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On civility

Friends, readers, fellow humans, I have looked into my heart.

The past week’s posts have made it painfully obvious to me that I do not speak kindly of David Horowitz.  The contrast between my posts on disability and my posts on Horowitz has been stark; the contrasts between my long-running series on Horowitz and my long-running series on Jamie have been downright jarring.  That’s partly because I love Jamie deeply, and Horowitz not so much; and, in turn, that’s partly because Jamie Bérubé is a thoroughly delightful human being, and Horowitz . . . er, not so much.  I have always been struck, for instance, that Horowitz has no sense of humor whatsoever, and I’m afraid I have used that against him rather mercilessly.  This has been somewhat unfair of me.  Mr. Horowitz underwent some difficult times in the past, especially near the end of his career as a New Leftist, when he joined the Symbionese Liberation Army only to find that the people of Symbionia did not, after all, greet him as a liberator.  He doesn’t need snark and mockery from people like me.  Indeed, after reading this thread of comments at Inside Higher Ed, I realized that I have occasionally used the unforgivably racist and sexist term “D. Ho.” to refer to Mr. Horowitz (and have, until now, permitted commenters on this blog to do likewise), whereas he has always spoken of me with civility and respect.

Some of you—particularly those of you who are unfamiliar with my postings on Horowitz from February through April 2005—might wonder where all this snark and mockery of mine comes from.  Well, first and foremost, as a liberal, I blame society.  But upon further reflection, I find that I have to take some personal responsibility for my actions.

I kicked off the decline in civil discourse last February, when Horowitz unveiled his comprehensive guide to the left, “Discover the Networks.” Overlooking the vast amounts of time and research that went into the creation of the site, I mocked it.  Yes, readers, it’s true.  As Horowitz pointed out at the time, I refused to “engage the intellectual argument” of the site; instead, as he put it, I callowly and opportunistically “seized on a quirk in the format, an entirely innocent feature of the site” in order to suggest that Horowitz had tried to link Bruce Springsteen and Mohammed Atta, Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and Roger Ebert, Susan Sarandon and Zacarias Moussaoui.  Now, it’s true that he also told Salon’s John Gorenfeld that it wasn’t a quirk of the format at all:

You just can’t separate Ebert from a terrorist like the blind sheik Rahman, Horowitz told me. Chalk it up to the limits of presenting information on a two-dimensional computer screen. “It’s a limitation of—what? Of language? The human mind?” mused Horowitz. “The two-dimensional, three-dimensional, four-dimensional universe?”

It’s probably a limitation of all of the above.  As you know, this isn’t an either/or kind of blog.

Horowitz also defended his link between Barbra Streisand and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, writing, “it should be obvious that even the otherwise innocent Barbra Streisand shares negative views of the Bush Administration and its mission of liberating Iraq with anti-American jihadists like the aforementioned [Abu Musab] Zarqawi, even though we are sure that she deplores some of his methods.” As Horowitz graciously remarks here, Streisand is otherwise innocent—except for her negative views of the Bush Administration.  So he clearly draws an important distinction between two otherwise similar figures.

Still, even though Horowitz has uttered some contradictory and confused remarks about “Discover the Networks,” this doesn’t excuse the incivility with which I spoke of his hard, hard work.  Nor does it excuse my behavior in the sorry episode that followed.

In the course of this Networks-inspired debate, “Is the Left in Bed with Terrorists,” there was an Unfortunate Event.  Horowitz’s assistant, Jamie Glazov, gave me a series of questions, to which I promptly replied; he then emailed me Horowitz’s responses, which were voluminous and omnidirectional.  Feeling somewhat as if I’d been hunting with Dick Cheney, I told Mr. Glazov that I would need a few days to find the time to compose replies to all (or even half) of Horowitz’s charges.  Mr. Glazov sent me a reminder or two in the next few days, urgently but not impatiently, and within the week I managed to find an unbroken three or four hours with which to work.

I was therefore flabbergasted when the debate was published on FrontPage.  All of my second-round replies had been dropped from the exchange, which concluded with the following:

Glazov:  Mr. Horowitz, what is your take here on Prof. Berube’s contribution to our second and last round?

Horowitz: This answer from Michael Berube is disappointing but not surprising. As I have already observed, the left has become so intellectually lazy from years of talking to itself (and “at” everyone else) that it has lost the ability to conduct an intellectual argument with its opponents.

Readers, I parried him.  And I said some unkind things, like calling Horowitz a “sorry old fraud.” I mean, here I’d gone and taken the trouble to reply in good faith to all manner of when-did-you-stop-supporting-your-Islamist- jihad-friends questions, and FrontPage not only dropped my replies but called me an example of the intellectually laziness of the left?  Good grief!  I said some bad words that day.  I may even have uttered imprecations.  For this, I am truly sorry.

FrontPage patiently explained to me that I had indeed been hunting with Dick Cheney, and that, in accordance with the Cheney Hunting Protocols, any damage I’d incurred was my own fault:

In the final round, when Prof. Berube emailed his final response, he did not put his answer at the bottom of the exchange by his name as is the procedure at Frontpage Symposium. Instead, he inserted his comments in an interlineated format which answered Horowitz’s comments point by point and he put his very last paragraph below his name. He did this without flagging his interlineated replies throughout the text or informing the moderator, Jamie Glazov, of what he did. The moderator therefore scrolled down and assumed the final paragraph was Prof. Berube’s final answer.

I was not sure what to make of this at the time, since I’d asked Mr. Glazov for a few days to reply to Horowitz’s first round of responses, and since I’d sent him an interlineated email that was nearly twice as long as the one he’d sent me.  I believe I even expressed some skepticism as to whether FrontPage would have corrected the record if I had not written about the exchange on my blog.  That was uncharitable of me. 

And as a result, things have spiralled downward ever since.  Horowitz has taken to calling me an “intellectually challenged leftist,” though I am sure he did not mean to sleight people with intellectual challenges in so doing.  (That piece mentions me only in passing; it is primarily devoted to a searching, respectful critique of Tim Wise as someone with “a big mouth with a bigger nose” who, despite his place in Discover the Networks, is “too insignificant to justify the allocation of substantial resources to track down everything they have written or said.”) And I, for my part, have continued to treat Horowitz with nothing but snark and mockery.

So, in a spirit of contrition, I stopped by David’s blog yesterday to learn how to address one’s political adversaries with civility and respect. Here’s what I found:

Berube has now posted another attack on me without a addressing a single substantive issue between us. Typical. Just more rehashing of lies about me already told and already refuted, including the Isserman canard. Yes, I did not recognize the stylistic pecularity of Berube’s links, which are merely bold not underlined. Big deal.

In one case, Berube reiterates his slander calling my reference to the showing of Farentheit 9/11 a lie because I couldn’t confirm it (and therefore stopped referring to it). Can Berube confirm that it wasn’t shown? Of course not. Can any of the critics of Bush prove there were no WMDs? Of course not. This makes every critic of Bush a liar by the Berube’s abysmal standard.

Elsewhere, Berube claims he “hyperlinked to facts” in defending his libels. He did not hyperlink to facts. He hyperlinked to an attack on me on a leftwing site InsideHigherEd, whose editor is sometimes more responsible than he was in this particular case. I hyperlinked to the facts. Readers who go to Two Disputed Cases in Colorado will see what hyperlinking to the facts means But readers don’t have to work that hard. They can just read the paragraph I wrote above and note that Berube doesn’t begin to deal with it. The text of Exam is printed in my new book and confirms the truth of what I said. Berube is a liar and a brazen one at that. He can count on his fans not to look into the facts and on the core belief of progressives that if you repeat a slander enough times it becomes a fact, at least for other progressives.

The Isserman canard I answered at http://www.hnn.us. I am weary of dealing with leftwing slanders like these because I know that I am talking to a wall. The Colorado exam is a perfect example. No honest person examing the facts could write and then repeat what Berube has. This is by way of explanation as to why I am not going to look for the specific link on HNN. I’m sure that anyone who cares to will be able to find it.

