Thursday, October 25, 2007

Can I be your gastroenterologist? UPDATED

At a time when the best-known political figures on the left and right are the wife and son, respectively, of the two previous U.S. presidents, it is hard to see why the passing of the reins over at Commentary is causing any kind of stir. Sure, Podhoretz II is a journalist "in his own right," but so are a gazillion other people. It is for whatever reason good form for nepotism's beneficiaries to deny it as a factor, but is anyone going to claim that the second Podhoretz was selected from the pool of all journalists interested in editing that magazine? On some level he probably does know more about Commentary than any reader could, or at least things they would not know. Isn't a lifetime's worth of exposure to intellectuals a qualification of its own? This is a different question than whether it should be considered a qualification.

Nepotism, glamorous as it sounds, is also what gets many people service-sector or manual-labor-related jobs, as teens or later on. If not nepotism, connections. If we accept such unfairness throughout the rest of the economy, at what level do we expect things to suddenly become fair? Professional schools help a bit--the child of a surgeon cannot operate on you without an M.D. of his own--but even then, among the qualified or qualified-ish, a choice must be made.

Sort of related, in the category of life's unfairness: Slate now has a woman-blog. By women, but about politics, not "women's issues." Why, in 2007, is this necessary? I could see if it were about issues women might be expected to have a personal stake in, but for mainstream political commentary?

UPDATE

The above mention of girl-blogging brings up the altogether pressing issue of why men can blog about sports (which are boring) and still be taken seriously, while one mention of shoes (which are fascinating to no end) defines a woman as silly.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sports are very important - If the political reporters were half as diligent as sports reporters, Bush never would have been able to get away with 90 percent of his pre war spiel

clementine said...

I strongly believe that you should be my gastro-enterologist -rather than Dr O. over at NYU Health.
That being said, there is an article about political dynasties in th New Yorker on the same topic : http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2007/10/29/071029taco_talk_hertzberg

Dan Drezner said...

I would never be so foolish as to suggest shoe-blogging is somehow more trivial than sports-blogging.

Phoebe said...

Good to hear it!

The problem is not the sports-blogging itself, but society, how posts are perceived.