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FrontPage post mortem

OK, so FrontPage says they made an honest mistake with my reply to David Horowitz.  And you know what? Dennis Perrin is surely right when he says that I am (and I quote) “much too fucking generous to Horowitz,” but I’m going to take this one at face value (you all can determine that actual face value for yourselves) and get right on back to the rest of my life.  For my account of the Mysterious Interlineated and Misread E-Mail, you can consult the second update of my previous post.  Or, you can get right on back to the rest of your life.  After reading this post, of course!

FrontPage does say, “We wish, of course, that he had contacted us before launching this attack to ascertain what had gone wrong.” Likewise, I wish they had made absolutely sure that I hadn’t replied to any of Horowitz’s many, many, many arguments before they charged me with “intellectual laziness” – and then went ahead and built the entire column around the premise that the entire Left is intellectually lazy because it dominates American culture so thoroughly:

Part of the explanation for this failure to express disagreement in the form of an intellectual argument, we suspect, has to do with the left’s undisputed domination over the institutions of the higher culture – the universities, the large metropolitan press, and the TV networks.  This dominance has caused it to inhabit a cultural echo chamber where the only interlocutor it really has to speak to (and answer to) is itself. Consequently, it has grown intellectually lazy and reaches for the most convenient epithet before it ever thinks about an argument. It has substituted emotional reflexes for ideas for so long that it has become a kind of latter day version of the conservatism that Lionel Trilling described as a “mental irritability” rather than an intellectual reference.

I think we’ve demonstrated pretty clearly which foot this particular shoe belongs on, folks.  So I’m going to take away an important lesson from this episode, and offer my future interlocutors on the right a few words of advice.

First, the lesson. I’m glad that FrontPage is going to reproduce the full text of my replies, but you know, I’m even more glad that I have this here blog.  (Can you address a blog in the vocative case? O Blog, thanks for always being there for me.  Your friend, Michael.) Over the years, I’ve dealt with my share of bizarre and/or malicious readings of my work, and I’ve learned to my dismay that asking people what’s up with their bizarre and/or malicious readings just doesn’t do the job, regardless of whether you ask politely, quizzically, or angrily.  (The polite and quizzical letters get replies like, “yeah, I smeared you – what of it?” The angry letters get disingenuous replies like, “why are you so angry?  All I did was lie about you in a right-wing rag.  You should control your temper and not take these things so personally!”) Blogging about bizarre and/or malicious readings, by contrast, gets immediate results.

I think back to what my dear old mother used to tell me when I would run out to play with the other kids.  “Michael,” she would say, “if you’re going outside, don’t forget to bring your blog.”

“Mom!” I would protest.  “I don’t need a blog – nothing’s going to happen to me.  Don’t be so overprotective alla time!  And stop fixing my collar!”

“Michael, I’m not being overprotective.  Someday you’ll look back on this day, and you’ll say, you know, my dear old mother was right – a boy needs a blog.”

“Sheesh, mom.  As if. ‘Bye.”

And, of course, I would run out into the world without a blog.  Well, she was right, and she was right about the day that I would say that she was right.  Sorry, mom.

Second, some words of advice. No one should be surprised when I reply fiercely to the claim that I have advised my colleagues “to treat conservative students as they would students with learning disabilities or who exhibited aberrant behavior.” Or when I call someone out for suggesting that I would have aborted my second child had I known that he had Down syndrome (in the course of “reviewing” a book in which I explain how my wife and I made the decision to go ahead with the pregnancy regardless of whether the fetus had Down syndrome).  Or that I get angry – really, really angry – after I spend far too much of my precious time patiently and carefully answering a string of Horowitzian non sequiturs and am met, in response, with the charge that I am emblematic of the intellectual laziness of the left.

I am a hockey player, people.  I do not fail to respond to things like this.  As a matter of policy, I advocate a strong personal defense.  Why?  Because it works.  Here in the Nittany Hockey League, people generally know that if they want to take a two-handed slash to the back of someone’s legs, or maybe cross-check a fellow in the back, they should go after someone other than me.  My penalty minutes this year, after thirty-nine games?  Zero.  Cheap shots taken?  Zero.  Why, you can practically put my name on the Lady Byng right now (besides, no one else is using it this year).