Berube began this exchange (which has now degenerated to the point where I am going to take a shower) by attacking a book he hasn’t read, then instead of admitting his fault repeating slanders he hasn’t bothered to examine (I’m giving him an enormous benefit of the doubt in this) and then when they have been refued repeating them again along with rehashed others. All this, it should be remembered, is to avoid engaging an intellectual argument about the state of our universities which he knows he can’t defend.

One small point: I kinda sorta did engage an intellectual argument about the state of our universities about three weeks ago, in a 5000-word post that nearly broke the Internets.  I even addressed some of Mr. Horowitz’s arguments in that piece.  But I don’t expect him to read such things.  He’s a very busy man—indeed, right now he’s a very busy man who needs to take a shower.

To his credit, Mr. Horowitz addresses one of my objections about my appearance in his new book, The Professors.  It appears that I have once again seized on a mere quirk in the format—or, rather, a “stylistic conceit”:

Michael quibbles with a bullet-point heading, a stylistic conceit of the book, which claims that Berube believes in teaching literature so as to bring about “economic transformations.” Michael protests that the sentence from which this phrase comes is lifted out of context. This is what the sentence says: “The important question for cultural critics, is also an old question—how to correlate developments in culture and the arts with large-scale economic transformations.” This appears to me like a classical Marxist notion. Michael doesn’t actually argue otherwise. In other words, despite the context Michael supplies, the statement stands.

You heard it here from the Respectful One himself, folks: the statement stands.  It’s official: David Horowitz thinks “correlate” means “bring about.”

Oops!  Sorry about that.  I lapsed back into mockery for a moment.

O, the incivility!

My more polite and respectful responses to Mr. Horowitz can be found in this week’s Chronicle of Higher Education

I am puzzled, however, by Mr. Horowitz’s offhand reference to WMD.  While I apologize for slandering Mr. Horowitz by suggesting that he made claims that he couldn’t substantiate (he did, but that is certainly my fault), I do not understand the analogy at work here.  By the Berube’s abysmal standard, critics of Bush are liars, because they cannot prove the negative with regard to WMD.  And because I cannot prove the negative with regard to the showing of Fahrenheit 9/11, I have therefore called myself a li. . . no, wait, I’m confused.  Let me look at it again.

In one case, Berube reiterates his slander calling my reference to the showing of Farentheit 9/11 a lie because I couldn’t confirm it (and therefore stopped referring to it). Can Berube confirm that it wasn’t shown? Of course not. Can any of the critics of Bush prove there were no WMDs? Of course not. This makes every critic of Bush a liar by the Berube’s abysmal standard.

OK, I think I’ve got it now.  “Berube” is to “the nonshowing of Fahrenheit 9/11” as “Bush’s critics” are to “the nonexistence of WMD.” So Bush’s critics, in claiming that there are no WMD, are liars, because I said that Horowitz retracted his claim that a Penn State biology professor had shown Fahrenheit 9/11 to his class. . . .

Golly, that doesn’t sound right.  Maybe Horowitz is to the nonshowing of Fahrenheit 9/11 as Bush’s critics are to the nonexistence of WMD.  In other words, there may still be WMD in Iraq, and someone may have shown Fahrenheit 9/11.  And, uh, anyone who says otherwise is a liar by my abysmal standard. 

No, that’s preposterous.  I think the simplest explanation is the best: if I cannot confirm that Fahrenheit 9/11 wasn’t shown, then there were WMD in Iraq.  Readers are hereby invited to speculate—respectfully, mind you—on whether those WMD weigh the same as a duck.

Posted by on 02/14 at 08:56 AM
  1. Now, I’m confused. Does the lack of proof that something doesn’t exist mean that you can justifiably claim that it does exist?

    If this is the case, can anyone, by justifiably claiming that Mr H exists, then cause him to not exist?

    By the way, in an earlier quote Mr H claims to only have a small staff. I couldn’t help thinking that if he had a longer staff he might not have as many issues with the world.

    Posted by saltydog  on  02/14  at  10:51 AM
  2. As a member of D’Ho’s “extreme circus,” I take offense to your “correlation” of this post.

    And a point of clarification.  By “duck,” do you mean “Cheney’s hunting partner,” “exclamation frequently heard on said hunting trips,” or “Cold Duck”?

    Thank you, in advance, for answering my query...er, queue....um question, in an interlineated manner.

    Posted by Da' Ho's Ho  on  02/14  at  10:51 AM
  3. Now, you cut that out, commenter number 2.  And we’ll have no more remarks about Horowitz’s small staff, either!

    Though if I were Alan Colmes, I’d ask Mr. Horowitz if he might not be able to hire two or three more people simply by trimming his own salary from the $310,000 he now pays himself.  That might help with some of those staffing problems.

    And as for whether the celebrated Mr. H. exists, or whether, as John Lennon suggested, he is simply a name on a circus poster, I don’t believe we have yet invented a form of logic adequate to the task.  It’s a limitation of language, the human mind, the two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and four-dimensional universe.

    Posted by Michael  on  02/14  at  10:58 AM
  4. Has the MLA made any progress on building that gulag?  If so, I think we could easily snag D-Ho the next time he speaks at one of our Stalinist Reeducation Compounds—or as he charitably calls them, “universities.”

    Posted by Adam Kotsko  on  02/14  at  11:04 AM
  5. Speaking of Jamie Glazov, Crooked Timber recently linked to this interview he did with Oliver Kamm.


    Posted by  on  02/14  at  11:17 AM
  6. Oh, believe me, Adam, you’ll know when that gulag is built.  In the meantime, I really am asking people to switch to “D’oh” on this blog as a handy shorthand for You Know Who, even though I know that in so doing I may alienate honest, upstanding Simpsons-Americans everywhere.

    You can call him anything you like elsewhere, including, if you like, “sorry old fraud.” Or Mister sorry old fraud if you’re being formal.

    Posted by Michael  on  02/14  at  11:18 AM
  7. Well, gosh, Michael. What am I supposed to call this, then?

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  02/14  at  11:19 AM
  8. Crooked Timber recently linked to this interview he did with Oliver Kamm.

    Thanks, Tom.  For those of you who haven’t read that interview, here’s the money quote, from Mr. Glazov himself:

    Well, if there is a longstanding tradition on the American and European Left of militant anti-totalitarianism this is the first I have ever heard of it. My entire life has been devoted to studying the Left and all I have seen is the romantic urge for love affairs with mass murderers, despots and terrorists.

    That pretty much sums it up—for Glazov, and for FrontPage.  What’s next?  “If there is a longstanding tradition of right-wing authoritarianism, this is the first I have ever heard of it”?

    Posted by Michael  on  02/14  at  11:21 AM
  9. I shall now speak of myself, of the reasons for my repentance. Of course, it must be admitted that incriminating evidence plays a very important part.

    I have made a revaluation of my entire past. For when you ask yourself: ``If you must die, what are you dying for?’’ --- an absolutely black vacuity suddenly rises before you with startling vividness. There was nothing to die for, if one wanted to die unrepented. And, on the contrary, everything positive that glistens in the United States acquires new dimensions in a man’s mind. This in the end disarmed me completely and led me to bend my knees before the Republican Party and the country.

    The point, of course, is not this repentance, or my personal repentance in particular. David Horowitz can pass his verdict without it. The confession of the accused is not essential. The confession of the accused is a medieval principle of jurisprudence. But here we also have the internal demolition of the forces of leftism in the academy. And one must be a Bérubé not to lay down one’s arms.

    I feel it my duty to say here that in the parallelogram of forces which went to make up the neo-Bolshevik tactics, Bérubé was the principal motive force. And the most acute methods --- terrorism, espionage, the dismemberment of the Bush administration and wrecking --- proceeded primarily from this source.

    I may infer a priori that Bérubé and my other allies in crime, as well as the Modern Language Association, all the more since I discussed this with Marjorie Perloff, will endeavor to defend us, especially and particularly myself. I reject this defence, because I am kneeling before the country, before the Rebublican Party, before the Center for the Study of Popular Culture.

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  11:23 AM
  10. Well, gosh, Michael. What am I supposed to call this, then?

    Is that one of those damn Danish cartoons, Chris? 

