Re: Please let this be real

1

Pacing!


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 12:59 PM
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Pacing!


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:02 PM
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I consider it a great injustice of this holiday season that nobody has yet sent this masterpiece to me for review.


Posted by: Eric Rauchway | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:02 PM
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Wow, "fascism" in every chapter's title. He doesn't want for finesse.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:04 PM
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"fascism" or "fascist", rather.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:04 PM
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1, 2: Fascists.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:04 PM
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shorter JG: I know you are, but what am I ?


Posted by: cleek | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:10 PM
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Better a fascist than a Jonah Goldberg, he commented, blind to the antisemitic nuance until the latter half of the comment.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:10 PM
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It's nearly 500 pages long.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:12 PM
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His editors were declared fascists when they suggested cuts.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:14 PM
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4, 5: I thought so too, but then I noticed "Chapter 2 -- Adolf Hitler, Man of the Left." They couldn't quite sustain the theme throughout, alas.


Posted by: Mother's Younger Brother | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:14 PM
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Many fascist parents were nice to their children! Liberals are nice to their children! Liberals are fascists!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:16 PM
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Fascists believed that government should sponsor scientific research! Liberals believe that government should sponsor scientific research! Liberals are fascists!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:17 PM
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13: Yes, you and CA need to use this when you teach formal logic.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:18 PM
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It's full of stars. I mean, it really looks like it might be as bad as its title suggests. Did you catch the bit about people with education degrees from Swarthmore?


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:18 PM
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Fascist tanks & aircraft obeyed the basic physical laws of the universe! Liberals obey the basic physical laws of the universe! Liberals are fascist tanks and aircraft!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:20 PM
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Your Fascist Swarthmore Overlords.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:20 PM
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15: It has gotten good reviews. Publishers Weekly called it hilarious and thought-provoking! What does this mean?! Because this just seems risible.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:20 PM
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The thing is that this will be a big hit with the 25-30 percent of the population who are wingers. Successful propaganda. Being leftists, you don't understand that being *right* is not necessary, one just needs to sound vaguely plausible to someone who doesn't know the topic.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:22 PM
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Sweet baby Jesus.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:22 PM
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Sweet fascist baby Jesus, you mean.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:24 PM
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This may indeed break Edroso's rule about any piece of Goldberg's writing: "the stupidest thing ever written, until he writes again." This might just be unbeatable.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:24 PM
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Publishers Weekly called it hilarious and thought-provoking!

"Damn, this is funny. I think Goldberg *may actually be* retarded."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:25 PM
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If you want a picture of the future, imagine a female with an education degree from Brown or Swarthmore teaching grade school -- for ever.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:26 PM
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Actually, the Swarthmore education / storm trooper comparison is pretty good. That's ridiculous enough that not even a winger could take it seriously.

How many of his sales will be to liberals looking for mockery material? We ought to put a squad together and pull all the funniest quotes.


Posted by: PerfectlyGodd | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:26 PM
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whoops


Posted by: amndelightful! | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:26 PM
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If you want a picture of the future, imagine a female with an education degree from Brown or Swarthmore teaching grade school -- for ever.

And it's never snack time.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:27 PM
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Many fascists were bipedal! Liberals are bipedal! Liberals are fascists!

No, I'm not going to stop any time soon.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:27 PM
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That Aristotle was a fucking fascist. Down with syllogisms!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:29 PM
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All fascists are fascists! All liberals are liberals! Liberals are fascists!


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:30 PM
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A IS A


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:31 PM
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No, I'm not going to stop any time soon until I get picked up by Sullivan.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:31 PM
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Helpy-chalk's name starts with an H! Reknowned fascist Hitler's name starts with an H! Helpy-chalk is a reknowned fascist!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:31 PM
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That's "renowned", orthography fascist.

The inside flap is really mindblowing. Is he actually that stupid?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:34 PM
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Saiselgy's comment thread is great too:

http://matthewyglesias.theatlantic.com/archives/2007/12/quintessential_fascism.php#comments

I'm way too pompous and serious to keep pace with the Goldberg phenomenon. Retract 19 for excessive earnestness.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:37 PM
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Thank you, Jonah.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:37 PM
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Rob Hitler Chalk is killing me.

Weiner notes that the claim "Irving Berlin praised Mussolini in song" is based on lyrics for "You're the top" which was really by Cole Porter. Oops! Also the Mussolini reference was edited out. But other than that this is a careful and serious argument that has never been made with such care.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:40 PM
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Oops again! the Mussolini line was from a Wodehouse rewrite! Wodehouse: objectively pro-headkick!


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:42 PM
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In Germany, facism appeared as genocidal racist nationalism. In America, facism appeared as a Sean Penn press conference. In your house, facism may appear in the form of a meat-replacing soy product.

FACISM IS EVERYWHERE! WHERE WILL IT STRIKE NEXT?


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:45 PM
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In Nogales once, the face of Fascism appeared in a taco.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:46 PM
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I'm a fæcist.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:46 PM
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So did the entire Hegel and Whole Foods thing get dumped? Or is it under "New Age"?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:48 PM
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Is he actually that stupid?

Enough with the rhetorical questions, w-lfs-n.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:48 PM
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The conservative ethos of Noel Coward was no match for the effete elite cosmopolitexualism of Irving Berlin and Sammy Cohn.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:48 PM
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I think we immigrated the wrong way.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:50 PM
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He's doing a book promotion thing at the L Street Borders in DC in a couple weeks. Moderately tempting, if only to see if he really can maintain a straight face.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:51 PM
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If you want a picture of the future, imagine a female with an education degree from Brown or Swarthmore teaching grade school -- for ever.

And it's never snack time.

There is no nap for you today.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:52 PM
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Wodehouse actually made propaganda broadcasts for the Nazis, no? In a kind of bumblingly innocent way, of course, but that puts him in the unsurprisingly pro-fascist, and not all that liberal, category.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:53 PM
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48: Yeah he was in Nice or someplace south like that during the invasion and was presumably kept there under house arrest. The broadcasts were pretty What-Ho-Make-the-Best-of-It which is pretty skin-crawly.
He did however create Roderick Spode and his Black Shorts (the shirts were taken, you see).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:56 PM
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"Footer bags, you mean? How perfectly foul."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:57 PM
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I will beat you to a jelly, Elbie, to a jelly!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 1:58 PM
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I bow to none in my capacity to produce irritatingly apposite quotations from Wodehouse.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:01 PM
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I swear to you, oudemia, she was merely taking a fly out of my eye. This is all a silly misunderstanding.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:02 PM
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Wait, did Golberg really manage to spin an obscure rewrite of a Cole Porter song made by P.G. Wodehouse while under house arrest by the Nazis into "Irving Berlin singing Mussolini in song"?

