ANTHILLS DOWN: Youngster repents in the Sunday Times!


Interlude—Who else would publish this drivel:
Today, we have the posing of questions. First among them is this:

Who the Sam Hill is the ludicrous Julius Krein?

We ask for a pitiful reason. Last Sunday, the first page of the New York Times' Sunday Review featured a lengthy confession by Krein. His piece was matched with a piece by Roxane Gay—a piece which contains its own inexcusable and appalling, but deeply revealing, confession.

Before we look at Gay's confession, let's review the confession by Krein. As we start, we ask two questions:

Who the freak is the dumb mother-frumper who graced the front page of the Sunday Review? Also, would anyone but the New York Times publish such dumb, silly work?

Who the anthill is Julius Krein? As it turns out, he's a 31-year-old graduate of—brace yourselves!—Harvard College. That means he was a fresh-faced 29 years of age when he was swept off his feet by the masterful brilliance of the candidate Donald J. Trump.

In his sprawling piece in the Sunday Review, Krein explains the basis on which he was swept away by the brilliance of Candidate Trump. According to Nexis, his piece runs exactly 1666 words, though those last three digits may be a joke played by the gods on Olympus.

The fresh-faced Krein, still just 29, found himself stirred by Candidate Trump. At the start of this year, he actually founded a journal, American Affairs, to flesh out the brilliance of President Trump.

In the Sunday Review, Krein confessed that he has been wrong, oh so wrong, about this Donald J. Trump. That said, to let you know how disordered our warren of anthills has become, the leading authority on Krein's life and times provides this capsule portrait.

Warning! Misleading quotation appears:
Julius Krein (born 1986) is an American conservative political writer and editor best known as the founder of the journal American Affairs. Krein launched the pro-Donald Trump journal in February 2017 in a bid "to give the Trump movement some intellectual heft." Six months later, however, Krein publicly withdrew his support for Trump, writing that he regretted his prior support of him as president.


[After graduating from Harvard in 2008], Krein went into a career in finance, working for Bank of America and the Blackstone Group. During the 2016 U.S. presidential election, he was employed at a hedge fund based in Boston while also contributing as a writer and site administrator for a pro-Trump blog. The blog, known as the Journal for American Greatness, was created supposedly to support Trump on the basis that his beliefs were politically sound. The blog's owners eventually took it offline, claiming it had begun as an inside joke and they were not prepared for such large readership. Its popularity led to Krein deciding to leave his day job to launch an authentic publication, American Affairs, a quarterly journal intended to support Trump from an intellectual perspective.

The inaugural issue of American Affairs was released February 21, one month after Trump's inauguration.
You've read all that correctly. Most strikingly, our Harvard grad/former hedge fund droog launched his journal early this year "to give the Trump movement some intellectual heft!"

(Warning! In fairness, those aren't the words of the brilliant young Krein. That account of Krein's motive was penned by two Politico writers.)

That quote was a bit misleading! If the leading authority can be believed about everything else, Krein started his pro-Trump activity, perhaps at age 29, at a site whose owners later claimed that the site had been a big inside joke.

Undeterred by this turn of events, Krein decided to dump his day job early this year to start American Affairs. Krein's journal wasn't meant as a joke. But this Sunday, on the Sunday Review's front page, the youngster penned 1666 words to admit he'd been wrong, oh so wrong, about Trump.

Question: Would anyone but the New York Times publish such manifest drivel by such a manifest flyweight? Would anyone else even consider publishing the silly young Krein?

Would anyone else give a fellow like this such a giant platform? Would anyone else let this idiot kid extend his profile so?

Let's be clear! Thanks to the rise of talk radio, cable news and the Net, our American discourse is full of unimpressive work by citizens of all ages. This is true to an historically astounding, anthill-destroying degree.

That said, would anyone but the New York Times embrace one of these sillybills so? Would anyone else hand a fellow like Krein the keys to the family machine?

Go ahead! If you have 1666 words to waste, work your way through Krein's confession. You'll encounter a lot of ridiculous clatter about the many impressive points which drew this worker bee to Candidate Trump. You'll also encounter a lot of piffle about the route which has brought this earnest young man to his senses. His piece might be called "Up From Trump."

Do you mind if we mention what you won't see in this mountain of piffle? You won't see a word about this:

Back in 2015 and 2016, what did Krein think about Donald J. Trump's long reign as King of the Birthers? What did he think about the years of disgraceful horseshit King Trump had let loose on the land?

Later in his confession, Krein tells us how upset he was by Trump's comments about Judge Curiel. He never mentions the birther years—and his editors at the Times didn't require him to do so!

Would anyone but a New York Times editor fail to spot this rather basic omission? Fail to see how many other basic points this young fellow skips past in his piece?

In his own well-known Confessions, Augustine recalls himself saying this when he was still a youngster:

"Lord, make me chaste—but not yet!"

Luckily, the famous saint didn't publish his thoughts until he'd become more seasoned. By way of contrast, the Times has rushed Krein into print, in an apparent attempt to mock the paper's unmockable readers.

Augustine's confessions are still famous today. Krein's confession may possibly have a somewhat shorter shelf life.

That said, Krein's confession comes from the blockhead hedge-fund right. We liberals already know how to reject such work. But Krein's confession was matched with one by Roxane Gay—and Gay is one of our own!

We're quite sure that Roxane Gay is a thoroughly good, decent person. But dear God, what she said in her own Sunday piece!

Tomorrow: When will we learn to see who we are? A truly gruesome confession by Gay is praised by our liberal tribe


  1. Well, we've seen so many triumphant announcements fitting this very template - "former supporter denounces Trump" - that I'm amazed how this one could inspired such excitement in you.

    As for birtherism, that certainly was the tango danced by both sides. Started by Clinton hacks, used by Obama's hacks to accuse people of racism.

    1. As a fool for propaganda you are in error when you claim that birtherism was "[started by Clinton hacks." You, like Dave in Cal, have a strong confirmation bias.

    2. If "have a strong confirmation bias" = "are full of shit", I concur.

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  2. Sadly, newspapers have been struggling financially, and they, like all other businesses, have to make a profit.
    So, that means sometimes a style section with recipes or tips on organizing your closet (which Mr. Somerby inexplicably finds
    so objectionable), op-eds that may call Trump a liar, or fluff pieces like this (re Krein) that may not be extremely content-laden.
    Do the stories that Somerby takes to task in his blog really represent the tenor of the Times in general? For all I know, there may be
    good reporting going on that Somerby never discusses.
    "Question: Would anyone but the New York Times publish such manifest drivel by such a manifest flyweight? "
    The answer is yes, Bob, if you would spend as much time ferreting out the sins of right-wing media outlets.
    That is the state of our world. It isn't just a 'liberal' thing.

  3. If the point of this piece is, you should never listen to Conservatives about anything, I agree.

  4. In my opinion Krein's is just trying to give himself niche cred and the NYT fell for it. The fact that American Affairs was started as a joke and that it was not especially long-lived (approx. 7 months, not a huge investment in time at all as part of a long-term marketing strategy) certainly support this hypothesis. I don't think Krein is sincere about any of this, he merely put in the necessary time to establish himself (weakly) as 'pro-Trump' so he could then repudiate Trump and create this stirring apostate narrative. The entire project is a a cynical marketing exercise.

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