Thursday, January 17, 2008

Jonah Goldberg: Librul Fuh-Ffffascists

Long before Jonah Goldberg finally managed to publish his magnus octopus (two years late), Jon Swift had already published a highly comical proto-review of the then still non-existent book, Liberal Fascism. It's worth reading for many reasons but in particular Jon's suggestion to Jonah to save time by writing his text using LOLcats and Swift's illustrations (scroll down that page a bit):
KitlerMost of Goldberg's ideas could be expressed much more economically, not to mention entertainingly, by using LOLcats, an Internet meme where pictures of cats and other cute animals (or "varmints," as Mitt Romney likes to call them) are captioned with grammatically challenged prose. Cats are thematically appropriate because they are often used to depict Nazis in such books as Art Spiegelman's Maus and Maus II. And conveniently, many cats look like Adolf Hitler so these "kitlers," as they are called, can be used as pictorial shorthand to depict liberals.

And for those who need reminding who Jonah Goldberg is, here's a small sample of Jonah's gems:

On McCarthy’s wisdom:

What makes McCarthyism so hard to discuss is that McCarthy behaved like a jerk, but he was also right.

Banning books:

Now, I’m not in favor of pulling Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn from libraries, but let’s at least give a small nod to the fact that some material actually can be banned from libraries without the sky falling.

A message to Katrina victims:

ATTN: SUPERDOME RESIDENTS – I think it’s time to face facts. That place is going to be a Mad Max/thunderdome Waterworld/Lord of the Flies horror show within the next few hours. My advice is to prepare yourself now. Hoard weapons, grow gills and learn to communicate with serpents. While you’re working on that, find the biggest guy you can and when he’s not expecting it beat him senseless. Gather young fighters around you and tell the womenfolk you will feed and protect any female who agrees to participate without question in your plans to repopulate the earth with a race of gilled-supermen.


In praise of “The Bell Curve”:

[Charles Murray crunches] the numbers with the sort of élan and sophistication we’ve come to expect from the author of “Losing Ground” and coauthor of “The Bell Curve.”

Anti-sodomy laws:

Santorum is probably right that anti-sodomy laws are constitutional.

Nazi appreciation for anti-war activism:

GOOD FOR CINDY [SHEEHAN]! She’s rallied the Nazis to her cause (obviously unintentionally, but it’s interesting how her message resonates in such quarters nonetheless).

And, of course, Goldberg’s explanation for why he can’t be troubled with serving in Iraq:

As for why my sorry a** isn’t in the kill zone, lots of people think this is a searingly pertinent question. No answer I could give — I’m 35 years old, my family couldn’t afford the lost income, I have a baby daughter, my a** is, er, sorry, are a few — ever seem to suffice.

And now Jonah booky wook is finally out and the first reviews are coming in. Here's one that strikes me as probably as funny as the book itself.

Jonah Goldberg's 'Liberal Facism' Brings Historical Revisionism to Comical New Heights

By Brad Reed, AlterNet. Posted January 11, 2008.

The welfare-wingnut king has decided that fascism is a phenomenon of the left.

About five years ago, I imagine that Ann Coulter, Dinesh D'Souza and Jonah Goldberg went out to a local bar and subsequently got into a drunken feud over who among them could write the most comically stupid right-wing attack book.

"I'm-a gonna write two books, one callin' libruls TRAITORS and the other one callin' 'em GODLESS," cackled a sauced Coulter while sipping down her gin and tonic.

"Pfffffft, anyone can call 'em godless traitors," said D'Souza. "I'm-a write a book that blames libruls fer 9/11"

Not one to be outdone, Goldberg pounded his Amstel Light on the table and rose to his feet.

"Tha's nothin'!" he shouted. "I'm-a write a book that calls all libruls FASCISTS!"

Coulter and D'Souza burst into laughter.

"Tha's shameless e'ev fer you!" said Coulter. "Yer own magazine used ta make a habit of praising Franco!"

"I can too write a book about librul fascism!" said an indignant Goldberg as he trudged off to the men's room. "I'll show you! I'll show you all!" And that, in my mind, is how Liberal Fascism was born.