It is not true, by the way, that I turn with fury on “anyone who disagrees with me,” as one critic once put it.  Plenty of people disagree with me, including me.  But if you publish something about me that is both demonstrably false and potentially damaging, I will indeed respond, most likely in the manner of Doug Piranha.  I have a blog and a search engine, and I am not afraid to use ‘em.

Now, it’s not as if you can’t say anything bad about me.  After all, some bad things about me are true!  For example, I often turn things in late.  Evaluations, manuscripts, faculty reports, receipts, you name it, I turn it in late.  (Though I did get my taxes done last week.) Also, I am viscerally impatient with very slow and/or manifestly incompetent drivers, particularly when they occupy the car immediately in front of mine and I am rushing to FedEx or the English department office to turn something in late.  I never confront other drivers directly (goodness, I’m not a complete jerk), but I do mutter things like, “it’s the long thin pedal on the right,” or “first day driving?  you might want to practice in the stadium parking lot a bit before getting on the road.” Needless to say, this annoys the front-seat passenger no end, leading her to say, “you know, you have to cut that out.  It’s a Really Bad Habit.” Yes, you can even hear the capital letters when she says this.

OK, so those are the general ground rules for personal criticisms.  Bérubé advocates treating conservative students as if they were disabled – no.  Bérubé turns things in late – perfectly OK.  Bérubé is a symbol of the intellectual laziness of the left – no.  Bérubé is a bit of a crank who mutters under his breath at slow or incompetent drivers – entirely true.

I’ll be back later today with some of the rest of my life.

UPDATE:  For those of you interested in more textual foibles on the right, check out this painstaking letter by Graham Larkin, replying to Horowitz’s claim that he had not written a document that went out over his name ("In fact, the text you cite is not an article but very obviously a direct mail solicitation and was written not by me by but by a direct mail firm I hired to raise money for my Center. I plead guilty to not paying more attending to my fund-raising mail.” Or to typos and extraneous prepositions.)

Posted by on 04/12 at 12:37 PM
  1. But if you publish something about me that is both demonstrably false and potentially damaging, I will indeed respond, most likely in the manner of Doug Piranha. 

    It occurs to me that I have done just that, and I don’t recall you issuing any flaming denunciations. Maybe you should add “unfunny” to that list there.

    (Then again, I might still qualify.)

    Posted by David Horowitz  on  04/12  at  02:07 PM
  2. In the words of Doc Holliday in Tombstone: “I’m your giant hedgehog!”

    By the way, I’ve discovered the secret of DtN: it represents David’s entry into the world of exciting board games; to wit, you cut out the pictures from the database and play Mystery America-Hating Date.

    Can I say “more details on my site” without appearing to be an attention-starved lackey? I didn’t think so.

    Posted by norbizness  on  04/12  at  02:14 PM
  3. It occurs to me that I have done just that, and I don’t recall you issuing any flaming denunciations.

    Ah, but I did reply in comments!  I have a blog and a search engine, David, and you cannot hide.

    I’d also argued that although the social storm is the condition of possibility for our understanding of the brute storm, paradoxically the social storm leads us to understand the brute storm as something independent of our observation of it. It’s a fine point, yeah, but I just want to make sure that people don’t confuse my argument with Baudrillard’s notorious post-Matrix rereading ("there is no cow").

    I look forward to seeing “Fortunate Disaster: Reaping The Cinematographical Whirlwind” in the special issue of Crank Quarterly devoted to Twister studies.

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  02:24 PM
  4. Ah, but I did reply in comments!  I have a blog and a search engine, David, and you cannot hide.

    Yes, but you interleaved your comment between two others. How am I to be expected to know how to read? Nonetheless, I am sorry for the mistake you made.

    It is also your fault that Chris Clarke forgot to put his name back in the “Name:” field after his little joke comment yesterday. How do you sleep at night?

    Posted by David Horowitz  on  04/12  at  02:30 PM
  5. Yes, but you interleaved your comment between two others. How am I to be expected to know how to read?

    It’s a fair cop.

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  02:31 PM
  6. Heheh, nice follow-up post.  Sometimes I find it too eery when coincidences like invoking a potentially fictional (who’s to say!) conversation also took place with my mom in a post I made last night about an article that just came out about D. Ho in Salon.  Respect the True Network™.

    We love our mommas.

    Posted by Eric Lee  on  04/12  at  02:38 PM
  7. “We wish, of course, that he had contacted us before launching this attack to ascertain what had gone wrong.”

