In 'N' Out Economic Analysis

« May 2013 »

Memo to Niall Ferguson: YOU ALMOST ESCAPED THIS.

Let me give you a little behind-the-scenes look at my thought process when determining whether or not someone gets into this column or not when they do something stupid. And for that look, let's use Harvard historian Niall Ferguson as an example, because he was in, then out, then miraculously in again.

It all started when reports surfaced of a talk Ferguson gave in which a question about Keynsian economics came up. Keynes, of course, is the world-famous economist nobody follows any more because hippies smell bad. Keynes predates hippies, but hippies like him and everyone hates hippies so everyone hates Keynes even though he's probably right and the stuff everyone's been doing out of Keynes-hate hasn't been working for shit. Anyway.

Anyway, Ferguson explained that Keynes didn't care about the future of society because Keynes was gay, and therefore childless, and therefore didn't care about the future. And therefore we should discount his theories.

This qualified Ferguson for YAD status instantly. Discounting a point of view that's already being discounted far too often, just because gay people are all gay and weird and stuff. Column, easy.

But then the Internet yelled at Ferguson, and Ferguson heard the Internet yell at him, and Ferguson apologized. And I mean REALLY apologized. The way you're supposed to. Admitted he was wrong. Admitted why he was wrong. Didn't try to defend his comments or the reason he made them. I mean, yeah, he tried to dismiss them as "off the cuff" even though he'd said, and written, the same thing in the past, but it was a good apology. Good enough to get him out of the column.

Case closed. Take the stuff out of the research pile, move on to Bachmann or whatever. Except then, a day or two later, Ferguson, apparently finding the world outside the hole he'd dug for himself a strange and terrifying place, jumped right the fuck back in. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"To be accused of prejudice is one of the occupational hazards of public life nowadays. There are a remarkable number of people who appear to make a living from pouncing on any utterance that can be construed as evidence of bigotry."

Um, dude. You said gay people don't care about the future. That can, in fact, be construed as evidence of bigotry on account of it being evidence of bigotry. A lot of people noticed because it was blatantly obvious evidence of bigotry. And prejudice. Being accused of that isn't actually an occupational hazard unless you use your public life to say obviously bigoted and prejudicial things.

"The charge of homophobia is equally easy to refute. If I really were a 'gay-basher', as some headline writers so crassly suggested, why would I have asked Andrew Sullivan, of all people, to be the godfather of one of my sons, or to give one of the readings at my wedding?"

So, um, one of your best friends is gay? And not just gay, but one of the conservative movement's leading token gay friends during the entire Bush era? Well, close the books on that, folks! Niall Ferguson personally gave a gay dude a stake in the future by letting him be pretend father to one of his sons! That totally changes his remarks on Keynes to exactly the same thing.

He's also since said that Keynes' feelings about the Treaty of Versailles were shaped by him totally being hot for the bod of a German banker. We have yet to see any evidence that Niall has questioned the opinions of heterosexuals of the time based on who they were hot for, but there I go again, making a living off of pouncing on an utterance again.

I don't know whether Ferguson got shit from his right-wing benefactors for admitting he was wrong, or if it just ate at him for, like, 36 hours that he had to tell everyone he was wrong. Either way, he ventured back into the land of the dumb, and thus, back into my good graces. Bad graces? Whatever. He's a dipshit.