Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Wrath of Wolcott

Uh-oh. Jim Wolcott is pissed again.

James Wolcott, in his inimitable style, takes Dinesh D'Souza to the woodshed for a beating of truly legendary proportions.
As when yesterday I received the galley of Dinesh D'Souza's new book from Doubleday, The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11, to be published in January 2007.

It isn't rare that I take instant animus against a book like this. But I don't tend to react right away. The responsible thing for me to do as an occasional book critic is to wait until the official pub date, find a suitable venue for review, and thrash the book based on its merits.

But this is a special book, deserving special mistreatment. With The Enemy at Home, I prefer to do the irresponsible thing and declare war on Dinesh D'Souza and his stinking mackerel of a book starting now. I intend to pound this scurrilous piece of scapegoating at every convenient opportunity. It is long past due that the likes of Ramesh Ponnuru (Death Party A-Go-Go), Jonah Goldberg (Hillary Clinton Was Himmler's Mistress), and now D'Souza be put on notice that they are not going to get away with vilifying liberals, mainstream Democrats, radical thinkers, academics, and entertainers as traitors and terrorist sympathizers. They want to wage culture war? Then, to quote Nabokov, they should brace themselves and prepare for the next crash. They want to practice character assassination? They've picked the wrong time, the wrong adversary.
D'Souza will probably respond with some smart-ass statement, but he shouldn't do that.

You do not ever, ever want to cross swords with Wolcott. He'll leave you wondering where that razor-sharp rhetorical blade came from, how it moved so fast, and why you're standing there holding your intestines in with your bare hands.

I'd wish D'Souza good luck, but fuck that asshole.

Here's some more of Wolcott's beatdown:
The theme of the book is quite simple, and vile.

"In this book I make a claim that will seem startling at the outset. The cultural left in this country is responsible for causing 9/11."

Then the qualifiers begin multiplying. The term 'cultural left' doesn't refer to the Democratic Party, nor to all liberals. (Peter Beinart presumably gets a pass.) Nor is he saying that cultural lefties actually brought the towers down. He isn't so rash as to suggest Molly Ivins piloted one of the planes, parachuting to safety before impact. So what is he saying?

"I am saying that the cultural left and its allies in Congress, the media, Hollywood, the nonprofit sector [profiteers are always patriots, of course], and the universities are the primary cause of the volcano of anger toward America that is erupting from the Islamic world."

Note well: the primary cause. Not the treatment of the Palestinians, the caging and starving of those on the Gaza Strip, the hundreds of thousands of clusterbomb droplets left behind in Lebanon, the U.S. military bases on Arab soil, Abu Ghraib, the Mideast tyrannies propped up by American money and influence--these are secondary. Muslims are angry, D'Souza concedes, but they are mostly angry because their anger has been fueled and fanned by the cultural left.

"Thus without the cultural left, 9/11 would not have happened."

I like that "Thus," as if he's actually proven something.

"I realize that this is a strong charge," D'Souza writes, "one that no one has made before."

The reason it hasn't been made before is that it's a sleazy, shameless, ignorant, ahistorical, tendentious, meretricious lie, one that was waiting for the right brazen liar to come along to promote it, and here he is, and his name is Dinesh D'Souza, who's fatuous and fuddy-duddyish enough to think that it's Britney Spears, the rap lyrics of 2 Live Crew, and the buggering photographs of the late Robert Mapplethorpe that have Islam in a tiz.


How inept is he?

At the end of the book he rises on his hind legs to confront the enemy within and name those doing America dirt and making life easier for Al Qaeda. He breaks the enemy within down into categories. The Congressional Left. The Intellectual Left. The Hollywood Left. The Activist Left. The Cultural Left. The Foreign Policy Left. And so on.

He puts Gore Vidal in the Foreign Policy Left. Doesn't Vidal--novelist, playwright, screenwriter, essayist, TV performer--more properly belong in the Cultural Left? And what is Joe Conason, whose work is 99% pure political, doing in the Cultural Left with Eve Ensler and Tony Kushner?

Moreover, how can George Galloway, Robert Fisk, and Arundhati Roy be considered the "enemy at home" when they don't even live in this country? To D'Souza, being dead (Edward Said) or politically defunct (Cynthia McKinney, defeated in her reelection bid, is nonetheless listed in the Congressional Left alongside such Bolsheviks as Ed Markey and Patty Murray)* is no disqualification for treasonhood.

There is no Democrat, living or dead, D'Souza won't stoop to slime. When a Sunni Arab speaker of the Iraqi Assembly says that his dream is to be the Tip O'Neill of Iraq, D'Souza snarks, "Recalling O'Neill's resemblance to our federal government--big, fat, and out of control--I am not ordinarily excited to find a man who wants to emulate Tip O'Neill. But I wish al-Hassani good luck." D'Souza is such a patronizing little shit, such an odious shyster that he disparages John Murtha--whose heartfelt anger and grief over how the mishandled war in Iraq is mauling our military ought to shame D'Souza--as a sockpuppet for Osama bin Laden. "Hey, this man served his country! Don't question his loyalty, even when he makes the same arguments as Noam Chomsky and Osama bin Laden."

The call-to-arms conclusion of D'Souza's book:

"There is no way to restore the culture without winning the war on terror. Conversely, the only way to win the war on terror is to win the culture war. Thus we arrive at a sobering truth. In order to crush the Islamic radicals abroad, we must defeat the enemy at home."

We're not the enemy, and if you engage us as the enemy, all you'll be doing is starting yet another war you can't win.
As always, I stand in awe of James Wolcott. And I don't envy Dinesh D'Souza one little bit.

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