From Columbia Journalism Review: “Harper's Ben Metcalf Throws Hissy Fit, Spits Up”:
In the end, all of Metcalf's rage adds up to quite a spectacle -- like watching a toddler in the midst of a temper tantrum, clenching his fists, and smashing at his tinker toys with his favorite Tonka Truck. Several thousand words in, we found ourselves thinking, "Go ahead Big Guy, keep going, get it all out of your system..."I used to subscribe to Harper’s back when it had thoughtful articles on topics like the sugar industry and the World Series of Poker, before 80% of Americans had heard of it. Now, like Rolling Stone, it’s morphed into a fever swamp of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Too bad. (Hat tip: Free Republic)
Not that Metcalf's column is without its merits. Along the way, he succeeds at the previously unlikely feat of making his "Notebook" predecessor, Lewis Lapham, sound like the soothing, moderate voice of reason.
No doubt, many Harper's readers who share Metcalf's insatiable rage at the president will embrace his wild child routine as a daring bit of truth telling. But, at the same time, Metcalf's pompous personal attack on the president will also provide some great fodder for anyone looking to dismiss the legitimate investigative reporting and well-reasoned political criticism found elsewhere in Harper's -- that is, the type of writing that keeps us picking up the magazine.