Thursday, March 09, 2006

The International Women's Day Is Over

And it is easy to spot that this is true. For example, the New Republic has a Tierney-bashing article which never states that he hates women. Which he does. Any article bashing John Tierney that doesn't mention how every third article he writes for the New York Times is about the inevitable demise of the uppity woman is blind to the existence of women in this world.

Here is what I mean:

It's easy to see how The New York Times settled on John Tierney to replace longtime columnist William Safire last winter. Tierney is a veteran Timesman known for his wit and intellect. Many colleagues believed his libertarian streak would produce a quirky, iconoclastic take on the news. "He thinks outside the box, has a very distinct worldview, and I think he'll be a lot of fun," Times Editorial Page Editor Gail Collins told The Washington Post. Collins seemed to suggest that, in a time of intense partisanship, Tierney would be interesting because he doesn't fit comfortably into either party.

But, if Tierney's partisan sympathies have been fluid, his libertarian ideology has made him utterly predictable. Already, he has tallied seven columns lamenting the war on drugs, five bashing big government energy plans, and four more promoting vouchers. Other columns have savaged Amtrak and federalized airport security. No government initiative, however marginal, is safe from Tierney's withering gaze. (Here I submit to you all four Tierney columns about privatizing space exploration.) And so, while it can take years for the punishing, twice-weekly schedule to render most Times columnists unreadable, Tierney has managed the feat in a matter of months.


Of course, a lot of columnists have prominent worldviews. What distinguishes Tierney from his colleagues--including engaging libertarians like Dave Barry and Slate's Jack Shafer--is that his worldview orders almost every thought, even the apolitical ones. Why did Lawrence Summers encounter trouble at Harvard? Because Harvard's faculty is an entrenched bureaucracy insulated from market forces. How should men think of marriage? As a job: "Devote as much energy to knowing your wife as you would to an important business client."

The writer of this piece, one Noam Scheiber, has a worldview which allows him to criticize Tierney without ever seeing his misogyny. But then Scheiber also thinks that David Brooks, also of the wingnut stable at New York Times, is a shrewd observer of human nature. Yes, don't giggle. That's what he wrote. So.