    Posted by Michael  on  02/14  at  11:23 AM
  11. Okay, nothing about the size of David’s staff then… but, to be fair, I am thinking Michael’s staff has to be even smaller.  Not intended as a slight.  Indeed, I find it a continuous wonder that you are able to keep up with all this ‘examing of the facts’ (never mind your ability to ‘refue’ them or to ‘prounce’wink armed with nothing much more than a spellchecker (or accurate typing fingers) and maybe that old Soul Coughing line about how ‘correlation is not causation’ and ... frankly, I couldn’t do this dance with Mr. Horowitz without feeling as though my head would explode at any second with his next stunning leap in logic or condescending drop of smarm ... civility, yeah, um good luck with that

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  11:26 AM
  12. No offense taken, Greg—the truth is, I have no staff at all.

    And thanks for your comment, Ben.  That’s the spirit!

    Posted by Michael  on  02/14  at  11:34 AM
  13. if A lies about B’s lying, then all of C’s statements about D’s lies are untrue. Therefore, D is omniscient.

    . . . really people. you’re not even trying.

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  11:53 AM
  14. WMDs don’t exist?  I comment, therefore I am!

    Or, to be more precise:

    Commento, ergo sum.

    Posted by WMD  on  02/14  at  12:04 PM
  15. Well, being a card-carrying member of The Left, I’m all about political correctness. If it offends working gals when I call Mr. Horowitz by his abbreviated name, then I shall refrain from using it. Though I will admit I’ll miss it.

    Can anyone help me out with the politically correct term for someone who has shed every pretense of integrity and decency, perhaps their soul as well, for a little attention and a lot of money?

    Also, is it still okay to refer to Jeff Gannon as a ho’?

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  12:04 PM
  16. Can I just check? Is ‘Herr Sorry Old Fraud’ okay?

    By way, The Venerable, maybe the word you are looking for is pimp.

    Posted by saltydog  on  02/14  at  12:15 PM
  17. Comrade Berube, your vigorous self-criticism stands as a shining example of the ethos of the Party.  As for myself, I cannot summon the requisite courage to list all the ways I have failed Chairman Horowitz, but I will apologize for laughing long and hard at an earlier commentor (forgive me, the name escapes me but I have no doubt that the Chairman’s tireless staff of apparatchiks will be able to ferret it from the records) who maliciously claimed that the only way to explain the the insightful outpourings of the Chairman is that “The Snoopy Dance” is playing continuously in his head.

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  12:19 PM
  18. Thank you very much Mr. Saltydog, that term holds up very well to scrutiny. Do you think it would offend anyone if I referred to Mr. Horowitz as D. Pimp?

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  12:23 PM
  19. Can I still keep calling him “Horowitz” and speculating about him as a sort of cyberpunk composite entity?  (That would mean that “Horowitz” is composed in part of Glazov, as marked by Glazov’s signature cut-and-paste disorder, unless Glazov has reached a high enough point in the hierarchy so that his own responses are in turn being ghosted by even lower-status staffers.)

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  12:23 PM
  20. Your conundrum is easily solved, Mr. Bérubé.  Party A said that a biology professor showed a political film to his students.  Party A was in error.  Party B said that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  Party B was in error.  Any party C who takes issue with party A therefore must also take issue with party B, or with those parties D who opposed party B’s assertion, which amounts to the same thing.  Party C—namely, you—should therefore collapse in a tangle of self-contradictions, Q. E. D.

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  12:27 PM
  21. Can I still keep calling him “Horowitz” and speculating about him as a sort of cyberpunk composite entity?

    We really wish you wouldn’t pawn him off on us.  What did we do to deserve this?

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  12:29 PM
  22. Does the Respectful One himself lie?  Can he prove he does not?  Is the absence of truth a lie?  What if the Respectful One is just not interested in the truth?  Does that make him a liar?  Intellectually lazy?  More than a little slow? (Intellectually, that is.) Emotional?  Irrational?  Reactionary?  Does the Respectful One see these little thingys “ “ in his mind’s eye when he hears the word truth?  Does he play tennis just to hear the word love?  Given his small staff, do you think he drives a Corvette? 

    The answer to these and many other questions may or may not be true, depends on who (whom?) you ask and whether or not they can confirm or deny the very exisitence of said (or unsaid) questions.

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  12:46 PM
  23. Also, is it still okay to refer to Jeff Gannon as a ho’?

    Absolutely not.  Doing so testifies only to pervasive homophobia on The Left, as you should know, being a card-carrying member.

    Personally, I can’t think of any term in the language more insulting than “Jeff Gannon.”

    Posted by Michael  on  02/14  at  12:54 PM
  24. Why a duck?

    Posted by Chico  on  02/14  at  12:55 PM
  25. Posted by  on  02/14  at  01:00 PM
  26. You are a far stronger person than I, Dr. Berube. And far funnier as well. I’ve never heard such an apt description of Horowitz’s debating style - “omnidirectional” captures it precisely. So all the more galling that this fellow has the gonads to act as judge, jury and executioner in a movement to rescue higher education from your pack of 101, and the thousands more out there just like you. Horowitz strikes me as the kind of student who’s writing I would grade very poorly, only to be challenged that I failed to understand and appreciate the true genius of his essay. Come to think of it, maybe that’s exactly what happened to poor David.

    Posted by truth4achange  on  02/14  at  01:02 PM
  27. Can I still refer to him as Whore O’Whizz or is that a racist and sexist term?

    Front Page Symposium? Is that sponsored by the Poor Man Institute?

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  01:06 PM
  28. One word, Dr. B, is more insulting than the entirety of the nom de plume Jeff Gannon.

    That word is..."Guckert"

    Posted by Doc  on  02/14  at  01:15 PM
  29. Oh,
    I was told that Horowitz Monday night was on Sean Hannity’s TV show “Hannity & Combs” on Fox news cable as well as Hannity’s radio show on ABC news talking about Ward Churchill, Bernadine Dohrn & how leftists are talking over the colleges. I was told Hannity was so interested in the issues that he’s having Horowitz back on tonight.

    By the way, I looked up Sean Hannity’s radio show, which I previously had never heard of, and found out that ABC carries it on 400 radio stations & claims it has 13 million listeners or 1 million listeners a day (how ABC gets its figures I don’t know) & ABC claims Hannity is the 2nd most popular radio show after Rush Limbaugh.

    ABC radio claims says about Hannity, “Why does Sean Hannity connected so well with his millions of listeners?” They answer that it is because of his committment to family, to community involvedment, and his love of politcs and his “genuine American spirit.” Then ABC radio states, “Sean Hannity is the voice of the working class and the champion of conservative values and politics.” Well, well, well. Sean “The voice of the working class Hannity” has now taken up with Horowitz.


    Posted by  on  02/14  at  01:16 PM
  30. The only problem with this testimony to civility is that some may read your words as sarcasm. Or maybe it’s irony.

    Posted by Daryl McCullough  on  02/14  at  01:23 PM
  31. Speaking of ducks, etc., I was just thinking that if the Horowitzian argument were mapped, it’d look a lot like a buckshot blast.

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  01:23 PM
  32. Some may read your words as sarcasm. Or maybe it’s irony.

    Perhaps so.  But those people would be in the network with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

    Posted by Michael  on  02/14  at  01:37 PM
  33. I think it is not only a waste of time, but also counterproductive, to respond to the charges of Horowitz and people like him.  Any response you make will only be manipulated by him and his legions to further feed the flames of controversy and draw attention to his propagandistic distortions.

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  01:41 PM
  34. Just had to pop in from the email notification to see if that last was signed “Neville Chamberlain.”

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  02/14  at  01:43 PM
  35. Cyperpunk composite entities: “We really wish you wouldn’t pawn him off on us.  What did we do to deserve this?”

    Sorry, CCE.  But if “Horowitz” were a CCE, then by the inalterable laws of subgenre “Horowitz” would inevitably be disconnected or reprogrammed by some cynical culture hacker.  The only alternative would be the subsumption of a greater and greater number of people into “Horowitz”—in which case subgenre would turn into genre, and we might have to hear the dreaded “Soylent Green is ‘Horowitz’!”

