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Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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30 Responses

  1. Good to see he hasn’t given up the Trig-Truther watch.Report

  2. Avatar Keljeck says:

    Since I started following Sullivan I felt like his biggest weakness is that he overloads his blog with too many topics to really think through them. Why oh why does he attempt to solve this problem when digesting PALIN!? It’s like he thinks this is Ancient Rome, and he’s valiantly blogging away against Julius Caesar.Report

  3. What a poseur, Sullivan. Everything he wrote in that is 100% projection of his own personality on Palin. It is Sullivan who is deeply disturbed; it is Sullivan who is the delusional fantasist. The sentence that explains it all:

    “And it is so complicated we simply cannot focus on anything else.”

    Riiiiiiiiight. MUST be the complicated-ness . . . His inability to focus on anything else has nothing whatsoever to do with him.

    And, please: his one “commitment” is and has always been not getting anything right, but merely the webstats so he can justify his paycheck.Report

  4. Avatar Joe Carter says:

    Why does anyone take Sullivan seriously anymore?Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain says:

      Well – whatever else you may think of him, his blog is still a tremendous resource.Report

      • Avatar Joe Carter says:

        I think most of us bloggers could do what Sullivan does if we had several Atlantic-quality interns at our disposal.Report

        • Avatar Cascadian says:

          Well, you had C11 which certainly has helped the blogosphere in the long run, including this site. I’m not sure if I ever found your personal writings as entertaining, thought provoking, or informative as I usually find Sully.Report

          • Avatar Joe Carter says:

            I would certainly never put myself up as an exemplar of good writing. But I think think there are scores more people better than Sullivan.

            I also think that Sullivan is a lot like our President. Obama is often praised as a great orator—mainly by people who haven’t really paid much attention to his actual speeches. Sullivan is praised for being a great blogger without much evidence to support the contention. Aside from his silly claims to being a conservative, he’s mainly just providing the same arguments that better liberal bloggers provide.

            I’d be interested, though, in seeing which posts people point out as examples of his great work.Report

              • Avatar Joe Carter says:

                When I first read that post (after it had been talked about on a dozen other blogs) I thought, “Pretty good stuff.” But something struck me as off about it. Later I realized because he had done much the same thing that Buchanan had done, using the same condescending framework. Pat praised the “whiteness” of America while Sully praised the “blackness.” But both are racialist nonsense.

                Perhaps its because I come from the South, where the culture of black and white is so intertwined that they can’t be separated, but I fully reject the notion that America can be “white” or “black” or any other culture. And that is part of Sully’s problem: While he can be a sharp writer, he’s a rather dull thinker.

                In fairness, this fault doesn’t lie just with Sullivan. Look at all of the people (almost all of whom are white folks) who praise The Wire—The Greatest Show in the History of the Universe!!!—because they think it says something profound about black culture. In truth, The Wire is one of the whitest show’s about black people ever made. Not that it was a bad series—I think it was rather great. But it was a white person’s version of what crime is like in a predominantly black city.Report

              • Avatar Joe Carter says:

                Oops. I meant any other “color” not “any other culture.”Report

            • Avatar Cascadian says:

              I must admit that I don’t look to Sullivan for insight. He’s pretty much a news portal for me. The blogs on my daily round are Sullivan, RCP, this site and sometimes Douglas Todds, though he usually doesn’t produce enough for a daily read. Which sites do a better job?

              Claiming that Sullivan isn’t conservative is silly. He might not be your brand but neither am I.Report

              • Avatar Joe Carter says:

                Claiming that Sullivan isn’t conservative is silly. He might not be your brand but neither am I.

                I realize that is has become popular to assume that any counter-intuitive claim is automatically true (call it the “Slate Effect”) but if we are to take words seriously, then it is absolutely ridiculous to call Sullivan “conservative.” At best he is a confused liberaltarian. He has no respect for any tradition that impinges on his perceived right to do whatever the hell he wants. And he has no intellectual connection to any conservative theory (including Oakeshott).

                The fact that he is one of Obama’s greatest apologist should have put an end to the “Sully is conservative” nonsense. Obama is unapologetically liberal, has a liberal political agenda, and has the support of liberals (except when he isn’t liberal enough). Outside of his personal life, there is nothing “conservative” about Obama. Yet Sullivan loves him (just as he did John Kerry).

                What would Sullivan have to do before people finally admitted that he’s a liberal who refuses to come out of the closet?Report

              • Avatar Cascadian says:

                Take words seriously? Is this Wittgenstein? There is no singular color that is “conservative”. I believe he comes out of the British Tory tradition. I come from a NW conservative perspective (think Tom McCall). I suspect both are very different from yours. To the extent that you support foreign intervention, open markets, increased growth, or involving religion with politics, you wouldn’t qualify as a NW conservative. What of it? There are many traditions (and not all American) that qualify as conservative. Trying to define it down to your own flavor is silly and counterproductive.