    “We wish, of course, that he had stuck to arguing with us in the privacy of e-mail, where we could have ignored him or put him off without anyone being the wiser, instead of making our egregious behavior known to everyone.”

    Posted by mythago  on  04/12  at  02:48 PM
  8. Funny coincidence- I was just reading an article about the Krays yesterday.  I had heard about them, but knew nothing.  Halfway into the article the article I had an epiphany - “They’re Doug and Dinsdale Piranha!”

    So did Doug nail people’s heads to the floor or did he use - gulp - sarcasm?

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  02:52 PM
  9. You know, I think the whole interview is worth revisiting, Njorl.

    Vercotti: I had been running a successful escort agency—high class, no really, high class girls—we didn’t have any of *that*—that was right out. And I decided (phone rings) excuse me. (Answers phone.) Hello ... no, not now ... shtoom ... shtoom ... right ... yes, we’ll have the watch ready for you at midnight ... the watch ... the Chinese watch ... yes, right-oh, bye-bye ... mother (hangs up phone).  Anyway, I decided to open a high class night club for the gentry at Biggleswade with International cuisine and cooking and top line acts, and not a cheap clip joint for picking up tarts—that was right out, I deny that completely—and one evening in walks Dinsdale with a couple of big lads, one of whom was carrying a tactical nuclear missile. They said I had bought one of their fruit machines and would I pay for it.

    2nd Interviewer: How much did they want?

    Vercotti: They wanted three quarters of a million pounds.

    2nd Interviewer: Why didn’t you call the police?

    Vercotti: Well I had noticed that the lad with the thermonuclear device was the chief constable for the area. So a week later they called again and told me the cheque had bounced and said ... I had to see ... Doug.

    2nd Interviewer: Doug?

    Vercotti: Doug. (takes a drink) Well, I was terrified. Everyone was terrified of Doug. I’ve seen grown men pull their own heads off rather than see Doug. Even Dinsdale was frightened of Doug.

    2nd Interviewer: What did he do?

    Vercotti: He used ... sarcasm. He knew all the tricks, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes and ... satire. He was vicious.

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  03:21 PM
  10. It’s always someone else’s fault over there at FP. Or, more correctly, something else’s fault. QUIRK IN THE FORMAT of our webpage, your email, etc.

    What I see here is a pattern of someone who refuses to take the much-heralded “personal responsibility” thing to heart, as every good Conservative should.

    ****

    Okay, so let’s cut through the shit. Dennis Perrin is right. You are too generous. D. Ho and his friends are LYING and they are in desperate need of intervention.

    Posted by Roxanne  on  04/12  at  03:28 PM
  11. D. Ho and his friends are LYING and they are in desperate need of intervention.

    Cool!  Just as long as it doesn’t involve pie.

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  03:41 PM
  12. norbizness: “I’m your giant hedgehog!”

    This makes you perhaps Spiny Norman (for the Python fans out there)?

    Posted by david ross mcirvine  on  04/12  at  03:42 PM
  13. Cool by me, too. I don’t believe pie or salad dressing are the answer. We need to fight words with words.

    Posted by Roxanne  on  04/12  at  03:44 PM
  14. Yea verily, Sister Roxanne, for was it not Michael Hutchence, dearly departed martyr of auto-erotic asphyxiation, who said unto the Maccabees: “Words are weapons, sharper than knives. Makes you wonder how the other half dies”?

    Posted by norbizness  on  04/12  at  03:51 PM
  15. … the left’s undisputed domination over the institutions of the higher culture – the universities, the large metropolitan press, and the TV networks.

    Ka-BOOM! (Sound of head exploding.)

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  03:54 PM
  16. I talk to drivers, too.  “It’s a green light, people.” I picked it up from my father.  I also used to yell at my kids during soccer games, except once I started coaching I HATED the parents who did that.  I’m not coaching anymore, but now I talk to them in conversational tones.  Pass back, back!!  Look up, look up! he’s coming on the left!! They can’t hear me but it’s a great relief.

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  04:30 PM
  17. Just as long as it doesn’t involve pie.

    Mmmmmm pie. Is there anything it can’t do?

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  04/12  at  04:31 PM
  18. Question: which were you expecting, that people who make a living off of unfair attacks would somehow exercise a bit of fairness?  Or that, as a hockey player, you’d be able to defend yourself against rough play?

    I’m unconvinced that intellectual resources are as reliable a weapon against well-paid stooges as a nice, old-fashioned, indisputably American pie in the face.

