Political bloggers Jerome Armstrong and Markon Soulitsas Zuniga (of MyDD and DailyKos, respectively) have written a book, Crashing the Gate, designed to badger ineffective and discouraged Democrats to find strength in unity before the next election. These two internet-savvy activist/entrepeneurs did a great job of rallying popular opinion during the last Presidential election, and they run tight, highly focused online political/journalistic organizations. But maybe Peter Beinart doesn’t think as highly of them as I do, because his review of their book in today’s New York Times Book Review adopts a condescending tone.
Beinart seems sympathetic to the politics expressed in this book, but he doesn’t like the authors’ uppity tone. He corrects their historical references like a dull schoolteacher, and stretches one particular thin metaphor way too far, insisting that in calling for a strong unity candidate Armstrong and Zuniga are leading us towards a liberal version of Barry Goldwater. It’s a weak objection, but Beinart milks it for all it’s worth. Beinart is an editor at large at the old-school liberal rag the New Republic, and perhaps he is not aware that DailyKos and MyDD are already more relevant to electoral politics than his tired magazine.
There’s some good writing in today’s Book Review. Joyce Carol Oates waxes purple — and quite engagingly — over Antonya Nelson’s book of short stories, Some Fun, and Brad Leithauser waxes purple over a new translation and career retrospective, the Collected Poems of C. P. Cavafy.
As is often the case, other sections of the Sunday Times equal the Book Review for literary content. Arts and Leisure gives us good pieces on playwrights David Hare and Samuel Beckett, and the Magazine ends with a piece by novelist Catherine Texier, who has apparently been traipsing around Russia with a new boy-toy. It’s good to see she’s bounced back from her breakup.