Much like bloggers, Stalin "rewrote history, made anonymous accusations, hired and elevated hacks and phonies, ruined reputations at will, and airbrushed suddenly unwanted associates out of documents and photographs," explains New Republic editor Lee Siegel. And that's only one choice bit from the Times' review of his book, Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob. For his part, Siegel refers to his praiseful anono-commenting on his very own essays as "my rollicking misadventures in the online world." Now that's re-writing history! (Click for the work of Siegel's former anonymous avatar, "Sprezzatura.")
I'm a huge fan of Siegel, been reading him since he started writing for [ The New Republic] almost ten years ago. (Full disclosure: I'm an editor at a magazine in NYC and he's written for me too.) I watch the goings-on and have to scratch my head. The people who hate him the most are all in their twenties and early thirties. There's this awful suck-up named Ezra Klein—his "writing" is sweaty with panting obsequious ambition—who keeps distorting everything Siegel writes—the only way this no-talent can get him. And I ask myself: why is it the young guys who go after Siegel? Must be because he writes the way young guys should be writing: angry, independent, not afraid of offending powerful people. They on the other hand write like aging careerists: timid, ingratiating, careful not to offend people who are powerful. They hate him because they want to write like him but can't. Maybe if they'd let themselves go and write truthfully, they'd get Leon Wieseltier to notice them too.