April 17, 2009

"Who do you have to sleep with in this town to get your blog compared to Montaigne's Essays in The Economist?"

Now we may have a clue to the answer to that old question in Johann Hari's bedazzled tongue-bath of Andrew Sullivan, the Barry Bonds of bloggers.

If anybody is interested in why Sullivan is so super-confident in his judgment despite so often being wrong in public (as his mercurial changes of view demonstrate), he explained why in the NY Times Magazine way back in 2000: He had revitalized his flagging career in the late 1990s by getting a prescription for synthetic testosterone.
"Because the testosterone is injected every two weeks, and it quickly leaves the bloodstream, I can actually feel its power on almost a daily basis. Within hours, and at most a day, I feel a deep surge of energy. It is less edgy than a double espresso, but just as powerful. My attention span shortens. In the two or three days after my shot, I find it harder to concentrate on writing and feel the need to exercise more. My wit is quicker, my mind faster, but my judgment is more impulsive. ...

And then after a few days, as the testosterone peaks and starts to decline, the feeling alters a little. I find myself less reserved than usual, and more garrulous. The same energy is there, but it seems less directed toward action than toward interaction, less toward pride than toward lust.

We'll skip over the details of Andrew's Lust Phase and get to his next mood swing:
... "Then there's anger. I have always tended to bury or redirect my rage. I once thought this an inescapable part of my personality. It turns out I was wrong. ... That was an extreme example, but other, milder ones come to mind: losing my temper in a petty argument; innumerable traffic confrontations; even the occasional slightly too prickly column or e-mail flame-out."

Personally, I don't like competing with a chemically pumped-up pundit anymore than I suspect that pitcher Greg Maddux liked competing with Roger Clemens over the last decade or so of their careers. But the bigger point is that the Atlantic Monthly should put a label on Sullivan's blog that says:
Warning: Don't take anything Andrew Sullivan says seriously. Remember that what you see here is the product not of careful thought and proven good judgment, but just of whatever phase of his hormone therapy Andrew happens to be in at the moment.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

45 comments:

RKU said...

In general, the gradual decline of The Economist into DC/NYC neocon/neolib-ism has been a pretty horrific thing to witness.

Back many years ago, when I first starting reading it, it still had a real tinge of ISteveism about itself. Then, it picked up a huge number of upper-middle-class American readers, who were obviously dismayed by anything they didn't also see in the NYT and the WSJ.

If old Norman Macrae were still alive, he'd be rotating in his grave...

Ken Kraska said...

"Conservative"? Where does that come from?

Gerard said...

Sullivan's not worthy enough to wash Montaigne's jock strap... even though he might want to.

WLindsayWheeler said...

Sick.

Anonymous said...

"the gradual decline of The Economist"?!

It's amazing how ignorant Americans believe that The Economist somehow used to be a good magazine.

Brits and Europeans have always found it hilarious how seriously stupid Americans take The Economist.

Is it the whole absence of a byline thing? Is that all it takes to be worthy of reading?

white tax slave said...

So The Economist thinks Andrew Sullivan is "conservative" and "pro-Obama". Lunacy.

Danindc said...

If that beagle could talk.....

rrrrrroger said...

Couldn't read it despite your intriguing introduction, so I still don't know the answer to the question.

i am the walrus said...

Steve, any comment on Spengler outing himself?

anony-mouse said...

I would have thought Steve would rather be compared to Machiavelli, Swift, Franklin (as he has mentioned), or de Tocqueville.

My understanding is that gays think that Montaigne was one of them (of course it would be easier to list the number of people that gays believe weren't one of them).

Beside folks here, Montaigne was of partial Jewish descent so you can always look on the comment as criticism.

Anonymous said...

One of America’s most-read bloggers is Catholic, conservative, gay, pro-Obama...What can the word conservative possibly mean in that context? For some reason I'm not even curious.

testing99 said...

Sullivan is not conservative, and neocons are not liberals.

Neocons include "hate fact" Mark Steyn, "Liberal Fascism" author Jonah Goldberg, Victor Davis Hanson, author/essayist Theodore Dalrymple, Ann Coulter, and John Bolton.

None of whom match the profile of Liberals, which is status-obsessed SWPL yuppies who take John Lennon's song "Imagine" seriously.
-----------
What can you expect from the Economist? It's made up of wealthy, status obsessed yuppies who are desperate to preserve the social and political status-quo. The ultimate in reactionary politics.

The readers, writers, and editors of the Economist being drawn from the Ancien Regime classes as they are, it could hardly be anything else.

