James Wolcott reviews galleys of conservative intellectual Dinesh D’Souza’s new book, The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11, and it sounds bad. Just the subtitle sounds bad. If it was The Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11 then I’d figure it was an attempt to blame 9/11 on Clinton’s foreign policies. That’s not an argument that’s unreasonable on it’s face; it’s debatable.
But to blame 9/11 on the cultural left? The Taliban and Al-Qaeda attacked us because of what? Gay marriage? Raunchy music lyrics? Women without veils?
Wolcott’s a bit crazy, but I think this part is reasonably coherent:
The theme of the book is quite simple, and vile.
“In this book I make a claim that will seem startling at the outset. The cultural left in this country is responsible for causing 9/11.”
“I am saying that the cultural left and its allies in Congress, the media, Hollywood, the nonprofit sector […], and the universities are the primary cause of the volcano of anger toward America that is erupting from the Islamic world.”
“I realize that this is a strong charge,” D’Souza writes, “one that no one has made before.”
The reason it hasn’t been made before is that it’s a sleazy, shameless, ignorant, ahistorical, tendentious, meretricious lie, one that was waiting for the right brazen liar to come along to promote it, and here he is, and his name is Dinesh D’Souza, who’s fatuous and fuddy-duddyish enough to think that it’s Britney Spears, the rap lyrics of 2 Live Crew, and the buggering photographs of the late Robert Mapplethorpe that have Islam in a tiz. This is someone so out of touch with pop culture that he thinks liberals look down on risque sitcoms like Will & Grace because “their moral depravity is not highbrow enough for their taste.” Does that description fit anyone you know?
Apparently, D’Souza even brings up Piss Christ, which is pretty amazing since (1) that was over a decade-and-a-half ago, (2) South Park has far worse stuff about Jesus, and (3) would Muslim fanatics really get upset over a lack of reverence for Jesus?
(Actually, I’m pretty sure D’Souza’s point about Piss Christ is the lack of respect for religion in general, so point 3 doesn’t really hold, but I’ll take any excuse to link to that South Park video.)
Right after 9/11 a lot of pundits on the right criticized the left (correctly, in many cases) for asking “Why do they hate us?” as if we were to blame for 9/11. I guess some people on the right are starting to agree with them.