I was deep into revising my dissertation on Walker Percy for a committee member who ultimately had to be replaced; like many faculty members he insisted I present the dominant view of the U.S. as fascist.


  1. Matthew Lickona says

    I was disappointed that she jumped from academic nitwits to the people who populate the Obama administration. We had plenty of intellectual monsters in the Bush administration as well. The case she made was against the academy. She's stretching when she tries to cover Obama as well. Whatever his problems, hating America ain't one of them. The man has propped up American capitalist institutions (banks, auto industry), worked hard to look after American overseas interests (hello, Afghanistan!), etc. etc. I'll stop now.

  2. Rufus McCain says

    I agree, but you and I are the token liberals on this blog (as required by the blogger quota executive order Obama signed just after the abortion-on-demand ones).

  3. Jonathan Webb says

    I thought you were a libertarian.

    You mean classical liberal.

  4. Matthew,

    Do tell – I'm curious which intellectual monsters you're thinking of – unless of course you mean Dana Gioia….


  5. Southern Expat says

    As the token despondent (Political Category), my attitude towards this was, dare I say, "Meh."

  6. Southern Expat says

    P.S.: Not that I ever want to get into political discussions anymore (see: token despondent), but I'm going to venture that the token liberals are closer to WWWPD.

    (What Would Walker Percy Do, not World Wide Web Police Department).

  7. Ms. Hintin',

    I resent the fact that those of you who suffer from anxiety attacks and night sweats would disenfrachise those of us who suffer from lower digestive tract disorders…


  8. Rufus McCain says

    JOB: Don't forget about impotence and rage. And as I recall Dr. More suffered from both sets of symptoms. Similarly Binx Bolling: first reading National Review and cheering them on, and then reading The Nation and cheering them on, the malice on both sides being a faint sign of life amid the death, death, death.

  9. That's the advantage of living in the country – the rage and impotence tend to be cured with a strong whiff of smoking bacon carried on a cool September breeze and women whom we draw close to ourselves, especially around the thick parts…


  10. Rufus McCain says

    OK, you just sold me on the camping in your backyard.

  11. Matthew Lickona says

    JOB: I'm not a big fan of Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Cheney, etc.

    And you don't fool me for a minute with your pastoral fantasy. There's plenty of rage in the sticks. You paint a picture of an antidote, much like a city person might mention attending a lovely classical guitar concert under the stars of an urban courtyard.

  12. Matthew,

    Yes, that's right – Wolfowitz was the one who proposed forced abortions to keep the population down, wasn't he? I forgot about that. Dirty rat.

    And now that I think of it, I have no time for Cheney either – that foul excuse for a man! Wasn't it he who proposed that we teach sixth graders the various techniques of fisting?

    And we can't forget Rumsfeld, that deviant. Remember when he said that the US ought to afford animals – that's right, puppies and kitties and moles and donkeys [sic] – the same rights that humans enjoy under the U.S. Constitution?

    Truly, truly intellectual monsters.

    What were we thinking? Clearly there is no difference between Bush's cabinet and Obama's.



    p.s. And you're right, we do have our moments of rage in the midwest – and it's usually directed at the penchant to want to throw all sorts of things in the same barrel and call it all "pickles."

    As for impotence, well, besides the usual slackening at the 4 o'clock hour when a whisky is the only vialbe option for reentry – we do warm ourselves by the thought that in the future we might still have a choice in colors for our prayer rugs…

  13. Matthew Lickona says

    Was that the penchant that irked Ed Gein and Jeffrey Dahmer?

    I'm pretty sure I never said that Obama's cabinets and Bush's were the same. But building a devastating war out of smoke and mirrors and finding fifteen ways to get out of calling torture torture – yeah, those are problems just like teaching six graders about fisting is a problem.

  14. Matthew,

    Sorry, brother, but your criticism seems to be equating the two.

    Forgive me if I miss the nuance.

    So then – why raise the Bush specter at all?

    I didn't see Grabar playing politics in this piece. Bush is nowhere mentioned in the piece!

    Instead, I see her pointing up the intellectual dishonesty and corruption in today's academia ("The free-speech advocates are nowhere to be found to defend a minister who wants to burn Korans in protest.").

    And her final point about the Obama cabinet is rather in keeping with the rest of the article.

    Obama's team members are intellectual nitwits and scary to boot.

    Other than that, I'm not really sure how you're drawing attention to Bush's weaknesses weakens her argument – or her drawing attention to Obama and his team of pointyheads weakens it for that matter.


    p.s. Eddy boy was born and raised in urban La Crosse while Dahmer was a Miwlaukee suburbanite most of his life.

    TRUE ruralists take their rage out on deer and turkeys and sich….

  15. Matthew Lickona says

    I see her complaining about intellectual dishonesty and corruption in academia, and then trying to make sure she will resonate with the Townhall crowd by throwing in a connection to the Obama administration without making any kind of case for said connection. She mentions no one in the administration promoting any kind of America-hating policy, except for Obama's support of the mosque, which, finally, is pretty American. Government staying out of the free exercise of religion, e pluribus unum (Hell, America even allows its citizens to be monarchists and Socialists!) and all that. She does take the time to call him an America-hating president, again without making a case for it (beyond the mosque support).

    She makes the case for academic nitwittery and then takes it political out of nowhere. That's how she's playing politics. My response was that you can't make demons out of intellectuals and then choose sides, especially if you're not going to make a particular case. There are bad thinkers on both sides of the fence. I think it's pretty anti-American to crap on the American ideal of equal protection under law by redefining the definition of war and therefore redefining the definition of enemy combatant and therefore holding people in prison indefinitely without charge or trial. There was plenty of intellectual spadework done in that particular effort. She made a good case for the academic nonsense. But the political stuff was just name calling, and I called her on it.

    I won't mention the Murketeeden murders you told me about. (Apologies on the spelling.) My general claim is that rage happens when people rub up against each other. It may happen with less frequency in the sticks, but it happens.

  16. Matthew,

    But her piece is not an attack on "intellectuals" per se – but LEFTIST intellectuals of the sort she's decrying with a plenitude – almost ad nauseum.

    I could understand if, like Bubba, she said, intellectuals in general are shits.

    Yeah, and Bubba, you're a bit of a shit yoruself would be a viable response.

    But she ain't. And it ain't.

    She's specifically making a political point by pointing up the knee-jerk leftism that seems to pervade Academe in all its dishonest and evil splendor.

    (Do you deny that a) this is a good picture of academia b) that the Obama administration is made up of such nitwits and c) that Obama is a product, via incubation, of that same "fundamentally transform"ative academic culture?)


    "It may happen with less frequency in the sticks…"

    Which was my only point (on this issue).

  17. Matthew Lickona says

    I dunno about deny. Here's what I'll admit: Before reading the article, I didn't know a hell of a lot about the academic/intellectual character of Obama's cabinet. (The ones I can name offhand seem to be political-operator holdovers from the Clinton era?) And after reading the article, I still don't. She made the accusations, but she made no case. That's just sloppy. Even if she's right, I can't tell from the piece. And that's a hell of a thing when she's tying such thinkers in with the intellectual architects of the Holocaust.

    I will also happily admit that there is knee-jerk leftism in the academy. Which I don't find particularly troubling, except when it results in things like serious academic work getting squashed because of blinkered agendas. The yellow posters aren't too big a deal to me, in part because I don't believe her when she writes that a generation raised to hate America has elected an America-hating President. Previous generations went through a left-leaning academy and still went on to elect Reagan and two Bushes.

    As for Obama himself, I think the jury is still out.

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