A new top to this, apparently: A reader has informed me that Mr. Podhoretz has apologized for the mischaracterization of the quote. That was manful, and direct. So while this post remains as a means of reaffirming the actual intent of what I wrote, it should be acquired henceforth with the knowledge that Mr. Podhoretz appears to have been unaware of the full context when he tweeted. Mr. Kurtz remains in the wind, but due respect to Mr. Podhoretz.
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Willful stupidity or rank intellectual dishonesty? With these two fellows and their output, there is really no third choice that can be legitimately considered:
Ugh: Wire’s David Simon: If I were a person of color in Florida, I would pick up a brick and start walking toward that courthouse in Sanford.
The Actual Statement:
If I were a person of color in Florida, I would pick up a brick and start walking toward that courthouse in Sanford. Those that do not, those that hold the pain and betrayal inside and somehow manage to resist violence — these citizens are testament to a stoic tolerance that is more than the rest of us deserve. I confess, their patience and patriotism is well beyond my own.
Yes, the complete statement is not an exhortation for anyone to riot. It is instead a statement of admiration for the restraint and civic commitment that African-Americans are displaying in the wake of an appalling betrayal of their citizenship.
By the time Mr. Kurtz and Mr. Podhoretz practice their intellectual reductions, they have achieved and propagated the opposite. Perhaps the willingness to convert the skill set that used to be journalism and essaying to 140-character morsels breaks down the human brain. Or perhaps, the process is readily suited for ideologues and paper-thin media gurus to simply manufacture a quote so simple and corrupted that they can actually wrestle with it.