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February 09, 2006

A great man deigns to notice

So I was reading the brief endnote attached to Michael Bérubé's second interesting post on disability studies, a parenthetical humorous aside in the ongoing contretemps between him and Scourge of the Academic Left David Horowitz. I am always looking, these days, for ways to put my bad mood to constructive use, so I clicked on the link and read Horowitz's actually rather tepid provocation.

And I thought, "hey, DH got himself a comments function on his blog! How unusual for a conservative of his standing! I should make sure and take full advantage of his hard work and share my point of view!" You know, the same thing I wish more of my lurkers would think to themselves. So I clicked on the "Comments" link, but to my surprise I found only a form with which I might send the webmaster an email.

"This is rather atypically mendacious a maneuver for a person of Horowitz's standing," I thought to myself. Really, who else am I supposed to think to? But undaunted, I used the opportunity to send Mr. Horowitz a nice note of well wishing, reproduced here in its entirety:

Keep on whining, David. It's funny.
Hey, maybe you could stage a fake attack on yourself in an airport washroom! That worked for Morton Downey Jr. when HIS fifteen minutes of lukewarm fame was fading.
Oh, wait, I`m wrong. It didn`t. Guess there's no hope. See you in the "where are they now?" pages down the road.

Best regards,
Chris Clarke

I hit "send." Imagine my surprise when not four minutes later, I received a reply in my email! Then I realized what it likely was. Surely, I reasoned, this busy man has had to set up an auto-respond device of some sort to let everyday people like me knnow he's received my email, to which he is almost certainly too busy to respond, occupied as he is in chasing the leftist moneylenders from the Temples of Academe. I clicked on the email anyway.

But it was a response from Horowitz himself! Doubt you may — I certainly would, were I you — but I reproduce his reply in full here, with headers, to verify its authenticity. I've munged his email address with these — [*] — to foil the spam address harvesters, as a courtesy to Mr. Horowitz.

Subject: Re: Blog Comment
From: "David Horowitz" dhoro[*]witz@ear[*]
Date: Thu, 9 Feb 2006 08:36:16 -0800
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Return-Path: d[*]horowitz@earth[*] Thu Feb 09 08:36:23 2006
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Thanks to leftwing fascists like yourself I don't need to fake attacks on me.

----- Original Message -----


To: Dh[*]orowitz@earth[*]

Sent: Thursday, February 09, 2006 8:21 AM

Subject: Blog Comment

[my original was appended here.]

I was floored. Horowitz had made a priority of responding to me personally! His gracious act lifted my spirits, and I immediately started hearing the Official Black Panther Self-Esteem Anthem in my head, and I'm still hearing it now.

But once I got over the self-aggrandizement, I realized how troubling his reply was. Left wing fascists are attacking him? Why hasn't he said anything? This is horrible! I mean, all I'd heard of was that pie thing, which was rightly discarded by the authorities as a prank. I mean, when you look at the kind of violence and threats meted out by Horowitz's putative allies about which Mr. Horowitz has said nothing — and I can only assume it's because he's too busy graciously answering emails — I'm thinking the left fascist attacks he's describing must be heinous indeed.

At which point I realized what, in fact, his emailed response was. Other than being an example of the routine graciousness of a great man, I mean.

It was a cry for help.

Victims of violence and harassment, as my feminist colleagues will tell you, often fear to report the incidents due to either a fear of escalation or a disbelief that the authorities will do anything to help, or both. This, I think, is the only possible explanation for Mr. Horowitz's reluctance to make public this horrible wave of attack from leftwing fascists he has suffered for god knows how long.

And just as I feel it is my duty to lend support and solidarity to victims of misogynistic violence, I feel compelled to do something to aid David Horowitz in his hour of need. David, I am here for you. No means no!

And thus, I call on my compatriots on the left to immediately cease and desist from their violent attacks on David Horowitz! This feud, this vendetta, this Gramscian thing must end.

[two minutes later] Now see? Was that so hard? we leftists can learn to discourse civilly and endlessly without recourse to physical threats and fisticuffs. Especially you academics.

And Mr. Horowitz, before we commence the group hug, just let me say this. If this kind of thing happens again, tell someone right away. And as my friend the late Black Panther and eco-terrorist David Brower used to tell me, "Persevere."

Because you can make it if you try.

Posted by Chris Clarke at February 9, 2006 09:09 AM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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I congratulate you, Chris, on your fine-tuned perception of Mr. Horowitz's plea for help. A lot of people would have missed that.

But, Wait! Before the group hug commences, I'd like to know who I'll be standing beside. Because if it's Mr. Horowitz, I'd rather just stand on the outside of the group and wave supportively.

