Wherein I stop defending Gregg Easterbrook
In spite of his repeated idiocy on the environment, science, religion, and most everything political, I have defended Gregg Easterbrook. Even when I winced while reading his work, I continued to stand by him. Why, you ask? Well, because I liked his football column, Tuesday Morning Quarterback (now hosted at ESPN.com’s Page 2). Sure, Easterbrook was repetitive, pretentious, and formulaic, but he consistently showed how players, GMs, and especially coaches keep making the same mistakes, and even more shockingly, keep getting rewarded for making those mistakes.
But I’m done with all that now. Easterbrook is an idiot in intellectual’s clothing, and no amount of witty football insights can save him from being an utter moron.
Let me take you to the moment I changed my mind about this man. I was reading the readers’ roundup he posts every Wednesday, and I came across this:
Noting that this is the 50th anniversary of Sputnik, the Edsel, “West Side Story” and Boris Pasternak’s “Dr. Zhivago,” TMQ supposed that half a century ago, technology was buckets of bolts while art was magnificent; now tech is magnificent and art is in poor repair. Why? Vox Day of Milan, Italy, author of “The Irrational Atheist,” supposes, “Technical stuff depends on science, art depends on religion. The former is now ascendant, ergo our art leaves something to be desired. That’s Camille Paglia’s theory, anyhow, which is interesting in light of her atheism. Paglia has written, ‘Great art can be made out of love for religion as well as rebellion against it. But a totally secularized society with contempt for religion sinks into materialism and self-absorption and gradually goes slack, without leaving an artistic legacy.’ Richard Dawkins, a prominent atheist, argues in ‘Unweaving the Rainbow’ that science is capable of inspiring greater art than religion, though this hasn’t happened yet.”
Of course, there’s much to take apart here, starting with Easterbrook’s unproven assertion that somehow art is worse than it was fifty years ago and the reader’s baseless claim that only religion can inspire art. But that’s not what riled me up, as I’ve trained myself over the years to simply tune out whenever Easterbrook writes about anything other than football.
No, it was the name of the reader from Milan that stuck with me. Vox Day. Now where had I heard that name before?
Oh fuck me.
Yes, he’s talking about everyone’s favorite World Net Daily columnist, Vox Day, a.k.a., Theodore Beale. The same Vox Day who’s a super-misogynist (he thinks the 19th Amendment should be repealed, and don’t get him started about rape). The same Vox Day who’s anti vaccination. The same Vox Day who’s against science and reason, is ridiculously racist, and is perhaps the vilest piece of shit I’ve ever seen in the blogosphere. That Vox Day.
Of course Easterbrook was willing to pimp Beale’s book, but apparently he was unable to do a quick Google search and learn that his reader is a contemptible hag. Easterbrook’s blinders frame everything he encounters; in this case all he had to read was “religion is awesome” before abandoning any logical examination of Beale’s claims, as well as any due diligence that might entail.
So that’s it, Gregg. The next time PZ tears you a new one, I’m not going to be the one offering caveats.