Pundits on Pluto

Nicholas Kristof was intoxicated.

That’s not a value judgment. It was The New York Times columnist’s own self-assessment in a February 1 column, his inebriation the result of having been amid a crowd of Egyptian protesters against Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in Cairo’s Tahrir Square at the end of January. No alcohol was involved, of course; the crowd was overwhelmingly Muslim. The contact high was, and remains, entirely political.

The square, Mr. Kristof recounted, which in the past had been a place of unruly behavior, had “lost its menace and suddenly become the most exhilarating place in the world.” And the reason was because of the hope he inhaled from “the brave men and women of Tahrir Square,” the “peaceful throngs pleading for democracy.” The participants, in other words, in the “Days of Rage” demonstrations that in subsequent days led to Mr. Mubarak’s resignation.

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