Anonymous said...

Johann Hari is a fat useless fool. He cant even get a basic fact straight (no pun intended - Like Sullivan he is gay):

But he equally loathed the left: he organised a champagne party the night Reagan’s Pershing missiles arrived in Britain.Pershing missiles were never deployed in Britain. He is thinking of ground launched cruise missiles. Opposition to which caused a big stir amongst the left in the early '80s. They were deployed in the UK around 83-84.

Anonymous said...

"One of America’s most-read bloggers is Catholic, conservative, gay.."

I love how mainstream Catholics just decide for themselves whether they are believers or not. Maybe he needs to check the church doctrines. I cannot see how he can consider himself Catholic.

Anonymous said...

Ha, Sullivan is ridiculous. Really, there's no difference between him and liberal bloggers like Matthew Yglesias. But Yglesias is at least honest. Sullivan has a pitiful, "I'm a conservative", shtick.

Anonymous said...

well which church has the best interior designers?

Anonymous said...

I know this is mean, but Johann Hari looks so...gay.

Dennis Mangan said...

Steve, in order to compete chemically you'll have to up the ante. I suggest Ritalin.

Mr. Anon said...

Has the Economist gotten gayed up, like the venerable Lavender Lady? Might explain a few things.

Gay or not, I gather the Economist remains what it was when I started reading it - crappy. I was never impressed by the thoroughness or veracity of the pin-striped wankers and Davos fan-boys who write for it.

The Full Geraldo said...

It's a big lie that "journalism" is a respectable profession. The reality is that journalism is filled with a large percentage of pathological liars, alcoholics, drug addicts, know-it-all loudmouths, control freaks, character assassins, general lowlifes and misanthropes.

And that's just the writers. The executives are nothing less than wannabe commissars. They are full blown sociopaths who dream of CONTROL and TOTAL INFORMATION AWARENESS just like their soul brothers in the NSA.

The state of the "journalism" industry is just about where it has always been: In the gutter. The internet and worldwide exposure have just taken the egomaniacal twit parade to a wholly unwarranted level. For instance, look at this link at the CNN page:

Commentary: Next generation won't have a Bill GatesThere, on top of some writing, you will find a laughably gigantic photo of a "journalist" sporting a creepy fake smile. Very appropriate. Perhaps the agent of this journalist inserted a line into his contract with CNN that mandated that the journalist's head shot needed to x pixels high by x pixels wide whenever appearing on the CNN website.

Steve, you need to find out who that guy's agent is and then go get yourself Geraldoized. Just plain sell out. Totally. Because it's time. This country is going full banana and there's no point in being serious about the "news". Get a hairdresser and a makeup girl. Take it to the "next level". I want to see you on O'Reilly next year with a deep tan and expensive television teeth.

The Atlantic? Whatever. The NWO is going to sterilize the internet and gulag all of the bloggers within five years anyway.

Sell out now and prosper, dude.

Anonymous said...

damn, sullivan got ethered.


@ mangan: dexedrine > ritalin

Danindc said...

Steve, you are cruising for a Malkin award nominee....better send a picture of your window asap or better yet claim that the waterboarding they gave KSM was worse than 9/11.

Reg C├Žsar said...

I'm surprised anyone is still reading Killer Muscle Andrew.

Mongoosero said...

OT: Oh ****. Our very own Intifada seems to be emerging. Whodathunkit.

Sheriff's Office Investigates Greeley Bomb ThreatGREELEY, Colo. (AP) -- The Weld County sheriff's office is looking for whoever sent it a letter threatening to put bombs around Greeley next week unless illegal immigrants are released from jail.The sheriff's office says the letter was handwritten in Spanish, and the threats were directed primarily toward judicial and law-enforcement officials.Liberals all over the country (and the world) will be caught completely by surprise by this news, as is their nature.

Anonymous said...

Steve, you are hilarious. You just pwned this guy.

Bill said...

I always welcomed the day my natural testosterone declined. Now that I'm in my 30s, maybe it's finally come.

The pointless brawls, risky sex and embarrassing blow-ups that characterized my youth are not things I'd care to revisit. I look back and wonder that I didn't get killed or disabled. Jumping my motorcycle over traffic circles on blind intersections? God that was dumb...

It's kind of humbling to think that something as simple as a hormone may have been responsible for all that. However, I'm not so sure that's the entire story, and that goes for Sullivan as well as me.

Anonymous said...

I take testosterone and can say that Sullivan's reaction to the drug is overstated. Yes, on some rare occasions, a man may experience a creative rush, but that would be an infrequent event.