    Posted by donzelion  on  04/12  at  05:16 PM
  19. … the left’s undisputed domination over the institutions of the higher culture – the universities, the large metropolitan press, and the TV networks

    Is it just me, or doesn’t the fact that the “left” has “domination” over all these areas mean that they (it? we? norbizness?) cannot possibly be lazy?  Seriously.  That much domination does NOT come easily and once you get it, standards have to be met, contracts have to be negotiated and there’s hell to pay if your minions step out of line start trying to mess with things beyond your dominion.  Like, you know, getting half the country to agree with your point of view.  Those who have “domination” over other arenas get mighty pissy when their own little minions start to defect.

    Unless it’s that the reason the programming is the way it is and the urban media report the way they do and even higher education has evolved the way it has is because that’s what people demand. Welcome to the market economy, baby.

    Does it never occur to any of the whacked out conspiracy theorists on either side that sometimes what people want or will accept really isn’t due to the influence of [fill in favorite bogey man/group here]?  Not everyone is so friggin simple that they hear a new or dissenting point of view and throw off everything they ever believed before.  Seriously.  No amount of “influence” is going to make me believe something that goes against what I believed before.

    Proof, on the other hand, goes a very long way.  Proof is something D Ho doesn’t like to present.  It’s easier to call names or present assumptions as fact than do hard research - or even read and cite hard research.  And no, quoting yourself or Malkin doesn’t friggin count.  His intellectual dishonesty is just offensive.

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  05:24 PM
  20. I’m thinking that that tactic is a waste of good pie, but perhaps I’m being optimistic in assuming the pie is good. I’ve had some bad pies in my life. Lucky me: I’ve never had any bad ones at home.

    So, to get past that quibble, I’m asking: What sort of pie would you throw at Horowitz? What sort of pie would you throw at Ann Coulter? Malkin? DeLay? The late pope? The next pope? Etc.

    Posted by Ron Sullivan  on  04/12  at  05:30 PM
  21. What sort of pie would you throw at Horowitz?

    Mock apple.

    What sort of pie would you throw at Ann Coulter? Malkin?

    Keyes Lime.

    DeLay?

    Cow.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  04/12  at  05:39 PM
  22. http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2005/04/12/horowitz_database/

    an interesting Salon piece on DaHo today.  While suggesting that he throws mud and muck at everyone hoping some sticks, it seems that a more direct thinly constructed chocolate/espresso mousse pie would be an appropriate rebuttal.

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  06:01 PM
  23. My own favorite bad driver abuse: “Signal flashers optional equipment that year, shithead?”

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  06:07 PM
  24. Top of the Think Fast list today too.  What wonders a scuffle with DaHo creates.

    http://www.thinkprogress.org/

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  07:01 PM
  25. My own favorite bad driver abuse: “Signal flashers optional equipment that year, shithead?”

    Word of Caution to Breeders: I know a guy whose first complete sentence, uttered from a car baby seat, was “Step on it, Asshole.”

    Posted by GForce  on  04/12  at  07:01 PM
  26. "Sometime Today” is also a good driving mutter.

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  09:39 PM
  27. My favorite line: “Green means ‘go’ in the lower 48!”

    And Chris Clarke? I know we’ve never met, but I feel as though seeing your comments here and occasionally checking out your site has allowed me to come to know you within a very small and mostly meaningless context. It is that context which allows me to say - as nicely as possible - that the “Keyes Lime” joke was horrible. Simply, truly horrible.

    The “cow” thing, however, had me cackling.

    Posted by Paul  on  04/12  at  09:39 PM
  28. Simply, truly horrible.

    My work here is done.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  04/12  at  09:47 PM
  29. This whole incident indicates the absurdity of attempting to measure fairness and objectivity, as a resolution in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives wants us to do in the case of what courses are taught in Pennsylvania colleges and universities and whether there is a balanced presentation of the subjects taught.

    Government at any level cannot do the impossible.  Fairness in materials selected is in the eye of beholder.  There always are people to the left and right of whomever is selected as a spokesperson for any point of view, and there always is the question of how persuasive the selected opposition spokesperson is, as well as whether his or her views are being adaquately represented.

    It has been said that the left took over English departments and the right took over governments.  I am not enthusiastic about this distribution of energies, but I do not believe that any govermental harassing of any academic departments is at all justified.  I am old enough to remember when an academic today often allied with the right, Eugene Genovese, was attacked by Richard Nixon as a dangerous left-wing radical.

