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Thug life

A number of readers have written to ask me how I feel about David Horowitz calling me a “thug” on yesterday’s radio show.  Well, if I thought for a moment that David knew what he was talking about, I would be mightily pleased with myself: if, by the end of the year, I can get Ann Coulter calling me a maniac and Tom DeLay calling me a crook, I’ll have hit the trifecta.  But, alas, He Who Shall Not Be Designated By His First Initial and a Drastic Truncation of His Surname probably doesn’t deserve that much credit.  Veteran readers of U. No.’s work know that he is prone to making embarrassing “mistakes” regarding things like “accurate” “quotes” and “actual” “facts,” so I’m inclined, in this case, to believe that the poor old man has me confused with this guy.

Besides, today is Disability Studies day!  I’m off to teach my seminar.  Here’s a snippet from one of last week’s readings.  Hey, Andrew Sullivan—this would be a good day for you to stop by my humble blog and do some readin’.  From Steven Jay Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man, two quick tunes.  A one:

The difference between strict hereditarians and their opponents is not, as some caricatures suggest, the belief that a child’s performance is all inborn or all a function of environment and learning.  I doubt that the most committed antihereditarians have ever denied the existence of innate variation among children.  The differences are more a matter of social policy and educational practice.  Hereditarians view their measures of intelligence as markers of permanent, inborn limits.  Children, so labeled, should be sorted, trained according to their inheritance and channeled into professions appropriate for their biology.  Mental testing becomes a theory of limits.  Antihereditarians, like [Alfred] Binet, test in order to identify and help.  Without denying the evident fact that not all children, whatever their training, will enter the company of Newton and Einstein, they emphasize the power of creative education to increase the achievements of all children, often in extensive and unanticipated ways.  Mental testing becomes a theory for enhancing potential through proper education.  (182-83)

And a two (remember, this little gem goes all the way back to 1981):

I have said little about the current resurgence of biological determinism because its individual claims are usually so ephemeral that their refutation belongs in a magazine article or newspaper story.  Who even remembers the hot topics of ten years ago: Shockley’s proposals for reimbursing voluntarily sterilized individuals according to their number of IQ points below 100, the great XYY debate, or the attempt to explain urban riots by diseased neurology of rioters.  I thought that it would be more valuable and interesting to examine the original sources of the arguments that still surround us.  These, at least, display great and enlightening errors.  But I was inspired to write this book because biological determinism is rising in popularity again, as it always does in times of political retrenchment.  The cocktail party circuit has been buzzing with its usual profundity about innate aggression, sex roles, and the naked ape.  Millions of people are now suspecting that their social prejudices are scientific facts after all.  Yet these latent prejudices themselves, not fresh data, are the primary source of renewed attention.

We pass through this world but once.  Few tragedies can be more extensive than the stunting of life, few injustices deeper than the denial of an opportunity to strive or even to hope, by a limit imposed from without, but falsely identified as lying within.  (60-61)

Golly, that Gould could write, couldn’t he?  I wonder why The New Republic didn’t do more to promote his work in the 1990s.

_________________

THUG LIFE UPDATE:  Hey, kids, David Horowitz is at it again!  David’s froth-a-lot response to my op-ed has just appeared today, and contains a extra special bonus piece of stupidity, this one assisted by his ethically-challenged friend Art Eckstein:

Professor Berube himself has written that the notorious article by professors Mearsheimer and Walt, which blames the Jews for the war on terror and the Jewish lobby for controlling American foreign policy and the American media—a sort of contemporary version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion—“has many virtues.”

