I’ve unfortunately had to leave my subscription to The New Yorker slide in the current belt-tightening, but I did catch online a most interesting little piece by George Packer on the evolution of Irving Kristol (–some of you will know him as “father of Bill”.)
It’s worth checking out –in a way it clarifies why the current bunch of Republicons are so much at sea.
I was moved to submit a comment, which I reproduce here. Will be interested to have your comments.
“Dear George Packer,
What an interesting piece on Irving Kristol! Thank you.
I wondered if you had ever seen Joe Dorman’s fascinating Kristol-Glazer-Bell-Howe documentary, “Arguing the World”(1999)? Apparently IK hung out in Alcove 2, not with but right next to the Communists (who were instructed from Moscow NOT to talk/argue with that bunch of anarchist-intellectuals in Alcove 2!)
There is a shot later on of IK with Ronald Reagan in the Oval Office (1981, I’d guess) –both men in black-tie.
IK’s expression fascinated me, a complex mixture of “Look at me –I’ve made it to the very top. Here I am with the most powerful man in the world. But I am so much smarter than he is.” [Echoes of Groucho’s famous “member of any club” remark.]
Somewhere along the way –between Alcove 2 and The Oval O.– he got swallowed by his own neo-con ideology, and we all began to lose the benefit of his bright mind.
You mention 1973 as the significant year of the Kristol efflorescence. Son Bill –who somehow seems to have been caught in the same Kristol tide all his life– was just 21 in 1973 (no doubt a considerable factor in Dad’s evolution, but one that is often overlooked.)
[As an aside –from what I have gleaned– your own efforts to resist “various shoals” do stand the quality of your work in very good stead.]
Malachi McCormick, Staten Island