What Sullivan doesn't tell you is that a significant fraction of T-users have negative side affects from rising estrogen. One major problem, for me, is shriveling testicles. I find a direct correlation between testicle size and sex drive and creativity. Of this, I am 100% certain. When I forgo treatment to enable my balls to regrow, that is when I am at my best.

Another problem of testosterone therapy is estrogen balance. Nothing can ruin your day, or your week, like too much estrogen. You feel off-kilter and foggy minded. I suspect Sullivan's article on testosterone was more than 50% hogwash.

Anonymous said...

The only way for Steve to keep up with the pumped-up pundits is to go on the juice himself. But if he wants to keep ahead of the pack, he'll need to do more than that. I suggest augmenting the synthetic testo with some meth and a little LSD.

Pat Shuff said...

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how ignorant Americans believe that The Economist somehow used to be a good magazine.

Brits and Europeans have always found it hilarious how seriously stupid Americans take The Economist.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
However, Der Spiegel (a liberal-left publication with anti-American sentiments) avoided discussion of two of the larger and probably more radically "serious" but willfully deceptive critics of the USA, Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky, whose influence and book sales have soared in inverse proportion to their factual content. Fans of these two fiction-writers certainly will protest to hear them described as having abandoned factual emphasis, so I shall give a few of the essentials, with web links for access to the full load of devastating, though "struggling to catch-up" truth. Like the 9-11 conspiracy-theory books, these two authors appear to have a much larger audience in Europe than in America.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ignorance knows no puddles. Moore draws rockstar stadium crowds amongst the inContinent. Maybe a concert hall here in the US. I think his book sales total more in Germany alone than the entire US.

Chomsky was rated the #1 American intellectual in a European poll, domestically more or less a crank to anyone serious.

Noone of the reverse immediately springs to mind, an immensely popular anti-European European drawing crowds or achieving bestsellers in the US. Though that may change given the trend in things, the need and satisfaction in distracting outwards.

Anonymous said...

I have no time for Mr Hari. He lives in my London borough, Tower Hamlets, and writes about as if it were West Baltimore.

To put it mildly we have a few problems with our 'minorities'. A good 35% of local population are Bengali Muslim and the Whitechapel Mosque is the largest and most radical mosque in the borough. See this for an example.http://www.eastlondonadvertiser.co.uk/search/story.aspx?brand=ELAOnline&category=News&itemid=WeED12%20Nov%202008%2019:47:03:840&tBrand=ELAOnline&tCategory=search

But even I felt offended when Hari wrote about visiting the Mosque for discussions with the 'local community' and boasted of seducing a local Muslim boy he met there.

He is a sick individual.


Richard

none of the above said...

Sulivan has nothing on Paul Erdos, the famous eccentric genius mathematician who was also apparently a lifelong amphetamine addict. Though as with pro athletes, it's not that the drugs take a normal Joe and turn him into a superman, it's that the drugs + the talent + the practice/hard work turn a very capable person into a somewhat more capable person.

Anonymous said...

any comment on Spengler outing himself?Spengler always made it clear that he was a Jewish supremacist.

Anonymous said...

Montaigne was of partial Jewish descent Who wasn't, really? That old one-drop rule comes in handy for minorites everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Back in the early '00s, I used to enjoy reading Andrew's blog, and made it a daily part of my routine. I thought his individualism and quirkiness about certain issues was refreshing, especially when coupled with what, at that time, I took to be an overall center-right stance. He has since lost me as a regular reader. I understand an honest change of view regarding something, but Andrew has taken this way too far. He changes views with unnerving frequency, and then fuels every new postion with the "zeal of the newly converted"... except he gets "converted" over and over again!! I've dealt with people like this in real life, and they can be infuriating. I mean, if one is given to frequent changes of view, perhaps one shouldnt be so arrogant or insistant when each new view is adopted... and maybe one should assert one's present views with a little more modestly and moderation.

Ronduck said...

Anonymous said...

I love how mainstream Catholics just decide for themselves whether they are believers or not. Maybe he needs to check the church doctrines. I cannot see how he can consider himself Catholic.The Mainstream Catholics are following the behavior of their bishops. Ted Kennedy was given communion during the Papal visit. Ted has been supporting abortion for 30+ years now and has the blood of 50 million children on his hands, but has never been excommunicated. And that is just one prominent layman, the priest are just as bad. This Jesuit served in congress in the 1970's promoted abortion there and was critical in convincing the Kennedy clan that abortion is OK. Drinan even pioneered the argument that he opposed abortion personally, but felt compelled to legalize it and promote from his public office.

