April 20, 2004

Becoming a Famous Public Intellectual: A Test,” or “Richard Posner: A Study in Decline

By now, dear reader, you are probably wondering whether we, the crack young staff of The Hatemonger's Quarterly, want to waste our halcyon days penning feckless barbs and tasteless yuks. Of course not: We have dreams too. And, just like everyone else who's ever read a book or two, we, the crack young staff of The Hatemonger's Quarterly, long to become famous public intellectuals. Or, barring that, Naomi Wolf.

In fact, we have decided to use today's edition of The Hatemonger's Quarterly as a stepping-stone to the glitzy world of the public intellectual. For some time, we have had a collective theory about public intellectuals: We harbor a suspicion that many of them spend at least half of their days looking up their own names in Google, glorying in the manifold mentions of their coruscating genius. Except Richard Posner: He's too busy writing a book every three minutes.

As a result, we figured that we'd simply offer a list of names of fancy public intellectuals, and match these names up with a bevy of compliments. If our supposition about public intellectuals holds true, our "weblog" should become a lodestone for such impressive characters. In fact, dear reader, pretty soon you'll be the only peruser of The Hatemonger's Quarterly who isn't Martha Nussbaum.

The next thing you know, we'll get all kinds of queries from these flattered intellectual pundits, who will shower us with fawning e-mails. We'll make the kind of connections only heard about in Legoland. If all this holds true, it should only be a few short months before the crack young staff of The Hatemonger's Quarterly becomes a regular contributor to The New Yorker. And Vanity Fair, if we need the money.

What follows, then, is merely a list of famous journalists, op-eders, television pundits, and assorted superannuated academics, accompanied by the most fawning, sycophantic remarks we could muster. The names of these intellectual beacons were mostly culled from Richard Posner's Public Intellectuals: A Study in Decline, and thus our conclusions are only as valuable as his. Which is to say, they're totally worthless.

Without further ado, here is the official Hatemonger's Quarterly Case Study in Public Intellectualdom:

Alan Dershowitz: We don't think you've made nearly enough television appearances. When you have your Aaron-Copland-meets-a-prune good looks, you deserve to be on MSNBC 24 hours a day.

Eric Alterman: Your disquisition on conservative bias in the American media may have proved counterfactual to some, but it really convinced us. Perhaps your next book could tackle some other silly theory that the moronic general public foolishly esteems. Like gravity.

Ann Coulter: Your thinking is, if anything, far too subtle for us. Surely everyone but you and Dinesh D’Souza is somehow guilty of treason? If your ideas were as provocative as your skirts, we might actually listen to you.

bell hooks: Nice Lower-Case Name! You are certainly the e. e. cummings of race-baiting pseudo-intellectual demagogues.

Eric Hobsbawm: With the exception of politics, Communism, and history, you’ve been right about everything you’ve ever written. And we, for one, are glad you are an unrepentant Stalinist: If the dream comes true, it’ll be worth the 200 million slaughtered!

Noam Chomsky: You’re the non-thinking-man’s Oliver Stone.

Camille Paglia: Could you add a few more “ums” and “ahs” to your manifold speeches? We are almost getting the sense that you are preparing for your lectures.

Gore Vidal: Other folks might think you are a bit batty, but we agree with you—you have been totally neglected by the Jew-run publishing industry. If it weren’t for those rabid Zionists, you’d have two palatial mansions in Italy.

Robert Putnam: We’d love to go bowling with you—provided you don’t doctor the scorecard as much as you do your studies.

Susan Estrich: We could listen to your mellifluous voice all day.

Doris Kearns Goodwin: [Insert plagiarized compliment here].

Cornel West: Buckwheat told us he thinks your haircut is “otay.” And your rap album is much better than Irving Kristol’s.

Terry Eagleton: We are totally convinced by your swashbuckling brand of Marxism. But we have one question: From which one of your three fancy homes did you pen your latest book?

Catherine MacKinnon: You have all the intellectual cautiousness of Norman Mailer. Thanks for turning the United States into a sexual police state.

Pat Buchanan: Your championing of Hitler’s organizational skills wasn’t creepy enough for us. And tell us again why the United States should never have fought in World War II! And to think, some have had the audacity to tar and feather you as an anti-Semite.

Well, that should do it. Atlantic Monthly, here we come!

Posted at April 20, 2004 12:09 AM | TrackBack