Posted by: Emily at February 9, 2006 11:50 AM
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Kumbaya, Emily. Kumbaya.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at February 9, 2006 12:02 PM
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"Thanks to leftwing fascists like yourself I don't need to fake attacks on me."

When you copied this, did you leave out the end of the first line, or is this what DaHo actually wrote??

And, regarding your request, are you asking those of us engaged in distance psychic warfare research to cease and desist from meditating on generating psycho-somatic physiological disturbances upon his person???? As targets go he is fairly wide open, not encumbered like Cheney in special, layer-shielding bunkers.

Posted by: spyder at February 9, 2006 12:04 PM
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That is the entirety, spyder, of Mr. Horowitz's reply to me.

And I don't believe in distance psychic warfare, so have at it.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at February 9, 2006 12:10 PM
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He wrote back to you? Personally? I'm in awe. You were touched by greatness, man. Might want to scrape that greatness off your boot before you track it around the house, though.

*best giggle I've had all day, that post*

Posted by: Stephanie at February 9, 2006 12:15 PM
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Now what the hell would you do if Horowitz showed up your door, paranoid and sobbing, saying, "Thank you for being the one person to really hear me! Help!"


Posted by: Idyllopus at February 9, 2006 01:58 PM
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Becky and I have a fair amount of experience in assisting the temporarily befuddled, Idyllopus. In fact, her Special Education degree is literally a "Certificate in Severe Emotional Disturbance."

Posted by: Chris Clarke at February 9, 2006 02:08 PM
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"Certificate in Severe Emotional Disturbance."

damn, haven't I earned one of those? :(

Posted by: craig at February 9, 2006 02:25 PM
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Left wing fascism? Checking my copy of the handbook...

Maybe that's why Horowitz was a Leninist or whatever he was back when: He got confused.

"Wait! You mean this isn't fascism? Why the fuck have I been coming to all these meetings?"

Posted by: Auguste at February 9, 2006 02:46 PM
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Well, I guess that explains my uncontrollable need to talk to Becky whenever anything goes wrong in my life. Good to know.

Posted by: Allison at February 9, 2006 03:17 PM
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You know, the same thing I wish more of my lurkers would think to themselves.

Be careful what you wish for.

Four minutes and he already knew you were a leftwing fascist? You must be in The Network.

Posted by: Violet Socks at February 9, 2006 06:02 PM
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Anyway Chris, you really have no right to complain when someone calls you fascist until you stop constantly advocating increased corporate influence in government.

Posted by: craig at February 9, 2006 06:58 PM
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I have to take issue with one thing in your e-mail, Chris: hasn't Horowitz always kind of been in the "Where have they ever really been" file?

I mean, I can still remember some of MD Jr.'s lines, and I just watched a few of his late-night shows back in the late 80s.

That's why I'm now taking offers on

Posted by: norbizness at February 10, 2006 06:18 AM
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You know, the same thing I wish more of my lurkers would think to themselves.

ouch. this one lurker did think that a few times. however, each time, the thought continued to the inevitable realization that any additional words would be neither necessary, nor sufficient.

Posted by: buck at February 10, 2006 01:35 PM
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At least a certain "Kevin F" hasn't gotten over here yet, or his alter ego "Sir Valence".

There was a time, very long ago, in the 'way-back machine' of Peabody and Sherman, when....
-- i ran in ellipsoidal-venn patterns that included groups of yippies, pranksters, and not-very-happy political radicals. Among that last group was a young, very idealistic, dour-faced, David Horowitz, who seemed especially fascinated by the power and presence of Tom Hayden et al. I wonder whatever happened to that David kid???

Posted by: spyder at February 10, 2006 01:59 PM
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Funny you should ask, spyder!

I in fact replied to David's rather terse message yesterday with a bit of effusion. I guess after writing the post above I was kind of stuck in that mode. I wrote:

Thank you for your gracious reply! I have taken the liberty of responding on my blog:

[link to this very page]

In parting, let me thank you sincerely for the work you put into The Free World Colossus. It was an invaluable book. I have recommended it to any number of young activists since I first read it in the mid-1970s, and I continue to do so. Though necessarily somewhat dated, it remains a wonderful tool in countering the ahistorical lies spread by the resurgent extreme right. Kudos.

And his response to that?

To each according to his needs.

I think that idealistic leftist is still there, hoping to be set free by some kind soul who can look through the dross of grief and bitterness and pull out the being of pure light within.

Or he was being a jerk. Tough call.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at February 10, 2006 02:06 PM
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i vote for 'jerk.'

Posted by: spyder at February 11, 2006 10:46 AM
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