                Obama is plenty liberal economically. He’s completely too conservative socially.Report

              • Avatar Gherald L says:

                > [Obama is] completely too conservative socially.

                Ehm, please elucidate.Report

        • Avatar Will says:

          Disagree emphatically. I think he’s been pretty essential on torture, Iran and gay marriage. I also think that when he’s not ranting on about Trig’s parentage, he writes as well or better than just about anyone else on the Internet.Report

          • Avatar Joe Carter says:

            If “essential” means he writes about those topics, than I would agree. If essental means he’s provided some sort of thoughtful discourse that sets him apart from other people who are writing about the same topics, then I disagree.

            I also think he should be judged by his entire body of work. The Trig Truther stuff and his posts supporting the war can not be discounted. They are part of Sullivan’s work, for better or worse. It amazes me how he is let off the hook every time he “changes his mind.”

            There is also no other writer I know of who is given a pass on the embarrassing stuff he’s written in the past. The Trig stuff alone should have been enough to get him hounded out of civil circles. The Atlantic has embarrassed themselves by keeping him on. They sold out their reputation for a steady stream of pageviews.Report

            • Really?

              You mean the entire NRO blogroll isn’t given a pass for their consistently embarassing and ridiculous crap they spout? People seem to still regard Heritage and AEI as credible thinktanks despite their constant tendency to get things wrong. They get passes because they’re “think tanks”.

              Heck, even if you look within the Atlantic’s blogroll you have…

              Jeffrey Goldberg…Megan McArdle….Marc Ambinder…all of whom have said incredibly embarassing and stupid things and rarely if ever get called on them. Goldberg by screaming “anti-semite!” everytime someone does, McArdle because she’s a “libertarian” ecnomics blogger and Ambinder because he’s a horse-race blogger.

              The only ones on that blogroll that are consistently worth reading are Coates and Fallows.Report

              • Avatar Katherine says:

                The only ones on that blogroll that are consistently worth reading are Coates and Fallows.

                With you. Ambinder in particular strikes me as just a parrot for anyone in Washington who contacts him. Zero critical analysis. And don’t even get me started on Goldberg.Report

            • Avatar Will says:

              I’m willing to give bloggers a bit more leeway because the medium basically depends on stream of consciousness posting that doesn’t easily lend itself to editing or self-censorship. So yes, Sullivan is responsible for some truly awful posts. But he also writes some incredibly compelling stuff on a wide range of subjects, not to mention all the truly excellent blogs and authors he’s plucked from obscurity. I’m all for judging his body of work holistically, but Trig Trutherism shouldn’t erase or discount the excellent stuff he’s produced elsewhere.

              In the interest of full disclosure, I suppose I should say that the League really isn’t a neutral observer in this discussion because Sullivan has driven a lot of traffic our way. But it’s safe to say we were all fans long before we launched this website.Report

              • Avatar Joe Carter says:

                . . . stream of consciousness posting that doesn’t easily lend itself to editing or self-censorship.

                C’mon now, Will. You should at least hold Sullivan to the same standard that you hold yourself too. I’ve read your stuff since this blog started, and while I don’t always agree, you can tell that you think before you write. I don’t give people a pass in real-life for saying racist or hateful thing because it is “stream of conscious” ramblings. How much less should we accept such behavior from someone who knows that he has a huge audience?Report

              • Avatar Joe Carter says:

                I forgot to include this in my last comment. . .

                Another thing that bugs me is Sullivan gets a pass because he drives a lot of traffic (I’m guilty too since we did the same thing at C11). If this was just some regular guy he’d thrashed for the stupid things he says. But because people fear that the traffic will dry up if they speak out against him too forcefully, they hold their tongues.Report

              • Avatar Will says:

                Flattery will get you nowhere, Carter (although that is a very generous thing to say). That said, I really believe that all bloggers are – to some degree or another – spewing stuff out there with a lot less oversight than traditional journalists. In this respect, I am extremely lucky to contribute to a group blog with a bunch of prolific and thoughtful writers who edit my stuff and take the pressure off me to produce a new post every minute. The demands of a professional, one-man operation are simply different than my online hobby.

                As for Sullivan’s traffic (and I agree that it’s a real concern), I credit him for airing criticism of the blog in a very forthright manner. I don’t believe he’s ever held anyone hostage to his linking largess.Report

    • Avatar Will says:

      My advice: filter out all the stuff related to Sarah Palin and go from there.Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I heard a rumor that Trig didn’t have trisomy-21 at all but received surgery on his eyes to make it *LOOK* like he did.

    Even if this rumor isn’t true, doesn’t it lead to a deeper truth?Report

  6. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    I think the topper for me (and I agree he remains an imortant resource, and most of his instincts and analysis remains sound) is his casual adoption now at this late date of the term “neo-Imperialism” with respect to Afghanistan. I don’t know if he has used it about Iraq, but I haven’t seen it. That gobsmacks me.Report

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