May 29, 2003

L.A.'s Hardest-Working Medi...

L.A.'s Hardest-Working Media Reporter, on the Scheer-Horowitz Debate: There are some people, I guess, who think Luke Ford is a disgrace to journalism or something. But I'll tell you this -- he's the only man in town going to nearly every journalist confab in town, and typing up his observations ASAP. And, though his perceptions are, ah, different than the average reporter's, he is also more genuinely honest than most. While I'm sleeping tonight, Luke will be finishing up his report on the Bob Scheer-David Horowitz debate at the Writer's Guild. His early take?

Robert Scheer Wins Writers Guild Debate On Style, Wit
Though I agree more with David Horowitz.

The biggest surprise of the evening was not the large number of heckling interruptions when Horowitz spoke or how rude the crowd was to him and less frequently Titley and Stewart. No, for me it was the charm and humor of Robert Scheer. He was hilarious.

And I am a conservative Republican. I came prepared to hate Scheer. I'd read Cathy Seipp tear him to pieces. I'd read him cut up on LaExaminer.com and Instapundit.

Scheer is a man of genuine wit. His performance reminded me of when Al Gore spoke in the University of Judaism speaker series three months ago. I hate Al Gore but I was charmed and amused by him.

Unlike Gore, who must've practiced and rehearsed all his joke, Scheer just comes up with zingers naturally.

This rings true from my 15-plus years of knowing (and being fond of) Bob. The man's quite funny, and a better extemporaneous speaker, in my view, than a columnist. Kudos to Luke for refusing to be predictable.

Posted by at May 29, 2003 11:53 PM
Comments

Why is Luke Ford a great journalist? Because he tells you all the reasons why he's going to be against something or other, and then is totally honest when something or other wins him over.

And yeah, Bob Scheer is a funny weirdo. I wish his national columns showed some of that humor and such.

Posted by: Ken Layne at May 30, 2003 01:28 AM

I watched one of those pre-war debates with Scheer and Hitchens(on c-span). Bob's(not me but the person mentioned in the article) was that Iraq needs to make its own history. I thought that was the most intellectually lazy thought I heard in a long while. Isn't that the whole point, Bob, Saddam has made plenty of history! This fucker, Saddam, has done plenty to fill many of books. There was another debate after the war with Hitch and others, Bob was rather unimpressive once again. Dare I say, there was nothing there.

Posted by: Bob at May 30, 2003 01:33 AM

Bob -- I attended one of those debates, at the Wiltern in L.A., and I was struck by how Bob totally won the room (and Hitch totally lost it; there were two other guys there, but they didn't generate any electricity), but that I was sure if I read the transcript or even watched it on teevee the situation would be exactly reversed. Bob knows how to play to the home crowd, and he's got one hell of a home crowd in L.A.

But I think there's actually something to that point you object to, as a general principle. Revolutions imposed from the outside have far less staying power than those generated from within, I'd guess.

Posted by: Matt Welch at May 30, 2003 07:51 AM

I hate to log on on this subject again, ad tedium, ad nauseum, but I was at the Wiltern Theatre too that night and found Scheer a disgraceful panderer, playing to the audience with the banal litany "It's about oil!" (Well, yes, and a lot of other things too.) And as for the "argument" that Iraq should make it's "own history," well, I don't want to dignify it with a response, but there's a one word answer -- Auschwitz... And on that happy note, I'm hoping to go on to other subjects than one man's opinion. Like who the Laker's should get at power forward or how much vodka I should consume at tonight's party. See y'all later.

Posted by: Roger L. Simon at May 30, 2003 08:43 AM

I should add that Hitch wasn't neccessarily lighting the T.V. on fire either. He simply restated his position over and over with some innuendo thrown.

It is interesting that Bob has some sort of charasmatic side to him that has been confirmed by two people of different philosophies. Maybe he and Dubya have something in common after all.

I would agree that change from within has greater power in the long run than something imposed from the outside. Our goal wasn't neccessarily broader change for Iraq it was the removal of a specific regime from power. This regime has invaded two countries in the last 25 years. At the very least, Bob would be for war just to punish a person who imposed their history on others. By his arguments, we should, in essence, become isolationists lest we have any influence on persons, countries or genocidal war. After all, weren't the Hutu's making their own history?

Posted by: Bob at May 30, 2003 11:25 AM

Scheer played the crowd better. Horowitz didn't have a chance to play the crowd, it was 90% hostile.

Robert can be disarmingly funny and he's an accomplished public speaker and panelist. I loathe most of his views.

Posted by: Luke Ford at May 30, 2003 12:09 PM

Scheer's inane sarcasm at the Wiltern registered as preaching to the choir... It did not attract those of who us who are not yet believers (or are lapsed).

Hitchens was redundent only with respect to the months of argument that had come before. He'd also debated Danner in January: A spotty transcipt but complete audio and video streams can be had near here.

I went to Koreatown at that late and rainy hour to be persuaded about war one way or the other. Hitchens made the choice comfortable. Best points (or new ones to me): Blix' tomfoolery in Korea, the UN's buttfuckery in so many contexts, noting that we'd seen evidence war via "no-fly zones" for TEN YEARS on the front page of the LAT, and the evolution of Wolfowitz' argument.

Sweetest of all was his slapdown of Danner & Scheer's smirking implication that having erred in the mideast earlier, we couldn't hope to succeed now. That's a sixth-grader's argument.

Ford's an important resource, but his best work this week was with Alkon... Who unlike Scheer, honors her readers by being a lot of fun to look at.

And Steve Smith, if you're reading: The last use of the word "polemicist" I'd encoundered (before yours in a nearby comment) was in Hitchen's Wiltern introduction. It's not a nasty thing to be called.

Posted by: Cridland at May 31, 2003 12:22 AM

I ran into Hitchens outside the Wiltern that night. His eyes looked a bit wild, and he tried quite enthusiastically to convince us to give money and respect to a street musician who was blowing a pretty damned good saxophone.....

Posted by: Matt Welch at May 31, 2003 11:45 AM

While Robert Scheer might have won the debate on style and wit, after reading Luke Ford's report in its entirety, I honestly think David Horowitz won the debate on extraordinary courage and conviction. It is far easier to please a crowd than it is to be shouted down by hundreds of angry leftists at once. And it was very telling to read about Horowitz incurring the wrath of religious conservatives for speaking up against anti-gay bigotry. I am sure that Scheer is a nice guy (and no doubt a highly amusing extemporaneous speaker), but I vote for Horowitz as the winner, and after reading the linked piece I admire him more than ever.

Posted by: Eric Scheie at June 2, 2003 04:49 PM

Indeed, Scheie. I fully agree with you. Great comment.

Posted by: Robert Light at June 5, 2003 10:21 AM
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hitchensdanner-debate.html">here.

I went to Koreatown at that late and rainy hour to be persuaded about war one way or the other. Hitchens made the choice comfortable. Best points (or new ones to me): Blix' tomfoolery in Korea, the UN's buttfuckery in so many contexts, noting that we'd seen evidence war via "no-fly zones" for TEN YEARS on the front page of the LAT, and the evolution of Wolfowitz' argument.

Sweetest of all was his slapdown of Danner & Scheer's smirking implication that having erred in the mideast earlier, we couldn't hope to succeed now. That's a sixth-grader's argument.

Ford's an important resource, but his best work this week was with Alkon... Who unlike Scheer, honors her readers by being a lot of fun to look at.

And Steve Smith, if you're reading: The last use of the word "polemicist" I'd encoundered (before yours in a nearby comment) was in Hitchen's Wiltern introduction. It's not a nasty thing to be called.

Posted by: Cridland at May 31, 2003 12:22 AM

I ran into Hitchens outside the Wiltern that night. His eyes looked a bit wild, and he tried quite enthusiastically to convince us to give money and respect to a street musician who was blowing a pretty damned good saxophone.....

Posted by: Matt Welch at May 31, 2003 11:45 AM

While Robert Scheer might have won the debate on style and wit, after reading Luke Ford's report in its entirety, I honestly think David Horowitz won the debate on extraordinary courage and conviction. It is far easier to please a crowd than it is to be shouted down by hundreds of angry leftists at once. And it was very telling to read about Horowitz incurring the wrath of religious conservatives for speaking up against anti-gay bigotry. I am sure that Scheer is a nice guy (and no doubt a highly amusing extemporaneous speaker), but I vote for Horowitz as the winner, and after reading the linked piece I admire him more than ever.

Posted by: Eric Scheie at June 2, 2003 04:49 PM

Indeed, Scheie. I fully agree with you. Great comment.

Posted by: Robert Light at June 5, 2003 10:21 AM
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