    I think that despite the formulaic predictability of that plot, it is superior to the alternative, which would involve an aging ex-leftist authoritarian out for hire to the right who can’t argue or write coherently, can’t even arrange his propaganda points adequately beforehand, and who appears to be doomed to be forgotten shortly after he has failed to do anything but waste a number of people’s time in defeating his shoddily constructed astroturf campaign.  I think that everyone involved, including “Horowitz”, would agree that the concept of someone bribing a staffer to rewrite “Horowitz”’ copy to make him say that he repudiates all his works is much more glamorous.  Let us simply have someone dress in the de rigeur cyberpunk black leather, find the writer of fundraising letters who “Horowitz” is helpless to control, and have the next letter go out with all monies promised to the support of graduate student unionization.

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  02:00 PM
  36. Michael, much as I’ve enjoyed your deconstruction of Mr. Horowitz I can’t help but worry that YOU worry too much about his rants.  Sit back, blog about other things, bask in your status as one of America’s most dangerous professors.  (Damn, wish I’d had a dangerous professor or two back at Saluki U. in the golden ‘60s!) Above all, be mindful of that ancient Sicilian proverb (related by Yaphet Kotto in “Homicide:  Life on the Street")—“Never stand in the way of your enemy when he is in the process of destroying himself.”

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  02:15 PM
  37. Actually, a careful reading of Horowitz’s point seems to indicate that he wishes (in the spirit of drawing many distinctions) to distinguish between believing and claiming that Fahrenheit 9/11 was shown.  While he has retracted his claim it was shown, I don’t think he has anywhere said he believes the movie was not shown (or that he thinks it was not shown).

    Thus, while it is okay to believe it was or was not shown without strong evidence--the claim it was (or was not) shown requires justification.  And since ostensibly neither Horowitz or anyone else has this justification, we are not justified in any statements about this issue.

    Of course, this is all a bit dubious.  We might wonder why it is that beliefs do not also require justification.  More significantly, Horowitz seems to be ignoring the difference between positive and negative evidence.  It is generally agreed that lack of evidence provides its own justification in cases with adequate information.  In other words, we are justified in disbelieving in Martians because of the lack of evidence for their existence.  But actually providing positive evidence for this belief is very difficult, as it would involve some kind of contradiction between the existence of Martians and something else we are already certain of (and these contradictions are notoriously difficult to defend).  Iraq’s WMD are much the same kind of case.

    So is he lying, or does he just have a poor idea of justification?  Both would seem equally damning, but the second is easier shown than the first, and so perhaps best to focus on.

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  02:20 PM
  38. Dear Michael,

    Most amusing about DH joining the Symbionese Liberation Army and becoming disillusioned when he found there was no such place as Symbonia.  Of course the true story of his disillusionment is that he leant his accuntant at Ramparts, Betty P., to the Panthers in 1974 to clean up some of their “financial problems"--and she ended up dead in San Francisco Bay. And her murderers got away with it, too.  A little different and perhaps not worth satirizing, wouldn’t you say?

    I wish we could all be civil.  I’m trying to be, myself.  But your satirizing a tragedy and a death isn’t very nice.



    Posted by  on  02/14  at  02:30 PM
  39. And by “civil,” I mean willfully ignorant and mendacious.

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  02:44 PM
  40. Well, at least you got D’oh to shower ... baby steps. And how dare you not underline your hyperlinks - more leftist subterfuge.

    Posted by CJ  on  02/14  at  02:47 PM
  41. Art, I really am going to have to ask you to click on hyperlinks.  It’s the civil thing to do.

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  02:50 PM
  42. Just out of interest, can anyone give me a link for Michael’s page at DiscoverTheNetworks?  I Googled it over the weekend, but the page it gave me on the DTN site was empty (the cached version was there however - inexplicably blurry picture and all). 

    In fact, going through the list I saw of the professors that were profiled, I’m having a hard time finding very many of them on the DTN site.  Really, only a handful.  This is all very strange.  I mean, surely Mr. Horowitz isn’t responding to the charge that his book mainly contains warmed over rehashes of his DTN web profiles by removing those web profiles.  That would be too weak for words.

    So what’s going on?  Michael, has your danger been neutralized?  Are the networks shrinking?  I’m so confused…

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  02:52 PM
  43. I thought I would point out—and maybe this has been observed elsewhere—but “DH” on the vast majority of internet message boards carries the meaning “Dear Husband”—which could indirectly implicate you all in the patriarchy, too.  Just saying.

    Of course, it could also stand for “Desperate Housewives” or any of the abundant DH acronyms on this list. Just imagine the possibilities.

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  02:56 PM
  44. To believe that “DHo” is sexist is, in itself, sexist. I’ve met plenty of men who were Ho’s.

    Posted by Roxanne  on  02/14  at  03:10 PM
  45. Dear Art;

    How are you? I am fine. I hope you had a great weekend. What’s your favorite Winter Olympics sport? Mine’s biathlon.


    Chris Clarke.

    PS: to accuse anyone here of trivializing the tragic, horrible murder of Betty Van Patter is itself to trivialize the serious trauma that has twisted David Horowitz into a vindictive externalizing golem.

    I understand full well the feeling of horror at finding that you have inadvertently facilitated a murder. I can’t imagine the grief and self-loathing that would accompany such a death happening to a friend.

    But Horowitz has blamed the entire Left for his own complicity. Including those sections of the left, even the radical left, that abhorred the Panthers’ violent bravado, misogyny, occasional rape glorification, and turf warfare. And those of us who nuance our perception of the Panthers’ destructive nature by recalling the vicious, murderous government campaign of harassment, infiltration, and extralegal execution of said Panthers still abhor crimes such as the murder of Ms. Van Patter. 

    We also, for that matter, abhor the far greater number of violent acts and threats made against people on the left by your compatriots on the right, about which the troubled Mr. Horowitz is strangely silent.

    In my opinion, if anyone is trivializing the cold-blooded murder of Betty Van Patter, it is those people who wave her death as a bloody shirt to condemn not only the left but centrist liberalism, while conveniently ignoring the fact that Van Patter was a leftist. I grant Horowitz the right to do so, in his role as grieving friend. But you have no excuse, and to act as you have is shameful indeed.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  02/14  at  03:38 PM
  46. PPS. I might add that by 1974, the Left, as Horowitz casts it, had largely gotten over the Panthers’ cult of personality. I know I was less than compelled by them at that point, and I was a melodramatic and easily swayed 14-year-old. Had Horowitz paid more attention to rank and file leftists’ analysis, he might have spared everyone involved this tragedy, and gone on to become Bob Avakian’s personal assistant.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  02/14  at  03:59 PM
  47. Readers are hereby invited to speculate—respectfully, mind you—on whether those WMD weigh the same as a duck.

    Is that a Swedish Khaki, White Pekin, Moulard, or what.  It could very well be a Wood duck or a duck made of wood?  D’oh would, of course, be able to determine the veracity of those making the distinction, using his double-secret Wild Mallard Directory.  However, the overwhelming weight of this special, secret-sourced volume would destroy the scales and tilt the whole process towards the proverbial, witch-burning fire.  We need to look more carefully at the duck, and make sure it is not a killdeer, a quail, a texas lawyer, or a homer, and thus too light to be equitably weighed.  Only when we fill it with 28 guage buckshot will we be able to pull it back within the proper dimensions, laden as it would be with the leadened load, in its “cheatin” heart.

    Rich, that is not Soylent Green but a mutant variant of Soylent Brownturd. My ‘oh’ my, my captcha word is staff, as in shriven, shorten, smaller, nearly non-existent.

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  04:07 PM
  48. Marita—you’re right, the DTN site seems to have been scrubbed clean of dangerous professors.

    What does this mean?  I don’t know and I don’t care.  I’m going to take Ralph’s advice and bask for a while.

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  04:34 PM
  49. "Instead, he inserted his comments in an interlineated format which answered Horowitz’s comments point by point and he put his very last paragraph below his name. He did this without flagging his interlineated replies throughout the text or informing the moderator, Jamie Glazov, of what he did. The moderator therefore scrolled down and assumed the final paragraph was Prof. Berube’s final answer.”

    And YOU’RE the one who is supposed to be lazy in the above equation?
    uh . . .
    does. not. compute.

