Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Jonah Goldberg Says "Liberal Fascism" Was "Out of [Jon Stewart's] Depth"

At last a little tidbit on Jonah Goldberg's incoherent interview on The Daily Show. Of course, the problem was not Jonah's inability to admit he was full of it. It was just that Stewart couldn't really comprehend a book as complex as "Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning."

In terms of Jon Stewart, you know, I have more sympathy for Jon Stewart
than a lot of people do. I think he made a very grave mistake which was he tried
to read the book in a day. He told me he spent all day reading the book and all
day sort of surfing around, reading about fascism. And I just think he was out
of his depth. And I'm not saying he's not smart enough to have grasped all the
stuff but you can't do it in a day. He says he went and read Mussolini's "Doctrine of Fascism" and in "Doctrine of Fascism," Mussolini says that fascism
is against liberalism and Jon Stewart thought this was just wonderfully
eye-opening and an important rebuttal to my book. But the important thing that
he didn't understand was that "Doctrine of Fascism" was written a dozen years
after fascism was already on the scene and that Mussolini was trying to restart
fascism and, more importantly, the liberalism that Mussolini was referring to
wasn't the liberalism of Jon Stewart or Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama but it
was the liberalism of you and me. It was the liberalism of classical liberalism
of free-market liberalism. Manchester liberalism.
But I don't think Stewart understands or had those kinds of distinctions in mind, so he just had a really hard time with the book. And we get up there and it showed, we started knocking heads and I wasn't going to be bullied, a lot of f-bombs started flying around and I think he realized that it didn't work and that the thing he was left with was sort of this 18-minute monstrosity that he had to cut down to at 6 minutes.
And I at least have to give him credit for telling the viewers that it was this
mess and because they could have tried to cut it in such a way to make it seem
as if it was seamless and at least they telegraphed it to the viewer that it was
a hatchet job. And anybody who watched it, their reaction would be ‘what the
hell was that?' And so I think that helps. I get a lot of hate mail but I didn't get a lot of hate mail from the Jon Stewart thing because I think most
people recognize how grotesquely unfair to me and they have no idea what the
real conversation was and I think it made some people curious, I wonder what Goldberg actually has to say.
SHEFFIELD: Do you think they should have released the whole thing on the internet?
GOLDBERG: Oh, I think so, and I think some people would be kind of disappointed with it because as I said, we knocked heads from the beginning. It was just an ineffective interview. One of the things that-and I probably shouldn't have done the show until I had been more comfortable talking about the book, it was probably a little too early. But at the end of the day, he just didn't get the book and he kept trying to come at me from different directions and I wouldn't get, I wouldn't back down. So it was a lot of sort of talking past each other and knocking heads and all the rest. It wasn't like-it wasn't just a function of how it was edited, that was the reality
of it.
SHEFFIELD: Yeah, and I think that's because the prime component of his
humor style is conservatives are idiots. And in that interview, I think you
showed very clearly that he didn't know anything about what he was talking
GOLDBERG: Yeah, I think in some ways it was worse than that. I mean
he knew just enough to really be wrong about some stuff. I mean he would have
been better off if he had just sort of come in from the perspective of what my
book was about but instead he wanted to go after me.
And the interesting thing on that is that, and I'm sure you've got better evidence of this than I do, is that he does not have that approach with liberal authors. With liberal authors, it's ‘Tell me what your book is about,' or ‘Oh, isn't that
interesting,' and ‘Explain that more' and little jokes on the side. But not sort
of, you know, attacking directly the author and the author's work. He only
reserves that kind of thing for conservatives. And I think that's a
SHEFFIELD: It is. And I think there's a lot of stupidity on all sides
of politics.
GOLDBERG: Yeah, I mean Jon Stewart could be a real asset to the
culture if he hadn't sort of imbibed the ‘I am the king of the left-wing
blogosphere' persona that he has in the last couple of years, the sort of ‘I'm
the hero of the republic' persona. I think he needs to get back to what he used
to be good at which is the sort of even-handed kind of stuff. And I know he did
that thing on the Marines in California, the Marine recruiters and all that.
Because if he just gets labeled as a left-wing guy, it's going to hurt his
ratings, because I think a lot of conservatives think that at least part of the
show is pretty funny and he should just lay off trying to be an advocate for one
side of the fight.
SHEFFIELD: Yeah, and it really makes it difficult for
anybody for anybody to take him seriously as a media critic when every single
one of his points is the media need to be more liberal and talk about how Bush
is a liar.
SHEFFIELD: It's just completely unserious.

Please, Jonah, do get that interview released. I'm sure you'll be totally vindicated. Don't you want the truth to come out?

I mean, he knew just enough to really be wrong about some stuff.

Stop it, Jonah, you're killing me!


aimai said...

You are iron tummed, I couldn't even read the transcript.


Susan of Texas said...

I knew there'd be gold in the dross. He forgets to be discreet when on the telephone.

It helped to picture him sitting on the couch in his bathrobe, talking in a whiny voice while while picking through a bowl of snack mix for his favorite bits.

Dr Zen said...

"So it was a lot of sort of talking past each other and knocking heads and all the rest."

The whole fucking world is "talking past" Jonah.

Susan of Texas said...

We wouldn't mind knocking his head either.

Anonymous said...

Manchester liberalism? Free market liberalism? Mussolini was trying to restart fascism?

Doughy Pantload no, Doughy Hatload yes.

I'm sure they really WERE "knocking heads together" ... & that Stewart has the pinpricks to prove it.

Susan of Texas said...

I can see it now:

Stewart: What the hell are you talking about?

Goldberg: Blah blah classical liberalism Hitler was a socialist.

Stewert: What the fuck are you talking about?

Golberg: Just let me tell you about my book and stop asking me to explain it.

Stewert: What the fuck are you talking about?

And so on.