Monday, September 03, 2018


Every totebag-wielding Manhattanite knows what it means to appear "in conversation with" David Remnick at the New Yorker Festival or with some other cultural luminary at the 92nd Street Y: It means your work is admired and you're going to approached with something close to reverence. That's one reason why the now-rescinded invitation from Remnick to Steve Bannon seemed so inappropriate: The festival is not a forum at which featured guests are typically grilled. It's not even The View, where things occasionally get ugly. It's usually a lovefest.

I know, I know -- before uninviting Bannon, Remnick swore he'd pull no punches during the discussion:
“I have every intention of asking him difficult questions and engaging in a serious and even combative conversation,” he said.
Which brings me to my favorite tweets on this subject:

That's Bannon -- he bamboozles listeners, including supposedly intelligent interviewers, with a firehose spew of words that sound reasonably intelligent but mostly serve as a delivery system for (a) white nationalism and (b) self-promotion. The former is reason enough not to invite him, but so is the latter. Here's a guy who lost his powerful government job, who lost his Mercer family financing, and who is now going from interviewer to interviewer looking for a way to shoehorn himself back into the public consciousness. If his racism isn't enough reason to give him a wide berth, then his current irrelevance ought to be the deciding factor. He was a noxious presence in our political life, but now he's out of the picture -- except that he's desperate to be a noxious presence again. Why help him?

He has a financial need for a new grift. He has a psychological need to be taken seriously. I don't want to help him fulfill either of these needs. I don't know why the hell David Remnick wanted to.

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