RUSH: Victor Davis Hanson has just posted a piece on The Corner at National Review Online, the Corner blog there, and it’s about Ronan Farrow, and it’s a really smart piece. As you know, I have been maybe a bit too inside baseball on this.
I don’t know how many of you actually really care about this stuff, but I do, and I talk about what I care about, and I try to make it interesting if I think you’re gonna be bored by it, but what is happening is classic, and it dovetails also I might say with the left’s outrage over this Cadillac commercial. So let’s start at the beginning. Ronan Farrow. I had never heard of Ronan Farrow until maybe eight weeks ago or less.
I never heard of him, and then all of a sudden he’s everywhere, because Woody Allen was in the news and he is either Woody Allen’s kid or Frank Sinatra’s kid. His mother is Mia Farrow. This circumstance with this — and this is not really about him. It’s about the world he’s been raised in and the expectations that leftist elites have of him. It’s classic. It also, I think, explains Obama.
But, remember, now, it all is related to the divisiveness of the Cadillac commercial and hard work versus the sophistication of laziness as sponsored by the American left. So out of the blue comes Ronan Farrow. Now, you may have heard of him. I haven’t. He’s 26, and all of a sudden he was a wunderkind. All of a sudden, as far as the leftist media was concerned, this kid had everything. He had “it.”
He was the next savior, the next big answer, the next big thing.
Except for one thing: He’s never done anything. Rhodes Scholar, Yale degree in something or other, but he never really worked in anything. He had never done anything. He’d never gotten good at anything. He didn’t even know about television! But all of a sudden, a guy named Phil Griffin, who was the president of NBC, decides, “This is the guy we’re going to build the future of our network on!”
So Victor Davis Hanson picks it up. “Young, charismatic, good-looking, hip, and glib are all superficial traits that supposedly cerebral liberal elites have a bad habit of believing trump experience, knowledge, humility, and what the Greeks called pathei mathos, learning through requisite pain.”
In other words, if you’re young, if you’re charismatic, if you’re good-looking, if you’re hip, if you’re cool, if you’re glib — if you have all the superficial traits that we can say you have — then that will trump experience, knowledge, humility, and hard work and learning about life through pain and failure and so forth.
“Once someone is acclaimed as a liberal prodigy by elites, stamped with the right Ivy League brand and aristocratic contacts that resonate through networking and cocktail parties along the Boston to DC Corridor, all normal cross-examination seems to end.” This young man, Ronan Farrow, who hasn’t done anything yet — he’s too young to have done anything! But he is good-looking.
He’s charismatic, they say, he’s hip, he’s glib! He might be Frank Sinatra’s kid! He’s Mia Farrow’s son. Oh, he’s got it all. “He is anointed a genius,” just like Obama was! He is anointed a genius — and then usually Nemesis strikes, in the fashion that the once just-about-to-be-appointed New York senator Caroline Kennedy could not find a polling place or finish a sentence without a ‘you know’ (142 times in an interview), or Barack Obama became,” the latest, greatest thing.
“Harvard Law can teach one everything one needs to know except how to pronounce corpsmen, establish a deadline, red line, or step-over line, and why not to be post-election flexible with Vladimir Putin who really was America’s chief conventional worry all along. So too Mr. Farrow, who is suddenly supposed to be a seasoned celebrity pundit with good ratings. He may prove just that in time.
“But for now take away his degrees, his parentage, and his contacts, and he is a twentysomething earnest young fellow who knows almost nothing about the real world outside his social-economic-political embryo, and nothing about the world of TV. He would have profited enormously from a different sort of ten-year apprenticeship bouncing around local Midwest stations, earning the requisite beat experience — and safely distant from his mother’s insider friends.
“The irony is that all this used to be called ‘privilege’ or perhaps, in this particular case, even ‘white privilege.'” But here’s the thing, and I want to be very careful here. At no time have I been mocking or laughing at Ronan Farrow. My point has always been the expectations the left has attached to him, the hopes they’ve attached to him.