    Intellectuals often are guilty of thinking, and thinking often leads to change of views.  Thinking should be encouraged, and not harassed by Mickey Mouse investigations or other means.

    Posted by Rep. Mark B. Cohen  on  04/12  at  10:06 PM
  30. I think we’ve demonstrated pretty clearly which foot this particular shoe belongs on, folks.

    Actually, I think you demonstrated which mouth has a foot in it.

    Posted by Kevin  on  04/12  at  10:23 PM
  31. Representative Mark B. Cohen wrote:

    “I do not believe that any govermental harassing of any academic departments is at all justified.  I am old enough to remember when an academic today often allied with the right, Eugene Genovese, was attacked by Richard Nixon”

    I am glad to hear you mention this, as I’m old enough to have been a student at University of Rochester when both Professor Eugene
    Genovese and his wife Elizabeth Fox-Genovese (a lefty academic couple with comparable bling-bling to Michael and Janet!!) were teaching, and I know that both the writing and teaching of Prof. Genovese had a great effect on several generations of my family (my mother is also a U of R grad, who studied with Prof. Genovese).

    I cannot agree with former President Nixon that either Gene or Betsy were “dangerous”: moving, inspiring, and controversial, sure. As for the issue of academic liberty and governmental interference, more on that later, and in email.

    Finally, I’m also old enough to have been working as a “Props Boss” (head roadie, really) of a circus that came through Philly and stayed for a summer in 1976. I believe that Representative Cohen was then ... Representative Cohen of the 202d district.  As he was when my brother Edward, a music professor, lived in Philadelphia during the 1980s.

    Posted by Professor David Ross McIrvine  on  04/12  at  11:24 PM
  32. That “fund raising email” link is really interesting.  When Horowitz says that:

    “You go on to other examples, which are equally spurious, including a second quotation from the same direct mail solicitation to the effect that the Academic Bill of Rights will require colleges to “promote balance” in regard to the allocation of funds for speakers. But this is what the Academic Bill of Rights actually says on this issue [...]”

    Can he really be saying that he sent out a direct mail solicitation, asking people for money on the basis that it would be used for a campaign to “promote balance”, when he had no intention of doing so?  If I were a Horowitz contributor, I would be feeling really rather burnt by that one.

    Posted by dsquared  on  04/13  at  03:25 AM
  33. Um, you probably can’t pick the top far corner from the bottom of the face-off circle.

    If you can, YOU’RE A GOD!! (And must be blogging from Sveden this sveason wink

    Posted by  on  04/13  at  03:31 AM
  34. From the bottom of the face-off circle?  No problem.  I’m not a god—just a guy with a sharp wrist shot, most of whose goals are scored from within 30 feet.  But I’m waiting for the end of the season (April 24) before posting anything on how things are going on that front; I have a couple of benchmarks I’m trying to hit, and don’t want to jinx myself.

    Posted by Michael  on  04/13  at  07:07 AM
  35. Since we’re talking about the shoddy standards and low ethics of Mr. Horowitz’s “magazine,” I’d like to recount my own adventure with Frontpage in January. A humor piece I and a friend wrote for the Web site McSweeney’s, a goofy piece involving Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn providing a DVD commentary to “The Lord of the Rings,” proved so humorous to the editors at Frontpage that they posted it on their site, with an altered title, as if it were original material written for them.

    We were never asked for permission, offered any amount of compensation, nor, even, was the original site on which it appeared, which *had* paid us for the piece, linked to or contacted about Frontpage’s intentions. In fairness to Frontpage I should add that we were given the dubious honor of being labled as “columnists” for Frontpage.

    Though our piece poked gentle, parodic fun at Zinn and Chomsky, we were not pleased by the presumption that we would be glad to find ourselves in the company of Ann Coulter, David Horowitz, and the other bottom feeders at Frontpage, and so I wrote a letter telling them that there must be a mistake, that no one asked us for permission, but since they had used it could they please contact me or McSweeney’s about payment. No response.

    So I wrote another letter asking them, as a distinguished “contributor,” to please take down the piece and contact me about their stance on intellectual property theft. No response.

    Finally, I cc-ed a lawyer with a cease and desist letter and shortly thereafter I got this from Jamie Glazov:

    “Dear Mr. Alexander, this is Jamie Glazov, the managing editor of Frontpage Magazine. I apologize that your article was run without your permission. We have removed it and will make sure to contact you ahead of time in the future if we are interested in running one of your pieces. Cheers, Jamie. “

    “Cheers.”

