Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hypocritical Oath



(It says, "Nothing says 'I'm an idiot' than trying to one-up someone with better credentials than you.")

Yes, Megan McArdle is commenting on someone else's appeal to authority, despite her own deeply ingrained habit of doing the same thing.

For once I have to agree with McArdle. In fact, this tweet reminds me of a terrific comment made by aimai, in response to McArdle's famous claim to be the heiress to great knowledge:

McArdle, to a commenter who had the temerity to correct her errors:

You never had any realistic hope of intimidating me into conceding to your superior intellect, because as I mentioned, I come from a family of academics who are actually intellectually intimidating. But any hope you had was long ago squandered in our various interactions, where you have demonstrated a tediously mechanical grasp of talking points you've heard elsewhere, an imperfect familiarity with your intermediate coursework, and what seems like some sort of nascent personality disorder.

Aimai:

Hm, lets see if the site lets me post. Can I ask whether this long, incoherent and off point attack by Megan on poster zosina is, in fact, by Megan? I mean, look--for one thing the "Megan" in this post claims to be the child of academics when the real Megan, as far as I know, is the child of a former public employee turned lobbyist and a realtor. Second of all the real Megan presumably grasps that "being the child of academics" doesn't actually amount to an argument. No, really it doesn't. Actually, and for real, I'm the child of a Nobel Prize winner and for kicks I'll add I'm a third generation Harvardite. So what? This really, really, really, never comes up in academic arguments which are actually won and lost not by some kind of bizarre blood test but by concrete arguments. The "you are tedious and lack charm" argument is also one that I have yet to see adduced in a respectable discussion. Certainly, on the basis of the evidence from this thread, its hard to tell which of the two of you, the "megan" poster and the zosina poster is the younger. If I didn't know that the real Megan is 37 I'd have had to award this avatar the palm for most juvenile approach to intellectual discussion. Finally, I have yet to see the imaginary comments "Megan" refute any of Zosina's points. If this thread "Megan" isn't the real Megan I think the real Megan might want to step in and clean up the comments by deleting her. But if she is the real Megan I think the Atlantic might want to step in and jerk the blog entirely. This is a positively craptacular piece of incoherent special pleading on Megan's part, from the first post to the comment thread. Really, its shameful. And you don't have to be the "child of academics" to know that.

aimai


Heh. That never gets old.

McArdle's utter lack of self-awareness contributes greatly to her inability to understand both her actions and her motivations for those actions. She chooses to believe that she is a respected public intellectual because she is terrified to take a good look at herself and find out the truth. It makes her a perfect patsy for David G. Bradley.

29 comments:

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Megan is a senior editor, after all.

And everyone knows seniors tend to forget stuff, apparently including how to formulate respectable arguments.
~

Ken Houghton said...

Megan, of course, does not have a degree in Economics. She does have a Bachelor's degree in English Literature and an MBA—the latter despite apparently never having figured out how to do Net Present Value calculations; I therefore presume it is in marketing, which means she couldn't even pick the right Chicago-area Business School to attend—so she's living evidence of the state of economics journalism in the United States.

Anonymous said...

Somehow she went to UPenn and Booth. I don't understand.

KWillow said...

"Senior Editor" sounds so much better than "Professional (well paid) lick-spittle".

Susan of Texas said...

McArdle has said that she can't understand how she got into Booth with a 2.93 GPA from Penn. Or how she got into Penn, rather than on the name of her prep school.

NonyNony said...

McArdle has said that she can't understand how she got into Booth with a 2.93 GPA from Penn. Or how she got into Penn, rather than on the name of her prep school.

Did she say that truthfully? 'cause there's almost a glimmer of self-awareness there and it's more than McArdle usually shows.

Anonymous said...

wingnut affirmative action. the powers that be didn't believe she is the best person for the job. but she allegedly has xx chromosome so they trot her out and can plausibly claim inclusiveness. plus they encourage her "cooking" so she doesn't get too rusty. they're going to need to eat in the gulch.

Dragon-King Wangchuck said...