It’s just like when they started Air America. They didn’t know what they were doing. They had nobody who had been in broadcasting. They thought that it was a fundraising operation. They thought that that’s how they survived, with funding and donations and underwriters. They had no idea about the free market. They had no idea about radio. They knew nothing about broadcasting.
They didn’t know they can’t took to succeed in that business — and neither does this guy, and he’s been thrown into a situation where he alone is supposed to redefine and rocket to success this dismal failure of a network, all because of what? His liberalism, his pedigree, his looks, his hipness, his mom, maybe his dad, his education. He hasn’t done diddly-squat.
Three days on the air and they give him the Cronkite award. It’s perfect. See, this, to the left, this is how you get places. This is what should happen in America. You have the right elitist parents, you get the proper education. You don’t work hard. You just get exposed to the right things. You get exposed to the right people, hopefully with their clothes on. You get exposed to the right situations. You are simply exposed and surrounded by all that you are to become and all that is expected of you, and simply by being exposed, simply by being in that presence, you are a success. That’s why they hate the Cadillac ad. It disapproves their little dream world.
So this young man’s been thrown into a circumstance and anointed success before he’s enjoyed any, and anointed genius before he’s proved it. He’s been throw into a world, he does not understand television, he’s never done it. He doesn’t understand media, other than make sure it says the right thing at Page Six. That’s the extent. And so now the bottom is dropping out, the bottom’s falling out because broadcasting is like any other business: There are traits successful people in it have. And they’re learned. Like anything else, it takes experience, hard work. You’ve got to fail.
Hard work. You gotta fail; you’ve gotta learn; you’ve gotta deal with certain different kinds of people. You’ve gotta learn how to relate to an audience, connect to an audience. None of that. Everything has been given in this case, simply by virtue of genealogy, just like the Kennedys. Anointed geniuses, anointed brilliance, anointed simply because of the sperm cells. And the same thing’s happened to this guy.
And Victor Davis Hanson’s point, he talked about Caroline Kennedy, she was the next great Kennedy and she couldn’t speak in public, and she didn’t know how to eat in public. She couldn’t even find her own polling place. But she’s smarter than anybody else around.
Barack Obama had not done diddly-squat. Community organizer. Smartest politician ever. Because of what? Well, in this case, black. Two, pedigree. Three, Chicago system. Four, the Democrats really didn’t want Hillary. If we get down to brass tacks, they really didn’t want Hillary in 2008, dare I say it, which also facilitated the upward mobility of Barack Obama. But in no case, in no circumstance in either example will you find any hard work. You won’t find a success track. You won’t find a trail of experience.
In fact, in the Obama administration, they don’t have anybody that’s ever worked in the private sector. They’re all public sector appointees or professors, people who’ve lived off grants. They don’t have any people that have ever met a payroll, run a small business, but yet they know more than anybody else. They know more about the health care system than any hospital. They know more about the health care system than any doctor. They know more about the health care system than any pharmaceutical company. They know more about the insurance business than anybody who’s ever worked in it. They never have, but they know this is who they are, anointed geniuses.
And what is it that anoints them? Where they went to school. In some cases, who their parents are. In other cases, it’s their expectations. In some cases it’s their sexual orientation. In some cases it’s their race. No evidence of success is ever needed. No evidence of hard work or failure is ever required. Andrew Klavan wrote something. I didn’t print it out. I’m not even gonna try to paraphrase it. It’s something we’ve all thought of. It’s about the irony of the left and the way they look at private sector elements as total dismal failures and can’t accomplish anything, and yet government, which can’t do anything right, to them is infallible. But he words it more effectively than that. I shall find it.
In the meantime, I think this is another one of these teachable moments in the quest to get people to understand just who people on the left are. And of course, you know, all this lack of achievement, lack of experience, lack of success, what is it that trumps all that? Well, of course the genealogy. But there is the requisite, you’ve got to make people think you care about all the victims. And you’ve got to learn who to blame for all the victims. And you’ve gotta be devoted to the concept of equality. Except you will never stand for somebody being as good as you. You’ll pound all your competitors into the ground, but everybody else is gonna be forced into being the same.