That's just unreal. He has to have some other justification for that remark.

oop my ride is here.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:07 PM
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The muster of the vultures. Ha!


Posted by: Jonah Goldberg | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:08 PM
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Doing our bit. (Reload as necessary.)


Posted by: Kieran | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:18 PM
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What a perfect perisher.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:19 PM
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Doing our bit.

Sweet.

I've got a 10% suspicion that this is a setup and can't be the real book, but 10% just might be what's left of my faith in humanity.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:21 PM
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I've got a 10% suspicion that this is a setup and can't be the real book, but 10% just might be what's left of my faith in humanity.

The jacket copy in the photos matches that on Amazon.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:24 PM
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Yeah, I have to admit to wondering if it's a joke. Hilarious, if so.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:24 PM
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1, 2: Fascists.

Easy, Tex. I'm just a pacist.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:26 PM
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If it's a joke, it's a pretty professionally typeset one.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:26 PM
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Labs is a fastist.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:26 PM
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60: The courtesy copies have really been sent out already. And such things come directly from the publisher, don't you know.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:27 PM
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Would a professional typeset a book in Times? I ask you.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:27 PM
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Publisher's page.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:28 PM
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Other hoaxes have been set in Times. Therefore…


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:28 PM
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Huh, it's not a joke, unless the publisher is also in on it.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:29 PM
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Gonerill has been eliminated. Unfogged thanks him for his contributions.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:30 PM
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What, you expected Liberal Fascism to be less ridiculous? I don't get the skepticism. Other bloggers have mentioned receiving their courtesy copies in the last few days.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:34 PM
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And Sadly No has more excerpts! With photo evidence! Betcha didn't know that both FDR and Hitler are the epigonoi (no, Jonah doesn't use that word) of the first fascist movement -- the French Revolution! Oh noes!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:34 PM
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If you people had an ounce of decency, you'd admit that Pantloads has given you more joy and laughter than the vast majority of major lib bloggers.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:34 PM
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Coming soon in the Corner: Jonah whines that he can't be held responsible for the jacket copy.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:36 PM
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"Dachau hosted the world's largest alternative and organic medicine research lab and produced its own organic honey." p19.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:39 PM
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Homeopathy is liberal? Funny, I thought it was for people without health care.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:40 PM
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I wonder if he was trying to work in the conservative genre of get a rise from the libs, but way overshot the mark and landed in life-affirming comedy.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:40 PM
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The Los Angeles Times must be so proud of their columnist.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:40 PM
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But!


Posted by: hermit greg | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:42 PM
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"Dachau hosted the world's largest alternative and organic medicine research lab and produced its own organic honey."

Sweet Jesus.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:43 PM
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"Bees: objectively pro-fascist."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:43 PM
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78b: Jonah wouldn't write something that wasn't well researched!


Posted by: hermit greg | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:44 PM
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Troll alert!!

I obviously will not pay any attention to Jonah Goldberg, but Arthur Silber has for instance has posted on how the Fed and the New Deal entrenched and preserved corporate power, and my anarchist/socialist ideologies give me a different perspective on the relations between liberalism & fascism.

There is also, in America, total corporate/Capitalist dominance & 60 years of the military-industrial complex/National Security state, and the whole shebang, from an economic perpective looks a lot like fascism to me.

And projection as disarming pre-emption is one of the favorite tools of Republicans.

But what the fuck. Make your jokes.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:48 PM
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Seriously, is the entire book a riff on the same logical fallacy?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:48 PM
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78b: Jonah wouldn't write something that wasn't well researched!

That thread is only 5 comments long right now and already has three doozies.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:50 PM
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Troll feeding alert!

One of the most interesting classroom days I had in college considered the degree to which the Progressive movement's spawning of institutions resulted in the creation of the "business community" that has comprehensive reach over American politics -- that the individual robber barons who rode herd on the previous century had not until then cohered into a programmatic ideology.

This has very, very little to do with Jonah's book. It's not as trollish as you'd like, Bob; it's just a different conversation.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:51 PM
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Seriously, is the entire book a riff on the same logical fallacy?

And a depressingly common one at that.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:51 PM
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But what the fuck. Make your jokes.

People that make a serious case get serious consideration. You think Jonah deserves serious consideration based on his record or this book, go ahead and waste your time.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:52 PM
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84: Liberals are responsible for slavery and Jim Crow!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:52 PM
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That should be a very important tool for progressive analysis:"Whatever Republicans accuse you of is what Republicans are already doing of have planned or want to make impossible."

Y'all aren't going to be able to cry "Fascism" any more than we were able to impeach Bush after the Clinton impeachment.

They're just smarter than us. We laugh too easily.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:53 PM
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"You think Jonah deserves serious consideration"

Yes I do. If I were a progressive blogger, I would look at the book and wonder what was being taken off the table rather than what was being put on the table. I would meta and Strauss the damn thing. He had a purpose. he is getting paid.

So maybe after UHC is passed the next five right wing steps (National Surveillance State?) become possible because whatever America is, it is simply absurd to call us fascist. Gedoudahere.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 2:59 PM
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If I were a progressive blogger,

Don't let us stop you, bob.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 3:01 PM
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I am crazy, but that is part of the way I look at things.

When Ann Coulter said:"Bomb their cities, kill their leaders, and convert their children" all of a sudden many actions short of those became a little more possible, a little more reasonable. She moved the Overton Window.

They are not clowns & idiots.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 3:02 PM
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It's all very salutary and appropriate that Goldberg is being met with giggles here and elsewhere, but things ain't gonna change until guys like him are met with street protests outside the offices of, say, the LA Times or Random House.

As long as those publications understand that they can promote nonsense like this with no fallout, they'll keep promoting nonsense.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 3:05 PM
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life-affirming comedy.

Gawd, that's perfect. I wish there were some way to get that on the book as a blurb.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 3:05 PM
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You could put it in an Amazon review.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 3:07 PM
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I don't know if I agree with bob here. By making fun of the book rather than getting angry we are not taking it seriously. If the media does the same, it does not affect the Overton window.