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  05:25 PM
  50. You know, Art, when you know you’re in an environment where the relatively harmless typo prounce leads to days worth of merry speculation, and where the simple shorthand D’Ho leads to charges of racism and sexism (frankly, I’m more bothered by the implicit slander of a great Hawai’ian entertainer), you really should proofread twice before posting a comment that describes a murdered woman as an “accuntant.”

    There are no accidents, dude.

    Posted by The Ghost of Sigmund Freud  on  02/14  at  05:52 PM
  51. I suppose that if the WMD do weigh the same as a duck, it will mean one more canard for Mr. David Horowitz to wrangle.

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  05:55 PM
  52. Dear Michael:

    “Art’s clarification”, whoever that is, is not me.

    Dear Chris:  What happened with Betty v. P was indeed tragic, and that makes making fun of DH’s conversion via jokes about the SLA (cf.  his connection with the Panthers) seem in really bad taste.  This is esp. so on a thread where DH is portrayed, from an alleged position of moral superiority, as a knave.





    Posted by  on  02/14  at  05:59 PM
  53. Dear Sigmund:  Sorry about the typo, which no doubt will lead to loads of fun at my--and Betty’s--expense.

    I also see I keep saying “best” twice at the end.  Perhaps, Sigmund, I protest too much!  But actually I am truly trying to be civil (unlike “Art’s clarification”, whoever that is).

    Michael--the hyperlink only shows it’s a joke, as (duh) I assumed.  It doesn’t change the tasteless nature of that joke, given the actual circumstances of B v. P’s death and what led to DH’s conversion experience away from the far left.

    I suppose my larger point is that most every human being views himself as an angel in a field of devils.  And that is certainly true of MB and DH in relation to each other.  But if you hold up a mirror to one’s own actions and the things one says (including both the tasteless joke as well as accusing DH of “lying” based on a tiny item 13 years ago that turned out...ahem...to have been written by someone else), the picture looks a bit different.  I’m not pressing either item, in the name of civility.  I just hope--in the name of civility-- that consideration of these incidents will give people, um, “second thoughts” about the harsh things they say, in view of the fact that everyone--including, we now see, BOTH Berube and Horowitz, as well as me--makes mistakes.

    But of course I’m not holding my breath that this will occur.

    best (ahem),


    Posted by  on  02/14  at  06:24 PM
  54. Horowitz has confused the sccuser and the accused.  In statement one, B accuses H of lying when making the statement “F was shown” because there is no evidence that the statement “F was shown” is true.  In statement two, C accuses W of lying when making the statement “WMD exist” because there is no evidenvce that the statement “WMD exist” is true.  Whether making a statement for which there is no evidence of truth is a lie is a separate question, but by no one’s abysmal logic can it be said that to accept statement one means that C is a liar.

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  06:42 PM
  55. Thanks for clearing your throat (twice!), and for remaining civil in the face of a provocation, Art.  I have to say I don’t quite understand your ongoing attempt to clear Mr. Horowitz’s name, when it seems beyond question that he has both published and caused to be published many, many falsehoods, following some of these with complaints about the size of his staff and disingenuous insistences that he has “withdrawn” statements that he continues to make.  (Though you’re right, he didn’t author that Wellesley essay.  Sorry about that!) And I don’t understand your sense of taste, either, since I made no jokes about Betty van Patter, whose story is indeed quite terrible.  On the contrary, the notion that David joined the SLA instead of the Panthers, and was not greeted by the people of Symbionia as a liberator, was a very lighthearted version of what was actually a very wrenching “conversion experience” for Horowitz.

    Chris Clarke is entirely right, however, to note that Horowitz remained with the Panthers long after most of the white left had realized that they had degenerated into a Huey Newton paramilitary cult, and that he has continued to blame the more moderate left for his own poor judgment for the past thirty years and more.  Hence Horowitz’s overweening hatred for people like Todd Gitlin, who were similarly repelled by the Weather Underground and the Maoist insanities of the late New Left but who did not abandon the democratic left altogether.  Extremists like Horowitz, who find their contemporary counterparts in the “I used to be a liberal but since 9/11 I’m outraged by Chappaquiddick” crew, have extraordinary difficulty accounting for and dealing with liberals and progressives who dissent from the extremism of the far left without signing on for any of the agendas of the right.  And they are quite convinced of their moral superiority to the rest of us, I assure you.

    Oh, and if anyone has “fun” with Art’s unfortunate typo, I’ll delete their comments.

    Posted by Michael  on  02/14  at  06:54 PM
  56. Chico:  the Duck reference is to Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  However, this week it should be read as a verb in the imperative voice when one is on a literal or figurative hunting trip with republican operatives.

    Tom:  Thanks for the link to that interview.  It was like watching a father trying to introduce an infant to language.  “Liberal?  Liberal!  Now you say it...” “Shameless lying ngggghgghgghgh”

    Michael/Tom:  Money quote #2:  “Parts of the Left – symbolised by the French Communist leader Jacques Doriot and also the antisemitic British People’s Party - went over wholesale to the far Right. We see a similar trend now in British politics, with the far Left crossing sides and adopting a reactionary and antisemitic style of politics.”....like somebody else I know, nudge nudge, know what I mean? Know what I mean?  Nudge nudge?

    Posted by Ur Err  on  02/14  at  07:05 PM
  57. Michael,

    Thanks for admitting that you made a mistake about the Wellesley matter, and misinformed this entire blog.  You may note that I did not call you a ‘liar” as a result.  Sometimes people make mistakes.

    You have claimed that DH is a habitual liar.  I’m not gonna spend the rest of my life up at the plate here on this blog batting away every incident.  I’ve got my own book to write (or rather, I have to wade through the page-proofs).  But in the two cases over the weekend alleged regarding DH’s “habitual lying”, one has turned out to be a very complex story where (imo) DH does not come out bad at all (others will disagree--but then the professor involved destroyed all the evidence so we’ll never really know, though he did admit he gave the student a low grade on the final, and it is clear that the school raised her grade after a grievance procedure), and the other example you brought up turned out to be not only 13 years old but mistaken.

    Food for thought, I would think.

    I’m not saying DH is an angel (he’s not) nor am I saying that you are a devil (far from it!).  But nor, from my perspective, is the reverse true.

    And thanks for sparing me (and B v P) the awful consequences of my typo.  That is civility.



    Posted by  on  02/14  at  07:08 PM
  58. Just a comment by way of patting both Art and the regulars on the back a little…

    One of the distressing tendencies one sees on comment threads is trolls showing up, posting hostile and empty comments that get either ignored or attacked, and then declaring “I see that the left isn’t interested in having a serious dicussion” as they leave.  This is one of the oldest, cheapest troll tricks.

    Though, like Michael, I am a bit puzzled by Art’s defense of Horowitz, it is a defense made politely and seriously, and I’m happy to say that we’ve, in general, replied in kind.  Let this put the lie those who troll in here and then accuse us all of being unwilling to engage those who disagree with us.

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  07:10 PM
  59. And thank you for using the word “overweening”

    Posted by Ur Err  on  02/14  at  07:10 PM
  60. You’re welcome, Ur Err, but I have to say, in the interests of civility and intertextual hijinx, that you didn’t need to tell Chico that the Duck reference is to Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  Chico, evidencing the pervasive far-left bias of this blog, was citing a Marx Brothers bit from The Coconuts:

    Groucho:  Now, here is a little peninsula, and here is a viaduct leading over to the mainland. . . .

    Chico: All right. Why a duck? Why a no chicken?

    You’re right, though, to suggest that this week it should be read as a verb in the imperative voice when one is on a literal or figurative hunting trip with republican operatives.

    And I had not stopped to consider the question of whether the WMD were made of wood.  But of course, if they weigh the same as a duck, they must be.  Then, logically, they can float.

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  07:19 PM
  61. Exactly.

    Posted by Ur Err  on  02/14  at  07:21 PM
  62. The question is: How much did Cheney pay him to stand at the wrong end of the covey?

    Posted by Scott Eric Kaufman  on  02/14  at  07:38 PM
  63. It’s your duty to footnote refutations of his unsubstantiated claims.