For the uninitiated, Liberal Fascism is a new book by National Review editor Jonah Goldberg that contends that Hitler and Mussolini were committed left-wingers, and that today's liberals are fascism's natural intellectual heirs. While this may sound like yet another Coulteresque quickie aimed at prying some money out of Dittohead Nation, Goldberg insists that it is actually a Very Serious Work that "isn't like any Ann Coulter book" because it presents an argument that "has never been made in such detail or with such care. Goldberg also goes to great lengths from the start of the book to say that he's not really saying liberals are fascists, but hey, here are 400 pages of similarities between liberals and fascists, and if you start associating the two of them by the end of the book, then that's not his fault.

But despite Goldberg's protestations and caveats, "Liberal Fascism" is indeed a remarkably silly work that's jam-packed with the same sloppy logic and dodgy research that we've come to expect from today's conservative pundit class. On page 2, for instance, Goldberg admits that he doesn't really know how to define fascism and that "not even the professionals have figured out what exactly fascism is." But as anyone who's followed Goldberg's career can tell you, lacking knowledge on any given subject in no way impedes him from writing over 400 pages on it. Indeed, not providing a concrete definition of fascism is essential to his case, since it allows him to define fascism however he pleases. Goldberg puts this conceit to good use throughout the book, as everyone from the French revolutionaries to Teddy Roosevelt-era Progressives to the New Dealers to communists to the '60s New Left to Hillary Clinton is linked with fascism at one point or another. By the end of the book, Goldberg comes off as a lonely, belligerent drunk who shouts obscenities at people leaving his local 7-11.

"You're all fuh-fascists!" you can picture Goldberg hollering on a city street corner. "Every damn onea ya's a fuh-ffffffffascist!"

But what in the world do Hitler's Germany, Soviet Russia and America under the Roosevelts all have in common, you ask? For one thing, Goldberg contends that all of these regimes gained popular support by using sinister populist rhetoric that painted wealthy capitalists in a negative light. Through sheer ignorance or ideological blindness, Goldberg never explores why trashing wealthy plutocrats during the Gilded Age and the Great Depression had become both politically profitable and morally sound. Rather, he deems all populist rhetoric as a key piece of the anti-individualist "totalitarian political religion" that American liberalism shares with Communism and Fascism.

Later in the book, the connections between liberalism and fascism grow even flimsier. For instance, did you know that "Hitler claimed to be a dedicated vegetarian" and that he would "talk for hours about the advantages of a meatless diet and the imperative to eat whole grains?" Sounds a lot like that long-haired hippie uncle who drives that hybrid car to family reunions every year, no? And gee, did you realize that the Nazis had a vigorous animal protection program, just like what the vegefascists at PETA are advocating? Oh sure, Goldberg says, you could argue that "animal rights activism was a major concern of pre-Nazi Germany" and that "the animal rights movement shouldn't be associated with Nazi Germany." But that doesn't get animal rights activists off the hook, because their "conventionally leftist views were held by the Nazis," which suggests that "Nazism isn't as alien to mainstream progressive thought as some would have us believe." (To appreciate how absurd this comparison is, try applying it to a local store that has a "no shoes, no service" policy. As in, "Sure a lot of people wore shoes in pre-Nazi Germany, but the local store owner's insistence that his customers wear them shows that Nazism isn't as alien to his views as some would have us believe.")

It ain't over till the fat lady sings, so read page 2 of this review here.


At 6:09 AM, Blogger Mad Zionist said...

It is a premise that many, if not most, critical thinkers who closely observe politics and history have accepted as fact for some time now, so this book should be a fascinating read.

At 3:54 PM, Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

Liberals, Gert, should be used by now to the phenomenon of getting it in the neck from both extra-right and ultra-left. Nothing new.

At 4:03 PM, Blogger Gert said...

"[...] if not most, critical thinkers who closely observe politics and history [...]"

Hmmm... Goldberg doesn't strike as much of a thinker, let alone a critical one.

At 3:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, I read the whole thing and gotta tell ya 'twas fuhnny! Good post!


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