This image was lost some time after publication.

You know why Kurt Andersen is an in-demand cultural critic and you aren't? Because of the brilliant, against-the-grain thinking he demonstrates in columns like this one, a biting attack on "intelligent design."

"Wait," you're saying. "How is that against any grain? Isn't that standard New York liberal boilerplate?"

Sure it is! But that's precisely why it's brilliant — it neatly demonstrates the trick we like to call the Andersen Twist, in which the author, having eloquently espoused a liberal idea or principle, follows it with a bilious attack on all those other liberals. Extra points go to those who can pin the blame for conservative ideas on said soft-minded liberals. Here's Kurt executing a flawless twist:

For several decades the philosophical ground has been softened up by the relativism and political correctness of the secular left, which succeeded in undermining the very idea of objective reality and of calling a spade a spade so now, in the resulting marsh, fantasies like intelligent design (or Scientology or feng shui or 9/11 as a CIA plot) take root and spread like weeds. Liberals pioneered squishy-minded indulgence of their key constituencies unfortunate new ideas, like reparations and criminalized hate speech; now it s the right s turn.

Oooh! "Squishy-minded!" Perfect score!

Seriously, Kurt — you describe intelligent design as a "turning point" in "America s theocratic transformation." Once you start tossing the Christian theocracy charge around, it's time to face facts: you've just written a column for The Nation.

Backward, Christian Soldiers! [NYM]
Darwin and God [The Nation]