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Friday, February 10, 2006

It’s a gas gas gas

In his “reply” to Monday’s post, David Horowitz, International Man of Mystery, writes,

Is it typical for professors of literature to review books based on fund-raising literature?  Apparently it is if they’re progressive.

Um, no, David, you poor thing.  That wasn’t a book review. This is a book review.  [Noon, February 11:  note to David and other unpracticed blog readers:  the “this” in the previous sentence is actually an Internets hyperlink! Click on it and see!  It does not refer to the rest of this post.  Sorry for the confusion!  --MB] I responded to your promotional email for the book, as I subtly suggested in the sentence, “In his promotional email for the book . . . Horowitz catalogues some of the reprobates and miscreants I’m in with.”

Michael Berube—one of the professors profiled in my new book—has written a lengthy blog about the book but using a fund-raising letter the Center sent out as a text.

It wasn’t lengthy, and it wasn’t a “blog.” A “blog” is a web log.  On a web log, one writes “posts.” Just saying.

This leads Berube to attack the inclusion of Robert Reich among the profiles. But Robert Reich is not included among the profiles—this was a mistake made by author of the fund-raising letter.

My bad!  Oh, no, hold on.  Actually, your bad.  Here’s “your” letter:

This book, a product of the research we are able to do thanks to your financial support [sic] CSPC’s National Campaign for Academic Freedom, exposes the tip of the iceberg, and then some, of the worst “hate America” voices in academia today. What we’ve exposed will astound and anger you:

. . .

At Brandeis University: Robert Reich is a Professor of Social and Economic Policy. He was Bill Clinton’s Labor Secretary and is a multi-millionaire. That doesn’t keep from [sic] telling his students that the U.S. has “fallen under the sway of radical conservatives who, by the malicious application of intolerant moral precepts, intended to secure the “reign of the rich” at the expense of most Americans.”

The person who signed this letter is “David Horowitz.”

Now of course, old man, I realize you didn’t actually “write” that “letter.” But it’s kinda weird and postmodern and deconstructive of you to blame the “author” for his “mistake.” As Michel Foucault once put it, the “author-function . . . results from a complex operation whose purpose is to construct the rational entity we call an author, except in the case of David Horowitz, who is neither a rational entity nor an ‘author.’”

On the basis of another leftists review on Amazon, Berube thinks the book is apparently just a bunch of reprints of David’s DiscoverTheNetworks pages.

As it happens, I have not been quite so obsessed with your Amazon reviews as you have, David.  In fact, I haven’t even seen them.  Why would I bother?  The book isn’t even out yet—how can it be getting all these Amazon reviews?  I got my impression of your “book” (the mistakes in which, I’m sure, you will shortly blame on the “author”) from hearing about my own entry in it—an entry about which, you may remember, I said

I could dilate endlessly on the random-access technique by which Horowitz cut and pasted those last two phrases into his account of me (they occur near the end of the essay, and have nothing to do with each other), but I think you get the point by now.  Horowitz can be a fairly clever guy when he wants to be, but here he’s not even trying.  This is genuinely stupid stuff.  I mean, Michelle Malkin quality stupid.  Personally, I’m disappointed.

I mean, when I say that cultural critics try to “correlate developments in culture and the arts with large-scale economic transformations” and you accuse me of “teaching literature so as to bring about ‘economic transformations,’” that’s really quite stupid.  And I say that in a wholly non-judgmental way, old sport.

Back to your “blog”:

Sorry Michael it’s not. Berube’s blog also notes that Professor Ron Karenga is included (and he is) and is described as a torturer and the inventor of Kwanzaa which he is. Berube’s retort:  most of David’s readership thinks torture is just fine.  Thanks Michael for justifying your inclusion in a book about what’s wrong with the university.

Hey kids!  It’s time for a FrontPage Readers Poll!  Do either of you support the use of torture?

