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September 23, 2007


Well, you're to be admired for your consistency. Previously you lamented that a reference to Senator Obama and bongs would trigger ugly racial stereotypes. Now you say the same thing about a criticism about intellectual laziness.

But perhaps most endearing is your assumption that being "academic" is somehow inconsistent with being intellectually lazy. I reckon that after you attend a few faculty meetings, read drafts of some of your colleagues' papers and hear them expound in an informal setting, you may find that assumption sorely challenged.

Couldn't disagree with you more, Rob.

First, "intellectually lazy" and "drug-using" are two unfortunate stereotypes of African-Americans. I don't really see Brendan stretching his critique there.

Second, while I couldn't agree with you more that actual academics can be as intellectually lazy as anyone, Brendan's talking about images here, and Obama's image is, I agree, if anything too brainy, too Adlai Stevenson. The charge of Obama being intellectually lazy would fit better, and be more likely to stick, to an Eisenhower, a Reagan, or, if it's an off year, a Fred Thompson.

Of course, somehow his opponents managed to tar Bill Clinton with the contradictory labels of "redneck" and "elitist" -- one of the country's foremost hillbilly elitists, no doubt. So who knows?

His first book puts this myth to rest pretty convincingly.

In 1988, Jesse Jackson won eleven primaries.

How does a comment like that from a "White House official" rate anonymity?!

After your update, I guess I'm a little unclear what your problem is with the "intellectually lazy" comment. Is it that (1) the charge has no basis and is simply an attempt to appeal to ugly stereotypes, or (2) the charge might have some basis but still shouldn't be made because it might be seen as reinforcing ugly stereotypes, or (3) the charge might have some basis but shouldn't be made because Bush himself is intellectually lazy?

After your original post, I thought your position was (1), but after the update it seems more like (3) and/or possibly (2). This may seem like more analysis than your comment deserves, but I don't want to be accused of being intellectually lazy.

I did not think the White House was allowed to use the word intellectual? :)

The "intellectually lazy" comment appears in book by Bill Sammon, titled "The Evangelical President". This work is published by Regnery Publishing.

I so rarely bring up the cliche "never judge a book by its cover" except in this case. Regnery is the stench-filled backwater of the publishing business. It puts ink on paper for the sole service of allowing half-wits with any form of 'conservative' credential the claim of being a published author.

Regnery's entire mission is to discredit the notion of conversation by allowing sheer partisan hacks to claim a portion of the podium by the claim of having written something.

If ever you visit a home that has a single Regnery-published book on the bookshelf, your best option is to take the wife and kids and go home immediately. Otherwise, be well prepared to discuss sports. Never allow yourself to talk 'politics' with these buffoons, as you will quickly exhaust your reserves of patience and kindness.

In the case of Regnery, the definition of "intellectually lazy" is Ben Domenech.

Commenter David Edwards says he dislikes the cliche "never judge a book by its cover".

He goes on to advise "Always judge a book by its publisher".

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