Friday, May 10, 2002
Alas and alack, it appears as if James Bowman may have gone the way of those numerous Sun
staffers so eloquently eulogized below by my colleague Grady. Here it is, another Friday, and no Bowman. I can only surmise that whatever happened to the other Sun
nis has also happened to the Honorable Mr. Bowman. I think to myself, what could have happened? Was it one too many cigars
? No, not Bowman. Perhaps it was some sort of disease
? No, Bowman was a man of action
—it just don’t fit, him going out that way, all sickly….No, I remain hopeful that Bowman will be back, but either way, and as a great man
once said, you’re really not dead as long as we remember you.
Meanwhile, Jason Riley
and Nathan Lee
are back reviewing films from Iran
Foreign films, when a perfectly good mainstream Richard Gere
movie is opening. I thought the liberals were supposed to be the elitists.
Benjamin Smith reports this morning that the names of two dead women appeared on a political petition circulated on behalf of Ann-Margaret Carrozza
, a Democrat (predictably). We here at Like Father, Like Sun
can do Smith one better than his "Two Dead People 'Sign' a Political Petition in Queens" by pointing out several deceased arrayed prominently across the Sun
’s very pages and masthead. For all the post-launch hype, Seth Lipsky
and Ira Stoll appear all but inactive. They may not have expired in the strict physiological sense, though they come across as a pair of Redbone Coonhounds
sprawled out on the side of a dusty Mississippi back road - i.e., possibly alive but looking very much exanimate.
H.L. Mencken is, by any measure, dead. R. Emmett Tyrrell
, we are told, is alive, though he squanders that attributed vitality by aping and attempting to channel the late Mencken. An editorial flanking Tyrrell’s column describes the Arkansas Project’s prosecutor as writing in an "inimitable and laconic fashion." Anyone wanting to imitate that laconic fashion would, like Lewis Lapham, seek recourse to the genuine article and primary documents. Copying Tyrrell is a bit like manufacturing a knock-off Mr. PiBB
Christopher Garrity, vice president of advertising sales, is presumed dead. How else can we account for the lack of reply to our inquiries into securing an advertisement for the present site in the Sun
? Note to whomever claims survivorship over Garrity’s estate: Should those Disney people
perfect reanimation any time soon, please have the VP revived and instructed to contact us
regarding an ad placement.
Rachel Kovner, we fear, may have perished. No items on the area’s universities bearing her byline are in evidence in today’s edition, and we recall Kovner being essentially good for one a day. Bruce Kovner
, if this is in fact the case, please accept our heartfelt condolences on your daughter’s passing.
Thursday, May 09, 2002
Our astonishment over the Sun
’s amateurishness increases daily. Regular readers of this page are by now accustomed to our reproductions of – and glee-finding over – the paper’s repeated bumbling. We have however become concerned that our constituency, relying solely on our writings here, is developing a less-than-complete picture as to our character. We are not spiteful people who delight in others’ sufferings
. We are, in the main, thoughtful and possessed of large measures of benevolence, generosity, and the other Christian virtues. On identifying need, our natures compel us to appease it.
cannot at this point be generating any serious revenue, and we know there are many other places Michael Steinhardt
would rather spend his money
. We therefore moved to supplement the Sun
’s receipts by taking out an advertisement for this very website. After all, there are only so many of Ira Stoll’s aunts and uncles who could act similarly, and we’ve noticed that Street Blimps
cannot be relied upon to advertise regularly. Imagine then our surprise at having our repeated emails to the Sun
’s advertising department
For the moment, we’re chalking it up to overextension at the fledgling paper, and we stand with checkbook at the ready, waiting for Seth
and Ira to relieve us of the appropriate sum of cash. Gentlemen, we look forward to hearing from you.
