What makes a Frank Rich column so Frank Rich-like?

If you've been wondering about the unique magic of a Frank Rich column, Mark Goldblatt sums it up for you, as part of a larger, tongue-in-cheek article about what makes liberals tick:

To consider the question of what makes a liberal a liberal, I’ll need to slide on my special soul-searching goggles and peer deeply into the mental lives of people with whom I disagree, to indulge in amateur psychologizing, to treat wild supposition as fact, to disregard evidentiary standards and analytical decency—in other words, I’ll need to write a Frank Rich column. This is no easy task. Maybe if I were a film critic peter-principled into the realm of political discourse, I’d be more comfortable with foreshortening the argumentative process to a series of thumbs-up/thumbs-down rhetorical moments; instead, I’ve developed the inconvenient habit of substantiating what I say, of grounding inference in specific observation, of keeping broad generalizations to a minimum.

That's pretty much sums up Rich's writing.  I was almost completely ready to laugh at the fact that he's a "film critic peter-principled in the realm of political discourse" until I remembered that most of us bloggers are that too (not film critics, iI mean, but certainly not people with political and public service careers behind us).  However, I guess the distinction is that we're not paid a huge salary and advertised by the world's most powerful newspaper as brilliant political analysts.  Again, it goes back to my rant about the newspapers' self-presentation:  they pretend that their reporters are both qualified and objective.  They'd do much better, and significantly enhance their credibility, if they'd admit their, and their reporters', own biases.

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  • JJ

    One of the things I’ve always wondered – how the hell did this fairly mediocre theater critic morph into a political voice anybody outside of his own family takes seriously? His immediate family has to listen to him of course, but on what basis does anyone else?
    I’m from New York, I remember when a bad review by Frank Rich guaranteed box-office success. If he said it was terrible and nobody should see it, everybody did and it inevitably became a hit.
    How did constantly being wrong about what constituted good entertainment qualify him as a pundit?

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    What a coincidence, I also wrote a comment on neo neo con’s site about what makes liberals and conservatives tick. Not fundamental motivations, but simply an analysis of behavior.

    You can read it here. I prefered to take a more, introspective, scientific. and analysis based perspective of liberals and conservatives. I began with, “what makes conservatives conservatives, and what makes liberals liberals”.


  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    Once I know the true nature of an object (or one of its true facets), then I can begin to understand it. Okay, too much Sun Tzu, and I only thought of that after I hit sub.

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