That takedown is awesome.

Some notes:
1. I was not surprised that ME-gan (politically independent libertarian) is linking approvingly to HotAir.
2. I was surprised to find that Captain Ed believes that Porkulus may have worked - and says so in teh post.
3. Even though it was totes expected, I was still surprised at teh misogyny in teh HotAir comment thread.
4. All that said, Contessa Brewer's invocation of credentialism was pretty dumb.
And finally,
5. Even though Captain Ed links Brewer's Wiki page and some sort of defacement/graffiti was expected - I was surprised that this incident made it into the page.

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Contessa_Brewer&action=history

Susan of Texas said...

McArdle is self-aware, which is why she blows her top when her authority is questioned. But she will not let herself accept this knowledge because she would have to abandon all of the defenses she has built up to protect her ego.

So she is forced to go through cycles of doubt, denial and self-reinforcement, which is very sad for her and dangerous for us. Karl Rove said that he felt his mother's suicide was a big "fuck you" to him, and he took out his anger on the rest of the world. His emotional turmoil fueled his political actions, which were the conduit for his anger.

McArdle is trying to do the same. I can laugh because McArdle is so absurd but these simple, internal, emotional tugs of war are played out on a national stage and destroy people and nations if the damaged people strike a national chord. (Which explains the tea parties.)

KWillow said...

"Nothing says 'I'm an idiot' than trying to one-up someone with better credentials than you...

I strongly disagree. A certified, credentialed Heart Surgeon's thoughts & plans for your upcoming heart surgery would be vastly more impressive than, say, an Allergist, or a GP. Is s/he saying "I'm an idiot"? when pointing these credentials out to you?

KWillow said...

Never mind, I mis-read the statement.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

...if the damaged people strike a national chord. (Which explains the tea parties.)

That, plus all the money invested by the plutocrat class in the baggers specifically and in our media in general.
~

Clever Pseudonym said...

Megan's credentials: Daddy's money and connections. She's more than amply proven her degrees are worthless on their own.

NonyNony said...

McArdle is self-aware, which is why she blows her top when her authority is questioned. But she will not let herself accept this knowledge because she would have to abandon all of the defenses she has built up to protect her ego.

I guess it's the "acceptance" part that I meant - to be able to publicly state that you don't think you deserve, on the merits, to be able to have gotten into Penn or UChicago strikes me as more than a little bit of "self doubt".

Honestly I feel for McArdle - I really do. There are a lot of things about her that strongly suggest quite a bit of self-loathing and that's not healthy. Her upbringing really seems to have done a number on her.

I feel worse for the people her shilling damages though.

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure she doesn't approve of her UPenn days given all her horrible stories about how she was brainwashed by PIRG or whatever environmental group she joined before discovering the wonders of Ayn Rand, and her stories of how she floated through English classes barely trying and therefore academia is the problem...

She thinks her Booth days are worthwhile though and tries to fluff her audience by saying she had Goolsbee as a teacher!

Susan of Texas said...

Nonynony, yes, I can feel sorry for people until they start to hurt others, when is when I start pointing and laughing, which beats getting angry.

Tommykey said...

I strongly disagree. A certified, credentialed Heart Surgeon's thoughts & plans for your upcoming heart surgery would be vastly more impressive than, say, an Allergist, or a GP. Is s/he saying "I'm an idiot"? when pointing these credentials out to you?<

You just made me think of Alec Baldwin's "I am God" speech from Malice.

KWillow said...

But I got ArgleBargle's point backward.

M. Bouffant said...

In case you missed it, Megan Speaks!

I just haven't the stomach any more, & leave it to you.

Narya said...

Karl Rove said that he felt his mother's suicide was a big "fuck you" to him, and he took out his anger on the rest of the world.
I hadn't known this, but it explains a lot. I have known several people who committed suicide, and what I have felt is pain, for them, because they clearly were IN a lot of pain; that's why people commit suicide, i thought. I can understand being angry at someone who commits suicide--or who just up and dies, for that matter--because that's a part of the whole experience, but to understand the person's pain as a "fuck you"?? Lack of empathy much?

