Matt Yglesias Has a Problem–Updated
March 7th, 2012

He thinks that his problem is that mean people who are stupid followers of Andrew Breitbart’s cult are giving his Kindle book bad reviews.

But in reality, his problem is that he constructs sentences like this:

For example, it’s a book largely dedicated to making the case for less regulation of urban and suburban land. The kind of thing that conservatives might be open to, were they need just in a fury of rage.

“were they need just in a fury of rage”

Don’t get fixated on the “need,” which is probably just a typo. It’s the “fury of rage” construct that’s the real prize.

Remember: He’s not doing this as a hobbyist. Someone at the Washington Post Company paid him to write this self-serving, sub-literate, word tangle.

Update: Yglesias leaves a comment below. That’s embarrassing enough. But having read his comment three or four times, best as I can tell it’s a non sequitur. Then again, I suppose the Washington Post Company isn’t paying him for reading comprehension. (Or reporting. Or prose style. Or knowing stuff.) They pay him for his “passion.”

That’s their business. I’d just say that passion is a pretty cheap commodity in writing. You can find buckets of it in every comments section from Free Republic to Democratic Underground. Over the years Slate has had lots of really dynamite writers: Seth Stevenson, John Dickerson, Anne Applebaum, Tim Noah, Will Saletan, Jodi Kantor–just to pick a few. They’re all stone-cold studs and none of them got graded on the curve for how passionate they are.

  1. CourageMan March 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    To paraphrase one of the commenters at Yglesias’ whinge … “you mean being a public asshole can have consequences that you don’t like from people you offend. Why didn’t Yglesias learn THAT at Harvard?”

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  3. Matthew Yglesias March 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Do you actually think the negative reviews reflect discontent with my typos rather than anger at my statements on Breitbart?

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  5. Galley Friend J.E. March 7, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Hey, if it weren’t for “self-serving, sub-literate, word tangle”s, I wouldn’t have no luck at all.

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  7. TallDave March 8, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Well, in Matt’s defense, has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?

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  9. CLaRGe December 3, 2013 at 3:10 pm


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  11. Failing to Protect Copyright Has Consequences for Content Producers March 8, 2012 at 11:03 am

    […] this helps clear everything up. I’d hate to send anyone into a fury of rage and/or […]

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  13. Actually Dewewe March 8, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    matty gles needs to read the reviews himself instead of ass-uming and projecting motives first, then trying to get others to do the hard work of reading and reflecting for him (as he is wont).
    Personally, I have read the reviews (better than the book (free pdf, of course) in my opinion) – many reviewers do suggest that they are indeed offended that such a bad writer and poor thinker who safely makes a living echoing others’ ideas and hate for a living turns out, on top of that, also to be a bad person who thinks rules of common decency and decorum don’t apply to special people like him and tries to besmirch his betters or offend the families of those who actually accomplished things he never could with his life of privileged leeching.
    But many other reviewers don’t seem very shocked by, or even aware of, his breitbart fail; but just enjoy piling on such a laughably ignorant, easy target, and most of them never mention his uncultivated, dissipated character or barbaric behavior: they seem genuinely disappointed that something of poor quality is being sold and has wasted their time or money. Some just want refunds after having their intelligence insulted for a needlessly exorbitant price, and now cannot pay their own rent because some rich guy had to get “published.” These were the most touching and enraging ones to read.
    matty probably is just up to his old tricks of excusing his lack of quality control and deflecting any genuine criticism or astonishment at the fact that he has a job and presumes any degree of intellectual authority on anything whatsoever; but he sounds like someone experiencing some deep-seeded remorse for something he did, who traces all the consequences of every inept deed back to the one instance that he, somehow, deep-down, knows he should be ashamed of for some reason, no matter how much approval, affirmation, and reassurance he can find among colleagues or from blogs.
    The drumbeat of his viciousness under the floorboards just grows louder no matter how loudly he protests, nitpicks, deflects, or imitates.

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  15. J March 8, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    This reminded me of another time Yglesias showed up in a comment section to defend himself:

    You did an ok job JVL, but when it comes to criticizing Yglesias, Ioz is the master.

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  17. tom3 March 9, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    What about the following statement:

    People [should][should not] not use an author’s Amazon reviews to mock or attack the author, but only to mock or attack the book.

    From the greatest hits I saw on another site, some of the Yglesias reviews seemed pretty funny. And Yglesias’s comments about Breitbart were not just dickish but uninformed.

    But should people on the left feel free to fake comment on your new Kindle-published Batman fan fiction?

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  19. Taming The Fury Of Rage: How Not To Write, Starring Slate’s Matt Yglesias December 3, 2013 at 7:49 am

    […] jolly group of fans—some favorites have emerged. The Weekly Standard’s Jonathan Last flagged this classic, where the Slate blogger gripes about conservatives giving his book a one-star review on […]