Like a fishmonger trying to pull a fast one, Dinesh D’Souza attempts to pass off yesterday’s scrod as fresh by wrapping it in today’s newspaper. In the Sunday Washington Post, he essentially spews the same piece he published last week in the LA Times, and which we gingerly poked with a stick here. But he covers up the rancid flavor by heavily salting the corpse with tears of self-pity:
In the pages of Esquire, Mark Warren charges that I “hate America” and have “taken to heart” Osama bin Laden’s view of the United States. (Warren also challenged me to a fight and threatened to put me in the hospital.) In his New York Times review of my book last week, Alan Wolfe calls my work “a national disgrace . . . either self-delusional or dishonest.” I am “a childish thinker” with “no sense of shame,” he argues. “D’Souza writes like a lover spurned; despite all his efforts to reach out to Bin Laden, the man insists on joining forces with the Satanists.”
“…and then, and then he made fun of the leopard skin rug in my office, and then he shoved me head first into a trash can behind the cafeteria, and then him and some other guys pulled my pants off, and they threw ‘em onto the roof of the natatorium, and I had to get the custodian, and then when he was pulling my pants down with one of those poles they use to open the windows in the gym, my pants turned inside out, and my puffer fell out of my pocket and somebody stepped on it!”
And in my recent appearance on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” I had to fend off the insistent host. “But you agree with the Islamic radicals, don’t you?” Stephen Colbert asked again and again.
My, that does sound like a low blow. Or it did, until I rewatched the segment on Crooks and Liars (the exchange starts at about :05:00):
COLBERT: And you have the courage to say that, right? That you agree with some of the things that these radical extremists are against in America.
D’SOUZA: I’m more concerned –
COLBERT: Are you — Do you agree with that statement?
D’SOUZA: Well, no, I’m…I’m…
COLBERT: Do you agree with that statement?
D’SOUZA: I agree with it.
Personally, I’d be a little more outraged at Colbert’s impertinent suggestion that D’Souza concurs with Islamic radicals if D’Souza hadn’t, you know, said he agreed with them. (I know the right wing depends on Good Ol’ American Historical Amnesia about things like Vietnam and Watergate, but I think Dinesh is pushing the load capacity of the Memory Hole when he expects us to forget things that happened 10 days ago. Which were captured on tape. And posted on the interwebs.) And perhaps other wingnuts should take a lesson from Dinesh’s experience: If you go on a comedy program where the host plays a blowhard conservative who pretends to agree with your ridiculous premise while taking it to its logical conclusion, then maybe you shouldn’t be so shocked when he doesn’t sit back like the Sunday talking head hosts and let you fill the room with your stale outrage like carbon monoxide in Thelma Todd’s garage. Better yet, maybe you shouldn’t go on comedy programs at all, if you’re only going to get tweaked when you realize a week later that they were making fun of you.
Why the onslaught? Just this: In my book, published this month,
…and available on remainder tables everywhere…
I argue that the American left bears a measure of responsibility for the volcano of anger from the Muslim world that produced the 9/11 attacks.
Dinesh goes on to regurgitate his charges from last week about how during the Carter and Clinton years (and he’s right about how memory can play tricks on you — I’d forgotten their terms were consecutive, having some fuzzy hallucination of another couple of guys shoehorned in the middle there), America dressed all slutty, and danced suggestively at the roadhouse, and so we kinda had it coming when a group of men who firmly believe in traditional values decided to teach us a lesson on top of the pinball machine.
The reaction I’m eliciting is not entirely new to me. As a college student in the early 1980s, I edited the politically incorrect Dartmouth Review and was frequently accosted by left-wing students and faculty. They called me names back then, too.
Names like, “Distort D’news.” Via Media Matters:
As an undergraduate in the early 1980s at Dartmouth College, D’Souza gained national notoriety as co-founder and editor of the conservative newspaper The Dartmouth Review. During D’Souza’s tenure as editor of the Review, according to a September 22, 1995, article in The Washington Post, “[T]he off-campus newspaper [The Dartmouth Review] published an interview with a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, using a mock photograph of a black man hanging from a campus tree, and ‘outed’ at least two gay students.”
Oh Dinesh, you puckish iconoclast. Way to stick it to the man!
But the personal attacks have reached new heights with “The Enemy at Home.” So much so, in fact, that I feel compelled to explain why I wrote this book, what it does and doesn’t say and why I think it prompts people to threaten me with hospitalization.
Ah, he’s going to do his own Shorter Dinesh D’Souza. Excellent.
First, and I feel silly having to say it: I don’t hate America.
…I just hate 60 percent of the people who live in it.
Immediately following 9/11, there was a wondrous moment of national unity in which the American tribe came together. “Why do they hate us?” some wondered, but no one wanted to comprehend the enemy — only to annihilate him. And I shared this view.
…Still do, in fact. Well, at least about the Enemy at Home. Which just happens to be the title of my new book, now 50% off, and available from a table in the back of Borders, next to the pile of discounted 2007 cat calendars.
But five years later, that unity has dissolved amid a furious national debate over the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism.
Some people have realized that these are two separate things, thanks to that meddling national debate, and despite our efforts to conflate them. Even worse, they’ve realized that the failure of the former has hamstrung the latter, and my wondrous national unity is melting, melting…what a world, what a world…
I thought it was time to go back and reconsider 9/11; in so doing, I concluded that the prevailing conservative and liberal theories explaining Muslim rage were wrong.