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  07:38 PM
  64. At the risk of being told to start my own blog, I feel constrained to chide, mildly, and taking pains to avoid split infinitives, both our host and Art for casting the SLA as a lighthearted alternative, inappropriately or not, to the tragic story of BVP.

    The SLA were murderers as well. Comparisons of this sort are of course odious, but it’s rather apparent that the SLA’s assassination of Oakland Unified School Superintendent Marcus Foster has had repercussions far beyond those of any of the crimes committed by any of the Black Panthers. Causality is always hard to establish, but the SLA’s murder of Foster was followed by significant erosion of the innovative programs he started. It certainly deprived the schools of his leadership, for which he had won plaudits at his previous position in Philly.

    My wife works as a teacher for Oakland Unified, which is now beset to the point of fiscal and academic failure by financial problems. Though macroeconomics plays a major role here, the problems are greatly exacerbated by a cronyist and incompetent bureaucracy the growth of which the hypercompetent Foster would very likely have stymied. The schools are plagued with the effects of gangs and drug sales, progressive and forward thinking responses to which Foster was exploring when he was killed 33 years ago. The Oakland schools lose kids each year. Many of them wind up dead. I’m certainly not saying that one man could have prevented all of those tragedies. But it’s safe to say that the murder of Marcus Foster had a body count well in excess of one.

    Compounding the tragedy: the SLA ascribed views to Foster in justifying their assassination that were the precise opposites of Foster’s actual opinions. They said they killed him because he wanted to issue ID cards to students and station cops in schools: Foster was opposed to both ID cards and in-school cops. These days, the African-American folks in Oakland to whom the SLA was theoretically trying to appeal are as likely to be wholeheartedly in favor of IDs and cops in the schools as against them: they are losing their children.

    We are losing their children.

    Interestingly enough in this context, Foster was killed in 1973. This was a full year before Horowitz began the set of events that prompted his apostasy from the left. One could speculate as to why Horowitz was so little appalled by the largely white SLA’s killing of an African-American professional - with dire ramifications for a city full of black children - that he continued to revere armed thugs for many subsequent months, to the point where he sacrificed a friend on the altar of his desire to schmooze with charismatic men.

    And the sacrifices blithely offered by both the SLA and Horowitz continue to this day.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  02/14  at  07:52 PM
  65. I have an even simpler explanation:  Just as it was up to those of us who claimed that there were no WMDs to tell everyone where they were, it is similarly up to those who say Fahrenheit 9-11 wasn’t shown to tell everyone when and where it was shown.  This you have utterly failed to do, I’m afraid.

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  08:30 PM
  66. Thanks, Ben Alpers.  I have found the seriousness of the conversation refreshing, and politeness has been met with politeness.

    OMG--next, as an old hippie, I’m gonna suggest we go to the love-in.

    Chris Clarke is of course correct about the tragedy of the murder of Marcus Foster.  But since DH never had any use for the SLA, I see no reason to believe that he wasn’t appalled by Foster’s murder, as Chris accuses him of.  In fact, Horowitz wrote an editorial for Ramparts condemning the SLA in the strongest terms.  It helps to have the facts, Chris. But note that I don’t accuse you, either, of being a “liar”, just because you got something wrong.



    Posted by  on  02/14  at  08:31 PM
  67. Though it’s is often lost in this age when publishing a blog is confused with activism, writing an editorial - even one phrased in the strongest terms possible - is a trivial effort, especially if you are the editor of the publication for which you wrote it. Because after all, you’re going to have to write something pretty much the same length anyway to fill that space.

    My main point: Horowitz watched the murderous SLA debacle and then subsequently went on to lend support to armed cultist thugs. Even if he was horrified at the SLA, the sequence bespeaks at best an astonishing cluelessness, especially compared with the bulk of the left onto which he projects his earlier, and deadly, naivete.

    captcha word: shot

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  02/14  at  08:41 PM
  68. Chris, I stand corrected with regard to the SLA.  Their murder of Foster was truly insane.

    And before we all get too civil around here, I just want to note that I have been called a “brazen liar” by someone who speaks of “the core belief of progressives that if you repeat a slander enough times it becomes a fact.” Interestingly, the person who wrote those words is the same person who hired Ann Coulter after she was fired by Jonah Goldberg of the National Review in September 2001.

    Posted by Michael  on  02/14  at  08:44 PM
  69. Dear Art, would you care to comment on the civility displayed by David Horowitz in the lead paragraph of this essay from the February 9, 2001 issue of FrontPage. Here’s the TinyURL:


    You’ll remember the essay. It’s the one where DH begins with an evocation of Jane Fonda’s mother’s suicide and goes on to use this a point in an argument against a politic opponent. This is not exactly “satirizing a tragedy and a death” as you put it in #38 above, but perhaps you’ll agree that it also “isn’t very nice.”

    In #92 of “Horowitz Agonistes” you say that “I think I’m a fair judge of people, and my impression is that none of these people [DH being one of those] is evil, or mean-spirited, or dishonorable.” While I’m not asking you to take back your exclusion of DH as a person from the set of “evil, mean-spirited, and dishonorable” persons (for everyone makes mistakes, after all), would you at least consider the act of thus writing about the suicide of the mother of a political opponent to be “evil,” “mean-spirited,” “dishonorable,” or any of the above?

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  08:46 PM
  70. "or all of the above” should be the end of the preceding post.

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  08:49 PM
  71. From DH’s attack on the SLA for the murder of Marcus Foster, from Ramparts, entitled “Terrorism and the Left”:

    “In ‘executing’ Marcus Foster and in making no effort to justify that execution by any doctrine of specific guilt, the SLA assumes the power of life and death over everyone...It recognizes no authority except its own will, which it identifies with the will of the people in much the same manner that many psychopathic killers claim to be instructed by God.  It has killed a defenceless individual whose guilt is not only not proved, but is mainly a fantasy.  It has committed a crime not only against the individual in question, but against the entire black, brown and Asian communities of Oakland.”

    So much for DH’s lack of concern over Marcus Foster, Chris.  As for this being something real easy to write, I point out to you that DH was the known editor of Ramparts at the time, that he was living in Berkeley when he wrote this and Ramparts printed it, that his address and phone # were in the Berkeley phonebook and publicly available (as I happen to know),that he had a wife and young children, and that the SLA were--obviously--operating very actively in the Bay Area.  Now Chris, I think you owe DH a small apology not once but twice over.

    As for DH’s ott rhetoric, I’ve already said above that he’s no angel.



    Posted by  on  02/14  at  09:25 PM
  72. Art, you’re talking to an editor of radical magazines whose name and address are publicly available, and who has received death threats on a distressingly frequent basis over the last decade and a half, most of them from Horowitz’s fellow travelers. I - civilly, genteelly - call bullshit. No one’s disputing that Horowitz has his full measure of bravado and more.

    And you continue to refuse to address my main point. But I’m giving up the pretense that I expect you will.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  02/14  at  09:34 PM
  73. I’m wondering what Art thinks about the Front Page Berube/Horowitz exchange that wasn’t, in which DH criticized MB’s laziness in not replying despite MB’s replies.

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  10:03 PM
  74. I strongly recommend that discussants read the February 2001 essay by Horowitz linked in comment 69 by John Protevi.  That essay is not the idle work of someone who is “no angel.” Rather, that essay appears to be the work of someone who is borderline insane, and I use this term in its strictly clinical sense.

    So much for Mr. Berube’s implicitly self-aggrandizing claim that Horowitz “is beginning to come truly and fully unhinged.” I suspect that the last hinges came off years ago.

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  10:14 PM
  75. Chris, you asserted that DH wasn’t appalled much by Marcus Foster’s murder and I think many people who read your post no. 64 above will see an implication in it that DH didn’t care about Marcus Foster or his murder because Foster was “an African-American professional”.

    So--I pointed out to this blog that he WAS upset about Marcus Foster’s murder, and wrote an editorial in Ramparts condemning it.  I thought you’d apologize for your mistake.