Books like this get written about Republicans and the media completely ignores them. Hopefully this will do the same. Ann Coulter manages to get taken seriously to the extent that she makes people angry, though.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 3:12 PM
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the whole shebang, from an economic perpective looks a lot like fascism to me.

I'd draw a distinction betweem increasing state power and facism. Facism has a particular ideology -- reactionary, extreme aggressive militarism (military strength is central purpose of the state), highly nationalist, rule of law subordinated to collective will as instantantiated in party or leader, nostalgic emphasis on purity of the community as opposed to foreign contamination, etc.

And projection as disarming pre-emption is one of the favorite tools of Republicans.

very true, I'm not at all sure that this book won't be effective propaganda.



Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 3:14 PM
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I expect Goldberg will bleg several times to have readers look up things in his own book.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 3:23 PM
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"look a lot like fascism" only if one ignores the definition of "fascism" or replaces it with "whatever I don't like."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 3:29 PM
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Fascist Kobe!


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 3:37 PM
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Dachau had buildings! *The New York Times* is housed in a building! *The New York Times* is fascist!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 3:42 PM
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Didn't Random House used to be reputable?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 3:43 PM
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That was Reputable House.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 3:44 PM
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Allow me to relate to you my current favorite bit of book-related jargon, "belly band".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 3:45 PM
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Some presidential candidates are incredibly handsome and have beautiful full heads of hair. Why, it's as if the Aryan ideal has at last been enacted, in the US of all places! Hitler himself could only dream of such perfect fascist leadership.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 3:46 PM
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CHAPTER XILV: THE NATIONAL SOCIALIST NANNY STATE

Do you know who had really effective and state-of-the-art vaccination and cancer-screening programs? The Nazis, the Soviet Union, AND Castro's Cuba!


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 3:54 PM
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106: The communo-fascist conspiracy gains more power with each passing day.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 4:03 PM
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99:I don't like Goldman Sachs & the US Treasury Department being essentially one entity. Sue me. I have already said that as an anarcho-socialist, my definition of fascism will be broader than that of supporters of the capitalist welfare state.

Does this thread want me to go thru Dave Neiwert's checklist point by point?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 4:04 PM
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:I don't like Goldman Sachs & the US Treasury Department being essentially one entity. Sue me.

I'm pretty sure that battle was lost over a hundred years ago. JP Morgan's bailout during the Panic of...1907, was it?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 4:07 PM
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As an anarchist, McManus, your definition of Facism will be the modern state. Facism does not equal statism, it's what happens when one particular ideology captures the state.

A strong state is necessary, but not sufficient, for facism.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 4:07 PM
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110:As an anarchist, McManus, your definition of Facism will be the modern state

Not quite. I am not a fan of state socialism, as in the USSR, either. Monarchism and other dictatorships are not attractive. There are a lot of political systems that are unattractive to anarchists.

And "the modern state" is in most instances, a state contingent on modern capitalism. In the particular instance of the US, the militarism pretty obviously pushes it more toward the fascist side than say, the welfare capitalism of Sweden.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 4:31 PM
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with many excuses,
i am glad that you all are not fascists, may be just a little whicists at heart
the author is one of you, no?
who is striving for success, fame, money and by all means
he is an anti-fascist, good thing, his writings could be along the lines about that naked king or no fog without fire thing :) and freedom of speech
about being whicists, i'm ok with that, it's like a survival mechanism, no? we have our own version of it called anti-chineseist, a very healthy sentiment
chinese themselves have a nastier version of it called han expansionist, i'm sure there are many radical mexicanists etc
i'm ok with that as long as nobody kills tibetans or jewish or palestinians
unfogged is truly a political blog i see now


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 4:54 PM
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unfogged is truly a political blog i see now

Yes it is, unfortunately.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 5:01 PM
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What's a whicist?


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 5:05 PM
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In the particular instance of the US, the militarism pretty obviously pushes it more toward the fascist side than say, the welfare capitalism of Sweden.

true enough.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 5:16 PM
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the author is one of you, no?
No.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 6:14 PM
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sorry, if it angers you
i just don't like when all are against one
however wrong that one is


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 6:24 PM
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i just don't like when all are against one however wrong that one is

That's a really weird position, read. I mean, sure, one generally likes to root for the underdog, but sometimes people are just wrong.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 6:29 PM
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if he was a majority i'll stand by you
not for your ideas, for example
just because you are an individual to be heard, not beaten


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 6:33 PM
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the author is one of you, no?

You've found me out, when I was hoping to remain invisible. Yes, I'm the ghostwriter. I think you'll find that the book has been carefully researched to the highest possible scholarly standards, though written, of course, with a general audience in mind.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 6:49 PM
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I am Spartfascist.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 6:50 PM
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if he was a majority

Does controlling every branch of government count?


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 6:51 PM
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read, I think this is a situation where the guy writing the book doesn't actually believe what he's saying and is hoping for sales to the stupidest members of the political movement that he is greedily taking advantage of. So he's deserving of scorn even from those who agree with him.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 6:56 PM
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Does controlling every branch of government count?

With movement conservatives, no, it does not. They're too strongly committed to seeing themselves as an aggrieved and powerless minority.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 7:07 PM
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do not agree with him
so i said 'striving for fame and money'
i thought it's like an essence of the american culture, a pretty detached observation
sorry, i am a rude guest
sure, i should not imply that you are him or he is one of you, he is by himself
i can just read and keep my opinion to myself if you prefer


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 7:14 PM
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I, at least, appreciate hearing your opinions, read. It's up to you whether you want to participate in the conversations here or not, but you should realize that the commenters here are outspoken in general, so when they disagree with you, even in harsh terms, it's nothing personal. It does take some getting used to.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 7:18 PM
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I'm actually kind of depressed and scared that this thing got published. People like us will sit around and laugh, but you guys know full well that a *lot* of people will find claims of that nature shocking! and believable!

Hopefully no one will read the damn thing.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 7:21 PM
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Read, could you and OPINIONATED GRANDMA kind of meet in the middle on that shift key issue?


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 7:22 PM
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'striving for fame and money'

Honestly, read, anyone who is serious about 'striving for fame and money' should be spending a lot less time at this blog.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 7:26 PM
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I also am glad that you share your comments, read. I don't think it's really that surprising that people might not agree that they are essentially the same as someone they plainly despise, though.