And the B school at Chicago is second only to the econ department for sheer awfulness of the people getting degrees from it.

atat said...

"but to understand the person's pain as a "fuck you"?? Lack of empathy much?"

I think the armchair psych diagnosis would be Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Barry Brenesal said...

[i]McArdle is self-aware,[/i]

Evidence?

Anonymous said...

Well, I have quite a bit more sympathy for Karl Rove, actually, because although suicide is a supremely personal act and (I believe) not directed at other people as such its actually pretty much a big "fuck you" from a parent to a child. Especially if the parent does it while the child is very young and dependent on them, or in such a way that the child finds the parent unconcious or dead (which actually happened in my own family). There's no getting around the fact that dropping out of the parent child relationship, especially when a child is young, is obviously going to be extremely harmful to that child. Maybe one could argue that (some) suicidal people can convince themselves that "their children would be better off if the parent were dead." But I think from the child's point of view that's just going to seem to be yet another aspect of the parent's selfishness.

aimai

Anonymous said...

Oh, should say that the incident involved people at some remove from my nuclear family. Didn't mean to leave the impression that I was the child or that one of my parents was the person in question.

aimai

Taryn Hart said...

Speaking of McMegan... did anyone else notice her obviously making up sources here: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/07/getting-specific-on-spending/242240/

It's in the last paragraph of the post. As an analogy to members of Congress who want spending cuts, but not in their own district, Megan talks about a very large number of east coast progressives she personally knows who are outraged when they discover proposed tax increases on the rich would also apply to them.

Megan's inventing sources here. The idea that progressives only support tax hikes because they're too stupid to know it applies to them is just red meat. I'm sure Megan's readers love this stuff. But Megan did not refer to progressives generally. She cited a very large number of specific east coast progressives she personally knows.

It's virtually impossible that Megan actually knows a very large number of east coast progressives who:

1) Made just enough income that the proposed tax hike applied to them (they can't make too much and have cracks in their ceiling and whatnot).

2) Made the erroneous assumption that the proposed tax hike didn't apply to them; and

3) Upon learning that the proposed tax hike applied to them, reacted with outrage.

I personally doubt even one or two people spontaneously reacted like a conservative caricature of a progressive. I doubt the cracks in the ceiling. I doubt the second-rate vacation to Nova Scotia. But Megan went even further, claiming she personally knows a "very large number" of east coast progressives who responded exactly how you would think they would respond if conservatives were making it up (which Megan was).

Lurking Canadian said...

I bet the outraged, rich progressives were sitting next to the grateful, poor man on the bus that time.

Taryn Hart said...

I can't believe you just said that! I was just emailing roy edroso about this and that post. For those of you who don't know, here's roy edroso calling our Megan's blatant invention of sources:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

ANTI-ASSIMILATIONISTS. Megan McArdle talks about gentrification, which she is currently performing as a new homeowner in "what is euphemistically known as a 'mixed' neighborhood" in DC. Perhaps to get her cracker fans interested, early in the piece she presents an exciting new variation on that rightwing voice-of-the-people schtick Ideologically Sympathetic Cab driver -- the Id Symp Bus Rider:

Yesterday, I rode the bus for the first time from the stop near my house, and ended up chatting with a lifelong neighborhood resident who has just moved to Arizona, and was back visiting family. We talked about the vagaries of the city bus system, and then after a pause, he said, "You know, you may have heard us talking about you people, how we don't want you here. A lot of people are saying you all are taking the city from us. Way I feel is, you don't own a city." He paused and looked around the admittedly somewhat seedy street corner. "Besides, look what we did with it. We had it for forty years, and look what we did with it!"

In my many years of transitional living, I've never had a conversation like that. But then I probably don't have McArdle's winning ways with the locals.

She's like that reporter on season 5 of the Wire! It's freaking me out!

Susan of Texas said...

Taryn Hart, you might be interested in this.

Taryn Hart said...

Unbelievable - still freaking me out.