    It would only surprise those who are unfamiliar with the debased standards and pathological dishonesty of these folks that I was able to find an article in Frontpage that had this to say about the petty theft of copyright violation. I’ll quote from my letter to the cheerful Mr. Glazov:

    “Looking through the archives of Frontpage magazine I came across a relevant piece, “Dot-Commies”, by your contributor Lowell Ponte, published on June 14, 2000. In it he makes a forceful, principled case against the theft of private property brought about by the technologies of the Internet. He writes

    ‘The Noble Laureate economist Milton Friedman was once asked if he could summarize the essence of economics in one sentence. “There is no such thing as a free lunch,” was his reply. The saint of science fiction writers, Robert Heinlein, put the same wisdom into an acronym, TANSTAAFL, “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” It may cost you nothing to eat that sandwich at the welfare center, but a farmer had to grow the wheat, a miller grind it to flour, a baker sweat it into bread, a butcher manufacture the hot dog inside it, and so forth.

    Somebody paid a price in their effort, risk, and time to create everything you have. And when you take what they have produced, even by digital copying, you are denying them a return on their investment. You are, in effect, turning somebody down that line of investment into your slave.’”

    I guess their happy with being, in their own words, slavers.

    Anyway, thought you’d all like to know what else Horowitz and his gang have been up to: apologies to all who have made it this far for the very long post.

    PS Mr. Horowitz, if you’re reading these comments: you still owe me money--how much do you pay Ann Coulter for a “column”.

    Posted by  on  04/13  at  12:50 PM
  36. "I guess they’re happy with being, in their own words, slavers.”

    It bears repeating, with proper grammar.

    Posted by  on  04/13  at  01:22 PM
  37. Jeff:

    “I guess they’re happy with being, in their own words, slavers.”

    As if skewering Chomsky would require burning calories. And it took TWO of you to do it.

    Aim higher. Go for the ankles.

    Posted by Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit  on  04/13  at  02:40 PM
  38. I sincerely doubt you have read (or can read) Chomsky.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  04/13  at  02:46 PM
  39. And now a Joe Bagaent description of DaHo’s supportive constituency?(hard working lower middle class living does not invite liberal development):

    Politically, Nance is anti-union, anti-abortion and vaguely aware of N.O.W. (National Organization of Women), which registers in her mind as “A bunch of lesbians out on the West Coast.” Nance is a Republican much as a fish is a creature of the ocean. Because of her caste in America, lower working class, Southern, high school educated, semi-fundamentalist Christian, she does not know a single registered Democrat. We’ve discussed it and neither of us could think of a Democrat she personally knew. “I know you,” she offered. “That doesn’t count,” I replied, “because I am a godless commie.” But the point is that for many working class Americans it is possible not to know a single person of liberal persuasion in daily life---which must seem inconceivable to urban and metropolitan Americans. A night in any tavern in this town shows why this is possible. Can you spell American C-L-A-S-S system?

    There are the regular Lynndie England types here, plus lots of mullet males, some about to join the army to get away from a dead end job and town. One look around Burt’s makes it obvious why the hard working life in America does not create liberals. Most people here are not sure of the difference between the House and the Senate, which does not bother them at all, because as they understand democracy, everyone’s opinion is of equal weight, informed or not. They have never been exposed to a union, never taken a college class, and do not expect too much out of life. Liberals, on the other hand, expect far too damned much, in their opinion. Life is tough. Suck it in. Don’t take chances. Be conservative and stick with what you know. Like most working people, they were born working class, never had college aspirations, and accept their lives. Such people do not have “careers.” They have jobs to pay the bills.

    Posted by  on  04/13  at  03:12 PM
  40. Mr. Alexander,

    I’m a big fan of that Chomsky/Zinn parody you co-wrote and it sickens me that they did that to you. Glazov is either mentally ill or a scumbag.

    Posted by  on  04/13  at  04:20 PM
  41. I disagree with Horowitz’s views but in my opinion Dennis Perrin is an intellecual thug so it’s unfortunate Michael pays any heed to his opinions. In fact Horowitz and Perrin are similar in a lot of ways.