Wednesday, May 08, 2002
A page-ten Comment announces the 20th birthday of The New Criterion
, the miserable final resting place for the balance of Jimmy Bowman
’s output not featured in the Sun
. The author of the piece spares no superlative in praising the review. On first reading it, we wondered why the Sun
would lend a significant percentage of its meager 12 pages to what is essentially a press release. The Sun
, judging by its failure to respond to our inquiries into buying advertising for the present website on its august pages, seems reluctant to lend publicity to its rivals. The Criterion
’s character, and the characters it shelters, of course provides the reason for the seeming double standard.
editor Hilton Kramer shares with the snooty Sun
a hostility to common people, common projects of betterment, and even common decency. Daniel Lazare famously weighed in on Kramer, charging the editor with treating modernity and high culture as “a weapon to employ against those would probe, analyze, or otherwise demystify power,” making him a brother in arms with the Sun
’s resident oenophiles, cat fanciers, and reactionary apologists
Kramer, like the Sun
’s editors, uses his publication as a vehicle for personal grievance
. His “obsession” with Susan Sontag, as Lazare noted, has left him “seeing feminists and deconstructionists under every bed and behind every tree.” His magazine also once solicited the work of Geoffrey Sampson
, an undistinguished academic who leveled numerous false charges against Noam Chomsky in both the Criterion
and the Biographical Companion to Modern Thought
before being comprehensively refuted and humiliated
by Alexander Cockburn in The Nation
Possibly the Sun
could retain the Criterion
’s Roger Kimball
. He’d certainly come in handy if the paper and its moneymen are ever called upon to account for themselves. Kimball penned a 1999 Wall Street Journal
bit titled ‘In Defense of Hypocrisy.’
While not as immediately useful, the Sun
would surely appreciate Kimball’s pathetic outing
one year later in which he promoted censorship.
Tuesday, May 07, 2002
A HEARTBREAKING WORK OF STAGGERING KUMMEL
With so much talent gathered under one roof (Stoll, Lipsky, “Need A Vowel” Mnookin), so many high-powered backers (Gilder, Steinhardt, Rachel Kovner’s dad
), Like Father, Like Sun has been understandably busy. But we have been guilty of serious neglect as far as the third of the Sun
’s masthead triumvirate is concerned.
William Kummel, Chief Operating Officer of One SL LLC, has been building up to this moment in the Sun
his whole life. Sure, his Sun biography
says he has been “involved with marketing, logistics and finances at major local newspapers, including Newsday, New York Newsday and The New York Times” but he now finds himself in charge of a minor, pretending to be local, publication-that-is-similar-to-a-newspaper. Has he been up to the challenge?
Hell, he’s been ready for over twenty years.
Let’s go back to May 26, 1981. The Christian Science Monitor
, the excellent paper from the cult that killed Jim Henson
, was apparently unable to find anything of interest to report from the previous day
and ran a special from young Master Kummel, then a senior at a little-known school for the underprivileged, the Philips Academy
. Thank god for school choice. In this article Master Kummel laid out his reflections, his hopes, his dreams….
“By the time I graduate in June my parents will have spent $21,325
on tuition,” the precocious youngster kicked off his memoir. “A boarding school is designed to be much more than a giant combine that is fed teenagers, money, and parental support and produces acceptance letters from Harvard, Yale, and Princeton…..Andover has been worth it. My decision is not based upon my admission into an Ivy League college. First, at this writing, I do not know where I am going next year, and second, I applied to only one of those elite institutions.” Which one was it? Wait, let me guess
But, “College placement is only a small -- even superficial -- element of my Andover experience
…I began to appreciate the curriculum at boarding school only when I enrolled in such unique courses as Caribbean Studies” which I guess would explain the Sun
’s recent hiring of Derek Walcott. “These courses expanded my perspective, exposing me to other religious, economic, and family structures, while at the same time I was learning to write for commercial publication.”
