Speak for Yourself

SPEAK FOR YOURSELF….Responding to my suggestion earlier today that the American public increasingly opposes the Iraq war regardless of how well it’s going, Tobin Harshaw of the Opinionator says:

It’s a good point, but I suspect some will feel Mr. Drum shows a bit too much pleasure in making it.

Not only is this baseless (read the post and judge for yourself), it’s craven. Even worse, it’s bad writing. Roy Edroso explained why a few months ago when he contrasted the different ways Christopher Hitchens and Rod Dreher have written about their reactions to 9/11:

One of the things I still admire about Hitchens’ writing is that I believe him: not his belligerent analyses, but his portrayal of his own thoughts and feelings. He identifies clearly the personal obsessions that informed his strange reaction to the horrible event — the multicultural versus the monochrome. He puts responsibility for his feelings on himself, and dares the reader to find him insane, because he doesn’t care what the reader thinks. Hitchens seeks not to beg his reader’s attention and understanding, but to command it.

Dreher has none of this. To speak in the first place of “the feeling all, or nearly all, of us had on 9/11” is a glaring sign that even in confessional mode, Dreher thinks in groupthink, and his announcement that our group feeling was “one of ultimate meaning returned to the world” shows that he can’t even get groupthink right. “It couldn’t last, but it was — I have to confess — a great feeling… And we were clear that Everything Mattered.” Even if you weren’t there, you’d have to doubt this, it’s so phony. The problem is that Dreher can’t take ownership of his own strange thoughts — he has to project them on all of us. I think in the back of his mind he knew he was saying something awful, and so sought to offload responsibility for them.

If you can’t take responsibility for what you’re saying, you might as well shut up.

I’ve been meaning to link to that post of Roy’s ever since I first read it. It’s a good writing lesson.