Noted blue jeans-hating, global warming denying (here, here, here, here, here, here), conservative “intellectual” George Will seems to be hellbent on ensuring everyone under the age of 65 ignores him completely (if they’re not already, that is). A. Seigel brought my attention to Will’s latest, and Matt Yglesias also weighed in.
But my favorite rebuttal has to be Amanda Marcotte’s delightful evisceration of Will’s know-nothing buffoonery, from her title (“George Will will grump your ass into your car”) on, she just nails it:
Anyway, the column is fact-free and hateful, and Will’s arguments about the environment come exceedingly close to “I’m going to die before it gets really bad, so fuck you all,” but on top of all that, it’s an offense to language and writing as an occupation. Witness the first paragraph:
You might think the Department of Transportation would be a refuge from Washington’s inundation of painfully earnest and pitilessly incessant talk about “remaking” this (health care, Detroit) and “transforming” that (the energy sector, the planet’s temperature). Transportation, after all, is about concrete practicalities—planes, trains and automobiles, steel, asphalt and concrete.
Will needs to retire now, because he actually just argued that the sheer physicality and practicality of something precludes remaking and transforming it. This shows that he’s lost his grip on the nature of verbs. “Remaking” and “transforming” could be abstractions, but they are metaphorical if used abstractly. They stem from imagining physical, practical remakings and transformings… In that same light, when people speak of remaking and transforming transit systems, they aren’t talking about holding hands and projecting thoughts of non-pollution at it. It’s all about physical objects, observable systems, real world experimentation, and practicalities…
…Will’s head would explode if he knew that I can name at least one person in my personal acquaintance who loves cars and driving, but commutes to work on a bicycle because sitting in traffic sucks kangaroo balls. People drive in most places because taking the bus or train takes too long, and/or they hate sitting with the hoi polloi on a bus or train. Or they live too far out to take a subway that does come by at a regular enough interval that you don’t have to worry about missing it if you sleep in a little too late. If you love your car, the last thing you want to do is ruin it by putting it through a grinding daily commute.
Read the whole thing.