disappointed or surprised by the lack of guidance, to keep pointing it out. I expect nothing...and i am rarely disappointed by our 'elites'.

  4. The land of the swells. Perfect. Merry Christmas Bob, and thanks for all your efforts to stem the tide of stupidity that threatens to drown us.

  5. Krugman inadverantly illustrates part of the problem. He correctly points out that our huge deficits haven't caused sky-high interest rates, but those who expected that consequence haven't changed their minds. However, Krugman has done something similar. Obama's trillion dollar stimulus didn't lead to a robust economy, but Krugman hasn't changed his mind. He supports even greater stimulus spending. In politics, it seems that hardly anyone ever changes his/her mind, regardless of what new facts come to light.

    Merry Christmas to Bob and all his commenters and readers.

    1. Krugman has a rather well documented history of criticizing the stimulus plan for being too small before, during, and after the stimulus was enacted.

      He's also spent a lot of time saying that it was a bad idea politically because people would see the disappointing results of an insufficiently large stimulus and conclude that stimulus doesn't work. Events seem to have proven him right on both counts.

    2. Krugman has a rather well documented history of criticizing the stimulus plan for being too small before, during, and after the stimulus was enacted.

      Well, this is his position today. However, here's what he wrote in November, 2008:

      When I put all this together, I conclude that the stimulus package should be at least 4% of GDP, or $600 billion.

      The actual stimulus was $800 billion.

    3. Krugman has indeed criticized the stimulus plan as being inadequate, and has done so from the very beginning of Obama's presidency in numerous columns and television interviews.

      Here is his column from January, 2009:

      "To close a gap of more than $2 trillion — possibly a lot more, if the budget office projections turn out to be too optimistic — Mr. Obama offers a $775 billion plan. And that’s not enough."

      Here is a column from February, 2009, criticizing the stimulus as inadequate:

      Here is another column from March, 2009, saying the same thing:

      Merry Christmas!

    4. David in Cal -- We lost 4 million jobs between October 2008 and March 2009 when the Recovery Act was enacted. Obviously, opinions of the level of stimulus needed were evolving and being revised rapidly throughout the period. Krugman was perfectly clear about his opinion when the plan was in debate. Too small, too weighted towards tax cuts with low multipliers, inadequate infrastructure commitment (highest multipliers), no provision for more if needed later. Nevertheless, you can see its effect in the graphs of total jobs: once in place, the stimulus turned the downward trend into a flat one quite quickly.

  6. excerpt: "...sure that Ephron is a nice person. But that column and its weird tone-deafness comes straight from the land of the swells. "


    Just like: born on third base and yet they thought they hit a triple.

    Whatever the hell that saying is.

    Ongoing problem: Too little effort by most elites inMSM to appreciate the ordinary citizen's experience and understanding of life.

    1. Yep, the kind of people who reliably vote Democratic but have never known a working man in their lives.

  7. Another great column. Merry Christmas Bob.

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