Mankind's only alternative 3   DEC.   22  
Mankind's only alternative

The Fall of The eXile For all those wondering what the "Save The eXile Fundrasier" banner is all about, here it is as simply as it can be phrased: The eXile is shutting down.
June 11, 2008 in eXile Blog

War Nerd: War of the Babies in Taki's Magazine The War Nerd talks about babies, the greatest weapon of the 20th century.
May 28, 2008 in eXile Blog

Kids, Meet Your President A website for Russian kids to learn all about President Medvedev's passion for school, sports and family.
May 22, 2008 in eXile Blog

Cellphone Democracy Cam If this girl was exposed to Jeffersonian democracy...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Dyev Photos Yet another hot Russian babe imitating the Catpower look...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

Proof That Genetic Memory Is Real! Sure, the Ottomans shut down the Istanbul Slavic slave markets centuries ago...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Russia's Orthodox Church Youth Outreach Program The priest is going, "Father Sansei is very impressed with grasshopper Sasha’s...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Club Photos w/Russian Dyevs We took the Pepsi Challenge here...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Blogs RSS feed

Press Review December 13, 2001
Nabob Number One
By Matt Taibbi Browse author

Gigantic Asshole William Safire Takes Aim at Putin

The zinjanthropus of columnists

The zinjanthropus of columnists

I have always been fascinated by William Safire. In a world so well-peopled with sophisticated literary arch-villains like Michael Wines, Thomas Friedman and even Maureen Dowd, Safire lurks in the background as a sort of preternatural common ancestor-the zinjanthropus of Evil Columnists.

This is something you can sense almost on an unconscious level when you read his columns; the slope of the brow is just a little lower, the jaw slightly more pronounced, the back a little hairier than that of a pale biped like Wines. This is a creature that does not trade in the squirming deceptions and subtle manipulations of the modern human propagandist. No, he goes for the monstrous lie, naked and primordial, an attack of jaws rather than tools... It is not for nothing that this man was once Richard Nixon's chief domestic policy speechwriter. His style is a kind of relentless, uncompromising meanness, undiluted by anything like wit or personal magnetism. Whatever you may think about him, Rush Limbaugh has a sense of humor, and can actually be funny-he's a closet queen, after all-but there is no hidden human behind Safire's mask. Safire is his mask-and that what makes him so interesting.

This past week Safire went after Vladimir Putin. This was nothing new, of course. Like the old political operative that he is, Safire throughout his career has been careful to always feed the faithful-readers, voters, whatever -- a steady diet of attacks against a small list of Usual Suspects.

In the Nixon era, he and his chief concentrated on the press, the welfare cheats, and the anti-war crowd, in the process fostering a following of the "silent majority."

As a writer, he's stuck with liberals and whoever the foreign enemies of the United States happen to be at the time. In recent years his favorite targets have been the Clintons (he once famously called Hillary Clinton a "congenital liar"), the anti-globalist protesters, and... Russians.

Like his intellectual offspring, Thomas Friedman, Safire has a real hard-on for Russia. He writes about Russia far more than most syndicated columnists. This might have its roots in a Cold War/Nixon-era fixation on the Soviet enemy, or it might be because Bill Clinton was vulnerable on the issue of closeness with the corrupt Yeltsin regime... It's hard to say. But whatever Safire's motives are, his position vis a vis Russians is fairly clear: he doesn't trust them, and thinks that the first consideration in any dealings with them is how best to contain them.

To Safire's credit, he was never a Putin booster-never a Wines type who saw yuppie credentials in Putin's KGB past, or believed him to be a "closet reformer" who would bring shades of Pinochet- and de Gaulle-style order to the chaos of the Russian economy. No, Safire disliked Putin from the start, and vociferously so. And as time has progressed, his distaste for Putin has intensified, to the point where the vicious old codger even allows himself delicious lapses into angry incoherence. Here's an example from a column he wrote last July 18:

"Ever since the K.G.B. man emerged as the Russian oligarchs' choice, President Putin has shown himself to be duplicitous (ask the Chechens)... and untrustworthy (ask the exiled oligarchs)."

Duplicitious and untrustworthy? Good God, not both! Safire here sounds like Robert de Niro counselling the young Henry Hill in Goodfellas: "You learned the two most important lessons: never rat on your friends, and always keep your mouth shut." This is beyond the fact that Safire is asking us to accept the Chechens and Boris Berezovsky as authorities in the area of honesty and trustworthiness... very strange stuff.

SHARE:  Digg  My Web  Facebook  Reddit

The Viagra Challenge :
Get Your Putin On: Thanksgiving :
Cold War Report
Retro MADness : The Cold War Report
The Fortnight Spin: Moscow Entertainment :


Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
Feature Story By The eXile
Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Your Letters
Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
Club Review By Dmitriy Babooshka
eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

The Fortnight Spin
Bardak Calendar By Jared Lindquist
Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

Your Letters
Richard Gere tackles this week's letters. Now reformed, he fights for gerbil rights all around the world.

13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
America By Eileen Jones
Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...


    MAIN    |    RUSSIA    |    WAR NERD     |    [SIC!]    |    BAR-DAK    |    THE VAULT    |    ABOUT US    |    RSS

© "the eXile". Tel.: +7 (495) 623-3565, fax: +7 (495) 623-5442