…because if I can pin 9/11 on the liberals, then that will mean they’ve inflicted a more serious wound on the body politic than George W. Bush has with his septic war in Iraq. And all those sneering attacks from the right wing on people who tried, shortly after 9/11, to grasp the terrorists’ motives, who tried to understand “why they hate us” never happened, understand? They are no longer operative. Because now that we know that the terrorists don’t hate us, they just hate the Blue States, it’s okay to muse about their motives and even to publically approve of them. Amazing the distance we’ve traveled in just a little over 6 years, isn’t it? As another immigrant and noted foreign policy thinker, Yakov Smirnoff, famously observed, “What a country!”
Contrary to the common liberal view, I don’t believe that the 9/11 attacks were payback for U.S. foreign policy. Bin Laden isn’t upset because there are U.S. troops in Mecca, as liberals are fond of saying. (There are no U.S. troops in Mecca.)
Well, you got me there, Dinesh. Still, I can’t help wishing that I had a passing knowledge of recent history, because something about that statement sounds kinda hair-spllitting and evasive…
Marking the end of an era, the United States will soon withdraw about 7,000 U.S. military personnel from Saudi Arabia and terminate a significant military presence there that lasted more than a decade, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced Tuesday.
Many Saudis resent the presence of U.S. forces in the nation that is home to Islam’s two holiest sites, Mecca and Medina, and some–including Osama bin Laden–had used this as a justification for terrorism.
But it’s not like when Reagan Clinton withdrew from Lebanon after the Marine Barracks bombing in 1983, or when Clinton pulled out of Mogadishu in 1993 (damn he gets around). George Bush only yanked our forces out of Saudia Arabia because he’d been ordered to by a bunch of inbred, muumuu-wearing religious fanatics he occasionally likes to hold hands with. So it’s not like there was anything pussified about it.
He isn’t upset because Washington is allied with despotic regimes in the region. Israel aside, what other regimes are there in the Middle East?
Who could possibly be upset by our hopping into bed with despotic regimes? That’s as crazy as your wife getting mad when she finds you in bed with a hooker; it’s not your fault she was out of town for the weekend. Love the one you’re with, man.
Contrary to President Bush’s view, they don’t hate us for our freedom, either. Rather, they hate us for how we use our freedom.
Because freedom is like the “Sword Thrusting Will Turner” action figure from Pirates of the Caribbean. Once you take it out of the plastic, it completely loses its collectibility.
When Planned Parenthood International opens clinics in non-Western countries and dispenses contraceptives to unmarried girls, many see it as an assault on prevailing religious and traditional values.
And when Western NGOs object to female circumcision, they might just as well be flushing a Koran down the toilet. It’s a simple equation, liberals: you’re either with us, or you’re with the foreign clitorises.
When human rights groups use their interpretation of international law to pressure non-Western countries to overturn laws against abortion or to liberalize laws regarding homosexuality, the traditional sensibilities of many of the world’s people are violated.
“Violated” is too mild a word. Can you imagine how traumatized it makes people with traditional values feel when you cook up some loony “penumbra” or “emanation” from international law that prevents them from stoning a raped woman for adultery, or burying homosexuals alive? That’s the kind hurt that just doesn’t go away, you heartless bastards.
One radical sheik even told a European television station a few years ago that although Europe is more decadent than America, the United States is the more vital target because it is U.S. culture — not Swedish culture or French culture — that is spreading throughout the world.
To sum up: If Sweden made better action movies, we wouldn’t be in this mess.
What would motivate Muslims in faraway countries to volunteer for martyrdom? The fact that Palestinians don’t have a state? I don’t think so.
Neither do I. As long as you don’t count all those Palestinians suicide bombers over the years.
Even as the cultural left accuses Bush of imperialism in invading Iraq, it deflects attention from its own cultural imperialism aimed at secularizing Muslim society and undermining its patriarchal and traditional values.
Sure, we’ve lost over 3,000 American troops in Iraq, and roughly 600,000 people have died there as a result of George Bush’s invasion, but you people made Dukes of Hazzard!
And anyone who would undermine the patriarchy probably has the effrontery to walk around with an intact clitoris.
All my arguments can be disputed, but they are neither extreme nor absurd. So why has “The Enemy at Home” been so intemperately excoriated? I can imagine only two reasons. The first is given by James Wolcott himself. I am not, as he says, an unqualified right-wing hack. Rather, I am a scholar at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, so Wolcott fears that I will be taken seriously.
Of all the fears that may awaken James Wolcott in the wee dark hours of the morning, I have a feeling this particular one ranks just below, “going birdwatching and getting pecked to death by Marshmallow Peeps.”
The second reason can be gleaned from the common theme in the reviews: that mine is a dangerous book. But if a book says things that are obviously untrue and can be disproved, then it is not dangerous — it is merely fiction and should be ignored. A book is dangerous only if it exposes something in the culture that some people are eager to keep hidden.
A third possibility is that a man who thinks that having his name on the voice mail menu at the Hoover Institution makes him a “scholar,” also thinks that critics who call a book bullshit do so because it’s dangerous, and not because it’s, you know, bullshit.