The Spectacle Blog

Journolist and the Politics of Smart

By on 7.22.10 | 11:18AM

John Tabin's "tentacle porn" shocker reminds us that "smart" is neither an ideological orientation nor a partisan affiliation. As I pointed out in the comments at Hot Air, the Journolisters seem to have overlooked this problem:

  1. Progressives aren't as smart as they'd like to think they are. Otherwise they'd realize that hacking a Google listserv is not rocket science.  
  2. Progressives aren't as smart as they'd like to think they are. Otherwise, they'd realize that the law of large numbers means that an online communications channel with 400+ like-minded people who think their conversations are confidential is guaranteed to produce lots of content that would be very embarrassing if made public.
  3. Progressives aren't as smart as they'd like to think they are. Otherwise, they'd realize that the "most of the discussions were mundane" defense isn't really effective, if there is enough offensive non-mundane stuff to supply a full week's worth of front-page news stories.

If you're smart enough to spot the similarity between points 1, 2 and 3, you may be smarter than a fifth-grader [or] Ezra Klein.

My parents were from rural Alabama, a cultural background where "smart" was often employed as a synonym for "impudent," as when my father would reply to my childish backtalk: "Boy, don't get smart with me."

For some reason, that seems relevant in this context.

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