Well, I posted this in response to Ross Douthat’s snarky post at The Atlantic.com on Jonah Goldberg’s vile little swiftboating book Liberal Fascism, which I covered nearly a MONTH ago (“I’m A Prophet At A Loss“) and which has been getting the HUGE media push. Douthat maintains that instead of snarking, we should READ the piece of shite before criticizing. And I would, except that it would put one shekel in the slimy little weasel’s pocket, and again divert us all from Reality, which is the whole point.
Liberal Fascism And Its Critics
13 Jan 2008 09:00 am
Here is some free advice for liberals who don’t care much for Jonah Goldberg or his (bestselling) new volume: Either confine yourself to dismissive snark, of the sort perfected by my colleague Matt, or buckle down and actually read the damn thing. The “definitive critiques” by people who admit that they haven’t yet cracked the covers are not helpful to your cause.
And yes, I’ll have something to say about the book myself, I promise – but only once I’ve finished reading it.
Now, in many cases, I’d agree, except that this is the rare case in which you CAN judge a book by its cover.
In fact, I stumbled on the CSPAN “Book TV” show with Goldberg giving his first speech on it, and it confirmed my suspicions in spades: this is simply disinformation. There is no thesis, there is only flim-flam, and b*llsh*t and fancy dancing in which “fascism” ends up being whatever Goldberg is pointing at when he happens to be arguing.
It was also filled with screaming whoppers. Fantastic untruths. But, most of all, he conflates the Naomi Wolf use of fascism (e.g. the totalitarian state exemplefied by Hitler’s Germany) with “fascism” as a philosophy, and then “socialism” as in “National Socialism” — none of which have anything to do with Hitler, any more than the Communism of Marx and Engels has anything to do with Stalinist excess.
Worse, he creepily suggests that since Hitler was a vegetarian, pagan — who was AT TIMES, anti-Christianity (he played the Church and Homeland game every bit as well as Bush, please note) — and there was an anti-smoking campaign, obviously, these are the hallmarks of Fascism, as well: anti-smoking, vegetarianism, New Ageyness, et al.
He even concluded with a sleazy “analysis” of Hillary Clinton’s It Takes A Village claiming FIRST, that all his snarks are from P.J. O’Rourke (“the only other Conservative to have read it all the way through”) and that it was a blueprint for fascism.
Yup. You heard me right.
He attacked capitalism in a most peculiar manner — corporations were unwilling to embrace the “Free Market” and that principled AynRandian horseshit that is so beloved by Greenspan types, because, SHOCK! they are UTTERLY UNPRINCIPLED in their pursuit of profits. If they get “corporate welfare” or unfair legal advantages, SHOCK!, corporations don’t eschew them for the purity of capitalist ideology, one supposes.
The point being that I don’t have to plunk down $24.95 and waste a week of my life reading a book filled with this crap to know that the writer is a crap artist, nor do I have to succumb to his scheme to USE this debate to detract from the real debate, which is that this country IS sliding into fascism, and only a right-wing ideologue dumbass like Jonah Goldberg could fail to see that.
Of course, he reveals, as I note below, that his mind was poisoned at his mother’s teat, and if you don’t know who his mother is, allow Wikipedia to introduce you:
Her career started at the Washington Post in 1957 followed by a year working at the Democratic National Committee in 1960. She became a consultant to the White House staff under President Kennedy in 1961 for two years. She set up Cummings and Associates in 1963.
Decades later, Jeffrey Toobin’s book A Vast Conspiracy alleged that Goldberg claimed to friends that she had an affair with Lyndon Johnson while working in the White House. After Goldberg threatened Random House with a libel suit, a Washington Post writer claimed he and others overheard her bragging about an affair with Vice President Hubert Humphrey as well. Goldberg denied both affairs and denied telling any such stories.
In 1966, she married Sidney Goldberg, an editor at the news syndicate North American Newspaper Alliance and Lucianne Goldberg did occasional freelance work for the syndicate. During the 1972 presidential campaign she joined the press corps covering candidate George McGovern, claiming to be a reporter for the Women’s News Service, an affiliate of NANA. In fact, she was paid $1000 a week by Richard Nixon operative Murray Chotiner for regular reports about happenings on the campaign trail. She said “They were looking for really dirty stuff…Who was sleeping with who, what the Secret Service men were doing with the stewardesses, who was smoking pot on the plane–that sort of thing.”