Now, while that’s going on, allow me to observe that many supporters of the War on Terror and Global Struggle against Extremism have, in fact, come out in favor of torture in the past four and a half years.  More than this, they have accused various liberals and journalists of “treason” and “aiding and abetting” and “blah blah blah” whenever we expose—or merely object to—the Cheney Archipelago of secret torture sites that are now strung around the globe.  (We don’t take these accusations personally, of course, because we know we’re dealing with people who will accuse us of treason simply for quoting the Bill of Rights.) I’m just pointing that out, David.  And yes, I suppose that as far as you’re concerned, this justifies my inclusion in a book about what’s wrong with the university.

What I actually said, however, was that the phrase “torturer and the inventor of Kwanzaa” is a little like “arsonist and the creator of Grandparents’ Day.” It’s a problem of moral scale, you see.

OK, now that that’s all cleared up, let’s get to your rousing conclusion already:

Of course the fact he is only reading a fund-raising letter (avoiding therein the stress of reading a 112,000 word book) doesn’t prevent Berube from prouncing The Professors an outrage.  I consider that an medal of honor Michael. Now why don’t you try actually reading the book Herr literature professor and writing a real response. If you have intellectual fortitude to do this, I’ll post it and answer you.

Prouncing?  What’s a prounce?  You mean I lie in wait and then I prounce?  Rowrrrrrr!  If I have intellectual fortitude to do this, of course.  And yes, I did say that it’s an outrage that you didn’t rank us, and that only 23 of the 101 are AAUP members.  See “random-access cut and paste technique,” above.

PS: The book is only a stressful read for radicals; for the others it’s a gas.

It’s a gas?  It’s a gas? You mean, like, grazing in the grass it’s a gas baby can you dig it?  What is this sixties hippie lingo, old man?  And what’s with all the typos and solecisms?  You weren’t doing bong hits when you wrote this, were you?  Because you know Acapulco Gold is bad-ass weed.

Now, it’s true that I have not yet received my copy of your book.

And here I need to explain to my readers that over the past couple of years, David has sent me my very own personal copy of Uncivil Wars, his book on reparations; Left Illusions, one of his six or eight or fifteen memoirs about his intellectual odyssey from far-left firebrand to wingnut crank; and two copies of Unholy Alliance, the book in which everyone from Noam Chomsky to Todd Gitlin is cast as a Friend of Osama.  The first of these is inscribed personally to me, calling me “a worthy adversary.” It’s a gesture I haven’t reciprocated, as you might imagine.

You know what, folks?  I think David hasn’t quite forgiven me for that.  Remember what he said about my neglect of his work last year?

radicals like Berube can’t be bothered to actually read or respond rationally to anything that ruffles their progressive feathers, let alone be concerned about the fact that their entire political focus since 9/11 has been in getting our terrorist enemies off the hook. (Doubters can consult the archives of The Nation, The Progressive and any number of leftwing sites on the web to confirm the negative posture of progressives towards the war on terror and their sympathetic back-bending for terrorists.) Naturally, not a single leftwing journal or blogger, for that matter, so much as noticed Unholy Alliance, or addressed its arguments, despite the fact that there is no better known critic of the left than myself and Unholy Alliance makes the same claims that now incite them.

That’s right, David, there is no better known critic of the left than yourself.  And my entire political focus since 9/11 has been in getting our terrorist enemies off the hook.  That’s why I’ve failed to read your book.

So, about that review you demand.  How’s never?  Is never good for you?

And finally, dear “author,” one friendly piece of advice.  You need to stop blaming other people for your “mistakes.” Like the “mistake” in which you lied about the student who was flunked for refusing to write an essay on how Bush is a war criminal, and then replied to the exposure of your lie by writing the now-classic ”Some of Our Facts Were Wrong; Our Point Was Right.” Or the “mistake” in which you lied about the biology professor who showed Fahrenheit 9/11 to his class and then replied to the exposure of your lie by complaining that you don’t have “the resources to look into all the complaints” you publicize and that criticisms of your truthiness are just “nit picking, irrelevant attacks.” And, of course, the famous “mistake” in which your site dropped fifteen paragraphs of my debate with to you and then accused me of “intellectual laziness.” You really need to start taking some personal responsibility for your behavior, old man.  And you need to stop fantasizing that “left wing fascists” are “attacking” you.

If you have intellectual fortitude to do this.

Posted by Michael on 02/10 at 08:01 AM
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