In The Code of the Woosters, P.G. Wodehouse's imperishable masterpiece, Bertie Wooster is reflecting on the tendency of people in love to slightly over-do it when praising a sweetheart:
She was trying to give the boyfriend a build-up, and, like all girls, was overdoing it. I've noticed the same thing in young wives, when they are trying to kid you that young Herbert or George or whatever the name may be has hidden depths which the vapid and irreflective observer might overlook...
I remember Mrs. Bingo Little once telling me, shortly after their marriage, that Bingo said poetic things to her about sunsets--his best friends being perfectly well aware, of course, that the old egg never noticed a sunset in his life, and that, if he did by a fluke ever happen to do so, the only thing he would say about it would be that it reminded him of a slice of roast beef, cooked just right.
This came flooding back to me today as I read the comments of a number of conservatives who seemed annoyed at The New York Times for not renewing Bill Kristol's column. Here, for example, is Pete Wehner:
Bill Kristol will be heard from again and again, above all, of course, from his current perch at The Weekly Standard, but also, I gather, from a new perch at the Washington Post (where he will have a monthly column), as well as from his seat at Fox News and in other venues. He is easily among the most intelligent, creative, and articulate conservative voices in America—a fact, upon which I would be willing to bet a large sum of money, is what troubled the Times. [Sic]
But really: "creative"? Bill Kritsol? Moreover, if this is why the NYT dumped Kristol, why did they hire him in the first place? If anything, his reputation was stronger before the string of mediocre columns he wrote in 2008.