Saturday, January 19, 2008

"The morning after always looks grim if you happen to be wearing last night's dress"

, on her arrival at the train station, updating her fellow countrymen about latest news in Moscow: "The last mass trials were a success: there will be fewer, but better Russians."

We can't say if Jonah Goldberg woke up wearing last night's dress, but, almost undoubtedly, he'd be happy emerging from his slumber if there were "fewer, but better, liberals".

For it is Liberals who are in Goldberg's cross-hairs, as he barnstorms the country to promote his book "Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning" (and no, The Garlic hasn't read the book yet, beyond catching the various snippets on-line).

That's right, fascism isn't a rightwing conservatism religion, it's a behavior of the Liberal Left, so we can blame the Liberals for all the world's ills.

This might all play out fantastically in Goldberg's head, but, funny thing, and we're not sure if anyone hipped Goldberg to it, but when you write, and publish, a book, people read it ... And, unless you're rock-solid accurate, people then diss you ...

And dissing is what is, so appropriately, following Goldberg around on his tour.

From Matthew Yglesais;
One major problem with the book is that Goldberg has no ability whatsoever to stick to a coherent line of argument. You might call this book "disparate essays about fascism and American liberalism designed to annoy liberals."

Beyond specific errors, lapses in logic, etc. the biggest problem with Goldberg's book is actually that Goldberg himself has the wrong ideology. A certain strand of libertarian, perhaps Justin Raimondo from, could have credibly written a book with the form of argument "today's liberals rightly identify fascistic strands in contemporary conservatism, but ignore the fascist mote in their own eye" and deliver a diatribe against statism in general and seek to tar everyone, left and right, with lax deployment of the brush of fascism. But that's not Jonah Goldberg. Goldberg is, instead, a loyal foot soldier in the Republican Noise Machine. He's a steadfast supporter of the political party representing the dominant ethnocultural group in the United States, the party that supports torture and unlimited surveillance, the party that supports a larger and more aggressively employed military, the party that supports a more punitive criminal justice system at home, the party whose backers are prone to fretting about low birthrates, the need to police gender roles more rigidly, etc."

Goldberg even ventured onto the set of The Daily Show, to which Jon Stewart lamented "I don’t know what you’re saying", and “How is organic food fascist?” and “I must say you totally misrepresent what progressive means.”

From Editor & Publisher;
Most touchy moment for Jonah came when Stewart asked him if one of the things he was against was people throwing around the charge "fascism" far too easily. Jonah said yes, then Stewart picked up a copy of the book and simply pointed to the title, "Liberal Fascism" -- adding, so why are you doing this?

There's a great interview (with Goldberg splaying all over the place) by Salon's Alex Koppelman ("We're all fascists now");
In the book, Goldberg attempts to convince readers that six decades of conventional wisdom that have placed Italy's Benito Mussolini, Germany's Adolf Hitler and fascism on the right side of the ideological spectrum are wrong, and that fascism is really a phenomenon of the left. Goldberg also attributes fascist rhetoric and tactics to Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and describes the New Deal's descendants, modern American liberals, as carriers of this liberal-fascist DNA. In a sense, "We're All Fascists Now," as Goldberg puts it in one of his chapter titles.

Larisa Alexandrovna weighed in also, with her 'Springtime For Hitler' post;
Either Jonah Goldberg is putting on a new production of the Producers or his latest book is a cry for help from a fractured and disoriented mind.

Titled... wait for it... Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning, it is a retelling of history through the lens of propaganda.

What Goldberg has authored can be seen only in one of two ways. It is either propaganda, purchased by a sponsor and authored by a writer whose writing is at best tepid and inaccurate (How else is Goldberg supposed to make a living as a writer if not authoring propaganda then?), or it is a defense mechanism of guilty mind, struggling to balance out its own views in the context of history.

There is also a third possible interpretation of this bizarre effort. Goldberg could indeed be hoping to stage his own version of the Producers and this latest literary example is nothing more than parody. I think we should also start betting on just how many charlatans and morons come running forward to proclaim Goldberg's fiction as a historically accurate masterpiece, courageous for its honesty even.

I like Larisa's "purchased by a sponsor" theory, for the timing of Goldberg, and his book, seems a tad conspicuous, this, 2008, being a presidential election year.

With the very steeped fascist qualities of the Bush Grindhouse, a roster of GOP candidates goose-stepping their way through the campaign, promising to carry on, and the likelihood of an historic - and liberal - Democratic candidate that they will have to mount up against, time to begin blurring and obfuscating the lines.

Perhaps Goldberg, and his book, are the first pull of the starter cord of the vaunted RNC/GOP Smear Machine. The feeding tube has been affixed and it's time to start dropping in the gruel.

And what's this got to do with "Ninotchka?"

A bit of inspiration, from John Emerson's post today, "Commissar Goldberg", over on Seeing The Forest;
Jonah Goldberg's book has no importance at all from a scholarly point of view, but the Jonah Goldberg phenomenon is extremely important. He's the most recent of a long string of Movement Republican mouthpieces who have gained places in the legit media, and he's put a few new tweaks into the formula. Unlike Coulter, Malkin, Limbaugh, Savage, and Beck, Goldberg speaks in a nice NPR voice and has a professorial manner, and while what he says is no more than cheap taunting, the way that he says it seems scholarly. So responding effectively to him will be tricky.

Goldberg's book is also intended to inoculate Republicans against the charge of fascism -- "We're no worse than the Democrats" is the standard Republican response whenever they're caught behaving indefensibly. Goldberg doesn't really need to make his case: he just needs to plant a few doubts and give the Republican mouthpieces some new talking points. Even if his book is mostly rejected, there will be some residue, the way accusations tarnish reputations at the unconscious level even when presented from the beginning as false (e.g., "Obama has never been a Muslim and has never attended a Muslim school).

I expect the rest of the media will disgrace themselves by treating him as a reasonable man making a reasonable argument, and that in itself should be enough to tell us what desperate shape our country is in.

Jonah Goldberg, like Ninotchka, wearing last night's dress and just a tiny cog in the great wheel of evolution.

(Photo from ACCUMULATING PERIPHERALS - offhand commentary on E. Asia, the US, and the 12,000 miles in between)

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