    Instead you asserted, well, that he wrote something doesn’t prove anything, it was easy to do, and DH had to “fill the space” in Ramparts somehow anyway.  So then I quoted DH’s editorial, which he didn’t have to write (surely he could’ve “filled the space” in Ramparts with something else):  it is an editorial which is totally condemnatory of the SLA’s murder of Foster (in words not unlike your own, Chris).  I then added the point that the SLA was active in the Bay Area when DH wrote this, and that DH’s home address was easily available to anyone.  I don’t know who is threatening you, Chris, but the SLA really DID kill people, already HAD killed someone it viewed as an “enemy of the people” (as everyone knew), when DH wrote his editorial attacking them. 

    Folks, on this part of the issue at least, the conclusion is obvious.

    As for why DH continued to link himself with the Panthers, maybe it was because they were still doing some sort of social services for poor black people in Oakland--unlike the SLA.  The Panthers certainly had a public reputation in that direction.  If that was the reason, then DH was wrong about the Panthers. He wouldn’t be the first or last white or black radical to be so romantic about them:  Spike Lee is the latest example.  Of course, DH has spent the last 30 years condemning himself for his mistake.



    Posted by  on  02/14  at  10:29 PM
  76. ’I suppose my larger point is that most every human being views himself as an angel in a field of devils.’

    I disagree with this strongly, and what’s more think that, although polite, it is a platitude that excuses the hatred and complete villification of ANYONE who disagrees with ‘your’ point of view.

    If anything, this is the issue that needs most to be addressed.

    From what I read here the current skirmish was started by Mr H, who attacked Mr B by ‘listing’ him as dangerous, extreme etc. Surely Mr B has the right to counter this attack?

    To let people off because everyone believes they are right and that nobody is perfect is the equivalent of saying “I am tired of talking about this”. 

    It might be complicated to unweave the lies from the truth - whoever tells them, but that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be done.

    I am not a scholar on the life of Mr H but I am aware that he doesn’t make a big deal about disassociating himself from the rest of the attack dogs who clearly have peddled lies, hearsay and personal attacks on the undeserving. Sitting next to Hannity is evidence enough.

    My worry about America is that wilful polarisation, playground insults, lies, accusations of moral corruption and sheer dogmatic hatred is becoming the preeminent mode of political discourse. For the right, this means that anyone who is remotely liberal is branded an extreme left winger. Bush did it repeatedly to Kerry in the 2004 debates. This rhetoric also, unfortunately, drowns out moderate conservative voices. The result : there is no dialectic (or even dialogue), just endless displays of “I am right and you shaddap!”

    I am observing from afar - the UK - and it very much appears that the impetus towards this mode of ‘debate’ in the US is coming these days most often from the Right.

    I am obviously pretty left wing in my views (and over here left and right wing have a whole different set of meanings - as examples, we are about to have an openly gay political party leader and we have tax-funded universal healthcare that is only decried by the very fringe economic liberals), yet like many Americans I know I recognise nothing in the accusations that to, for example, question the impulse and actions of the war, makes me a terrorist supporter or someone who wishes the world to promote or return to Communist tyranny.

    Posted by saltydog  on  02/14  at  10:57 PM
  77. Michael--

    If you’ll pass it along to Mr. Answer Man, I’d sure like to know the air speed velocity of an unladen WMD.

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  11:19 PM
  78. Art, out of courtesy to Michael I have tried to engage you in a civil and cordial, if blunt, manner.

    But you are either disingenuous or clueless.

    I said “One could speculate as to why Horowitz was so little appalled by the largely white SLA’s killing of an African-American professional - with dire ramifications for a city full of black children - that he continued to revere armed thugs for many subsequent months.”

    You respond with dickering over my word choice in one clause, and start demanding apologies, while studiously ignoring the main point except to invoke the specter of Hollywood.

    And you know what? There is room for reasonable disagreement over the level of disgust Horowitz felt over the SLA murder. I may have been wrong. There is room for reasonable disagreement over the bravery it took for him to write an editorial in Ramparts. I may have been wrong. I suspect I am not completely wrong. This is the kind of thing about which reasonable people can disagree.

    Now grownups, when they discuss such matters, will often disagree heatedly, sometimes with references to mental capacity or stubbornness or ideology. Sometimes people are persuaded, and sometimes not. A good person tries not to be unnecessarily unconstructive or cruel. I admit I am not always a good person in this respect. But the most I ever ask of someone is to agree with me after being persuaded by my arguments.

    Your first impulse in countering my allegations above, and in countering statements from others in these threads is, apparently, to demand an apology be delivered.

    In short, a millimeter beneath your ostentatious concern for civility is the reflexive desire to humiliate those you disagree with.

    Now I have been known to attempt to humiliate a debate opponent or two in my time, as have many other people in this thread. The difference? For the most part, we do not wrap ourselves piously in the plaintive garb of wounded decorum. For the most part, we do not demand our opponents debase themselves as penance for daring to disagree. Their humiliation is limited to having others see them argue badly. We do not ask them to engage in some twisted Maoist public self-criticism.

    It is a nasty, moralistic authoritarianism you display here. I’m calling your “civility” bluff. As far as I’m concerned, it’s far politer to tell someone he’s full of shit than it is to demand he abase himself the way you do with some regularity.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  02/14  at  11:32 PM
  79. For Chris:

    Regarding the mystery of why DH might’ve supported the Panthers while condemning the SLA, I just talked to a friend of mine who knew Huey Newton and he told me that Newton condemned the SLA publicly in Oakland as mindless “adventurers” who were simply destructive, and “not really rooted in the community.” This doesn’t excuse DH for not recognizing the Panthers for the thugs they themselves were until it was too late, but perhaps this does help resolve part of the question you raise.

    By the way, while DH was publicly (and riskily) condemning the SLA violence, Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn were sending them congratulatory messages.  Apparently this did not disqualify either Ayers or Dohrn when university search committees were considering nationwide applications for faculty positions at UIChicago Circle (Educaton!) and Northwestern (Law!) respectively.  They are now full professors.

    The feud between DH and MB started long before MB’s appearance in DH’s book. As I have made clear, I find the situation tragic.  But I think both DH and MB find me way too romantic on this, seeing the other as a devil.  The situation can’t be helped now, and I have no illusions about changing many people’s minds about DH here.  Just making a few points occasionally.



    Posted by  on  02/14  at  11:45 PM
  80. Art Eckstein writes for Frontpage, so of course he wants to be “civil” when he’s here.  How does he write when he’s there?  Well, let’s see:

    “The Dalton Trumbo Fountain, we learn from the official description by the University of Colorado School of Journalism, “is named in honor of Dalton Trumbo, one of the Hollywood Ten...screenwriters and directors who were blacklisted and driven from their livelihoods for refusing to testify before the House of Un-American Activities Committee” (HUAC).

    This is the OFFICIAL University of Colorado description of Dalton Trumbo--and no doubt the only things that most undergraduates, or even graduate students, at Colorado know about Dalton Trumbo. As such, this description is a lie--especially in terms of Dalton Trumbo’s real attitude towards freedom of speech during the most famous period of his life.”

    Somehow Art Eckstein is not so concerned about accusations of lying when it serves his ideological ends.  Did the University of Colorado *lie* when it provided this description?  No.  The description is incomplete—but that does not make it a lie.  Eckstein continues his slur against U. Colorado by connecting this fountain with Ward Churchill in a highly uncivil attack on the academic institution as a whole.

    So, as usual, the only concern that a conservative has with civility is an instrumental one.  What recent Republican dominance should have taught all of us is that civility is for losers.

    I would guess that Eckstein’s own work on popular culture is fertile ground for student accusations of right-wing bias, by the way.

    Posted by  on  02/14  at  11:58 PM
  81. I wonder—to ‘lie,’ which is to state a falsehood with the intent to deceive, does one have to be aware that the statement is false, or can one just say whatever as long as one is still trying to deceive?

    In general, I reserve use of the word ‘lie’ for when I know the author knows the truth, and thus purposefully disregards it. This is only a high standard to meet if one refrains from the pop-psychology/mind-reading techniques common to political discourse today.  The other category—I’ve heard it called ‘bullshit’—is when the author simply does not care whether what he says is true or false. For example, saying that F911 was screened somewhere when one has no clue whether that’s the case or not. I am tempted to believe bullshit is a worse moral offense.

