Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Children Of A Corporate God


When Megan McArdle releases forth a torrent of words to cover up one of her many, many egregious* journalistic crimes and misdemeanors we always know that there was a trigger. She so notorious for lying, so often and in so many ways, shades and depths, that the mere presence of someone correcting her is not enough; she will only respond to a criticism that affects her image of herself as a brilliant elite thinker. The fog of illness made me miss it the first time but today I noticed that McArdle linked to a Wall Street Journal article discussing Kitchengate in her response to Mr. Levenson. The WSJ is one of the most important information sources of the social set she most worships and most wished to join--the financial elite of Wall Street.

Christopher Shea:

To what degree are technological progress and improvements in economic well-being slowing down? Both Tyler Cowen and Paul Krugman have pointed to the American kitchen in the course of arguing that economic change was far greater in the first half of the 20th century than since....Megan McArdle is having none of it[.]...

Who would have thought the kitchen would be such a flashpoint? Yet at this point, things were just simmering. They boiled over when Thomas Levenson, of Inverse Square, leapt in to rebut McArdle point by point, with a post featuring some excellent kitchen-related illustrations[.]

My goodness, how embarrassing. How utterly, thoroughly humiliating it must have been to know that the swell chaps you went to the Booth School with back in the day all witnessed your failure when they clicked open their WSJ bookmark while eating breakfast in their $90,000 kitchens or their corner offices. That your father saw the article, as well as his friends and co-workers. And how you felt just the tiniest frisson of fear that the life-long facade of elitism you fought so hard to attain and have worn like an exoskeleton ever since could actually crack and crumble to dust.

McArdle's entire career rests on her elite image. It is the source of her authority over the rabble and her toehold in the financial industry, which she would not otherwise have as a woman, a failure in the business world, and a non-academic. It is also the source of her self-esteem, which means she is compulsed to defend it.

During McArdle's defense motives are impugned, capitals are locked, accusations of shrillness are made, and many goalposts make a long, arduous trip so McArdle might stand before them, triumphant. The chance that she based her entire post on the illustrations in her 1950 Betty Crocker Cookbook is buried under statistics, odes to modern commerce, and boarding school invective. But McArdle's image is wounded, so her commenters gather around their queen bee, feed her ego, groom her, and protect her from invaders.

It's not about kitchens or the deficit, or even truth or lies. It's about who can get away with lying. That's worth a lot of money to a corporation and money means social status and all its trappings.

But only for as long as you can hold on to it.

*(I just love that word)


DocAmazing said...

she is compulsed to defend it

Not to be pedantic, but I think that would be "compelled".

Anonymous said...

It's amazing that McArdle can be wrong like this on kitchen utensils as she is on less unimportant stuff. Good on you for your persistence, Susan.

Susan of Texas said...

Doc Amazing, you're right but I like the word, imaginary though it may be. I'll call it artistic license.

Thanks, anon.

Mr. Wonderful said...

boarding school invective

I just love that term.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing that the verve of this post means you're back to full health. Congratulations on that as well as on the piercing insights. They made my morning !


fish said...

Perhaps you shouldn't mention piercing insights quite so soon after a passing kidney stone.

Clever Pseudonym said...

My eyes glazed over in her response to Levenson's most excellent post, so I've no idea how she defended herself, but this early sentence stood out and made me laugh:

"I am of course not a historian of kitchens."

1) No shit, Sherlock. Despite your pretentions, I doubt you know a butter knife from a spatula.

2) But! You spent ALL DAY researching!

What is it going to take for this incompetent moron to get fired from journalism?

Anonymous said...

Wow, the ultimate humiliation for McMeg - to be exposed as a blustering no-nothing in the pages of the holy WSJ. That had to hurt.

And of course, the crowning irony: M.C. Megan could lie about health care, war, the hollowing out of the economy, and the creation of a vast secret torture/surveillance state, and everything's fine, but say something stupid about kitchen appliances, and you get called out by name in the WSJ.

Downpuppy said...

And why does the WSJ take Tom's side?

Better pictures, natch.

Dan S. said...

"It's amazing that McArdle can be wrong like this on kitchen utensils as she is on less unimportant stuff."

Fractal wrongness!

Brad said...

Wow, McMegan must really have a stick up her arse concerning Krugman to put so much effort into embarrassing herself. Cowen and Krugman casually appeal to commonplace knowledge of the transition from iceboxes to refrigerators, buggies to automobiles, outhouses to flush toilets, and the like. Megan, always looking for an opportunity to miss the forest for the trees, sees the chance to use her deep understanding of kitchen status objects to play gotcha with people she clearly envies. After all, pots have gotten so much shinier in the past sixty years. Take that, Mr. Nobel Laureate! It's not so much the factual error--par for the course with McArdle--so much as the sheer childishness that shines through.

Anonymous said...

Brad, I know we don't go on about the topic, but she's claims her old moniker Jane Galt came about because she was trolling someone, not because she was an Objectivist.

Childishness is just how she operates. She'll post in a fit of pique, be wrong, double down and then post about how OTHER people have bias and that it affects what they write. Then she'll blithely ignore that it ever happened, and if she has to apologize, she'll trash liberal strawmen for being wrong also.

How embarrassing!

Anonymous said...

It's also odd how her blogging career has mimicked Ayn Rand's real life though.

Rand surrounded herself with acolytes that she would demand follow her like a religion instead of arguments. Then denying science about lung cancer and cigarettes being related and then dying of lung cancer alone. I think Johann Hari, among others, has written some good pieces about Rand, but what's sad is how Megan follows the model with her blog followers.

Anonymous said...

I like the word egregious as well but I am always keen to add a new word and I am now looking for any opportunity to use compulsed.

Some years ago a friend pointed out that simple words become complicated as people lose track of them. The house was burgled becomes The house was burglarized. I am a burglar becomes I am a burglarizationist.

So I am also looking for a chance to use the world compulsated, compulsationized and so on.