12 October, 2006

The Sad Case of Dinesh D'Souza?

A while back, I blogged some thoughts on a "book" by neo-con pundit Jonah Goldberg. Not too much later, the vile Ann Coulter spat out her latest ("Godless") of a series of thoroughly repugnant and utterly worthless collections of drivel. I let that pass, partially because Coulter is simply beneath reply, but also partially because one tends to become inured after a time to the rantings and bleatings of wingnuts and moonbats alike and yet another spittle-flecked tome of idiotic ravings just seemed so inconsequential.

However low the pundits might themselves stoop, one doesn't, however, expect to see credentialed scholars getting in on the act, regardless of political bias. And yet today I discover that Dinesh D'Souza of the Hoover Institution will be publishing a new book with the distinctly Coulter/Ponnuru/Goldberg-ish title: The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11.

Huh? Wazzat? Is this the same Dinesh D'Souza who wrote "Letters to a Young Conservative?" Whose principled defenses of free market economics and classical liberalism almost made reading the National Review worthwhile? Granted, he regularly attacks "Liberal" viewpoints and I will admit that on occasion some of his post 9.11 writings have strayed close to the "Blame the Lefties!" edge (witness "10 Things to Celebrate"), but generally (it seemed to me) in the spirit of the free exchange of ideas, without vituperative accent, as one should generally expect of a scholar (as opposed to a mere talking head).

Of course, I've not seen a copy of the book (it's not scheduled for publication until January), but James Wolcott has and from his comments, it appears to be as vile a book as its title might suggest:

"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. This is someone so out of touch with pop culture that he thinks liberals look down on risque sitcoms like Will & Grace because "their moral depravity is not highbrow enough for their taste." Does that description fit anyone you know?

Wolcott doesn't just critique the book, he savages it. It reminds me of a Dorothy Parker review: "This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It should be hurled with great force."

Wolcott has much more to say, and it's worth the read. I must say I'm somewhat taken aback. While I haven't been following him regularly, I remember reading D'Souza's articles in the National Review and watching appearances on C-Span or other TV shows in the 90s and as a young libertarian/conservative found myself greatly sympathetic with many of his arguments. To see him seemingly sliding down into the same poison-pen morass as cretins like Coulter and her ilk is disappointing to say the least.

HT: Hit and Run

Update: Radley Balko agrees, and now Ed Brayton does as well.

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