The Catholic hierarchy can't expect to either get most Catholics in line or get them to stop identifying as Catholics until it cleans house and excommunicates entire Kennedy clan, along with the entire DNC.

Lucius Vorenus said...

Andrew Sullivan: Because the testosterone is injected every two weeks, and it quickly leaves the bloodstream, I can actually feel its power on almost a daily basis. Within hours, and at most a day, I feel a deep surge of energy. It is less edgy than a double espresso, but just as powerful. My attention span shortens. In the two or three days after my shot, I find it harder to concentrate on writing and feel the need to exercise more. My wit is quicker, my mind faster, but my judgment is more impulsive...

I assume that everyone here is aware that testosterone therapy actually has the [counterintuitive] effect of SHRINKING the male sex organs, especially the testes - not that a committed nihilist like Andrew Sullivan would have much use for a high sperm count [breeding - the province of lesser mortals - being beneath his dignity].

TCO said...

You've made this point before. Are you a little low on the natural 'rone to be recycling material? Go for a lift at the gym...it amps up your testosterone also. And then figure out a more content-filled post to write about.

Tom Merle said...

Excerpted from "The Athletic Prowesss of Jamaicans" by William Aiken,M.D., Jamaica Gleaner, November 22, 2006

"I wish to propose a hypothesis that addresses not only the aspect of Jamaica's raw athletic talent, but also encompasses an explanation of seemingly diverse phenomena as our high incidence of prostate cancer (one study found it to be by far the highest in the world at 304 / 100,000 men / year), our high crime rate (murder capital of the world status earlier this year), our high road traffic accident and fatality rate, and our alleged high levels of promiscuity.

What do these seemingly disparate phenomena, characteristic of Jamaican life, have in common? On close examination these phenomena are manifestations of high levels of aggressiveness and drive, high libidos, highly efficient muscles from persons of lean body mass and black ethnicity. On closer scrutiny all of these phenomena are either related to high circulating levels of testosterone or alternatively to high levels of responsiveness of testosterone receptors to circulating testosterone.

It has already been shown that the testosterone receptors of blacks are different genetically to those of whites and this difference confers increased responsiveness to testosterone. I propose that Jamaicans of primarily African descent have even greater testosterone responsiveness than blacks anywhere else.

But why should this be? I believe the answer to this lies in the slave ship routes within the Caribbean and the New World. . . .

My hypothesis is that for each incremental increase in the journey travelled, once the slave ships entered the Caribbean, there was a corresponding selection pressure which ensured that only the fittest of the fit slaves survived and furthermore the traits which enabled survival were somehow dependent on high levels of responsiveness to testosterone.

Characteristics such as aggression, determination, drive, strong bones, lean body mass, high surface area to body mass ratio, highly efficient and responsive muscles were probably all important for survival and are testosterone-dependent.

Since Jamaica was one of the last stops to be made by the slave ships it ensured that only the most resilient and fittest of slaves were alive to disembark in Jamaica....


Dr. William Aiken [who himself is of mixed race] is the head of Urology at the University Hospital of the West Indies and president of the Jamaica Urological Society; email: yourhealth@gleanerjm.com .

Michael said...

A couple of quick thoughts ...

1) Western Civ *without* drugs and/or alcohol would be a very different thing than it is. Lots of creating -- minor and major -- has been done on one or the other. Why not 'roids too? Nice for us readers/viewers/listeners to know that a given work was made under the influence, of course. That way we don't find ourselves comparing it to real life, or to what's really available to non-drugged-out people.

2) There's a reason behind the Sullivan-Montaigne connection, all quality questions to one side. Sullivan has been a big cheerleader for the British conservative philosopher Michael Oakeshott. (Sullivan's talks and book about Oakeshott are really good, btw.) And Oakeshott was a huuuuuuuge admirer of Montaigne's, seeing him as a multifaceted, many-different-modes alternative to the hyper-rationalism of the Descartes tradition. Also, Montaigne is mainly known for injecting "the personal" into writing -- writing as himself, creating himself as a character, writing as a many-sided person, and creating "the personal essay" as a vehicle for that particular conception and personality. Sullivan may crank the quirkiness and many-sidedness up 'way too high sometimes, god knows. But he's clearly writing in the Montaigne/Oakeshott tradition. (Let me blushingly-braggingly confess that I do my own blogging in the Montaigne spirit too.) Does Sullivan deserve comparison to Montaigne so far as quality and eminence go? I dunno. But so far as writing and the "personality" thing go, he's certainly playing on that team.