I have?  Jeez, when did I write that?  I haven’t even read the Mearsheimer / Walt article!  Ah, here’s the answer:  I wrote a brief reply to Scott Jaschik’s Inside Higher Ed article about the Mearsheimer / Walt article.  Within a few hours of the appearance of Jaschik’s article on the morning of March 27, my dear friend KC Johnson showed up to bash the AAUP off-topic.  Here’s my reply to KC, in full:

I see that KC Johnson, as ever, wastes no time going after the AAUP, despite the many virtues of this article and despite Roger Bowen’s judicious remark about the blinders of scholars who are too ideologically entrenched on one side or another of the Israel-Palestine question. Reasonable people might remember that the AAUP opposed the AUT’s foolish boycott of Israeli scholars, but not our KC. He’s a culture warrior through and through, and doesn’t miss a single opportunity to rehearse a right-wing talking point. Those blinders must work pretty well.

KC, in return, responded with the sagacity that is his trademark:

I confess, Michael Bérubé has exposed me: I’m a pro-gay marriage, pro-choice, pro-Hillary Clinton “right-winger.” We’re a very large group. (I wasn’t aware, by the way, that sympathy for Israel was considered a “right-wing” position as well.)

Right on point, KC!  And then along came Art Eckstein with this stupefyingly dishonest comment:

Professor Berube finds that the Walt and Mearsheimer paper has “many virtues”. But Dennis Ross (Clinton’s leading Mideast negotiator) indicate it is the work of ignoramuses. But of course Ross is Jewish, Professor Berube—and you may have noticed that there are several folks on this blog, siding with you, who will therefore automatically discount it. You ought to think seriously about the company you’re keeping. . . .  That Professor Berube finds “many virtues” in a paper that rebirths The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a stunning statement—he should be ashamed of himself. Or, perhaps he should re-examine some of his assumptions.

And thence from Art Eckstein back to his friend David Horowitz, I am now an anti-Semite!  That’s how the smear factory works, folks!

But regular readers of this blog know what kind of shabby game Art is playing here:  he’s played it before, on this very blog, in fact.  He shows up and pretends not to know what the referent of “this” is (or worse, he actually doesn’t know, in which case one has to wonder how in the world he ever got a job in a university).  In this case, of course, he takes my praise for Scott Jaschik’s article (to which I referred, in a comment on Scott Jaschik’s article, as “this article"), and pretends that it is praise for the Mearsheimer / Walt article.

Eckstein should be ashamed of himself—for being incompetent, or for being something worse (we’ll leave that call up to him).  As for Horowitz, asking him to display shame about a claim like this (and by “this” we mean “this little stunt to which this here hyperlink refers") is like asking him to display some ordinary human decency.  Don’t worry!  We know better than to waste our time.

Posted by on 04/12 at 08:52 AM
  1. See? I warned you about posting that picture of yourself in leathers. Did you listen? Nooooo. Now you’re drinking Pouilly Vinzelles from 36-ounce screw-tops while wearing your MLA baseball cap sideways. Your neighbors quietly fear for their unpruned shrubs whenever the see you walk by, your boom-box pumping out cranked-up Matthew Sweet tunes. You’re a thoroughly dangerous man.

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  11:29 AM
  2. "Horowitz” called you a thug?  Damn.  I would think that you at least qualify as O.G.  Maybe “Horowitz” would have called you that if he hadn’t always thought that people were just saying oh, gee.

    As for Gould, the only person who can legitimately dislike his writing is Dawkins.  Anyone else, and you know that they’re foaming at the mouth about this strange combination of evolutionist undermining their religious dogma and antihereditarian undermining their social prejudice.

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  11:37 AM
  3. As a veteran horse player, and as a veteran educator, I can state with supreme confidence that we human beings are useless when it comes to predicting the future, no matter the accuracy of present measurements.

    Pigeon-holing horses based on reading the Daily Racing Form is folly. Pigeon-holing people based on standardized test measurements, which are nowhere near as precise as the DRF measurements, is unconscionable.

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  11:41 AM
  4. Did DH call you a thug or did he mean to call you a dangerous man who studies danger?  Is this another sign that DH is totaly insane?  Why does anyone take him seriously?  David Horowitz- consistently wrong for 40 years.

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  11:46 AM
  5. Thanks for posting these excerpts.  SJG was really at the top of his game in writing this book.  (No gratuitous fancy words or clunky references in these passages!) Plus, he’s right.