    Perrin would consider Michael’s parody of Ward Churchill as something that gives ammunition to the likes of Horowitz and the “McCarthyites,” or at the very least it was in poor taste. Churchill called the technocrats murdered on 9.11 “little Eichmanns.” Big deal, didn’t you know people are starving in the third world?

    Posted by Peter K.  on  04/13  at  04:23 PM
  42. "I sincerely doubt you have read (or can read) Chomsky.”

    I have read enough Chomsky to determine that it is unlikely Chomsky has ever had an intimate encounter with reality. But you’re right. I can’t read Chomsky. Holocaust deniers turn my stomach.

    Posted by Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit  on  04/13  at  04:38 PM
  43. (Can you address a blog in the vocative case? O Blog, thanks for always being there for me.  Your friend, Michael.)

    Analogy from Russian:

    “Bog” > “Bozhe”
    “blog” > “blozhe”

    Posted by apsiegel  on  04/13  at  04:40 PM
  44. I can’t read Chomsky. Holocaust deniers turn my stomach.

    Surprise! A simple-minded right-wing lie.

    Chomsky is not a Holocaust denier. He supported the free speech rights of French fake historian and reputed asshole Robert Faurisson, who is a Holocaust denier. But he made it very clear that his support for Faurisson’s free speech was in no way an endorsement of his views. (It was that whole thing about support for free speech being meaningless unless you support repugnant speech.)

    Thus witness the Horowitzian right’s neat little psychotic hermticism: If the left is seen was suppressing the free speech of the right, we are to be condemned. If the left is seen as supporting the free speech of the right, we are to be condemned. How handy!

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  04/13  at  04:48 PM
  45. Well, I do have my differences with Dennis Perrin (and I think he’s smoking meth to suggest that I ever give Horowitz “a wink and a nod"), but on this one he’s not alone.  Lots of people think I’m being too generous here.  But I’ll live.

    As for Chomsky:  anyone who calls him a “Holocaust denier” is so efficiently self-undermining as not to need any further help from me. 

    Mr. Alexander, I thought your Chomsky/Zinn parody was a hoot, and offered in good fun.  I’m stunned that FrontPage pilfered it—and now I’m reminded that they did the same thing to an essay of mine some years ago, as well.  I wonder how much money the Scaife and Bradley foundations owe me by now?

    Posted by Michael  on  04/13  at  06:15 PM
  46. From the bottom of the face-off circle?  No problem.

    Heh. That’s what all the wingers say… until they come face-to-face with a Canukistanian goalie, that is! wink

    Posted by  on  04/13  at  07:13 PM
  47. Chomsky is not a Holocaust denier. He supported the free speech rights of French fake historian and reputed asshole Robert Faurisson, who is a Holocaust denier. But he made it very clear that his support for Faurisson’s free speech was in no way an endorsement of his views. (It was that whole thing about support for free speech being meaningless unless you support repugnant speech.)

    I’m going to take your word for it. You’ve indicted Chomsky far worse than I have with the above. Something like “yes, shit stinks, but if we don’t shove it up our nose and find the visceral nuances within it we’re dismissing it out of hand unfairly.” No, thanks.

    Thus witness the Horowitzian right’s neat little psychotic hermticism: If the left is seen was suppressing the free speech of the right, we are to be condemned. If the left is seen as supporting the free speech of the right, we are to be condemned. How handy!

    Noam Chomsky - champion of kooks.

    Posted by Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit  on  04/13  at  08:42 PM
  48. Michael:
    As for Chomsky:  anyone who calls him a “Holocaust denier” is so efficiently self-undermining as not to need any further help from me.

    Mea culpa! Then let me retract! Chomsky isn’t a Holocaust denier. Chomsky is a man who wants YOU to take Holocaust denial as a serious line of inquiry! Subtle differences!

    No, funk that. Anyone who deems the United States of America the reincarnation of Nazi Germany, a Chomskian theme, is a Holocaust denier.

    Such selective “nuance” from someone who can’t make his way to a coherent point about Horowitz’s alleged conflating Katie Couric with Abu Zarqawi. 

    What a damning indictment of the higher education system it is that an esteemed literature professor can’t demonstrate reading comprehension skills.

    Posted by Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit  on  04/13  at  08:54 PM
  49. I apologize for feeding the troll, Michael. Won’t happen again. At least not in this thread. (I’m weak.)

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  04/13  at  09:01 PM
  50. I apologize for feeding the troll, Michael.

