April 15 will mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of RMS Titanic, that giant, gilded, floating city that struck an iceberg and rapidly sank, taking with it more than 1,500 lives.
British historian Simon Schama wrote about that “Voyage of the Damned” for Newsweek’s April 8 edition. The article about “all walks of life” above Titanic is certainly worth the read, especially for those fascinated by the ship, its passengers and that fateful night in the North Atlantic when the unsinkable ship, in fact, sank. But in the final paragraph Schama strangely went out of the way to connect that century-old catastrophe to the 2008 financial crisis.
Greg Pollowitz of National Review's Media Blog expressed the viewpoint of many in his disgust for Newsweek's nasty "Queen of Rage" cover of Michele Bachmann, and attacked the editor as a sleazeball: "In all honesty, Tina Brown, you are an incredible hack and should be ashamed of yourself. Why not just got for the full HuffPo and add nudity to Newsweek’s print edition?"
Apologies to Greg! Tina Brown did exactly that in the Bachmann issue -- painted nudity. An appreciation of the recently deceased artist Julian Freud and his "refleshing in meaty paint" was illustrated with a huge two-page sample of a morbidly obese naked woman -- titled "Benefits Supervisor Sleeping." (It's also posted on their Daily Beast website -- but much smaller.) Turn the page, and the nudity is doubled: an entire page displays a full-frontal self-portrait of Freud standing in the nude as an old man. The idea that Tina's above Arianna's tricks is shot.
Eliot Spitzer used his last day at CNN to take a shot at cable news and decry the debt ceiling debate as a "new low for American politics" – although he himself was embroiled in an ugly scandal as governor of New York only three years ago. And he made sure to include a lengthy Constitutional conversation with two of his favorite guests, liberals Fareed Zakaria and Simon Schama.
Schama, a professor of History at Columbia University, has criticized the Tea Party's reverence for the Founders' "infallibility," and snorted that they believed the Constitution to be "quasi-biblical revelation." The Columbia University professor wrote in a June 26 Newsweek piece that "True history is the enemy of reverence."
Columbia University professor Simon Schama made his Newsweek debut yesterday with a blog post that indirectly attacked Tea Party activists and conservatives for what Schama considers a historically illiterate ancestor worship of the Founding Fathers.
"The Constitution’s framers were flawed like today’s politicians, so it’s high time we stop embalming them in infallibility," snarked the subheading for Schama's June 26 post.
New York Times Book editor Barry Gewen selected Simon Schama's big-think book, "The American Future -- A History" for review in his "Books of the Times" piece on Tuesday, and took condescending aim at Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin in the process.
Columnist David Brooks had some fun with the British-born Schama in his May 24 review, consigning Schama's book to a long line of self-consciously "Brilliant Books" whose authors as a group Brooks satirized:
Along the way, his writing will outstrip his reportage. And as his inability to come up with anything new to say about this country builds, his prose will grow more complex, emotive, gothic, desperate, overheated and nebulous until finally, about two-thirds of the way through, there will be a prose-poem of pure meaninglessness as his brilliance finally breaks loose from the tethers of observation and oozes across the page in a great, gopping goo of pure pretension.
Gewen saw Schama as celebrating a new kind of patriotism "in the age of Barack Obama," far superior to the "belligerent...chauvinism" of Dick Cheney or the "ostentatious flag lapel pin" of Sarah Palin.