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  12:04 PM
  6. "The Notorious Em-Bé-Bé is in the House. No Arbor Day is safe!”

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  12:09 PM
  7. Maybe he has you confused with Thug Behram.

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  12:58 PM
  8. According to Coulter yesterday, you are only “godless” so far.  But her new book comes out on 06-06-06, and i suspect she will provide other over-the-top dysphemisms as is her want.

    And as for Disability Studies Day, one need look no further south of Pennsylvania than Kentucky to find Governor Ernie boy honoring diversity in his speech while signing legislation that allows discrimination based on sexual preferences.  But hey, why should we expect these types of people (that one for whom we haven’t yet found the perfect symbolic signifier) to be anything other than hypocrits?

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  02:02 PM
  9. According to Coulter yesterday, you are only “godless” so far.

    Nope, not good enough.  Besides, I often sacrifice infants to Moloch, just the way PZ taught me to.

    Posted by Michael  on  04/12  at  02:09 PM
  10. Thank you for the great quotes from Gould. And I’m sure you’re right that Mr. H. was confusing you with Mr. Bertuzzi. The resemblance, and utter thuggish manliness, is striking.

    Posted by sfmike  on  04/12  at  02:45 PM
  11. Michael wrote above, re: DH calling him a “thug”:

    if, by the end of the year, I can get Ann Coulter calling me a maniac and Tom DeLay calling me a crook, I’ll have hit the trifecta.

    Why stop there? Why not have Dick “Go fuck yourself” Cheney call you foul-mouthed?

    Further suggestions welcomed.

    Captcha: “death.” I kid you not.

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  03:54 PM
  12. Why stop there, indeed?  I look forward to the day when Michael Savage, the man who was (as Horowitz’s book points out) inexplicably rejected as a candidate for the deanship of Berkeley’s journalism school, denounces me as a homophobe.

    Posted by Michael  on  04/12  at  04:00 PM
  13. Not only, sir, are you a secular, east-coast elitist, nihilist, islamist, fascist, academic, thuggish, maniacal, classroom bias having, liberal indoctrinating, fancy degree holding, godless, communist, Marxist, Maoist, Pol-Potist, America-hating, Bible-banning, flag-burning, troop-unsupporting, al-qaeda representing, totalarian, danger-loving snob; you! sir, are a crrrrroook!

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  04:28 PM
  14. What is more, you are given to speaking of bestiality in public forums.

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  04:37 PM
  15. "Michael Bérubé is a carpetbagger.”
    --Alan Keyes

    Another thanks for the Gould quotations. A perfect expression of the idea I’ve searched for when responding to those who snidely dismiss “social constructionism” as relativistic anti-empiricism.

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  04:48 PM
  16. "David Horowitz- consistently wrong for 40 years.”

    This parallels something I was thinking this morning while reading an article about the neocons.  Many of them (or their parents) used to be communist sympathisers (this article claimed they were actually Stalin defenders, though I had heard Trotskyites before).  And I thought these people are wrong in just the same ways they were wrong then.  They have a theory, and actual facts, actual ways people behave, are as nothing to the beauty of the theory.  Just so with DH.  Only he is perhaps even stupider.  Instead of falling in love with a thoery, he seems to have fallen in love with having enemies and being persecuted by them.  But he is just as immune to reality as the neocons.

    Gould, on the other hand is both smart and write.  And a good writer.  Perhaps he has a big staff.

    Captcha word “values.” I swear I am not making this up.

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  05:01 PM
  17. Damn.  Smart and right, not smart and write.

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  05:02 PM
  18. That second quotation is especially good, as it applies to any number of prejudices people would like to see as “just the way things are” - thank you very much.

    That said, I was unaware of “Shockley’s proposals for reimbursing voluntarily sterilized individuals according to their number of IQ points below 100,” and now I believe my eyebrows are permanently located halfway up my forehead in shock.  Who could be so horrid?  Michael, I expect you to help cover the cost of having my eyebrows surgicaly readjusted.

