Taibbi on Eaglefish

Matt Taibbi opens a can of whoop-ass on the hapless tag team of Stanley Fish and Terry Eagleton. I discussed the same essay in this post. Taibbi writes:

The whole premise recalls Woody Allen’s famous syllogism: “Socrates is a man. All men are mortal. Therefore, all men are Socrates.” And…well, I’m not going to get into this too much, because taking an axe to some soggy old Catholic academic is beginning to feel wrong somehow. But something tells me we’re going to be hearing more of this rhetoric, if for no other reason that whenever money gets tight and the times get nervous even intellectuals will suddenly start talking about God. You see this same phenomenon played out on a more crude level in Southern fundamentalism, where the megachurches are smart enough to send their missionaries to rehab centers and prisons and everywhere else you find people stumbling, confused, and vulnerable to a soul-snatching out of their various existential car wrecks — and now that 21st century capitalism has hit the wall and yuppies everywhere are flying through the windshield into debt and foreclosure, the God-hawkers will show up here, too, to argue that where materialism and science have let your postmodern liberal self down, religion comes ready with answers.

Someday I’ll have to learn to write like that.

And just in case you’re not in on the joke, the title of this post is an homage to Terry Eagleton’s childish penchant for referring to Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens as “Ditchkins.”


  1. #1 Tony
    May 13, 2009

    Taibbi and Eagleton both write like they swallowed dictionaries, but only Taibbi is able to regurgitate the words in a sensible (and Pulitzer-worthy) order.

    Eagleton obviously has some cerebral function, he is just using it for apparently inane purposes… or is he crazy like a fox? My guess is that he believes nothing of what he says and is in it only for the recognition and money. He’ll take any niche and he views the anti-atheism concession as an easy one since the job of pseudo-intellectual pro-God gasbag was open. He can sell more books in this genre than he could writing crime novels.

    I have similar views of Michael Steele as the “Black Republican” RNC Chairman (as a Democrat he’d be just another mediocre state comptroller somewhere) and, also, Anne Coulter who has parlayed being a mean-ass bitch into superstardom… Dems would force her to actually have a point to her screeching and that’s much harder work.

    Crazy like a fox.

  2. #2 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    May 13, 2009

    I loved the post except for the pointless swipe at Dawkins.

  3. #3 Eric Lund
    May 13, 2009

    Mike: you missed the point of the last paragraph. Eagleton, not Jason, was taking the gratuitous swipe at Dawkins.

  4. #4 Jason Rosenhouse
    May 13, 2009

    Eric –

    Taibbi takes a gratuitous swipe at Dawkins in the final paragraph of his post. That’s what Mike was referring to. In fact, when I first read Taibbi’s post I had intended to comment on that, but then simply forgot to when I actually wrote my post.

  5. #5 Johan Richter
    May 13, 2009

    Taibbi cites Exodus for the proposition that people who work on Sundays should be put to death. Of course God is talking about Saturdays there, not Sundays.

  6. #6 sinned34
    May 15, 2009

    Wait – no work on Saturdays? Where do I sign up?

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