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A discussion on the value of the insult

This is an exchange with Glenn Greenwald of First Look, which began on email. Both of us live and write largely in public, so we might as well continue the back-and-forth on the web.

Glenn and I are rivals for talent, tussling over the affections of editors such as John Cook. And I'm more evangelical about free-market capitalism. But when I'm in Brazil, I make my pilgrimage — this time to an all-you-can-eat restaurant near Glenn's home, boasting "our forte is meat".


I'm back in New York. Damn, that's a long overnight flight. Still woozy. How do you do it? Oh, right, you don't that often!

Dinner — both the conversation and the meat — was delicious. Give my regards to David. I hope the baby talk didn't cause you too many problems!


When I got back to the hotel, I read your piece on the Sony hack, and the stenography of Max Fisher and others.

Unsurprisingly, the most egregious (and darkly amusing) "report" came from Vox's supremely error-plagued and government-loyal national security reporter Max Fisher. Writing on the day of Obama's press conference, he not only announced that "evidence that North Korea was responsible for the massive Sony hack is mounting," but also smugly lectured everyone that "North Korea's decision to hack Sony is being widely misconstrued as an expression of either the country's insanity or of its outrage over The Interview." The article was accompanied by a typically patronizing video, narrated by Fisher and set to scary music and photos, and the text of the article purported to "explain" to everyone the real reason North Korea did this.


Your piece was brutal, and brutally effective. But I did wonder whether you would have been quite so harsh if you'd been discussing the matter conversationally. You're so charming in person, and such a killer on the page.

I do wonder which is more effective. (For Gawker, too.)

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