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  07:31 PM
  19. Weren’t those “thuggees” in “Gunga Din”?

    Maybe DH is simply recognizing the importance of Kali in your life.

    Maybe calling you a thug is simply a way for DH to show his respect for the diversity of belief.

    Posted by Aaron Barlow  on  04/12  at  07:44 PM
  20. Another thanks for the Gould quotations. A perfect expression of the idea I’ve searched for when responding to those who snidely dismiss “social constructionism” as relativistic anti-empiricism.

    Lee, you’re very welcome.  However, as you are well aware, Mark Bauerlein has shown beyond the shadow of a doubt that social constructionism is merely relativistic anti-empiricism:

    “This is the bare and banal advantage of social constructionism: it saves time. Truth, facts, objectivity – those require too much reading, too many library visits, too much time soliciting interlibrary loan materials, scrolling through microfilm records, double-checking sources, and looking beyond academic trends that come and go. A philosophy that discredits the foundations of such time-consuming research is a professional blessing. It is the belief-system of inquirers who need an alibi for not reading the extra book, traveling to the other archives, or listening to the other point of view. This is why constructionism is the prevailing creed in the humanities today. It is the epistemology of scholarship in haste, of professors under the gun.”

    That Gould, you know, always looking for the short cut, the slapdash argument, the easy out.

    Posted by Michael  on  04/12  at  07:52 PM
  21. That said, I was unaware of “Shockley’s proposals for reimbursing voluntarily sterilized individuals according to their number of IQ points below 100,” and now I believe my eyebrows are permanently located halfway up my forehead in shock.  Who could be so horrid?

    It is horrid indeed.  By rewarding the least capable and least productive among us, Shockley’s scheme sets at a discount all the remarkable skills and knowledges that make Objectivists uniquely fit to rule the world, and provides a positive incentive for people to lower their own IQs in order to maximize their “reimbursement” benefit.

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  07:57 PM
  22. Eckstein should be ashamed of himself—for being incompetent, or for being something worse (we’ll leave that call up to him).

    Drat, I was hoping to make that call. My call would have been that Eckstein’s a Jeff Gannon, but, deferring to your wishes, I’ll leave the call up to him.

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  08:59 PM
  23. Oh all right, Venerable Ed, you can make the call.  But just this once.

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  09:01 PM
  24. Michael,

    You’re a plagiarist entirely devoid of original ideas.

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  10:24 PM
  25. Michael,

    You’re a plagiarist entirely devoid of original ideas.

    Also, I thought up this comment all by myself because I was the first in my family to go to college.

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  10:29 PM
  26. i love that the picture of you as a thug is you in front of the gates. even thugs like culture.

    Posted by  on  04/12  at  11:10 PM
  27. >>It is horrid indeed.  By rewarding the least capable and least productive among us, Shockley’s scheme sets at a discount all the remarkable skills and knowledges that make Objectivists uniquely fit to rule the world, and provides a positive incentive for people to lower their own IQs in order to maximize their “reimbursement” benefit.

    What?

    Posted by  on  04/13  at  12:12 AM
  28. Idiots have no shame.

    Posted by  on  04/13  at  12:15 AM
  29. Not only, sir, are you a secular, east-coast elitist, nihilist, islamist, fascist, academic, thuggish, maniacal, classroom bias having, liberal indoctrinating, fancy degree holding, godless, communist, Marxist, Maoist, Pol-Potist, America-hating, Bible-banning, flag-burning, troop-unsupporting, al-qaeda representing, totalarian, danger-loving snob; you! sir, are a crrrrroook!

    Had to be said twice.

    But *really,* Michael, if you want to hit the big time, don’t shoot for name-calling. No, sir.

    You want Fox News to sue you.

    P.S. As an EVILLIBERALISLAMOFASCISTTERRORISTSYMPATHIZERHELPMEHELPMEWE’REALLGONNADIESOLET’SBEFASCISTS, I resent having to type the word “Freedom.”