It is certainly true that fame and money are things that Americans famously strive for. But, of course, different people value them to very different degrees, and have very different standards for what they would be willing to do in exchange for them. The kind of fame (if any) a given person might desire is of course different, too. From the inside, these distinctions feel pretty important.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 7:29 PM
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Plus the folks at *this* particular blog tend to put a pretty high premium on intellectual honesty.

Either Goldberg doesn't, and he's just shilling, or he does, and he's just stupid.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 7:33 PM
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But in the small chance that he's actually as stupid as his book, we should rather pity him than mock him.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 7:37 PM
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No, we should be afraid of the effect of his idiocy on the public at large. I don't care what the hell Goldberg believes; I care about his publishing this kind of crap and undermining the body politic even more than it already is.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 7:42 PM
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I don't think 132 and 133 are in opposition. We can pity the idiot, and deplore the publisher.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 7:43 PM
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There's no obligation to pity malicious idiots.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 7:45 PM
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132: Scorn not his simplicity?

Just as his book is both A). a deeply stupid politico-cultural product, which emerges from forces that are bigger than the all of us; and B). an extended exercise in deliberate intellectual dishonesty, for which its author should be held to account; so is Goldberg both A). dumb as a post; and B). an actively malicious person who stands to make too much money from this dreck.

I propose we relentlessly mock him 6 days a week, while setting aside one day a week for a moment of pity.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 7:52 PM
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Pitying Goldberg in this context is like (and I mean exactly like) pitying Ann Coulter. Regardless of their internal lives, they have chosen antisocial careers and should be feared and despised by decent people.

Their publishers and promoters should be picketed and protested. (I get alliterative when annoyed about asshats.)


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 7:52 PM
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I think 135 gets it exactly right. What's up with all you bleeding-heart liberals?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 7:53 PM
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Okay, "all you" is an overstatement. I mean Ned, basically.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 7:58 PM
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136: Sister Mary Invisible of the Adjunct Order, SJ? A day of rest?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 7:59 PM
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No, we should be afraid of the effect of his idiocy on the public at large.

True enough, though I have the impression that members of the public receptive to this foolery don't really need any help along the road.

Watch the bestseller lists, really, to see how the book does with the public at large. Overall, the thing reeks so plainly of shrill and hysterical that I have trouble seeing it having much of an impact on, say, voter behavior. Then again, I have no idea how Coulter's book did. There's a publishing niche for this crap, obviously.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:00 PM
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I don't even mean voter behavior; I mean further engraining the idiocy of the crazy 26%. "Look, *he's* an academic!" I can just imagine the discussions I'm going to have with my right-wing uncle over this shit. There's always going to be crazy people who believe stupid-ass shit, but it's unconscionable for people who surely ought to know better to feed the maw.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:03 PM
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Didn't Random House used to be reputable?

I imagine Bennett Cerf betting Goldberg that he couldn't write a book using "fascist" in every sentence.

(Cerf is supposed to have frequently bet Theodore Geisel that he couldn't write a book to a specific word count.)

we should rather pity him than mock him.

Sorry, I'm too busy pitying the rest of the country.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:11 PM
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Yes, it's unconscionable. It's slightly interesting, therefore, to know whether Goldberg actually believes it.

What'd be morbidly fascinating would be to see point-by-point rebuttals of the book or its chapters. I'd prefer, of course, not to grace such an idiotic thing with attention at all; engage it at all and you've allowed it to shift the terms of the discussion (liberals find themselves denying that they're fascists). I'm not sure whether I think the mere publication of the book succeeds in shifting the terms perceptibly in the absence of an ensuing hullaballoo.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:16 PM
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What'd be morbidly fascinating would be to see point-by-point rebuttals of the book or its chapters.

I'd like to see Stephen Colbert invite Goldberg to appear on The Colbert Report along with some sweet, perky second-grade teacher with a degree from Swarthmore.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:32 PM
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140: It's a teaching order, of sorts. My students know me as Sister Mary Catholic.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:35 PM
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Colbert makes me cringe half the time.

I wouldn't mind seeing Jon Stewart do his I-am-respecting-you-really!-you-jackass routine on him, though.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:36 PM
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146: An angelic doctor you are!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:44 PM
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Swarthmorofascism Update.


Posted by: Kieran | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:53 PM
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Colbert's schtick does get a bit old, but having Goldberg on video accusing some harmless second-grade teacher of being a fascist or worse than Hitler or whatever would almost be worth more than a point-by-point rebuttal of every word in his book. I once watched Colbert elicit an admission from Dinesh D'Souza that he believed FDR was as bad as Hitler (or some such absurd confession) and it was a beautiful thing. Beautiful because at that moment D'Souza revealed himself, to the majority of people who still don't believe that FDR was as bad as Hitler (or who don't believe second-grade teachers are fascists, say), to be a complete nutter.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:55 PM
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Colbert is often a great, great interviewer because he's willing to engage interview subjects on their own terms. I loved his interview with Tom Delay. At the same time, Delay's own fans probably liked it, too.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 8:59 PM
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(or some such absurd confession)

Ok--it was D'Souza's assertion that FDR was indirectly responsible for the September 11th attacks.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:12 PM
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Goldberg eventually had to write this book, though, right? A soon-to-be-published Serious Book was probably in his contract for the L.A. Times, and of course he'll never get off Blogging Heads and onto real paying TV until he's got a book to lend him gravitas. It's basically his field's version of a tenure book.

I would have more pity for his having locked himself into the title and thesis back in, what, 2004?, if the whole project hadn't been predicated on liberals' being cowed and marginalised. It's always been a bullies' book, conceived in a bullying time. So sad that he made the writing of it so public! Maybe he would otherwise have been better able to revise it as the zeitgeist moved.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:51 PM
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but you guys know full well that a *lot* of people will find claims of that nature shocking! and believable!

Bitch is right, alas -- general ignorance of history is so prevalent in this country, that college graduates will read this book and go, "huh, so the Nazis WERE liberals." I bet there are footnotes to prove it, even!

Still, D'Souza's new book is almost surely worse.


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:52 PM
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(For "prevalent' in 154, I had "widespread and deep," and then I thought, shit, what am I doing? this is Unfogged!)


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 12-17-07 9:53 PM
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2 fascist 2 furious

/i got nothin


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:10 AM
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Jesus Christ, it actually gets stupider.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 6:02 AM
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college graduates will read this book and go, "huh, so the Nazis WERE liberals."

And before they graduate, college students will quote this book in their term papers.


Posted by: Invisible Adjunct | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 6:13 AM
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re: 158

And hopefully their tutors will fail them.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 6:35 AM
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And hopefully their tutors will fail them.

