March 28, 2007

The Crack Young Staff: Public Intellectuals in Training?

As we have remarked before in this space, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” hunger for nothing so much as the status of fancy-pants public intellectuals. You know: The kind of folks who are so famous for brilliance that they occasionally deign to be featured on a chat show with that inestimable moron, Charlie Rose. (If you ask us, Western culture deserves to suffer a horrendous decline merely for spending government funds to prop up that garrulous buffoon.)

But how to do it? How to become the next non-lesbian Susan Sontag? How to become the next non-homosexualist Gore Vidal?

Tough questions, those. But perhaps David Brooks—himself a charming portrait of the public intellectual in practice—offers some useful advice.

In his otherwise feculent tome Bobos in Paradise, Mr. Brooks noted that intellectuals become famous for writing books that are magnificently incorrect. His example: Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History, a book so obviously wrong that it’s hard to say its title with a straight face.

But Mr. Fukuyama’s book, albeit the zenith of Mongoloid reasoning, was sufficiently popular to earn its author a tony gig at Johns Hopkins. Heck, it even resulted in “Fukuyama” being recognized on our computer’s spell-checker. Not bad work, if you can get it.

All we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” must do, then, is write a book that is glorious, deliciously wrong. Galacitally incorrect. Miserably dubious.

Yeah, well, it’s not as easy as it might seem. After all, so many public intellectuals have already contributed moronic books. They’ve crowded the field, making it tough for an upstart to find a thesis that’s suitably dimwitted. How can you outdo such charlatanry?

You know, like Eric Alterman; can you get dumber than arguing that the mainstream media are biased in favor of conservatives? That’s setting the bar awfully high, if you ask us.

And then there’s Ann Coulter: Pretty much every book she writes is deeply nonsensical. Once you label the entire Democratic Party a passel of treasonous weasels, it’s hard to become more obnoxious.

But let’s not forget Dinesh D’Souza, the fellow who can’t tell the difference between Jimmy Carter and Osama bin Laden. How do such idiots become famous? What does it say about our intellectual discourse that these are examples of heralded thinkers with plumb jobs and lovely book advances?

Okay, okay, okay: Enough of the soapboxing. We’re obviously just jealous that we can’t come up with a ridiculous idea. Maybe a book about the ways in which George W. Bush—and not Osama bin Laden—is the real fundamentalist?

Oh, we forgot: Half of our liberal polemicists have already written that exact title.

Posted at March 28, 2007 12:01 AM | TrackBack