Philip Responds

Brilliant and charming, as always.

The Discussion: 5 Comments

Brilliant? Not really. I’d say “selective”. ๐Ÿ˜‰

July 7, 2006 @ 5:52 am | Comment

Richard I know you hate bullshit as much as I do (even if you react to it in more calm tones than I do)
but whenever I see anyone described as “brilliant”, my bullshit metre goes into the red-alert zone.

“Brilliant” means (or ought to mean) something far more extraordinary than Cunningham’s ability (admittedly becoming rarer among today’s Americans) to construct grammatically correct sentences with proper diction. (Never mind all the mendacity in those sentences.) That this should pass for “brilliance”, shows you just how far we have sunk.

“Brilliant” journalistic writing is what George Orwell did. I can’t even think about Orwell and Cunningham at the same time without getting nauseous.

As for “charming”, that word always reminds me of Reinhard Heydrich.

July 7, 2006 @ 6:43 am | Comment

Ivan, I’m in a bind on this one. I have to say that I admire Philip – in the sense that I admire his ability to think on his feet, to maintain a seamless performance, to answer questions in a relaxed and, yes, charming manner. I absolutely know that if I met him at a cocktail party, I would want to be his friend. I like watching him on TV. But then this other side of me, the side that cries when it hears about poor people thrown on the street, the side of me that gets furious when Bush sneers at the Constitution – that side takes offense at Philip’s refusal to look at China with the blunt honesty with which he looks at America. I cannot and will not compare this to Heydrich, because a few of my very closest friends in China do the exact thing Philip does, and I don’t think it’s due to any malevolence on their part. I actually think they are completely sincere. Some of these people have done extraordinary favors for me. They are real, flesh-and-blood good people, decent people, and yet they see the CCP as a good thing, as a friend. . While I believe with all my heart that they are wrong, I also can’t compare them to Nazis or Nazi sympathizers, as I truly do understand how someone could look at today’s China and conclude that the CCP has had a net positive effect (painful as it is for me to say that). I think that is incorrect, but I at least understand why my friends say this. So such absolutes as the Heydrich comparison seem too simplistic and drastic to me. What I’d really like to do is understand what makes Cunningham tick, to figure out why someone so incisive and knowledgeable could take the positions he does. I’d kind of like to debate him, or at least sit down and talk with him. Maybe he’d convince me. But his current strategy of referring to his detractors as “reactionaries” causes me to fear I’ll never have such an opportunity, as he seems to be more closed-minded about me than I am about him. Pity, that.

Sorry for the long convoluted late-night (for me) comment. G’nite all.

July 7, 2006 @ 8:57 am | Comment

Yo, Richard, slow down. Did I say Cunningham was like Heydrich?

No. The point is that “charming” is not a categorical virtue, and Heydrich is a quintessential illustration of why.

July 7, 2006 @ 9:06 am | Comment

Fair enough, but bringing in RH’s name still stirkes me as extreme…

July 7, 2006 @ 9:15 am | Comment

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