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Saturday, February 11, 2006

Horowitz Agonistes

From Marita, in comments to yesterday’s post:

Any of you catch the latest (blog? post?) at FrontPageMag?

Mr. Horowitz provides us with this:

In any case, the professor has evidently learned nothing since from my response to his first post which reminded him that the bien-pensant among us, particularly professors of literature, generally read books before they review them. Here’s how Berube’s response to that idea begins: “Um, no, David, you poor thing. [Oh, did I mention that Michael imagines himself a humorist?] “That’s wasn’t a book review. This is a book review.” (Emphasis Michael’s.) But then he writes: “I got my impression of your ‘book’ … from hearing about my own entry in it.” From “hearing about” his own entry?

OK, so is he seriously so intellectually dishonest that he’s willing to claim that the remainder of the post, rather than the link, constitutes a book review?. . .  Or should I take the more charitable view that maybe he hasn’t quite got the hang of this whole internet thing yet?

Marita, this is not an either/or kind of blog.  We like to think in terms of both/and.  Horowitz is intellectually dishonest, as we’ve established time and again, and he’s kind of clueless about how the Internets work.  There’s always the possibility of a Third Way, as well:  one could imagine that Horowitz is so bag-of-bricks stupid as to think that the “this” in “this is a book review” referred to yesterday’s post rather than to my recently-published review of Theory’s Empire (there, that should make it clear).  But personally, I don’t buy it.

We might also consider the possibility that Horowitz is kind of unethical, as Marita suggests when she notes that he took one of his critics who wrote to him directly, and responded by publishing her email address.  Decent people consider that kind of thing either very childish or very vile, you know.  Or maybe both!

But who knows?  Perhaps, at long last, Horowitz is beginning to come truly and fully unhinged, as Chris Clarke notes.  Here’s Chris (single indent), followed by Horowitz (double indent):

OK, this is funny.

In DHo’s latest, he says:

You need to stop fantasizing that ‘leftwing fascists’ are attacking you,” says the very professor who calls me a liar without checking the facts.

Is the perception of widespread attacks a fantasy of mine? ...  if you Google the words “McCarthy +David Horowitz” you will find over 400,000 references. Not to belabor the point but the most recent issue of the The Chronicle of Higher Education, the principle journal of academic administration, carries as its lead feature, a piece by leftist Ellen Schrecker called “Worse Than McCarthy.” The article purports to be about me and people like me. A version of it was read at the Temple Hearings.) It’s Berube who is the fantasist if he really believes I am not under attack.

For those of you who didn’t follow the link in Michael’s post, he was referring to an exchange I had with Horowitz in which I said:

Hey, maybe you could stage a fake attack on yourself in an airport washroom! That worked for Morton Downey Jr. when HIS fifteen minutes of lukewarm fame was fading.

Oh, wait, I’m wrong. It didn’t.

and Horowitz replied:

Thanks to leftwing fascists like yourself I don’t need to fake attacks on me.

So either DHo really equates criticism in web-based articles with physical assault, or he’s a mendacious O’Reilly wannabe.

Again, Chris, I see no need to fall into the logocentric trap of the binary either/or.  Horowitz obviously considers “McCarthy+David Horowitz” Google hits to be a form of physical assault (they are called “hits,” after all), and he’s a mendacious O’Reilly wannabe.  And I think Ben Alpers deserves some kind of door prize for writing, in yesterday’s comments, that “DHo spends most of his $300k/year time frenetically Googling himself to see what others are saying about him.” Bingo, Ben!  (Second prize goes to the commenter who wrote, “it’s really kind of amazing that Horowitz seems unable to resist the slightest taunt, even a light-hearted, good-humored one.")

But you know, dear friends, I resent being called “the very professor who calls [Horowitz] a liar without checking the facts.” The truth—and I use the term advisedly—is that I called Horowitz a liar while hyperlinking to the facts.  Horowitz lied about the student in Colorado, he lied about the biology professor who allegedly showed Fahrenheit 9/11 to his class, he has lied about me (actually, the line about how my “entire political focus since 9/11 has been in getting our terrorist enemies off the hook” comes closer to actual slander), and—I can’t believe I forgot this one!—he lied—to O’Reilly, on one of his many Fox News appearances—about his speaking engagement at Hamilton College.  Or, as Horowitz put it at the time, “I fibbed about my invitation to Hamilton and about my Academic Bill of Rights . . . because it was truer to say that I had to be invited by students . . . than to say the faculty there—the Kirkland project in particular, which is what we were talking about—would invite me.”

That’s what Hamilton history professor Maurice Isserman got for inviting Horowitz to his campus, folks!  He got himself his very own Horowitz Lie on national television.  Maurice eventually replied in the pages of Academe.  Whereupon Horowitz, being Horowitz, wrote to Academe to complain, capping off his letter by writing, “my only conclusion can be that Isserman must regret bringing David Horowitz to Hamilton.” (Given the strange third-person reference, it’s hard to know whether “Horowitz” was really the “author” of that letter.) To which Isserman replied:

I don’t regret bringing Horowitz to Hamilton College. What I do regret is that Horowitz is an unrepentant liar, and this fact is not better understood within the circles in which he still carries some measure of malign influence.

Touché, Professor Isserman.

Now, from today’s lengthy blog at FrontPage, it appears that Horowitz believes he holds himself to “a higher standard of honesty” (no, I am not making that up) because he refrained from repeating his Fahrenheit 9/11 lie at the recent hearing at Temple University:  “I had been unable to verify it,” Horowitz writes. “Because I could not verify it I had stopped mentioning it long before the hearings started.”

Well, no, David, that doesn’t involve a higher standard of honesty.  In fact, you’ve never really withdrawn the Fahrenheit 9/11 claim at all; you’ve merely whined, “I have a small staff and am unable to check every claim that is brought to me.” So you make claims you can’t verify.  Then you stop for a bit.  Then you make them again in another form, and blame your small staff for mistakes.

So, folks, insofar as Horowitz lies and lies and lies and lies, that makes him a “liar.” An unrepentant one, at that.  And insofar as he writes “the principle journal of academic administration” rather than “the principal journal,” he’s sometimes kinda careless about what he writes, too.  (What, you thought maybe I wouldn’t prounce on that one?)

Anyway, Marita, Chris, Ben, Maurice, and everyone—keep up the good work!  At this rate, by the time David gets onto Hannity and Colmes for his week-long gig ("kind of like John and Yoko on the Mike Douglas Show,” writes Phil Klinkner, also of Hamilton College), he’ll be in a highly explosive state.  That should be fun for the whole family.

Posted by Michael on 02/11 at 11:12 AM
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