Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pauline Kael syndrom

Mr. Overwater sends this interesting historical note, from Charles Murray's blog:

Those famous words of Pauline Kael, “How can Nixon have won? No one I knew voted for him” weren’t quite what she said. Prof. John Pitney at Claremont McKenna sent me the actual quote, from the New York Times of 28 December 1972: “I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.” Sort of the same thing, I know, but then I got another email from someone who wrote, “Pauline was a good friend, and was the farthest thing from a smug, unself-aware adherent of dumb liberal cant as you could imagine . . . She undoubtedly viewed Nixon as a sick puppy. But she was no insular, snobbish Margaret Dumont.” I take his assessment at face value, and will henceforth strike “Pauline Kael Syndrome” from my rhetorical arsenal.

Charles is right. That's different enough. Thanks to Mr. Overwater, well played.

But I had the direct experience of what "Pauline Kael syndrome" is taken to mean, at UT-Austin, in 1988.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for linking to your write-up of UT circa '88. Don't think much has changed.