James Kabala said...

Geraldo: Not that what you say isn't true of many journalists, but the creepy picture guy is clearly labeled as a PR flack for the computer industry writing a guest column, not a professional journalist.

Ken Kraska et al.: Sullivan himself has been referring to himself as a conservative forever, so while the claim is ludicrous, I'm surprised there are so many "Since when he is a conservative? comments above. It's part of his standard schtick and always will be.

Do we know if Sullivan is still on testosterone? Steve has been using this same quotation for years now (since at least 2002, and the quotation itself dates to 2000). Are there any more recent remarks by Sullivan on the subject? Of course, even if there haven't been, he could have just become more reticent about it, and based on the article it does seem like a lifetime prescription.

PatrickH said...

Testosterone therapy shrinks testicles because the body recognizes that the high levels of test in the bloodstream obviate the need for endogenous production, which then shuts down. The testes shrinkage can be compensated for easily by small injections of HCG, human chorionic gonadotropin, although too many and too large test injections will overcome even HCG's ability to keep your testes proper-sized.

Sullivan does indeed exaggerate the effects of test injections on typical men, though not for himself. Sullivan became hypogonadal, his endogenous test production shut down, as an effect of his HIV. So he starts from a very low baseline, injects his test, which then has a very large proportional effect, which in turn slowly returns to a hypogonadal baseline after two weeks. Time for another injection.

Someone with normal test levels would return to a much higher baseline (subject to suppressive effects of course), which means the up-downs of Sullivan's almost bi-polar reaction to test, aren't nearly as intense.

As well, anyone who uses test will tell you that your mood is far more irritable and outburst-prone when you're coming off it...when your test levels are dropping and your stress hormone cortisol and also estrogen levels are rising. Test itself tends to produce a kind of spacious benevolent confidence, not any kind of "roid rage".

Sullivan is reading his own highly labile personality into test, and normal guys everywhere should realize its effects, while real, are nowhere near as intense as Andy makes them out to be.

Anonymous said...

----The Catholic hierarchy can't expect to either get most Catholics in line or get them to stop identifying as Catholics until it cleans house and excommunicates entire Kennedy clan, along with the entire DNC---

I didn't leave the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church left me...Seriously.

greenrivervalleyman said...

First off, The Economist is definitely not neocon unless contemptuous indifference toward the survival of Israel is somehow compatible with the neoconservative agenda. Second, it is tres ironic that Sullivan is now being eulogized in the pages of the very magazine he did a front cover drive-by on during his stint at The New Republic.

Regarding Steve's main point, though... yes, Sullivan's most consistent feature is his inconsistency, and though I appreciate the whole bio-reductionism paradigm as being Steve's "thing", I am hesitant to chalk up Sullivan's erraticism to better living through chemistry, rather than simply an overly-emotional temperament (a topic on which, by remarkable coincidence, I just finished writing on).

At the start of Bush II, Sullivan was one of the administration's most partisan hacks, to the extent that a correspondent accused him (in that incomparably vivid gay idiom) of happily "picking the corn from Bush's shit" (Sullivan at the time seemed to take that as a compliment). Now he is an Obama hack, claiming for his man in the White House supernatural powers of prescience(Obama knew of the sub-prime mortgage meltdown and tried to head it off) as well as compassion: for Sullivan, Obama's indifference to staging "war crimes" tribunals against Bush Administration officials is not because he is a self-involved head case, but because he loves too much and, Aslan-like, struggles between his passion for cosmic justice and his solemn vow never to make a child cry, even if that child belongs to Bill O'Reilley or Michelle Malkin.

One funny thing to note- most of Sullivan's prominence derives not from the quality or originality of his thought, but from the perversity of his political persona (gay, Catholic, "conservative", yada-yada-yada). We are now so inured to such identity politics outliers, though, that we take them for granted, which explains Hari's unintentionally hilarious opener: One of the leading bloggers is gay AND supports Obama AND is for same-sex marriage? Tell me more! You don't need an advanced degree in mathematics to realize that when you start out 180 degrees skewed from the mean, getting turned around another 180 degrees does not make you twice as fascinating.

Charlotte said...

"My understanding is that gays think that Montaigne was one of them (of course it would be easier to list the number of people that gays believe weren't one of them)."

Montaigne had 6 children--he thought. He is famous for writing that could not remember the exact number and would have to check with his wife.
I always knew my French major would come in handy.

SEO Company said...

The Economist thinks Andrew Sullivan is "conservative"