The Peretz Index: Number of words: 1,500. Number of self-references: 28. Number of $10 words: two ("tocsin" and "phantasmagorical"). Number of stupid comparisons: one (the Republicans are like Sen. Joe McCarthy because they have the "habit" of referring to the Democratic Party as the "Democrat Party," just as Joe did). Number of foreign words or phrases: one ("par excellence"). Number of grammatical errors flagged by Microsoft Word: one (he writes "It's" when he means "Its"). Number of sentences that begin with "And": nine. Number of British spellings: one (he writes "judgement" twice).
Addendum, Sept. 12: Reader e-mail: Don Geisz spots another misspelling. Peretz writes "dessert" when he obviously means "desert." Chris Shea suggests a perfect outlet for Peretz's scribblings, Adjunct Advocate. He describes it as "the magazine for the lowliest academic workers, those without tenure track jobs and therefore with zero stature in the academy." Dick Riley maintains that I'm missing the "fantastic consequences" of The Spine: "It will keep him (I hope!) off TNR's regular Plank, where all the good writers blog, and may even keep Peretz from writing articles. I thought—and commented to this effect on the TNR site—that Peretz, amazingly bad writer that he is, was ruining his magazine's website by sticking his two cents in throughout the Plank. The blog was hard to read not knowing how far down I was going to have to scroll to skip through Marty's endless posts. But now, he is cabined in his own space, and I just don't have to click on it. It's great!"
Addendum, Sept. 13: After reading this column Peretz uses The Spine to salute me as a "populist" and praise my "anti-intellectualism." Maybe I've been too tough on the old loon.
If he didn't own a piece of the New Republic and didn't blog, where could Peretz get published? The Washington Post "Close to Home" page? Send your nominations via e-mail to email@example.com. (E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise. Permanent disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.)
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