National Review Gives Up, Tries Magic


Barrett Brown

I am the founder of the distributed think-tank Project PM and a regular inactive to Vanity Fair and Skeptical Inquirer. My work has also appeared in The Onion, National Lampoon, New York Press, D Magazine, Skeptic, McSweeney's, American Atheist, and a couple of newspapers in the U.S. and Mexico as well as a few policy journals. I'm the author of two books and serve as a consultant to various political entities and private clients.

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40 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak says:

    Welcome. Nice post although mocking the NR is an easy target. Good job though, A skeptic: very cool.Report

  2. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    Just to clarify (because I might not be the only one was confused) the Joel Rosenberg described above is *not* Joel Rosenberg the SF writer.Report

  3. Avatar Robert Cheeks says:

    “Lone Gunman” !!! Man, I gotta order the cd.
    Really looking forward to another librul perspective here at the LOOG!
    Whas wrong with wizardry? Doesn’t Imam Barry do his economics with bones?Report

  4. Avatar Steve says:

    Spot on. Loved the bit about Condoleeza Rice. Her meticulously scripted bullshit will live in infamy.Report

  5. Avatar Sam M says:

    I guess this is piling on, but the notion that nobody ever thought of hijacking a plane and crashing it into important stuff doesn’t square with the fact that a guy hijacked a plane in 1974 and tried to crash it into the White House. Sean Penn made a crappy movie about it.

  6. Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

    Welcome to the League!Report

  7. Avatar Sam M says:

    Actually, I think the most disturbing thing about the NR article, now that I’ve read it, is this:

    “By large margins, American voters instinctively understand that the strengthening of the Iranian-Hezbollah alliance poses not only a grave and growing danger to Israel, but also to U.S. national security.”

    Instinctively? Is this the kind of thing for which you’re supposed to rely on “instinct”? Like it’s just kind of obvious, or ingrained? I am not an expert on the Middle East by any means, but it seems pretty clear that the historical, economic, cultural and religious forces at work require a great deal of ANALYSIS. Not a hunch or an inkling or a sixth sense. I mean, if instincts are all you need, why hire an “expert” to write about the Middle East at all? You could just hire the guy who drives the ice cream truck, or maybe a kindergarten teacher in Dubuque. In fact, wouldn’t that be better, as their instincts wouldn’t be all gummed up with facts and the like?

    How in the WORLD can you rely on instinct to know that the Iran-Hezbollah alliance is in fact growing? And then, beyond that, that it means a grave threat to Israel. (You could just as easily assume that it’s a sign of weakness, and therefore that Israel is more secure as ever.) And then, beyond that, that it’s obvious that a threat to Israel is necessarily a threat to the US.

    OK. Sure. I bet someone could make plausible arguments along these lines. But you’d have to make the arguments. Not rely on “instinct.”Report

    • Avatar Barrett Brown says:

      @Sam M, That’s become a pretty common assertion over the past decade, that the “American people” have direct and mystical access to knowledge that is ignored by the “elites.”Report

    • Avatar Steve T. says:

      @Sam M,
      Maybe he’s just a lousy writer. Try it like this: “IF it were shown that the Iranian-Hezbollah alliance was strengthening, THEN the American voters would instinctively understand the threat.”

      But that hasn’t been shown, at least not by this point in Rosenberg’s article. Yes, Ahmadinejad did go to Lebanon to make some trade deals with the Lebanese government. But that’s not quite the same as Hezbollah.Report

  8. Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

    Also, Barrett, now that I’ve had a chance to read it — great post. This was awesome.Report

  9. Avatar mickah says:

    It’s the “League of Ordinary Gentlemen”. Although the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is good too (anyone know when Century part 2 is coming out?)Report

  10. Erik, great choice to add Barrett as an Ordinary Gentleman. If this post is any indication, we can expect good things.

    I’m surprised no one has yet pointed out that Tom Clancy had a deranged airline pilot in Debt of Honor suicide-attack the Capitol, decapitating the U.S. Government and vaulting Clancy’s protagonist into the Oval Office. Debt of Honor was released in 1994. An even earlier example of this sort of thing would be Thomas Harris’ first big novel, Black Sunday. In 1975, Harris envisioned terrorists suicide-attacking the Super Bowl. That one got made into a mediocre movie, too.

    No one calls either Clancy or Harris “prophets” because they were clearly writing thrillers for profit. How is Rosenberg any different than these other two guys?Report

  11. Welcome Barrett! I’m trying to think of the last time I enjoyed reading a blog post this much. I’m coming up blank.Report

    • Avatar timb says:

      @Mark Thompson,

      I can. Any of Barrett’s many destructions of the dolts at Jeff Godlstein’s place or his absolute and total embarrassment of John Calhoun’s more racist son, Robert Stacy McCain. Truly a nice additionReport

  12. Avatar Fred Fnord says:

    > So, although Rosenberg does indeed predict the death of Arafat, whereas many
    > people less astute than himself had no doubt predicted that Arafat might live
    > forever

    I call BS. It’s pretty clear that although there are many people who are approximately as astute as he is, there are very few people who are less astute than he is.

    BTW, it turns out that this guy isn’t the same one who wrote a bunch of really hackneyed fantasy novels based on the premise of a bunch of D&D players being transposed into the fantasy universe that their characters were in. (In case you’re wondering, whacky hijinks do indeed ensue.) Pity, I was looking forward to seeing what he had to say about his earlier work.

    I wonder if we could piss him off by sending him lots of letters saying that his new books are fine but ‘…I found your Guardians of the Flame series to be much more realistic’ anyway.


    • Avatar Jon H says:

      @Fred Fnord

      It’d be even more fun to pick aspects of the other author’s fantasy novels and ask what they foretell for our foreign entanglements.

      And if he tries to correct you, ignore it and keep asking.Report

  13. Avatar Calla says:

    Love your stuff, Barrett! Keep it coming.Report

  14. Great post! I actually read The Last Jihad and it was OK for the first half but then it became clear why Rush recommended it.

    As for predictions, the guy sounds like he’s breaking his arm patting himself on the back. I co-authored a novel about a global warming conspiracy and several fictional things in it came true during the writing process. This was not a surprise, really, and does not make me smarter than anyone else. If you’re writing a book tied closely to current events and you DON’T end up predicting a few things? That’s what would be surprising.Report

  15. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    Welcome, Barrett! Truly – fantastic post.Report

  16. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I’ve been drinking ‘tussin all morning. Let me welcome you to the League as well.Report

  17. Avatar daveX99 says:

    Arafat? You’d get more points (and make some real Vegas money, I’d bet!) if you could predict the death of the unstoppable bull: Abe Vigoda.Report