[Marxism] George Packer versus Mark Danner

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Nov 3 06:37:17 MST 2009

These are a couple of first-class idiots. Danner is a professor at Bard 
College who I have found multiple occasions to lambaste over the years 
for his Serbophobia. His articles in the New York Review were cut from 
the same cloth as Christopher Hitchens, even as he has presented himself 
as a peace advocate second to none. He has been a guest on Democracy Now 
and other left venues.

Packer, on the other hand, has been an imperialist mouthpiece in the 
Paul Berman mode for a number of years. He was an enthusiastic supporter 
of the war in Iraq until it turned sour. He clearly must resent Danner's 
attempts at making a career out of "tragedies" in the Third World 
warfare arenas, since this is something he regards as his own turf.

Danner's most recent book "Stripping Bare the Body", a likely bad faith 
work staking out his dubious pacifism, received a hostile review by 
Packer in the NY Times Book Review:


As much of a gargoyle Packer is, I could not help but smiling at his 
rude treatment of Danner's pretensions:

"Untethering his essayistic ambitions from ground-level journalism does 
not serve Danner well. A tendency toward inflated writing and 
overstatement starts to appear: there are too many self-­dramatizing 
turns of phrase, like “The first time I was killed, or nearly so”; too 
many moments when the writer, confronted with a destroyed city or a 
bloody mess of dismembered bodies, finds George F. Kennan or Henry James 
coming to mind."

You can get an idea about where this going next from the always witty 
and acerbic The Awl website:


All in all, this promises to be a delightful spectacle in the vein of 
the one that took place between Ian Buruma and Paul Berman a year or so 
ago. Buruma, another Bard professor, is a disgusting Islamophobe but 
pretends to be in favor of tolerance, etc. When he wrote a nasty review 
of Berman's atrocious Islamophobic book, Berman lashed out at him. 
Here's an account of that feud:


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