    Posted by  on  04/13  at  12:23 AM
  30. You know, for all of the random potshots Horowitz is taking that have absolutely no grounds whatsoever (my dad an antisemite? ha!), theyve really just skirted around that whole “Human infant stew with mango gazpacho” recipe you published in Better Homes and Gardens in July 2000. You’d think they would pick up on that by now! I mean, youre great on the issues, but when it comes to not killing children, you kinda fail. Sorry, dad.

    Nick

    Posted by  on  04/13  at  01:22 AM
  31. Ah, sharper than a serpent’s tongue are the words of a son who does not appreciate his father’s cooking.

    Posted by Michael  on  04/13  at  08:17 AM
  32. "You know, that Bee-roo-bee guy’s not too bright.”
    G W Bush

    Posted by  on  04/13  at  08:34 AM
  33. Michael,

    You can’t drive, either!

    Posted by  on  04/13  at  09:34 AM
  34. Mark Bauerlein has shown beyond the shadow of a doubt that social constructionism is merely relativistic anti-empiricism

    Everybody (including Michael!) is always bashing relativism. I don’t see why. It’s just as good as any other idea.

    Posted by  on  04/13  at  10:31 AM
  35. "That dirty Frenchman hates Muslims, too!”
    --Charles Johnson

    Posted by The Disgruntled Chemist  on  04/13  at  01:09 PM
  36. You have to save stuff like this for next year’s Koufax nominations re: humorous!!!

    You know, for all of the random potshots Horowitz is taking that have absolutely no grounds whatsoever (my dad an antisemite? ha!), theyve really just skirted around that whole “Human infant stew with mango gazpacho” recipe you published in Better Homes and Gardens in July 2000. You’d think they would pick up on that by now! I mean, youre great on the issues, but when it comes to not killing children, you kinda fail. Sorry, dad.

    Nick
    Posted by nick on 04/13 at 12:22 AM
    #

    Ah, sharper than a serpent’s tongue are the words of a son who does not appreciate his father’s cooking.
    Posted by Michael on 04/13 at 07:17 AM

    why is my captcha word “john”?? mmm so in the toilet, or have i been conveyed to the outhouse of posting. 3:16??

    Posted by  on  04/13  at  02:38 PM
  37. Everybody (including Michael!) is always bashing relativism. I don’t see why. It’s just as good as any other idea.

    Good point, Amanda!  But then, every point is a good point in a way.

    Posted by Michael  on  04/13  at  03:25 PM
  38. Damn you A. Rand (if that is your real name...), I shouldn’t have laughed at that.  Fortunately, it seems to have solved my eyebrow problem.

    Posted by  on  04/13  at  03:48 PM
  39. WOW! Howawitz you a thug?!? I’m stunned because i thought everyone already knew you were a GOON!

    Posted by  on  04/13  at  05:39 PM
  40. So, if you’re a thug, when can we expect the duet with 2Pac? (Whose productivity has been astounding for a dead guy. He’s released more albums after he died than he ever did while he lived...)

    Or maybe you can get in on Eminem’s next album? Since you’re both bugaboos of the Right. Go on, you know you want to…

    (The capthca is ‘red’ - I kid you not...)

    Posted by Oystein  on  04/14  at  07:37 PM
  41. Michael has on several occasions threatened, or promised I guess it would be, to slap me in the face with his cock.

    Posted by  on  04/15  at  01:01 AM
  42. You are right in the meantime a great many issues bencede have very nice blog thank you

    Posted by whosecure  on  12/11  at  02:59 PM
  43. That’s crazy was he saying that because of your race or was he just saying that?

    Posted by Cool Math  on  05/22  at  09:48 AM
  44. Work more than wonderful Thank you dear

    Posted by منتديات فلسطين  on  11/01  at  04:18 PM
  45. Well friends, I can not do any thing for you but I really want by heart to something for others, because I am really a poor person.

    Posted by bathrooms liverpool  on  12/20  at  07:20 AM

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