Goldberg set up her own literary agency in 1972. One of her clients, celebrity biographer Kitty Kelley, sued Goldberg in 1983, charging breach of contract, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty over proceeds from Kelley’s book on Elizabeth Taylor. The jury awarded Kelley $60,000, but the judge reduced the award to $40,000 and dismissed the ruling of fraud.
She published her first book, Purr Baby Purr, in 1970, which was a critique of feminism. Goldberg started writing a column called “Footlights of Broadway”, syndicated by NANA. Goldberg published her first novel, Friends in High Places co-written with Sondra Robinson, in 1979. Her first solo novel Madame Cleo’s Girls, a story of three call girls, was published in 1992, followed by People Will Talk in 1994. Goldberg has also ghostwritten the steamy novel Washington Wives (1987) for Maureen Dean (wife of Watergate figure John Dean), among other works.
Goldberg met Linda Tripp in the early part of the Clinton administration while assisting an author writing a book on Vince Foster. Tripp spoke with Goldberg resulting in Lewinsky bringing the tapes to her in 1997*…. [* NOTE: there's OH so much more. HW]
Although Goldberg is an Episcopalian, her sons were raised in their father’s Jewish faith.
So, I posted the following on Ross Douthat’s blog, as a comment, and thought to myself, Why am I wasting this stuff on THAT hack’s blog? Luckily, he censored it, so I am able to return it to MY blog, where it belongs. The “rest” of the story (links added):
Er … just by accident, I caught Lucienne Goldberg’s son (NY literary agent, Nixon dirty trickster, “advisor” to Linda Tripp, who told her to tape her calls to Monica Lewinsky, which Jonah was IN ON from the git-go) on CSPAN talking about his book at the Heritage Foundation last night (taped 1-9).*
[*By the by, the show will REPLAY tonight (Monday) at 1 AM. ]
It was clear from his talk that he’s a flim-flam man. There was no clear “thesis” here, and he began by excoriating Daniel Schorr in 1964 for a report on Barry Goldwater vacationing in Germany, and how the then-CBS reporter had tried to hang the “fascist” label on Barry.
Except … he couldn’t have possibly witnessed that report. (He wasn’t BORN yet, and wouldn’t be for another five years!) It was fed to him at his mother’s teat. And I seriously doubt that his mom had a tape of the report. VERY difficult to get hold of 1964 election tapes, and IF then, not until, perhaps, 1980 or later.
His thesis then became almost impossible to nail down as it became WHATEVER he was pointing at to prove his point, even if contradictory, etc. He’s clearly read a lot, but in that Creationist manner of conclusion first, evidence later.
And then, in front of a sympathetic audience, he let his guard slip (at slightly past the 1:00:00 mark, for those who taped it), saying that, of course he wrote the book as an “I know you are, but what am I?” because “I’m just tired of being called a fascist.”
In other words, it’s an intentional flip, spin, and, whatever else you might glean from this book by a publisher who was busted in 2002 for hiding their Nazi past (Bertelsmann), the agenda behind it is EXACTLY what you thought it was when you saw the cute little smiley face with the Hitler mustache. Another Lucienne Goldberg dirty trick for the election.
The proof that they’re scared of the meme is that they’re trying to swift-boat the meme.
It’s the exemplar proof of Godwin’s Law, in spades. Congrats, Jonah. Nice to have mommy as your literary pimp.
Well, maybe that last line offended the sensibilities of Douthat. Isn’t it fascinating that you can speak truth, and THAT’s offensive, but when this vile little demon-spawn, popped from between the legs of one of the nastiest women now living, offers a satanic reversal, a soufflé of lies, distortions and grotesque libels, THAT’s worthy of civil discourse and debate?
Because, you know, words really DON’T matter, after all. Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove and Frank Luntz and, yes Lucianne Goldberg have all taught us that. Words are just happy little phrases to be tossed around, like you’d toss a salad and say, would you pass me that bleu cheese dressing? Thank you so much.
They don’t ruin people’s lives and buttress the reign of monsters. Nosirreebob.
Well, I am happy to be considered unworthy of THAT kind of civility.
That kind of civility served tea in town, just downwind from Dachau and claimed to its dying day that it had NO IDEA what was going on.
I’m sure Douthat is a “Good German” just like this newspaper man was.