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Saturday, December 17, 2011

How to spot a fake lefty: A quick and certain test

I did not want to write about Hitchens again, but you really must check out what Greenwald and Finkelstein have to say. I think Greenwald is onto something: The "eulogy hoopla" surrounding Hitchens resembles the propaganda campaign that inundated the public after Reagan died. Both are attempts to sanctify the damnable. Both are utterly ersatz. The Mighty Wurlitzer can belt out a mean Requiem.

Finkelstein annoys me (slightly) only once:
He [Hitchens] assails French President Jacques Chirac, in a masterful turn of phrase, as a "balding Joan of Arc in drag..."
Not masterful: Confusing. Jeanne spent her entire career in drag, even during her off-hours. (And her en ronde hairdo was kind of skinheaddish, now that I think about it.)

Zoom out. Let's take in a wider view of this terrain.

The Hitchens debate is being framed -- even by people who can't stand Hitchens -- in terms of Marxism versus conservatism, as though there were no third choice. Mistake. If we allow this or any other political argument to be reduced to a false dichotomy, if we pretend that history comes down to an arm wrestling match between Karl and Ayn, then the anti-Marxists will win the public's affection every time.

The eulogies and critiques have driven home one point that was already clear to many of us: Left and Right stand united in their hatred of FDR, the most despised American president in our history. Hitchens the leftie considered FDR a traitor to the proletarian class; Hitchens the post-leftie considered him a traitor to the patrician class. FDR's true sin, the one for which he will never be shriven, was creating the middle class.

The problems of false dichtomization and historical revisionism go way beyond the sorry case of one perpetually schnockered typist-for-hire. For decades, no admirer of Franklin Roosevelt, JFK or Bill Clinton has been allowed a voice within America's left-wing journals. Thought control ain't just a conservative thang.

Among the writers who claim to speak on behalf of the working class, there are many poseurs. How to spot the phonies? Simple. Ask 'em what they think of FDR. (While you're at it, take note of how well they dress and eat.)

All of which makes me redouble my cry for a new New Deal.

(By the way: I note that Stephen Fry -- writing for the same journal that published Gerry "Company Man" Posner -- considered Hitchens a friend. In V, Fry plays a man murdered by the state in part because he owns a rare and illegal copy of the Koran. Were he a citizen of the V dystopia, Hitchens no doubt would have approved of the killing. For me, Fry has lost his charm.)
If Hitchens had died before the Iraq War, his life would have been more meaningful. He lived a little too long.
I would have thought that Fry had a better test for other humans than whether they are "sound on Wodehouse." My, I'm reminded of W's "looking into Putin's eyes" and stamping him a good soul.

I'm pretty sure Fry is an atheist as well...did he replace traditional "faith" with some kind of "you love the same author I do so you're the tops" crap?

I always really liked Fry. Still an excellent actor and brilliant individual, but wow, that's a bs way to judge associates. Revered Wodehouse and he knew how to stir up crap...that's no basis for a glowing obit, Stephen Fry.
The media has no choice but to canonize Hitchens, otherwise Joe and Jane Sixpack might wake to how ill served they have been the past decades.
Awhile back you dissed Webster Tarpley via guilt by association.

Apparently you need an update, since Tarp broke with Lyndon's cult many years ago and nowadays shows no fear of conradicting him, as was the case over the real instigators and beneficiaries of Wikileaks and the Arab Spring.

Tarp's Obama books were absolutely dead-on in identifying the true nature of that brown sockpuppet for Wallstreet.

Tarp's take on FDR sounds exactly like yours.
I had heard that Tarpley broke from LaRouche. I must admit that I have almost as big a problem with former cult members as I have with practicing cultists. This is a prejudice formulated after some unhappy interactions with former Scientologists, who were almost as annoying as actual still-in-the-thick-of-it Scientologists.

I think cultists are a little like junkies. Even after someone stops using dope, he still THINKS like an addict -- that is, he's utterly solipsistic and manipulative.

That, too, I know from experience.

And every former cultist is really a born sucker/seeker ready to swoon over a new guru. Just look at that guy who wrote the book about Arianna Huffington's cult leader -- can't recall his name offhand, but it was a classic case.

So call it prejudice, but I want nothing to do with Tarpley. And frankly, I haven't found his writings that impressive. The big exception would be the Bush book, which is over-the-top and which contains much crap. But it is still useful.

For what it's worth: Long ago, I corresponded a bit with a few former LaRouchies, including Dennis King and Kevin Coogan. They didn't seem like bad fellows at all. But still -- arm's length, dude. Arm's length.
I could never stand S. Fry - snooty, sneery pompous ass - not surprising he and Hitchens were friends.

Can't understand all the eulogising, I really can't.

It's a funny old world.
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