Three Letters to the Editor (Greene, Kessler, & Kinstler)

Trovian Truth Attack

Ben Kessler: FIRST makes me step back and take stock. One line I’ve thought of a lot in the past few months is Trow’s “Those who complain murderously about the New York Times ought to be shot.” (My Pilgrim’s Progress) Of course, he was writing a long time ago about even longer ago – and I’d like to think I’ve never complained murderously about anything – yet when I think that the Times and other Voices of Authority were staunchly pro-Hillary while marginals like myself (but no one cares what I say) threw up so many asterisks and footnotes you could hardly see their support…Maybe I should have taken the point. Even as they were wrong in their electoral predictions, the “punditocracy” may have been on the side of truth this time, while I didn’t argue hard enough on behalf of the candidate standing between the USA and a Satanist (seriously! – read recent interview with Bannon in Hollywood Reporter) campaign. All the flaws of establishment liberalism notwithstanding – I mean, I hate how Hamilton instantiates income inequality with its $1000 tix, but God bless the actors’ message to Pence, and how crazy was the Trump camp’s reaction? They (acted like they) thought they’d silenced “the diverse America”. No doubt they’d like to.


A Reader on Whom Nada is Lost

Phil Greene: I’m thinking about Goldstein’s post what I always say about First pieces—thoughtful analysis that doesn’t fall into “this is my theory so I’m going to [have to] say this.” I hadn’t heard the idea that women voters (or non-voters) might’ve been “afraid to stir the water” but it rings true to me. My thinking is that we got here for a lot of reasons and we’d be wise to address all of them rather than concoct a general theory.

Pet peeve — at the end if he means to publicly chide his students I wish he wouldn’t…Also, beside the point, but if he’s teaching in NY, until we abolish the Electoral College and go pure popular vote, no harm done.

Seriously though — nice piece, and probably I’m being too fussy about one bit: I don’t think our one vote is so powerful anyway; about as good as we’ll get is to kick the jams out, mf!



[A term coined by your editor’s sister, Megan DeMott, in the wake of the election as she surveyed the many students in her English as a Second Language classes who are waiting for the jackboot to drop.]

Brian Kinstler: I feel your pain, and my own —lately I can feel it coming off strangers in the street like heat from a radiator. But here:

Through some accident of history, I ended up being a criminal defense attorney, and though I always begin each battle facing certain defeat, I (like many other colleagues) usually manage to obtain a good result, and sometimes even win outright. Goliath has flaws to exploit, this one more than most. And I am on the right side of history.  Moreover, to my mind — warped by this job as it may be — I see UNLIMITED OPPORTUNITIES for the left-of-center now, so long as there is thoughtful planning, coordination and commitment. Trump will bite the Republicans, the Neo-liberal Democrats, and himself in the ass, and he’s begun already.  An HRC presidency would have mired the left and empowered the right, whereas Trump (and a properly managed narrative) could motivate a true left-wing backlash. Anyway, I still think that’s where history can be steered if the press and the people are smart enough to see clearly. Maybe. So take cheer — we’re closer to success than you think!