In some ways I am impressed by George Will. He has written an altogether enjoyable book about our national pastime. He keeps his discourse on the Buckley/Safire level as opposed to slogging around in the sewer, ankle-deep in human waste, like his fellow conservatives on Talk Radio. But most of all I am impressed by how thoroughly and for how long he has successfully perpetrated a masterful illusion, convincing the media and public that he is an intelligent person whose intellectual power gives weight to his opinions. As most of what he says is in fact quite retarded, he creates the illusion of brilliance with diction, demeanor, vocabulary, posture, and tie selection.


Sure, he's far brighter than the Glenn Becks of the world, but this fact does not place him in select company. Like Formula One is the highbrow NASCAR and the Council of Conservative Citizens is the Klan for the cocktail party set, Will is little more than Sean Hannity after a year or two in finishing school. His writing is a proofread, erudite version of the same old horseshit delivered by everyone else in his neck of the political woods. Will is a way for bourgeois Republicans – bankers, lawyers, etc. – to get their fix without surrendering their pride and feelings of intellectual superiority. Let's be honest: well-educated people have to feel ashamed of themselves reading Pajamas or listening to Michael Savage. Listening to Will makes getting the GOP talking points feel like going to church or sitting in on a particularly interesting class at Georgetown. That's why he exists.

His fellow pundits treat him with incredible deference, no doubt because Mr. Will is a friendly and gracious person. His charm must be great, for it prevents anyone from disagreeing with him. Ever. Until Paul Krugman came along. Now that he's regularly matched up against Krugman he no longer shares the camera solely with people who will unquestioningly swallow anything delivered in a condescending baritone and with politely folded hands. Krugman makes him look, well, like a pundit. Krugman doles out facts while Will, for all his polish, is exposed as just another guy on TV saying what he thinks and acting like his opinion is fact. Will's only accomplishment is spewing made-up crap about global warming and slamming "the unions" without making listeners feel like they are being lectured by their drunken Uncle Larry after being cornered at Thanksgiving. That's more than we can say about the rest of the GOP punditry, but…

Infomercial scam artists learned many years ago that a lot of mouthbreathers will believe anything as long as it comes from a man in a white lab coat. How could a man who looks like a doctor be lying? George must have been taking notes. He has made a 30-year career out of repeating things other, dumber pundits say in a way that doesn't insult upper middle class intelligence – provided one focuses solely on the delivery and disregards the substance.

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  1. vghoul Says:

    I remember never quite understanding why everyone thought George Will was so "intelligent," and then subsequently realizing it really does owe more to his wearing an Intelligent Persona than actually being possessed of an enormous amount of mental dexterity. So, thank you; I'm glad it's not just me.

  2. Nate Says:

    When asked for his opinion on George Will, Kurt Vonnegut called him an "owlish nitwit".

  3. You can call me, 'Sir' Says:

    I watch This Week hosted by George Snuffleupagus every Sunday and, while I've always been a fan of George Will (as much as one can be a 'fan' of political pundits), I have genuinely enjoyed watching him squirm while his opinions are picked apart by other people on the panel, most notably Krugman. Hell, even Donna Brazile occasionally tells him to talk to the hand.

  4. pmayo Says:

    We can now add self-plagiarist to Will's list of accolades: http://scienceblogs.com/intersection/2009/02/george_will_he_isnt_even_phoni.php

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