Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Conscientiousness of a Liberal - Updated

This blog seems to have wound down to sporadic comments about the Times op-ed page. So be it, I suppose -- for now, anyway. Like Pauline Kael when she retired from The New Yorker, saying that it was too enervating and depressing to keep reviewing bad movies every week, I've found that I don't have the discipline, energy or desire to keep flogging the same dead horses, absent something to root for.

But... one thing I do root for and deeply admire is Paul Krugman. He has laurels aplenty on which to rest -- not just the Nobel Prize (in his case, richly earned), but the fact of having put himself out there voluminously for years, with an astonishing batting average. In terms of economic and political analysis and judgment -- and in the Show, not the minors -- he has a batting average that dwarfs any superstar in any field you can think of. A-Rod? Gretzky? Michael Jordan? Lombardi? Fuggedaboutit. Shakespeare dropped the ball more often.

And yet, he never seems to rest. He never stops reading, looking, thinking. Those on the right who dismiss him as a shrill, one-note ranter miss entirely his seemingly bottomless curiosity -- his true reporter's instinct. There is no public intellectual one can name who is so entirely engaged. And those on the left who dismiss him for this or that point of doctrinal difference miss entirely how seriously he takes the idea of using his unique bully pulpit to make things right -- or at least better. He is staying in the game, because he's genuinely committed to having the game come out as well as possible.

Every day, on his blog -- take a look at any of the posts on today's, for example -- he engages in serious discourse on serious issues with serious intent. Yes, he's our 21st century Cassandra -- and its hope-filled Energizer Bunny. If he hadn't gotten the Nobel for Economics, he would deserve one for Sincere Conscientiousness.

Update: Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


A mild dust-up at The Paper of Record this morning, underlining the difference between expertise and its absence. David Brooks breaks decorum by snidely trashing his fellow op-edifier Paul Krugman in today's column -- without naming him, but there's zero ambiguity as to his target. And our Nobel Prize-winning Cassandra decorously but decisively slaps him down.