    Oh my! Get Chomsky on the phone, quick! My free speech rights are being oppressed by the Holocaust-denial-is-chic-group-thinkers! Help! Help!

    Don’t worry, Chris. You can get back to your rudely interrupted circle jerk, already in progress. I’m off for more intellectual pastures…

    Posted by Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit  on  04/13  at  10:05 PM
  51. Neeeext!

    Posted by GForce  on  04/14  at  12:52 AM
  52. LARKIN’S LAME LOGIC

    Not to pie myself in the face or anything, but I do want to note that the letter of mine so graciously cited by Michael in his update to the above entry contains some rather sophomoric philosophizing on my part, on the subject of truth claims. (Yes, this is really G. La writing, not D. Ho.)

    I see that my little problem has now been duly noted by the judicious Arthur Silber, in a blog entry closed to comments. (He of course found the damn thing on Bérubé.)

    In my defense, I did blush upon rereading my letter a couple of days after writing it on 28 Jan, and noted my error in a letter sent a few days later to D. Ho saying “I think it’s fair to say that our discussion about the disputability of truth claims demonstrates that any absolute claim about the nature of truth—yours or mine—is infinitely contestable, because it’s so hard to settle on the terms.”

    Which is at least a little closer to the truth (if you believe in that kind of thing) than the earlier letter, tho’ Silber is still closer to the mark.

    Posted by Graham Larkin  on  04/14  at  05:08 AM
  53. Chomsky never said that we had to shove Holocaust denying up our noses or even take it seriously. What he did say is that the French government, or any government, should not have the power to censor speech just because it is wrong and offensive. This seems to me to be a position that any mainstream American can agree with.

    But D-Ho and crew are not mainstream in any way. They are radical idealogues, slanderers and liars of the worst sort. Chomsky actually stood up for academic and intellectual freedom by supporting the free speech rights of person whose views he found to be repugnant. D-Ho and his cronies on the other hand threw together a database (blacklist) of people that don’t agree with their political views and are attempting to get them fired and censored by the state for publicly disagreeing with state policy. In true communist fashion D-Ho and his band of Trotskyists want to silence and slander all enemies of “the revolution”.

    Posted by  on  04/14  at  02:03 PM
  54. Mike P.,

    You may not see this—being a day later and all—but I just wanted to say, “Damn fine post!”

    In true communist fashion D-Ho and his band of Trotskyists want to silence and slander all enemies of “the revolution”.

    That particular point is especially relevant and bears emphasis.

    Thank you.

    Posted by  on  04/15  at  06:46 PM
  55. Maybe this is just a direct marketing campaign to sell more copies of his book? Here’s a brief exchange between Mr. Horowitz and me. (btw, I opposed the war in Iraq but don’t see myself as left at all. Actually, Duke also opposed the war in Iraq. Does that mean I’m in bed with him now?).

    Comment submitted by Dan in regards to blog entry: It`s hard to have
    An intelligent conversation with a leftist these days. Take Salon.com ---------------------------------------
    Dear Sir,
    You say you haven`t linked Ebert or other folks with Atta. Here is the list on your site (http://www.discoverthenetwork.org/summary.asp?object=Persons&category=) that has what it purports to be members of the left. Ebert`s name (and hundreds of others) are lumped in with Atta`s here.

    Horowitz: This is no more a link that if I listed you in the site with Ward Churchill and Mumia Abu Jamal. You could be a moderate leftist who thinks Abu Jamal is guilty and Ward Churchill is a nut. Stalin killed Trostky and they fought each other ideologically but they were both Communists. Would you compose a database of the right and leave out David Duke

    Dan: How about this list of the Global Political Right:

    1. Mussolini
    2. Ronald Reagen (Dan’s misspelling. Lazy!)
    3. David Duke

    I would suggest the above implies links in the ideas and thinking of all three men. And that’s why it would be wrong. Just as your list implies links between people of good character and terrorists.

    Both lists are underhanded, smear-tactic politics beneath thinking adults. You should be embarrassed (I misspelled this one too, but fixed it here. Sneaky!) that you’ve lumped so many of your political opponents in with thugs like Atta.
    Dan

    Dan: Btw, your defintion of “the left” is so weird as to be nonsensical. Trostky, left. Check. Stalin? Well, yeah, check. Atta? Are you out of your mind? There is nothing remotely left about militant Islamists

    Horowitz: The argument is made in Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American
    Left.

    Posted by  on  04/16  at  05:22 AM
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