04 September 2006


The art of sock puppetry by Baldassare Castiglione:

It is an art which does not seem to be an art. One
must avoid affectation and practice in all things a
certain sprezzatura, disdain or carelessness, so as
to conceal art, and make whatever is done or said
appear to be without effort and almost without any
thought about it ... obvious effort is the antithesis
of grace.
- The Book of the Courtier

* * *

An Apology to Our Readers

After an investigation, The New Republic has
determined that the comments in our Talkback section
defending Lee Siegel's articles and blog under the
username "sprezzatura" were produced with Siegel's
participation. We deeply regret misleading our readers.
Lee Siegel's blog will no longer be published by TNR,
and he has been suspended from writing for the

Franklin Foer
Editor, The New Republic

* * *

posted by sprezzatura on 2006-08-27 17:33:02 [respond]
I'm a huge fan of Siegel, been reading him since he
started writing for TNR almost ten years ago. (Full
disclosure: I'm an editor at a magazine in NYC and he's
written for me too.) I watch the goings-on and have to
scratch my head. The people who hate him the most are
all in their twenties and early thirties. There's this awful
suck-up named Ezra Klein--his "writing" is sweaty with
panting obsequious ambition--who keeps distorting
everything Siegel writes--the only way this no-talent can
get him. And I ask myself: why is it the young guys who
go after Siegel? Must be because he writes the way
young guys should be writing: angry, independent, not
afraid of offending powerful people. They on the other
hand write like aging careerists: timid, ingratiating,
careful not to offend people who are powerful. They
hate him because they want to write like him but can't.
Maybe if they'd let themselves go and write truthfully,
they'd get Leon Wieseltier to notice them too.

* * *

Robert Farley at LGM:

It seemed to me, reading Siegel's rants about the
blogosphere and popular culture, that he was raging
more than anything else at the loss of his own
status as an authoritative voice. In denouncing Kos,
or Kincaid, or people who wear baseball caps, what
seemed to come through more than anything else
was a frustrated "Listen to me!!!! Why aren't you
listening to me!?!?" Indeed we did; Siegel was able
to capture a bit of notoriety through making the
most ridiculous and absurd arguments conceivable,
but even that notoriety was dependent on his
position at TNR, which now seems to be at an end.

* * *

Sucks to be Seigel.

Fortunately, his sock puppet has bravely chosen to carry on
with a solo career.