Keeping David Horowitz gainfully employed until his dementia begins to express itself in activities of daily living.


Posted by: Anderson | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 7:23 AM
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college graduates will read this book and go, "huh, so the Nazis WERE liberals
what was confusing that he's anti-fascist
if fascist i wouldn't bother to defend him, but still would prefer just ignore
of course his accusation of liberals in fascism is nonsense
and actually his book could be seen as an attempt to rehabilitate nazis and that's evil, i agree


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 8:03 AM
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what was confusing that he's anti-fascist

If you're confused, it's only because Goldberg has no goddamned idea what fascism means.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 8:06 AM
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But he knows it when he sees it!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 8:07 AM
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The part where he says Dachau concentration camp was liberal because of its "alternative medical experiments" should really win some sort of lifetime chutzpah award. Organic mass sterilization -- it's every liberal's dream! Now if only we could perfect cruelty-free vivisection....


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 8:18 AM
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Editorial: Lifetime? Don't know what I was thinking.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 8:20 AM
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46: Please, please tell me that appearance is happening on Saturday 29 December.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 8:28 AM
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166: Alas, no. January 15, 6:30 pm.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 8:30 AM
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Damn it! His booker is fascist!


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 8:35 AM
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Hey Sifu, what's ever happened to the poor man anyway?


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 9:12 AM
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Tell me about it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 9:22 AM
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Jonah, you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 9:58 AM
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Fascists oppressed the homosexuals.
Republicans are homosexuals.
Liberals are fascists.



Posted by: | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 12:14 PM
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what's ever happened to the poor man anyway?

Stomach cancer.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 12:18 PM
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This book really is outrageous, malicious, and stupid. Let's see if we can't improve American public life by making clear to all, across party lines, what a piece of crap this is. I don't want to live in a country where a lot of people take this thing seriously.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 12:32 PM
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I don't want to live in a country where a lot of people take this thing seriously.

I hear Canada's lovely.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 12:36 PM
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See??? It took this outrageous book to reduce PerfectlyGoddamn to a state of earnest, uh, outrage. Contempt. Digust. That is.

(Babe, just watch the bestseller lists to see whether it gets any play, before becoming agitated. You know?)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 12:41 PM
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Sweet jesus -- Sadly No has another quotation up:

Liberal fascism differs from classical fascism in many ways. I don't deny this. Indeed, it is central to my point.

I'm still betting it gets a rave in the Times. Or rather, they will give it one rave in the Sunday Book Review and one pan in just the weekly paper.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 12:44 PM
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Or rather, they will give it one rave in the Sunday Book Review and one pan in just the weekly paper.

Excellent prediction. (Also, I sure do hate how often the NYT spends its daily-paper review space on books that also get reviewed in the Book Review. I also hate Michiko Kakutani.)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 12:48 PM
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Who do you think they'll choose to review it? I'm thinking Scooter Libby.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 12:48 PM
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Fascism now comes in a range of delightful flavors! There's Classical Fascism [tm], Liberal Fascism [tm], Spicy Fascism [tm], Islamofascism [tm], and many more!

I'm just tickled pink that I can walk out my office building's door and gaze on the HQ of American fascism. I never would have guessed.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 12:50 PM
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179: Tom Wolfe.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 12:50 PM
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Delightful Fascist Flavors for Every Budget!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 12:52 PM
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I'm not having any part of it until I get my own homofascism in a rainbow print. Breedofascism is making me feel excluded here.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 12:53 PM
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181: Does anyone know Tom Wolfe?

"Liberal Fascism" is a book of intellectual history you won't be able to put down---in either sense of the term.

Can someone ask him what the other sense of the term is?

This is like when I was an undergrad and the prof. was explaining that his mother was from Lesbos "and that always prompts two questions." Another student raised his hand and asked, "What's the other one?"


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 12:54 PM
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Can someone ask him what the other sense of the term is?

Meaning 1: Stop reading.

Meaning 2: Denigrate.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 12:57 PM
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I think he means the sense of the term that involves the book biting your fingers and holding on for dear life, like the Necronomicon in Army of Darkness.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 12:57 PM
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Can someone ask him what the other sense of the term is?

I think he means that it can not be criticized. I do not know what the other lebian question might be. "Does she play softball, or LPGA?"


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 12:57 PM
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184: The 2 meanings of "put down" :

1. stop reading in the middle of...

2. insult


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 12:58 PM
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until I get my own homofascism

HOMOSEXODUS!
Revealed: 'Gay' plans to target 2-year-olds

Can someone ask him what the other sense of the term is?

You won't be able to put it down like you did your blind, fifteen-year-old German shepherd that shit itself every time you slammed a door.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 12:59 PM
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I imagine it's "Where's Lesbos?"


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 12:59 PM
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185: Oh, Teo, of course you are right! (Right as to what Wolfe meant. But Wolfe of course is wrong in that I can easily put it down, in both senses.)
But I like Burke's answer better.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 12:59 PM
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188: multiply pwned! easily put down!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:00 PM
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You all (and I too but in a different, more pathetic, way) are pwned by Teo.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:00 PM
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It's a pretty clever line, actually. Wrong, of course, but clever.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:00 PM
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I AM TEH PWNMASTER


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:03 PM
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Mostly I just type fast.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:03 PM
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Fastist.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:05 PM
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Racer.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:08 PM
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I didn't think 157 was possible, but sonofagun, it's true. I should have known better than to question apo's link-fu.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:09 PM
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'Gay' plans

Plans that only pretend to be gay so they can get chicks.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:10 PM
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Fascism now comes in a range of delightful flavors! There's Classical Fascism [tm], Liberal Fascism [tm], Spicy Fascism [tm], Islamofascism [tm], and many more!

What's especially curious about Goldberg's book (and here I am cognizant of the folly of addressing the book on its own terms, but bear with me) is that he identifies some traits that were unique to the German variety of fascism as being emblematic of fascism more generally. Now there is a fair amount of academic debate about which national movements of the early 20th century can or cannot be described as fascist (the Action Francaise: was it fascist?), but the consensus definition most definitely doesn not include obsession with vegetarianism, hygiene, or organic agriculture. These were cultural currents that trace back to the German Romantics, and they have no counterpart in, say, Italian, Hungarian or Spanish fascism. Secularism, to take another of Goldberg's alleged markers of fascism, was ideologically anathema to Spanish fascists, and was publicly denied by the Nazis, even as much of the leadership was areligious in practice; the purported polarity between fascism and Christianity is a post-war invention of the Vatican and was conspicuously absent while the Nazis fought the godless Bolsheviks.

