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October 03, 2004

Kramer on Meeting Criticism Targets; Lincoln on Condescension

Jay Nordlinger's "The Joy of Tokenism" has three good separate bits, on Kramer's attitude on meeting people who's work he'd criticized, the Chicago Times on Lincoln, and Lincoln on being condescended to. ...

... Hilton Kramer, the eminent art critic and co-founder of The New Criterion. At a dinner once, he and Woody Allen were seated next to each other. The actor said, "So, Mr. Kramer, do you find it embarrassing when you encounter people whose work you have slammed?" "No," replied Hilton: "I think they should be embarrassed for having made such lousy art." Later on, Hilton realized that he had once criticized a movie that Allen was in (The Front).


It so happened that, during this weekend, I was reading a biography of Lincoln, and noted that many of the denunciations of the 16th president sounded familiar. After a Lincoln speech, the editor of the (Democratic) Chicago Times wrote, "The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat and dishwatery utterances of the man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as the President of the United States."

The speech to which the editor was referring was the Gettysburg Address.


And a good many liberals were awfully warm to this conservative. Most of the compliments were sincere, I'd say. Others were of the "For a fat girl, you don't sweat much" variety. I noted something else in that Lincoln biography. He said, "I have endured a great deal of ridicule without much malice, and have received a great deal of kindness not quite free from ridicule. I am used to it." I'm no Lincoln, believe me, but I know what he is saying.

Posted by erasmuse at October 3, 2004 08:20 PM

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