Through dung-colored glasses

Through dung-colored glasses
: It has come to this: Atrios quoting Juan Cole. I have made a sport of reading Cole. There is not other weblog or news source anywhere this side of Pyongyang that is more one-sided. Cole does nothing but nothing all day but find every negative thing he can find that happened in Iraq today. A soldier killed. A pothole opened. Whatever. He made his point months ago. But like the most boring soul on earth, like a man condemned to his own hell of tedium, he keeps on finding every possible negative link. You can guess his analysis of the Bush trip to Iraq:

Instead, the President had to sneak in and out of Iraq for a quick and dirty photo op, clearly in fear of his life if the news of his visit had leaked. He did not even get time to eat a meal with the troops. He was there for two hours. He did not dare meet with ordinary Iraqis, with the people he had conquered (liberated).

Damned astute, Prof. Cole.

I just can’t tell you how happy I am that I don’t live in Michigan and my tax dollars don’t go to paying for your tenure, you laughable fraud.

  • button

    Jeff, looks like you left a B-old tag open.
    I read Prof Cole. He does read Arabic and is the only regular source of translation for the Azzaman newspaper. So, it’s not fair or accurate to call him a fraud. Besides that, he’s probably got tenure to shield him from criticism.
    I’ve been intending to send an email to the publisher of that newspaper and ask him to give us a pop-up on their website with English translations for a half-dozen of their headlines.

  • http://www.hfienberg.com/kesher/ Yehudit

    If you think Cole is a one-note Johnny, try Mikey Rivero. Here’s the antidote.

  • Anonymous

    The photo from the “tenure” link is hysterical! If this guy ran for office I’m sure he’d have a blazer thrown over 1 shoulder walking toward a sunset.

  • http://letterfromgotham.blogspot.com Diana

    Only the inimitable Yehudit would compare an expert like Juan Cole with a Jew-hating nutcase like Mickey Rivero.
    Jeff, you are an entertainment reporter, and by all accounts, an excellent one. Juan Cole is a specialist in Shi’ite history, and by all accounts, an excellent one.
    Whaddya say, he doesn’t criticize your entertainment reporting, and you don’t criticize his knowledge of Shi’a Islam. You can kvetch all you like about his blog, but not about his credentials.

  • capt joe

    ENNN, wrong Diana.
    He was not critizing the “most excellent” professor knowledge of shi’a islam. He was critizing his journalistic style and ethos. Since you retport that Jeff is an excellent reporter then I will listen to his statement on those affairs.

  • button

    Jeff is right about Juan Cole’s tone. Cole can be almost cartoonishly negative and pessimistic sometimes. I just try to retain my sense of humor when that happens. I’ve joshed Cole before about it on my own blog. Sometimes if I borrow a link or comment on an item, I may tease him about it.
    By the same token, when I came over here and read Jeff’s remarks about Cole, I was LOL.
    I’m sure he knows all the esoteric lowdown on all these ayatollahs. I don’t really care too much about that, although I did study philosophy in college. My main concern is whether they’re plannning to imitate the Iranian mass murderers next door. Maybe also what their end-of-the-world scenario looks like.
    Maybe if Cole reads Jeff’s ‘every pothole’ jibe, he’ll get some perspective on his sometimes dejected tone and get a better handle on it.
    You know, some of the Arabs were amazed that I didn’t know anything about Prof Daniel Pipes before Iraq. I had to explain to them that the US is a huge country with thousands of profs. It’s quite possible here to be familiar with one or two other profs who are experts in an area, but not a third prof who is also regarded as an expert. It’s a big country!
    Anyway, professors can get eccentric. It’s something that’s tolerated in the groves of the academy. I’ve had some eccentric professors. I’ve had all kinds of profs. Obviously, we can’t allow ourselves to get sucked into Juan Cole’s ‘Melancholia.’
    If you think about it, this is a hysterically funny conjunction: between a pessamistically-inclined prof and an entertainment editor. Normally, their paths probably would never cross, but because there’s a war which is reported in the media, voila!

  • button

    I just read his resume from yr link. I had never read it before. His is the only translation of Azzaman newspaper I can currently access, such as it is.

  • cris

    cole lives in the ‘people’s republic of ann arbor’. this is a city which used to be a quiet, dignified country town founded by germans who created a beautiful lovely place to live.
    then ann arbor ‘won’ (use the verb loosely, believe me) the right to have the university of michigan in its environs. (actually, dexter, michigan, won as they managed to stay a lovely country village and are still reasonable, well balanced folks, not overrun or overpopulated by ‘give everything away free to those who didn’t work for it or earn it folks’.)
    …. cole is useless, except to raise ire and provoke thought. anyone want him? better yet, anyone want to take ann arbor? we’ll pay you to transport them (as in ‘beam them up, scottie’) so the area can once again become what it was before the influx of so called ‘liberals’. these are people who don’t understand what the term ‘liberal’ really means.

  • Anon.

    Juan Cole is not a journalist. He’s a college professor who reads Arabic, Hebrew, Urdu and at least a couple of other Middle Eastern language. He provides a valuable resource in providing, to English speakers and free of charge, a look at what the Arab press is reporting.
    I thought diversity of voices was what blogging is all about? Or is it just that itchy “taxpayer dollars” thing that bugs you, Mr. O’Reil–, er, Mr. Jarvis?