By Dave Andrusko
Tuesday is the last day NRL News Today will be posting this week, so if I am going to get to keep my promise to address Kurt Eichenwald’s Newsweek cover story, it’s now or never.
“America’s Abortion Wars (And How to End Them)” is a whopping 4,262 words long. By comparison, Hemingway’s novel, “The Old Man and the Sea,” is only 27,000 words long. Both are so tedious, they make you want to jump overboard. But be that as it may…
The hook (no pun intended) are Eichenwald’s opening three sentences:
I am opposed to abortion. I believe women have the right to choose.
This is not a contradiction.
Not if you are the latest sublimely self-assured journalist (after all he has written for the New York Times and Vanity Fair) to pronounce that as a representative of the “rational middle,” he has come to “examine the hypocrisy and flaws in the activists’ positions and finally bring this war to an end.”
How? By cutting the “Gordian knot,” even though he is already whining by the fourth paragraph that, like prophets of old, he will be misunderstood.
It’s one of those instances where the author, Eichenwald, covers so much ground, you could spend 4,262 words just correcting a few of his errors, glib assurances, and pretense at being even-handed. (After all, he is edifying “activists” on both sides, right?)
His typical style is to start with assertion “A,” slide over with nary a word of warning to “B,” throw in some unrelated “C” and we’re supposed to be dazzled by an argument that jumps, frog-like from lily pad to lily pad.
But it’s just words strung together like beads and unrelated assertions which run together like train cars (to borrow from John McWhorter).
Every pro-life premise is too simple for his great brain, which does not prevent Eichenwald from simplifying to the point of parody.
You read his essay and it’s like a Power Point presentation where every point of contention in the abortion debate is spelled out with the pro-abortion side always the winner.
Even pro-abortion-to-the-max Katha Pollitt, who hated the column for her own reasons, grudgingly conceded in The Nation that
What makes Eichenwald’s “both sides do it” claim so strange is that his piece is actually a sustained and detailed attack on the anti-choice movement.
Ah, yes. Where is the trashing of pro-abortionists equivalent to the following?
Abortion opponents, whether out of ignorance or obsession, have grown accustomed to lying in order to advance policies or block abortions, with complete disregard for consequences.
There is none, of course, and, obviously, that was never Eichenwald’s intention. Why would you bother with sustained critiques of both sides if pro-lifers are (for starters) stupid, habitually lie, “have no comprehension of medicine,” and, indeed, “cannot be called pro-life”?
No wonder there is barely a word of even subdued criticism of pro-abortionists. By comparison, they are saints.
Would I recommend anyone, aside from Eichenwald’s immediate family, reading this hit-piece on the Movement? Of course not.
But it does illustrate the kind of mind that believes the public is so stupid it will not figure out by the eighth paragraph that they won’t be getting what they thought they were getting in the first three: an even-handed critique.