My own view: Goldberg believes his own bullshit. He has such an elevated opinion of himself that he thinks his half-baked notions have never occurred to anyone before. It doesn't occur to him that his ideas have been dismissed as obviously ahistorical and false by anyone with any knowledge of the era.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:11 PM
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Plans that only pretend to be gay so they can get chicks special rights.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:12 PM
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My own view: Goldberg believes his own bullshit.

Yeah, I think this is right. He's very proud of the endorsement he just got from Tom Wolfe. The "This is a big ole joke you silly libs" line isn't really flying here.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:13 PM
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Plans that only pretend to be gay so they can get chicks special rights to chicks.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:14 PM
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Pardon my density, but where's that Tom Wolfe quote from? I mean, yes, quoted on the Corner (NRO), but otherwise? I am missing something.

The Amazon link from the NRO Corner link shows buzz already. Especially the advice to "Buy this book with" James Lileks' Gastroanomalies. And the most popular customer tag appended to the Amazon listing is: propaganda.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:15 PM
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I think the excerpt on Sadly, No that I like is that Dachau had its own organic honey. And we know what the fuck THAT means, don't we, boys and girls? Fascists = organic honey. Freedom-loving real Americans = melted rubber with sugar in it. Or clover honey in a pinch, as long as it is not organic.

I mean, what the FUCK, man. Like the fact that there were bee hives in a rural area of Germany near a death camp proves that the guards who were attending to the business of mass murder were "liberals"? How can you write something like "Dachau had organic honey", evidently find that meaningful, and not have your mind collapse into catatonia or aphasia mere seconds later?


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:16 PM
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205: I bet it is/will be a jacket blurb, but I base this only on the locution "Tom Wolfe, author of Blah and Blah."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:18 PM
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I mean, what the FUCK, man. Like the fact that there were bee hives in a rural area of Germany near a death camp proves that the guards who were attending to the business of mass murder were "liberals"?

Timbo, of course it doesn't mean this. You've got the causation backwards. I means that liberals who like organic honey are fascists, just like the guards attending to the Bees of Dachau.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:19 PM
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he thinks his half-baked notions have never occurred to anyone before.

This probably indicates that they're fully-baked notions, IYKWIM.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:20 PM
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Knecht: I think he does believe this. The fall-back position is "I'm just being PJ O'Rourke, it's just trollage, ha ha ha" but that's only a fall-back. The excerpts showing up so far strike me as being utterly serious, in the same way that a really bad essay by an earnest and kind of stupid 9th grader who thinks he's an intellectual can be utterly serious.

The sad thing is that one could write a perfectly ok book about paternalism and accuse some kinds of American liberalism of having that issue. But then, that would have to be a broader critique that would encompass many policies and ideas of American conservatives, too--and since the alternatives to paternalism are generalized tolerance of pluralism, stoical indifference, humility about one's own convictions, etc--all things that aren't exactly common in Goldberg's quadrant of the intellectual junkyard.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:21 PM
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Oh, right: I didn't get it. People who like organic honey like it specifically because it was preferred by the guards of Dachau. I'll bet it even says that on some labels: Nine out of ten fascistic death-camp guards recommend organic honey!


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:23 PM
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People like Goldberg don't "believe" things in the same fashion as the rest of us. People like Goldberg create the truth, and aren't bound by the rules of the reality-based community.

To those who hold Goldbergian views, people who criticize George W. are literally traitors, because they create the problems they describe. If the media would just shut up about Iraq ...


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:30 PM
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207: I guessed as much. Tom Wolfe has always annoyed me. Are jacket blurbs paid these days?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:31 PM
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The Bees of Dachau fly at dusk.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:33 PM
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The caged whale knows nothing of the mighty deep.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:45 PM
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It's the cagéd whale.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:48 PM
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The caged whale, unlike the cagéd whale, has a TV and watches lots of nature programs, so it's totally up on the ways of the mighty deep.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:49 PM
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To the axeman, all supplicants are the same height.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:51 PM
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206: How can you write something like "Dachau had organic honey", evidently find that meaningful, and not have your mind collapse into catatonia or aphasia mere seconds later?

You seem to be making an unwarranted assumption.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:55 PM
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184 - I'd prefer to interpret Wolfe as saying that the book can neither be insulted nor shot in the street like a rabid dog.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 1:58 PM
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It would take a stake through the heart to put the undead Goldberg down for good.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 2:04 PM
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Tom Wolfe doesn't say anything about a quiet, cordial introduction to Mister Pointy, Emerson. Another victory for the highly respected, always with-it, and not at all laughable author of I Am Charlotte Simmons and A Man in Full!


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 2:09 PM
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S,N! has some more scans up. Yikes. It's not much better than helpy-chalk's parody.

Nazism also emphasized many of the themes of later New Lefts in other places and times: the primacy of race, the rejection of rationalism, an emphasis on the organic and holistic -- including environmentalism, health food and exercise -- and, most of all, the need to "transcend" notions of class.

Exercise? Seriously?


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 2:11 PM
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I still think that liberals miss the point of the "creating reality" meme. Their words are active, pragmatic, or performative, not descriptive. "The point is not to understand the world, but to change it".

Liberals, being idealists, professionals, bureaucrats and academics for the most part, seem to be incapable of understanding political speech which makes things happen. They slip instantly into denouncing it as nothing but lies and error, with the result that they repeatedly attack even their own spokesmen, and leave their side incapable of fighting in the war for public opinion. That's the big failure of Democrats over the last several decades. It's called various things -- framing, setting the agenda, getting the word out, developing a message -- and Democrats hardly even make an effort.

That's the big lesson I've learned from five years on the political blogosphere. A lot of liberals just hate politics. (Just look that the flak Krugman and DeLong often get from people who don't even disagree with their politics.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 2:14 PM
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Reading the excerpts on Sadly, No: this book has finally achieved a goal that has eluded humanity for centuries. It is the first book written which cannot be parodied. You could not write a parody of the book that was not the book. It's like a Borges story: all parodies will be the book itself; the book contains all possible parodistic variations of its own argument and content.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 2:14 PM
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John, that's a different and serious discussion. One response I have is this: people who make the objection you're making have a problem of their own. Namely, so why is political speech as you define it effective? You've got two choices: 1) because it's smarter at taking advantage of the established consciousness or worldview of specific publics and therefore getting them to act in some way that achieves political goals or 2) because there are underlying economic or political structures in place that support the interests of particular social groups, and their political speech is only a superficial indicator of the movement of those underlying structures.