    Don’t take this the wrong way—obviously I am judging the merits of your statements on a completely different metric than the way I would approach Horowitz. I read right-wing media very closely, and Front Page is in a class by itself. I find it simply undigestable—ad hominem, non-sequitur-ridden, smear-mongering logorrhea. He complains that people don’t respond to his arguments; whether this is true or not, it is a plain fact that it is almost impossible to respond to him without spending hours just trying to discern any logical coherence in his rambling (beyond the quick exercise of fact-checking, ho hum). And somehow his contributors seem to write in the same style. What’s up with that?

    Posted by  on  02/15  at  12:29 AM
  82. Art Eckstein writes for Frontpage,

    The scales have fallen from my eyes. It all becomes clear now. Thanks, Rich.

    Folks, I’m sorry for wasting your valuable attention arguing with the guy.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  02/15  at  01:17 AM
  83. Dear Art, I have to admit that your answer in #71 left me a little cold. “OTT rhetoric”? “No angel”? Oh my. Won’t you at least give me a “not very nice”? You ask us to trust your judgment as to character, and “no angel” is the best you can do for the column I link to? Won’t you at least go so far as “mean-spirited” or “dishonorable,” even if you won’t go all the way to “evil”? Are you implying by this reticence that what you read here is the moral equivalent of that Feb 9, 2001 column? Remember, I’m not asking for an evaluation of DH’s character, I’m only asking for an evaluation of that essay, as you evaluated MB’s post.

    Posted by  on  02/15  at  02:38 AM
  84. But in the two cases over the weekend alleged regarding DH’s “habitual lying”, one has turned out to be a very complex story where (imo) DH does not come out bad at all...

    I thought at the time this line was rather Horowitzian. The two cases? The funneling of all the weekend’s information into two cases, and the up-is-down defense of Horowitz’s oversimplification of a complex story by saying, well, it’s a complex story, was enough to make me suspicious. Thanks for the research, Rich Puchalsky.

    Posted by  on  02/15  at  06:29 AM
  85. Oh, and one more thing, I’m not saying the Frontpage writers are liars. I’m saying they’re Jeff Gannons.

    Posted by  on  02/15  at  07:04 AM
  86. 1.  Everyone knows I am a friend of Horowitz, and a google search noted over the weekend revealed a huge total of 45 connections. Horrors.

    2.  Chris, instead of being grateful for my constant correction of his constant inaccuracies about DH’s conduct re the SLA in 1973/1974, or being embarrassed by his own constant inaccuracies and wrong speculations about those days, or being grateful for my actually bringing new information here, from a friend of mine who knew Huey Newton, as to a reason why DH might have thought the Panthers were not the same as the SLA, now feels he doesn’t have to talk to me.  I thought better of him. Maybe he’s embarrassed at his own consistent inaccuracies--the kind of stuff for which he happily crucifies DH.

    3.  The U of Colorado “Dalton Trumbo Free Speech” Fountain is outrageous.  A “free speech fountain” dedicated to DT, it leaves out the fact that Dalton Trumbo, as a member of the CPUSA, participated in Party persecution of those who advocated that artists had the right to freedom of thought. Repeat:  Dalton Trumbo participated in Party persecution of those who advocated that aratists had the right to freedom of thought.  Most famously, Trumbo was one of the inquisitors in the Albert Maltz case as well as in the Robert Rossen case.  In the Maltz case (1946), the victim was forced to publicly recant IN PRINT his previous position advocating the freedom of the artist, and was thus allowed to stay in the Party.  In the Rossen case (1949), this famous director left the Party in anger at the attempted suppression of his personal art (namely, the film “All the King’s Men”, which the Party felt was too hostile to one-man rule; want to guess why they were unhappy about that?).  Yep, I’d say the inscription in Boulder, by making Dalton Trumbo a dedicated fighter for freedom of speech, is more than just “incomplete”.

    Trumbo himself later had “second thoughts” about his behavior in the Party in the 1940s, as we know now from his private papers; but he never went public about it.

    4.  “TWO cases over the weekend?” Yes, TWO and only two specific examples of alleged DH “lying” were brought up over the weekend.  One was the U of No. Colorado case, in which I believe I held my own about the specifics of the case:  the faculty-member destroyed all the evidence, the “reconstructed” exam shows that students HAD to answer one of the two slanted so-called “optional” questions, the question the student answered DID require her to argue that GBush was a war criminal, the faculty-member admitted he gave the student a low grade on the final, confirming the evidence the student had given DH on that aspect of the case, and the university, after the grievance procedure, raised her grade in the class to a “B”.
    In the other specific example of DH “lying”, MB offered a 100-word item from 13 years ago in which the article involved turned out actually not to have been written by DH at all--the type of mistake for which MB too has been merciless to DH. People will note that I wasn’t merciless to MB, though.

    I’ve been polite and civil, and in general have tried to bring a polite and civil “Other” to this blog. I’ve argued carefully and always with specific evidence, facts--more than one can say, for instance, of jeering Chris.  But if people think I’m not worth talking to, that’s fine.  Not exactly what I said about anyone else, is it?



    Posted by  on  02/15  at  10:19 AM
  87. Dear Art, I don’t think you’re not worth talking to, but I’m getting the impression the feeling isn’t reciprocated, as you didn’t reply to my post #83. Would you please do so?

    Posted by  on  02/15  at  10:29 AM
  88. Dear Art, just to be clear: #83 was a follow-up to your one sentence dismissal in #71 of my posts #69-70. So it would be great if you would address all three posts in a substantive way.

    Posted by  on  02/15  at  10:33 AM
  89. Oh, yes, I’ve been merciless to poor David.  Good grief.  Exactly who has accused whom of being “dangerous” and giving support to terrorists?

    Now, about one of those weekend “lies.” If you’ll go back and check the record, I never claimed that Horowitz himself wrote the essay on Wellesley; I claimed that he published it.  (Still, I should have been clearer about that.  It wasn’t quite right of me to suggest that Horowitz wrote it, just as it wasn’t quite right for Art to say “DH had nothing to do with that particular story.") Art makes much of the fact that it was 13 years ago, but, of course, I adduced it precisely in order to show that Horowitz has been publishing and producing bullshit for quite some time. (Ezra in comment 81 is quite right to insist on the distinction.)

    And I think Art isn’t bad at this game, either.  Chris said quite clearly, up in comment 67,

    My main point: Horowitz watched the murderous SLA debacle and then subsequently went on to lend support to armed cultist thugs. Even if he was horrified at the SLA, the sequence bespeaks at best an astonishing cluelessness, especially compared with the bulk of the left onto which he projects his earlier, and deadly, naivete.

    and the response has consisted of deflection and misdirection and obfuscation about the extent to which Horowitz condemned Foster’s murder.  Likewise, with regard to the Northern Colorado exam, John Protevi asked Art, back on February 12,

    And if there are people who, after many years of serious reflection and after many years in the classroom, have developed pedagogies that allow or even require them to teach in a “slanted” way, whether that “slant” is from the left or the right, you would support their right in an university committed to academic freedom to do so, wouldn’t you? You certainly wouldn’t want to impose your views of what is “pedagogically proper” on your peers, would you?

    and that critical question has been left unanswered.

    Look, if Art wants to carry water (and, gauging by his comments over the past week, buckets and buckets of water) for a friend who promotes writers like Ann Coulter and Richard Poe, and who writes unhinged screeds (Mr. Krauthammer is quite right for once) on why “the idea that some day all women will ‘live in safety’ is a utopian fantasy—the impossible dream of a kingdom of heaven on earth” and that therefore those who oppose violence against women are really adherents of a “a religion of hate” that is part of “the bloody history of the left—the saga of the guillotine and the gulag—which continues now into the new millenium,” that’s his business.  God love him for it, and for his (throat-clearing) civility.  But as for me, I’ve had enough.  Let us all disperse in a civil manner.

    John, if you really want Art to reply to comments 69-70, or comment 83, or—for that matter—your question from February 12, I suggest you write to him directly.

    Posted by  on  02/15  at  11:03 AM





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