The controversy over Diana West’s book American Betrayal has gotten ugly, and it’s bound to get uglier still.
When someone stakes out such an irrational and malicious position, and then doubles down when called on it, there’s no way out without an immense loss of face. A Chernobyl-type meltdown is now underway, and radioactivity from the disaster will dust a lot of people before all this is over.
If you’re sick this story — and I’m pretty sick of it myself — you can skip this post and go read about President Obama or Miley Cyrus or something. But a recent exchange at FrontPage Magazine drew my attention, and it deserves at least a mention here.
Yesterday Mr. Horowitz published a response to Diana West’s rebuttal of Ronald Radosh. It appeared first at Breitbart, and was mirrored soon afterwards at FPM, where the comments have become… ahem… rather heated.
In the comment thread, one “ziggy zoggy” said, inter alia: “Andrew Bostom, you Westrolls are worse than Paulbots… You need to take of [sic] your tinfoil hat. It’s baked your brain like a potato.” That gives you an idea of the level to which public discourse has descended at FPM.
In response to Mr. Zoggy, David Horowitz, the editor of the whole shebang, said (words and phrases of interest have been marked in red for further attention):
Thank you Ziggy Zoggy. I haven’t the foggiest idea who this Lopez woman is, I haven’t communicated with Nina Rosenwald in six months, I am not familiar with Gatestone, and I am not the aggressor in all this. The victim lady is. She attacked me as a totalitarian for removing a review that made at seem as though Frontpage was endorsing a preposterous book. Then she organized a kook army of which Bostom is a prime member to attack me as a closet communist. She is incapable of rebutting any of the criticisms made of her book first of all because the criticisms are sound, secondly because they are over her head, and thirdly because she has invested all her energy in concocting a conspiracy theory to explain her critics instead of attempting to answer them.
Before I analyze the text, did anyone else besides me notice how much this screed sounds like Charles Johnson? Adapted for the appropriate context, it could have been written by the Grand Lizardoid himself back in 2007 or 2008 in the comments at Little Green Footballs.
The stylistic resemblance is unmistakable. It’s uncanny… and creepy.
Now let’s take a look at some of those interesting terms. I’ve rearranged the order of the items for the purposes of this discussion:
- Victim lady. Well, this is a winner: condescension, with a whiff of sexism. Any of you girls want to weigh in on this one?
- Over her head. Yup. That’s what you’d expect from a girl with no credentials as a historian. “Well, sir, little lady, don’t you worry your pretty li’l head none about them Commies. That’s men’s work; we’ll take care of it.”
- Preposterous book. If Ms. West had written that Stalin and FDR were space aliens, I could agree with the adjective “preposterous”. But a well-sourced, sober analysis of the evidence hardly deserves such an epithet, no matter how much one disagrees with her conclusions.
- Incapable of rebutting any of the criticisms. Actually, I’ve read sixteen thousand words of very effective rebuttal over the past two days. Does none of that count? “I’m the editor of FrontPage Magazine. We don’t need no steenkin’ evidence.”
- Instead of attempting to answer them. Ditto the above. I’ve read plenty of detailed answers. Perhaps the answers are not to Mr. Horowitz’ liking…?
- Concocting a conspiracy theory. Can you say “projection”? Because, in the very same paragraph, he asserts that Ms. West, with her extraordinary influence and charisma, has
- Organized a kook army. Yup. All those kooks out there, paid to do battle with the beleaguered courageous truth-tellers at FPM. Uh-huh. Right.
Actually, I kind of like the idea of being in the Kook Army. I’m tired of being a Kook of One.
But I must emphasize that I am neither a mercenary nor a draftee in this army. I volunteered for service. I joined up enthusiastically, ready with my scorching keyboard to do battle in whatever mosquito-infested backwater they send me to.
We’ve been an Army of Midgets in the past. There’s no reason why we can’t be an army of all epithets.
Welcome to the Army of Kooks!
Previous posts about the controversy over American Betrayal by Diana West: