The Breakfast Table

From One Soi-Disant Ersatz Sophisticate to Another

Dear Mick–

The last time I was at this Breakfast Table, a reader e-mailed in with the opinion that my correspondent and I were so enchanted with ourselves that we probably woke up in the morning and looked in the mirror in thrall to our own cleverness; this didn’t strike me as an unfair assessment, as I have often felt much the same when reading other writers strive for wit under deadline. Likewise, I don’t mind being called an ersatz sophisticate, which I guess makes me a soi-disant ersatz sophisticate, which only proves the point. But I don’t like being called one of two overpaid morons, as another reader of this forum described us. I’m definitely not overpaid. I agree with what your reference to Arianna Huffington and Robert Novak suggests–the egotism inherent in punditry is evidently perversely less irritating to the world at large when proceeding from frank and unconflicted blowhards. Basically, if readers are annoyed with me for being a dissembling, conflicted blowhard, well, I’m not the biggest fan of my own writing myself. Certainly I don’t expect most people to agree with me on my politics, since I’m practically an advocate of armed overthrow of the state. If they did, it wouldn’t have to be armed.