If it's 1), then the concern of liberals about speaking the right way isn't at all misplaced. You might say that they're wrong about what useful or mobilizing speech actually is, or how to counter other kinds of speech. But if your view is 1), the form of speech makes a big difference; it's a cause of political action, and contingent. This is basically the riposte that Stuart Hall made to the British left about Thatcherism way back when.

If it's 2), then the concern of liberals about political speech is indeed pointless, but so is your own concern with political speech. Speech in this view is only the shark fin that breaks the surface of the water, and what people say and think matters almost not at all--mobilization is a much more structural, social, deterministic affair. In which case, what are you doing hanging around blogs acting like any of this matters, liberal or otherwise?


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 2:22 PM
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Wolfe poses a very interesting problem for the developing theory of retroactive suckitude. Dwight Macdonald had the number on him nearly forty years ago, including the notion that he might ever write novels at all, yet in the intervening years he's written some very influential pieces and has become something of a novelist. We haven't heard the last from him.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 2:23 PM
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Is there some way I can read the book for free? I don't want to pay for it but I'm seriously curious. And frightened. When you stare into Jonah's book, Jonah's book stares into you.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 2:26 PM
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Is there some way I can read the book for free?

Public library?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 2:27 PM
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Exercise? Seriously?

You will jog for the master race, and always wear the happy face.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 2:27 PM
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You could read it in a bookstore, FL, but I think you'll want to go get the Joy of Sex or some other respectable book to put around it so no one sees you reading it.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 2:29 PM
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Tim, I'm not doing nuance on this. I'm just saying that liberals and Democrats refuse to learn to use political speech effectively, and then they whine when they get their asses repeatedly kicked.

The infinitely multiplied "reality-based" jokes are a symptom of the problem. I'll leave the question open as to what should be done differently, and I'm not advocating "whatever works". But I am saying that any effective use of political speech by a Democrat will be bitterly opposed by many supercilious, fastidious liberals who'd rather lose than win "the wrong way".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 2:32 PM
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Prediction: in order to make the term "fascist" apply to the contemporary American left, such as it is, as well as the paradigm cases (Mussolini, Hitler), Goldberg will have to understand fascism in a way that, even if it proves extensionally adequate, will make the concept of exceedingly limited interest and explanatory power. Exercise and organic honey suggest that this prediction is correct.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 2:34 PM
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225: Précisément. (Though I enjoy the mockery all the same.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 2:34 PM
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For Goldberg even support for breast cancer research is Nazi, since Hitler's mother died of breast cancer and Hitler supported breast cancer research.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 2:38 PM
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John: the main thing that bugs me about your complaint in this and other conversations is that you act like "effective speech" is obvious without specifying "effective with whom" or "effective in what way". And asking for those specifics gets the asker tagged as one of those querulous, complaining liberal-bitch do-nothings who keep dragging the movement down. A goodly portion of the time these debates break out about something that appears to be effective in getting blogging leftists to say "that's so right" or "you go", e.g., in getting the approval of people who are guaranteed votes, guaranteed activists, guaranteed advocates. Just as the proposition that "fighting back" is effective is taken more or less an article of faith. My basic answer is still, "So go ahead and fight back, guys. Why do the whinings of a few liberals concern you so much that you spend more time bitching about them than fighting back against the hordes of the right?" If you know how to do effective speech, go to it. Don't waste your time picking at the people who you think aren't good at effectiveness.

If you could convince me that a Democratic candidate for President would move people into her/his column as actual votes by kicking ass, taking names, speaking like a left-wing Jonah Goldberg, as opposed to just mobilizing people who would be mobilized by anything that candidate said, I'm all for it. I just don't want to take that on faith, because, you know, "fighting back" is inevitably and magically effective.

Since we're talking about Jonah Goldberg's little dump of a book, lay it on me: what's "effective speech" in response to this kind of wingnuttery? Ignoring it? Trying to offer a subtle rejoinder about the historical relationship between liberalism and populism in American history, as you're doing over at CT? Mocking it? Is there anyway to vaccinate vulnerable people against meme-spreading?


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 2:46 PM
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Since we're talking about Jonah Goldberg's little dump of a book, lay it on me: what's "effective speech" in response to this kind of wingnuttery?

Mockery. You appeal to the sadistic 3rd grader in Everyman--the one who doesn't want to be associated with a laughingstock. That's why the jokes about him being a pasty-faced, bed-wetting mama's boy, a fart-huffing, overweight, pimply-assed cheetoh-eating pathetic loser are more than just satisfying invective: they are an effective form of counterbattery fire.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 2:52 PM
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Seems right to me. But that's why I wonder why John thinks that "creating reality" as an idea is either a by-product of especially effective speech by conservatives or a consequence of the underlying social power they wield, and that somehow liberals just aren't getting it when they make fun of the more desperate attempts to "make reality" like Goldberg's. If those attempts are effective regardless of what we say about them because of social power, then it doesn't matter whether we mock them or do whatever the heck it is John thinks we should do instead. If they're effective because of the nature of conservative speech, then surely mockery not just of Goldberg's mental derangement but of the very idea of indifference to reality is an effective answer.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 2:56 PM
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Normally, I'd disagree with 237, but in Goldberg's case, it works pretty well. We're being plunged into endless war and complicit in torture and subjected to wiretapping, and Goldberg is wringing his pinkies over the consumption of organic honey? And the existence lady-schoolmarms who might think taunting homos is ungentlemanly? This is a man who's never seen blood of any kind.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 2:57 PM
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existence of


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 2:58 PM
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My claim is that, in the process of denouncing Jonah Golberg or Rush Limbaugh, many liberals generalize what they say about demagogy (etc.) so far that their denunciations would apply to any effective political speech whatsoever. There have been a large number of posts at Crooked Timber, Brad DeLong, and here which have been evidence for my claim. There was also Mary Beth Cahill of the Kerry campaign, who made the specific statement about "not winning the wrong way". (What was in question was not lying, but the use of true embarassing associations and events in Bush's past).

On Goldberg, mocking and refuting both make sense.

The big thing the Democrats lack is any attempt to control the agenda or propose a vision. Unwillingness to fight hard or fight dirty is only part of it. But I think that "reality-based" people will tend to quibble about any effective proposal or argument.

