FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Dr. Alterman, I Presume

by MARK HAND

 

There he goes again. Chomsky, Cockburn and Vidal. They’re the axis of evil of the Left, so says The Nation columnist and Stanford University PhD candidate in history Eric Alterman.

Writing in the current issue of The Nation (Dec. 9, 2002), Alterman says, “If Alexander Cockburn, Noam Chomsky or Gore Vidal has ever had anything balanced or nuanced to say about America’s role in the world, I’ve missed it. … Perhaps their reflexive anti-Western views represent majority opinion among the 2.7 percent of voters who pulled the lever for Ralph Nader. I don’t know. But they enjoy no discernible resonance in policy debates or electoral contests.”

How does Alterman define balanced? Is it the oh-so courageous columnist who gives the U.S. government a free pass on running roughshod around the world but shows his liberal bona fides by going out on the proverbial political limb and pooh-poohing the Republicans’ plot to stack the Supreme Court with anti-choice justices?

Despite the absurdity of his prose, I do get some pleasure from reading Alterman’s Nation columns. It’s the same kind of pleasure I get from watching that moment in one of those teenybopper coming-of-age flicks when the female antagonist stomps in bratty disgust when her friends go turncoat by allying with the underdog ugly duckling who the assembled 16-year-olds finally recognize for the beauty of her mind and wit. I hear Alterman’s feet stomping in almost all of his columns and it’s typically in a rage against someone of the Left who’s left the reservation.

Alterman’s copy often reads like someone with an inferiority complex. He just can’t stomach his lack of star standing on the Left after all his years of ascending the liberal establishment’s ladder. That’s why he’s pursuing a PhD in history at Stanford. When he finally is handed that diploma, no one will be allowed to disrespect the newly minted doctor because he will be capable of waving his quackish wand to banish them “so deep into the anonymous masses” for crossing the line of acceptable Leftist discourse.

Despite his comment to the contrary, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Alterman jump on the reformed liberal Gore’s bandwagon for the 2004 presidential race. Indeed, just try to feel Alterman’s unrequited love for Vidal’s cousin when you read this passage from his Oct. 21, 2002 column in The Nation:

“Personally, I never really liked Gore, and he’s not my choice for 2004. But he sure galvanized Tom Daschle and other Democrats to face up to a frightening juggernaut for war they would have preferred to duck for the sake of re-election. Naderites take note. It was not “smart” in the Washington sense. It was not strategic. But damn it, it was brave. The victim of a stolen presidency demonstrated why democracy matters. The more media chicken hawks sink their tiny beaks into his ass, the more–just this once–I admire his courage.”

MARK HAND is editor of PressAction.com. He can be reached at mark@pressaction.com.

 

More articles by:

Mark Hand has reported on the energy industry for more than 25 years. He can be found on Twitter @MarkFHand.

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
July 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Cesar Chelala
Dr. Schweitzer’s Lost Message
Masturah Alatas
Becoming Italian
Charles R. Larson
Review: James Q. Whitman’s “Hitler’s American Model”
July 20, 2017
Sebastian Friedrich – Gabriel Kuhn
A New Class Politics
Patrick Cockburn
The Massacre of Mosul: More Than 40,000 Civilians Feared Dead
Paul Street
The Abandonment: Reflections on James Foreman’s “Locking Up Our Own”
Kim Codella
A Practical Education
Frank Scott
America’s Trump, Not Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Clancy Sigal Goes Away
Don Monkerud
The Real Treason in DC: Turning Our Lives Over to Corporations
Brian Dew – Dean Baker
Are Amazon’s Shareholders Suckers?
Ralph Nader
Detecting What Unravels Our Society – Bottom-up and Top-down
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Covering Islam, Post-Jack Shaheen
Binoy Kampmark
Uhlmann’s Trump Problem
Patrick Walker
In Defense of Caitlin Johnstone
Barry Lando
Those Secret Putin-Trump Talks
Sean Marquis
Thank You, Donald Trump
July 19, 2017
Adam Ziemkowski and Rebekah Liebermann
How Seattle Voted to Tax the Rich
Patrick Cockburn
Why ISIS Fighters are Being Thrown Off Buildings in Mosul
John W. Whitehead
Zombies R Us: the Walking Dead of the American Police State
Mateo Pimentel
Net Neutrality’s Missing Persons
Adil E. Shamoo - Bonnie Bricker
Yemen Policy is Creating More Terrorists
L. Ali Khan
U.S. Misreads Pakistan’s Antifragility
David Macaray
Fear and Trembling in the Workplace
Brian Trautman, Gerry Condon and Samantha Ferguson
Veterans Call on U.S. to Sign Nuclear Ban Treaty
Binoy Kampmark
Militarising Civilian Life: Australia, Policing and Terrorism
Ricardo Vaz
Venezuelan Opposition “Consultation”: Playing Alone and Losing
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s Cold-Hearted Agenda is Immoral
Raul Castro
We will Continue to Advance Along the Path Freely Chosen by Our People
July 18, 2017
James Bovard
Obama’s AWOL Anti-War Protesters
Gary Leupp
CNN: “Russia is an Adversary, Ukraine is Not.”
Ryan Shah
Beware the Radical Center
John Carroll Md
Cold Hands Don’t Need Narcotics
Derrick Jensen
Endangered Species Don’t Need an Ark – They Need a Living Planet!
Kenneth Surin
Brief Impressions of the Canadian Conjucture
Arturo Lopez-Levy
Trump’s Cuba Restrictions: a Detour, Not the Future
Russell Mokhiber
State Street Bentley University Business Ethics and Corporate Crime
Laura Finley
Being Too Much
Robert J. Gould
What is Our Experience of our Flawed Democracy?
Taju Tijani
The Burden of Indivisible Nigeria
Guillaume Pitron
China Now Leads in Renewables
Ted Rall
How I Learned Courts are Off-Limits to the 99 Percent
Binoy Kampmark
Militarising Civilian Life: Australia, Policing and Terrorism
July 17, 2017
Gregory Wilpert
Time for the “International Left” to Take a Stand on Venezuela
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Embrace of the Saudi Crown Prince, and a Qatar Nightmare Scenario
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail