Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Oh what a tangled web we weave.....

So I'm reading Mark Thoma's blog and I see a link to KathyG. Hmmm, I say, I've seen her ripping Megan McArdle, maybe I should check out her blog. So I do and I find a newish post ripping Megan and the Atlantic for only having one female blogger. Kathy says:

How about, say, the brilliant Echidne of the Snakes? The Atlantic's sole female blogger and supposed expert on economics, Megan McArdle, consistently embarrasses The Atlantic and herself by the many rudimentary errors about economics she makes.....

But instead of, or in addition to, McArdle, they could have a real live Ph.D.-wielding economist who actually knows what the f**k she's talking about! Imagine that! In addition to her economic expertise, Echidne is a damned good writer. Even though she grew up in (I believe) Finland and English isn't her first language, Echidne, even on her worst day, writes with wit, verve, and style. In English. Whereas McArdle would be hard-pressed to write her way out of a paper bag. In English.

Wow, I say, this Echidne must be great. So I go check her blog and I find this:

Wouldn't peace be nice right about now? We could then focus on arguing about all the nitty-gritty stuff, such as rebuilding the dangerous infrastructure of this country. Of course Banana Republics require a dangerous infrastructure and as a Banana Republic seems to be on the plank of the Republican Party as the future of this country I guess that we won't see those bridges fixed. Could someone tell me, please, how much work has been done since last summer's bridge collapse? And how much money has been spent in Iraq during the same time frame?

On the other hand of the scales of victory, there is a new Kentucky Fried Chicken store in Fallujah. So the troops can come home now and start fixing the bridges, right? I love being a naive goddess.

WTF?? First some crazy unsubstantiated raving:

America's infrastructure is "dangerous"?

Republicans want America to be a "banana republic"?

Then, though, the laziness:

"Could someone tell me please how much work has been done.... and how much money has been spent in Iraq?"

Wow, isn't that your whole point? Why don't you look it up and tell us. And while you are at it, why don't you unpack for us your implicit argument that every dollar of war spending would instead flow to infrastructure if there was peace, and that the troops would be building bridges here if not fighting there.

Now to be fair, a lot of bloggers are lazy (including me!) so I guess I'm not ripping Echidne, but rather KathyG for suggesting the "naive goddess" as an brilliant economic expert who's being kept from blogging at the Atlantic only by gender bias. I searched a fair amount of the Echidne blog and the post I report is quite representative of the commentary there.

All that said, I agree with Kathy that it is ridiculous that there is only one woman blogger at the Atlantic. I nominate Great Satan's Girlfriend!


Dan in Euroland said...

Yikes. For a reported PhD in econ, Echnide's analysis of the likely effects of the Paycheck Fairness Act was unspectacular. Say what you want about McArdle, but at least she tries to apply some economic thinking in her analyses.

prison rodeo said...

I'm no fan of Echdne, but GSGF's really appalling.

I nominate Robin Hanson.

echidne said...

I am not writing an economics blog but an opinion blog (as you can see at the top of the blog), and sometimes the opinion is about something else than economics. In the example you quoted it was about the way our media operates, how it seldom gives us the information we need on topics such as the war or the state of the infrastructure and how instead it focuses on the horse race aspect of politics. Those rhetorical questions were part of that same attempt to describe what I see as media failure in this country.

To find my economic analysis on the wage gap, go to www.echidne-of-the-snakes.com and click on the series on Gender Gap. While you are there you can also read the series on the use of statistics in surveys. Both of these were initially on my blog.

To find writing which is not off-the-cuff, check out this recent article.

GrEaT sAtAn'S gIrLfRiEnD said...

Hi Angus!
Thanks for the nomination. Would certainly consider it.
I think Prison Rodeo meant "really appealing".

Echidne is totally correct about the lazy lame stream media.

Thankfully the LSM's failure is driving people to do their own research - often coming up with conclusions that often drive a stake through the heart of the LSM's weak, inappropriate, incorrect and boring makebelieveology

Petra Orvetti said...

I want to the The Atlantic's new female blogger. Trouble is, I'm a dude. But I'll dress in drag. It'll be like "Tootsie" with better wigs.

Anonymous said...

Kathy G seems sort of like Krugman without the John Bates Clark medal: grinding and humorless, but with no obvious original insight. McArdle is engaging and pleasant to read, as well as trying to apply principles to what she sees. Seems to do her own thinking.

Dan in Euroland said...


Fair enough, and thanks for the links.