Why do the whinings of a few liberals concern you so much that you spend more time bitching about them than fighting back against the hordes of the right?" If you know how to do effective speech, go to it. Don't waste your time picking at the people who you think aren't good at effectiveness.

If I managed my time effectively, I wouldn't spend any time at all on these stupid blogs. When I'm here, one of the things I do is argue against people who I think are on the wrong track. In the case of the "reality-based" meme, i think that it displays a self-congratulatory, silly, damaging misunderstanding of how politics works. Since I've been on the internet (five years+) I've spent practically all my time kicking Democrats and liberals in the ass. That's my mission, as far as I'm concerned. I frequently have to remind myself that Democrats are mostly just shitheads and morons, not usually criminals and madmen.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 3:04 PM
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230: I'd sign up for the Suede/Denim Secret Police. I always imagined that Tom Snyder would be our chief.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 3:37 PM
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So with the Golberg Opus has the pendulum finally started to swing back? Progressives, or liberals if you prefer, set the agenda and "framed the debate" for at least the first half of the twentieth century. What we refer to as the "sixties", which was a period from the fifties until 1973, was the zenith of ths leftward swing, and the pushback from the right has now reached the nadir with this ridiculous book. PJ ORourke it ain't.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 3:43 PM
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Is there anyway to vaccinate vulnerable people against meme-spreading?

No, by definition: they're vulnerable, you say. They cannot be vaccinated.

That said, there's no generalizable way to minimize impact. It has to be specific to the case, no?

I hate to say it, but I think mockery is generally a mistake if you're purporting to respect a dubious audience. They're not going to jump on board with you unless you have some major coolness factor going for you.

Against Golberg, rueful, a bit of eye-rolling, self-confession (sigh, this is really sad/pathetic/annoying, and makes me angry), and rebuttal.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 3:57 PM
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See, the audience here is Democrats and liberals. Jeering at Goldberg is entertainment, not effective political action. I think that if a sober, careful, non-boring, review could be placed in the media concisely pointing out that Goldberg's book is full of errors, bad logic, and smears, that would be a very good thing.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 4:12 PM
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So every exchange I've had with Emerson has been a prolonged exercise in akrasia? Sounds right.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 4:31 PM
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parsimon's 176 makes me think of The book of my enemy has been remaindered.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 4:34 PM
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I agree with 245. See! That's not so hard.

Or more precisely, let's not make too big a deal out of it when "liberals" and "leftists" disagree over where and when some kinds of talk is effective. A lot of times, that strikes me as the same kinds of disagreements that people might have in a football game about what play to call next. E.g., you could be very right on any given occasion but unless you're a political genius (something that is not a product of your ideology but instead of your horse sense) you're not likely to be right or wrong consistently.

I agree also on the lack of an agenda. But I don't think that the American left, broadly speaking, has a more coherent one than the mainstream of the Democratic Party. The left simply doesn't have the equivalent of the right's two major blocs (the economic conservatives and the religious right). I think it factually is more hodgepodge, and thus, no one can point to themselves and claim to represent a broad constituency which ought to be in the driver's seat of political tactics by virtue of its possession of a coherent, consistent agenda that is based on a consistent root view of the world. It may just boil down to a crazy-quilt of issue-based positions which can only be coordinated through a homely pragmatism.


Posted by: Timothy Burke | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 4:46 PM
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Further to 223: I'd guess that Goldberg's mention of "the primacy of race" means that he's arguing that Black or Latino Studies programs or affirmative action or what have you is tantamount to putting Slavs and gypsies in concentration camps. The mind boggles.


Posted by: the Other Paul | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 4:46 PM
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Yeah, that "People who worry about racism are the real racists" move is a spiffy one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 4:48 PM
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No, by definition: they're vulnerable, you say. They cannot be vaccinated.

Let's say I had never been vaccinated against measles. Then I would be vulnerable to measles. Would it follow that, by definition, I could not be vaccinated against measles? Show your work.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 4:52 PM
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Especially when he's been discussing real racists.

By the way, can anyone recommend a good book about fascism? I know a bit about it (authoritarianism, organic conception of the body politic, and suchlike) but this discussion is making me curious.


Posted by: the Other Paul | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 4:53 PM
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On Goldberg, mocking and refuting both make sense.

I'm on board with your general critique, John, but I think this is incomplete (and inconsistent with your other remarks.) Mockery and refuting are both reflexive liberal responses, and aren't particularly helpful, even when they are fun to do.

Vilification is the correct response: Protests at his publisher's HQ and especially, especially, on the sidewalk out in front of the LA Times and other mainstream media outlets that pretend they don't sponsor vile right-wing lunacy.

Reasoning and amusement are fine and dandy, but it's the expression of anger that actually changes things.

They argued with, and laughed at, Hitler, who was (let's face it) a genuinely ludicrous figure. Until he wasn't. (And no apologies here for my Godwin violation - Goldberg started it.)


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 7:21 PM
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In the case of the "reality-based" meme, i think that it displays a self-congratulatory, silly, damaging misunderstanding of how politics works.

Yes. The important and useful part of the "reality-based" meme is its illumination of the effectiveness of people like Goldberg, not their incompetence. That was part of my intent in 212,


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 7:27 PM
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Timothy, reasonable people can debate appropriate and effective political speech, but it's not as mysterious as you make out. You talk like someone who doesn't read Greenwald, who is close to infallible when discussing these issues.



Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 7:33 PM
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251: Let's say I had never been vaccinated against measles. Then I would be vulnerable to measles. Would it follow that, by definition, I could not be vaccinated against measles? Show your work.

Oh, Ben. Good. But the question was:

Is there anyway to vaccinate vulnerable people against meme-spreading?

Meme-spreading is not like measles. It comes again, and again, and again, in a different form each time. It hits all of us, every one. Framing and all that.

Sure, though: to vaccinate, teach critical thinking and reading skills.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 8:27 PM
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I have read and enjoyed Jonah Goldberg's column on multiple occasions. But it seems like with this book, he took something that worked in a short format and stretched it out to an unsustainable length, like when they make movies out of minor Saturday Night Live characters.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 12-18-07 11:24 PM
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I just found the best Jonah-quote yet:

The white male is the Jew of liberal fascism

Wow


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 12-20-07 8:02 AM
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That's why I'm rounding myself up and sending me to a camp.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 12-20-07 8:04 AM
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