Saturday, December 14, 2013

Gladwell jabs back

Well I was wrong about Gladwell a few days ago when I wrote: "so Gladwell is secure and needn't respond to criticisms with angry jabs."

Gladwell did jab back at Tom Scocca for calling Gladwell out in his excellent On Smarm piece in Gawker. And it was a bad move, because it only invited further analysis of the career of Gladwell, and that turns out to be a very bad thing for Gladwell (reputation-wise with the cognoscenti - probably nothing can stop his career of publishing pop bestsellers.) 

For instance, although I had recently come to the conclusion that Gladwell was a lazy, self-impressed bullshitter after listening to a recording of a talk he gave at the recent New Yorker Festival on Tokens, Pariahs and Pioneers, it was thanks to the responses to Gladwell's response that I discovered the entry on Gladwell in the Shame the Hacks who Abuse Media Ethics web site, right up there with professional racist Charles Murray, professional laughingstock Megan McArdle, and professional douchebag and prostitution-obsessive Steven D. Levitt, one of the Freakonomics guys.

Apparently Gladwell started out as a Reaganite right-winger, and since then, when he isn't writing poorly-supported "counter-intuitive" best-sellers, he's acting as a brand advocate for the tobacco, pharmaceutical and financial industries.

Scocca has been a critic of Gladwell for years, but Scocca's response to Gladwell's response so far has been:

Malcolm Gladwell deepens our understanding of smarm by explaining that when Dave Eggers wrote the words "Do not be critics," he meant people should be critics.

Considering that Gladwell's standard approach is the counter-intuitive one, it only makes sense that he wants to report to the world that what Eggers words seem to mean are really the opposite! of what Eggers meant. As this Forbes writer calls it "peak counter-intuitiveness" in his critical response to the Gladwell offensive.

The New Republic also responds to Gladwell.

Look it's the Malcolm Gladwell Book Generator.