When they weren't invited some years ago to join Steve Wasserman's Institute for the Humanities (which some members call The Geniuses), journos Mickey Kaus and Ann Louise Bardach countered by starting a discussion salon they call The Moron Society. Or Morons, for short. Distinction editor Holly Palance is a Moron, and in this issue her magazine has the first feature on them I can find (and even it's not online.) We learn from writer Carol Wolper that they have potluck gatherings every five or six weeks in members' homes to chat with guest speakers about "ideas, events, politics and books that have recently been in the news." Members named in the story include Kenneth Turan, Michael Kinsley, Eugene Volokh, Helen Mirren, Christopher Hitchens, Rob Long, Kim Masters, Taylor Hackford and Joe Morgenstern, but there are about forty others. What matters, says Bardach, is that you are a critical thinker. A few quotables:
Kaus: "A Moron can never be a Genius."
Bardach: "The Geniuses like to cultivate powerful friends. The Morons like to cultivate powerful enemies....No true Moron is ever available for lunch. Obviously, we're still sleeping."
Add Bardach: "We told Joe he's on probation. One more Pulitzer and he's out." (After Morgenstern won the Pulitzer Prize this year for his film reviews in the Wall Street Journal.)
They vote each time on a Moron of the Month. On Masters' nomination, the odds-on next winner is whoever said of the Brad Pitt-Jennifer Aniston breakup, "This is Hollywood's tsunami." A recent topic was the blogosphere: "Journalistic superpower or lynch mob of salivating morons?"
* Memo from the Morons: They say Distinction got it wrong and Michael Kinsley has not attended any of the get-togethers.