Y'know, every time I think of throwing over my day job in the academy & becoming a free-lance critic/writer type – well, actually every time I think of that a bill comes in the mail, & I'm reminded of how useful an actual income is – I think about the very few folks out there who actually have the big magazine-mass audience-public intellectual gigs. I think about James Wood, whose writing puts me to sleep faster than three double martinis with a quaalude chaser.
Or I think about Adam Kirsch, who's somehow unaccountably convinced people that he knows something about contemporary poetry. If you care to get mildly or grandly irritated, check out Kirsch's latest in the New Republic on Slavoj Zizek, the malign genius who – if we're to believe Kirsch – "is engaged in the rehabilitation of many of the most evil ideas of the last century." An astonishing farrago of out-of-context quotations, superficial misreadings, and ad hominem attacks. Kirsch makes David Lehman on Paul de Man seem subtle.