At Philips Kummel learned that life is not always easy. “Much of what I have gained is a result of the exceptional quality and level of instruction. I experienced the Cuban revolution from a young woman who as a little girl was one of the thousands of children listening to Castro bark
at them for hours under the hot sun.” Experiences such as this likely explain the high level of empathy for its fellow man that radiate daily from the Sun
Kummel goes on, “Although I have never taken great interest in participating in competitive sports
…. My particular interest lies with The Phillipian
, the student newspaper....Every week we have to put out an eight-page paper,” which coincidentally enough is about the same length as a week’s worth of the Sun
, “at times pulling 'all-nighters' to insure The Phillipian will go to press. Those long Wednesday and Thursday nights are not only full of writing [Kummel neglects to mention “rewriting of wire service copy,” “rerunning articles from the Daily Telegraph,” and “Rachel Kovner”] and editing [see Jason Riley, review of “Dogtown and Z-Boys,” “the most exuberant movie in town around”], but typesetting, laying out copy, writing headlines [“Oh Lucky Dog: Pooch Escapes Bolt of Lightning,” Sun front page, 4/30/02; “Bionic Rats Respond To Signals By Wire,” Sun
front page, 5/2/02; “Bloomberg’s Bacchanalia Becomes Louche,” Sun
front page, 5/6/02] arguing over editorials [“I say it should be about school choice!” “Well I think it should be about choosing schools!”], ‘Mac runs,’ and 3 a.m. drives back from The Harvard Crimson, as well as many laughs and tears in the process.” Its nice to realize that to this day, Kummel’s work continues to provide laughs and tears. After all this difficult work, though, Young Master Kummel lets us know that “every Friday morning we open our boxes, pull out the paper, open it up, and let a small smile slip through the fatigue.” Huzzah!
In closing, William “As a 9th grader, I drank regularly at school” Kummel notes, “I learned much about myself and people at Andover, especially the responsibility of an individual to the community…. I came to the school with a self-centered, uninspired attitude, and I believe that I will leave a person who is not only more confident in his abilities but a little more concerned about others.” His current endeavor should paraphrase his words as its motto: “The Sun: Little … Concerned About Others.”
Be it resolved: the gay-baiting and John Demjanjuk-defending Pat Buchanan, the opportunistic flake Lenora Fulani, and her Laroucheite mentor Fred Newman are all highly disreputable people. We take no exception to the Sun
’s shaming of the latter two in today’s edition, though what follows – and follows from – the paper’s call to “moral clarity” is itself somewhat shameful. Michael Bloomberg and George Pataki have been courting Fulani with the aim of winning the support of her Independence Party, according to the Sun
. Present with Fulani for at least one of those meetings was Newman, and the paper repeats that man’s unpardonable designation of Jews as the “stormtroopers of decadent capitalism” in an editorial that tries to rally the capitalists against the two Republican jobholders who have dirtied themselves through contact with the Independence Party’s retrograde protectionists. In its concluding paragraph, the Sun
tells us attorney general Elliot Spitzer, present with Fulani at an Independence Party fundraiser, seems “possessed of the notion that the stormtroopers of decadent capitalism are Wall Street investment analysts.” We here at Like Father, Like Sun
have our own pet choices when called on to put forward the identities of the true stormtroopers
of decadent capitalism
, and we find the advice of Henry Blodget
downright sane compared to that apparently given direct attention by certain others
. This, though, is beside the point. At base, the editorial can be read as the Sun
providing itself an ultimately unearned pat on the back for breaking the story about the pursuit of Fulani and the votes that come with her in yesterday’s edition. Didn’t the Daily News
essentially break that story a year ago
? For shame, Ira and Seth. $20 million buys remarkably little in the way of a news gathering operation these days.
Monday, May 06, 2002
Reading Edward Leslie’s Desperate Journeys, Abandoned Souls
some months back, I was particularly taken by Leslie's account of castaways rescued on their imminent expiration from dehydration. Several such persons then drank immoderately, shocking their constitutions and ironically bringing death by excessive water. I recalled this phenomenon while reading Zwanzig Mnookin
’s treatment of “Bloomberg’s Bacchanalia,” the mayor’s post White House Correspondents Association dinner party. Barred use of The Synonym Finder
at his previous position
, Mnookin yields to thesaural overindulgence – with amusing results. His piece is remarkable in that, if one were to excerpt the big words (as well as all the instances of “I” and “me”), it could have run in any supermarket checkout magazine. The addition of the SAT words
lends a “certain fabulousness” that makes the story worthy of front page residence, I guess. It actually recalls Spy
magazine, though poorly written and devoid of the snide belittlement of the self-importants that Buy-a-Vowel seems all too eager to fawn over. The man who put in a stateside equivalent
of John Malkovich
's recent performance was reported elsewhere to have been in attendance, though we are only told about “quasi-celebrities” and the getup forced on the bartenders. Would it have been “louche” for Mnookin to have directed his fire at the patently ridiculous Ron Silver rather than the hired help?