November 2, 2002

MARC HEROLD, AUTHOR OF BOGUS CIVILIAN-CASUALTY STATISTICS, HAS FALLEN INTO THE TRAP. And Matt Welch has noticed. I’m unimpressed by Herold’s inability to spell Iain Murray’s name. Er, and by this phrase of Herold’s: “But since my way of being has been to be a ‘grand seigneur’ overlooking the little attempted stings, I will do just exactly what you requested.”

A “grand seigneur”? Get a grip, Herold: you’re a freakin’ professor. I wrote something a while back about the tendency of academics to take this sort of line:

Today’s academia is descended from the clerical scholars and courtier intellectuals of the middle ages. Those folks naturally identified with the princes and potentates who provided their funding. Today’s academics affect to identify with the working classes, but many of their attitudes — a contempt for popular culture, a low regard for business and commerce and a desire to set themselves apart from the common herd — are leftovers from a bygone era. There’s a reason why kings and princes are no longer found in our society; emulating them isn’t going to make you popular.

This is the kind of thing I was talking about. “Grand seigneur?” Sheesh.

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