Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Loss for Words (Or, If It Quacks Like a Duck)

The conservative right intellectual set is flailing as wildly in the waters as McCain-Palin. Somebody pulled the plug, the waters are swirling and the drain is fast approaching!

First, Christopher Buckley - one of those Buckleys - endorsed Obama. In right and conservative circles, this is a Judas moment of epic proportions. I love it. It tickles me inside, gives me a kind of pink and green glow that I'll cherish for days.

Then, in an act of contrition to the editors of the The National Review, which Buckley's father started, he offers his resignation. They grab it like free french fries at a fat farm! (I used five F's in that last sentence. I've never done that before.)

And now they've come up with a new meme to slander Obama, based on first-year college lit-crit level analysis: Obama didn't write his own books. Bill Ayers did.

Wow. As an idjit who can read "Rape!" into a Cindy McCain campaign statement, even I'm flabbergasted. Perhaps in awe. Certainly my pink and green humors are all a-quiver.

If you have the stomach for it, read it. But it's a vaguely constructed argument full of obvious bias against both authors, aligning coincidences as facts and jumping rather willy-nilly from idea to idea, from technique to technique. The best - using "best" sarcastically, of course - is how the author compares books by Ayers and Obama to a book about boxing that he himself wrote. The logic in use is something like this: "My book was a memoir about boxing and can be used as a standard for what all memoirs are and should be." The gag-factor is very high here.

I do have a favorite part, though, lest, gentle reader, you think me naught but a partisan hack set upon destruction only. I particularly love the notion, only hinted at because the timeline is so loosely constructed it can't hold up to intense scrutiny, that Obama and Ayers met in early 1995 and somehow, within weeks, struck up a relationship so close that Ayers ended up writing Obama's first book. And managed to get it written in weeks, too, in order to meet the publishing timeline given! Dang, these guys are supermen!

If you're unfamiliar with publishing, the above notion won't rankle you as it does me. Allow me to explain why you should be pissed that this hack of an intellectual wants you to buy this gold-covered crap.

In the last ten years, I've worked on several books with different authors, proofreading and also sorting out the kind of confusion that results when a dozen articles from as many years get smashed into one book - making a mess of footnotes and references. My Smart Wife has indexed a number of books too, having to pay careful attention to schedules. I have friends that are small press publishers and have heard their tales of woe, waiting on long overdue proofs and how those damn writers don't understand printers and deadlines!!! So, I'm well aware of the kind of long-term scheduling that exist in publishing and how deadlines have to be maintained. The timeline so cavalierly hinted at by the author is ludicrous and insulting to the brain parts of the body. I think he realizes it, too, which is why it gets only a very short and choppy reference.

Anyway, cooling down, as I said before this is like a bad college lit-crit piece or a poorly conceived historiography paper. Here's my logic for why I can say this: I've read an awful lot of them. I even get paid once a year to read a few dozen of these for a college prize committee. It's not a fun job. Reading this isn't fun either. What most reminds me of this odious chore is when the author concludes that not knowing the true authorship of Obama's books is comparable to Sadam hiding his nuclear weapons program. Dangerously thin intellectual territory, kids. The average freshman would be told to rethink and rewrite this while the average senior would be slapped down with lead-filled sappers for this kind of loose cannon logical bull. And the author of this crap has a Ph.D. in American Studies. Or so he claims...

Finally, it's telling that this is the level that the intellectual arm of the right has sunk to in its senescence. They are looking desparately around for validation and support, while the few actual intellects they have are pulling up stake and looking for greener pastures. I wish those few luck and as for the rest...I honestly don't give a damn. They'll be asking Rush Limbaugh if he needs new writers soon.

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1 comment:

Nazz Nomad said...

The debate is happening within a couple of miles from my house. They are also having a Pro-Bama rally with Crosby and Nash a stones throw from mi' case. Does that means Stills and Young are for Mc-Lame