I’ll be honest, the Nation is in the normal run of things not a publication I read very often, and that’s deliberate on my part. It goes back to too many years of being much too annoyed at the Dude’s pronunciamentos, although that’s a little unfair as he’s long since gone.
Likewise, I would normally not take much notice of a new book by Bernard-Henri L’Oréal, far and away the most aggravating of the Nouveaux Philosophes. (Glucksmann is probably just as offensive politically, but at least he doesn’t do that hair-flicking thing.) The news that BHL had a new book out on the moral bankruptcy of the left excited me not at all, since it seems to be a variation on the man’s long-running theme of proclaiming himself the conscience of the left while simultaneously dumping enormous buckets of shit over everything the left has historically believed in.
My curiosity was piqued somewhat by a rather strange review from Nick Cohen. As usual these days, this says rather more about Nasty Nick than it does about his putative subject, but the theme is that the Nouveaux Philosophes are the French analogue to Britain’s Decent Left. This manages the remarkable feat of actually lowering my opinion of the Nouveax Philosophes.
However, I note that BHL has now been taken to task in a manner befitting, and in the Nation no less. (Hat tip.) The assassin in question is the estimable Scott McLemee, and while Scott’s always worth reading, this finds him in top form, not least on the great Yankophile’s invincible ignorance of American politics. And all I can say about that is, it’s probably better than the old windbag deserves.
Bernard-Henri Lévy. Because he’s worth a good kicking.