The Fall of the House of D’Souza

January 25, 2014

It’s been a sad last 20 months for Dinesh D’Souza. Once one of the princes of the intellectual conservatism set, he’s shown himself to be a fascist hypocrite and fool. Between his 2016: Obama’s America — a half-baked documentary only the late Jerry Falwell would’ve been proud of — his extramarital issues, his forced resignation from King’s College, and now, campaign fraud in the Citizens United age? It’s all proof-positive that there really aren’t any intellectual conservatives in the US, at least by global standards of what it means to be a real intellectual.

If anything, what we have are a bunch of pretenders to the throne. Folks who are radical right-wingers and don’t understand anything outside of the affluent, heterosexual and semi-religious (if not spiritual) White male world. So-called scholars who are about as open to new ideas and diverse people as Archie Bunker in season one of All In The Family. Hypocrites who deny for others what they demand for themselves (thanks, U2, for that one).

Since Illiberal Education (1991) and The End of Racism (1995), D’Souza’s been trying to outdo himself. Except that takes more intellectual depth and stamina than he had even when putting together his two most celebrated books (at least, celebrated in his circles). Between his books on Reagan and Obama, it’s like reading the ramblings of, well, a fraudulent author teetering on insanity. I don’t feel sorry at all for D’Souza, who lost his youthful intellectual edge faster than the end of the ticking of an egg-timer. (from HuffPost)

An Alternate Universe Donald

November 23, 2010

Muppet as Michael Steele on The Daily Show Screen Shot, November 23, 2010. Source:

In light of revelations — skin-deep, that is — from FOX News’ not-so-dumb-butt Megyn Kelly in an upcoming GQ article titled “She Reports, We Decided She’s Hot,” it seems to me that I missed out. Not in taking photos that reveal arms, chest, butt, abs or flanks. But in the massive gold rush that anyone with brains and without a conscience could have been a part of over the last thirty years. That gold rush? The “I’m a conservative and will saying anything, true or not” gold rush.

If I had turned conservative while at Pitt or Carnegie Mellon, it would’ve opened up doors. More doors than have been opened to or for me over the past twenty years. Imagine, a tall Black guy with a doctorate and still in his twenties and willing to serve as a mouthpiece for low taxes on the rich, a minimal social welfare safety net, and corporatization of public schools and Capitol Hill? I’d be a senior staff person of the American Enterprise Institute or the Heritage Foundation by now, with a 3-handicap on the golf course to boot!

But back in the days when I attended Pitt, conservatives were not nearly that organized. There were plenty of them, but not working to identify future leaders the way conservatives have at places like Dartmouth or Stanford or even Carnegie Mellon, my second grad school. No, at Pitt, most conservatives hunkered down in bathroom stalls calling people like me the N-word or offered me bananas through their scrawlings on the metal partitions and doors.

College Republicans and other conservatives were much more organized on Carnegie Mellon’s campus, and with nearly four years there, I could’ve joined at any time. I’d probably adapted my music list. I’m not sure Mariah Carey or Jon Secada would’ve gone over well with this group, much less Tupac or Wu-Tang. I definitely would’ve needed to shave the goat-tee, my signature look for most of the past seventeen years. And I would’ve started using a knife and fork to eat fried chicken for sure.

Still, these would’ve been small prices to pay for steady and well-paying employment. I would’ve hit a six-figure income before I turned thirty. And I would’ve easily been able to turn my history of multicultural thoughts and actions of African Americans in the twentieth century — Fear of a “Black”

John McWhorter at the ISMIL conference in Leiden, June 2008, downloaded November 23, 2010. Jasy jatere (in public domain)

America — into a book about the fears of Blacks and Whites of a new and dangerous multicultural world. I might’ve even been able to keep my title, without the word Black in quotes, though. It would’ve been a bestseller, and I would’ve offed Dinesh D’Souza and John McWhorter as the intellectual giants of conservative thought on race. Yay, alternative me!

I’m not sure if me and my wife of more than ten years would’ve made it past the boyfriend-girlfriend stage. Her views are less leftist and more amoral in some areas than mine. But I couldn’t see her supporting me being a mouthpiece against gay rights and marriage, abortion, education reform without community engagement and austerity cuts in public services. It probably wouldn’t have mattered how much money I made. All of my memories of marriage, of good times and bad, of arguments and making up, of Noah from pregnancy to seven — all gone. Only a person equally conservative and amoral — more than likely White, although Tara Wall or Amy Holmes are among notable exceptions. — would’ve likely married me or would’ve wanted to have a kid with me.

For some folks, this is a pointless exercise. I’m a liberal, a social-Christian, democratic-leftist, one with a handful of cultural conservative views around etiquette and public conduct that I wouldn’t impose on anyone except myself, a progressive, in a word. I didn’t have tons of opportunities to become a lucrative mouthpiece and writer for the Right. And I wouldn’t have taken them if I’d been taken to a strip club and given a suitcase full of $100-bills to be turned. Still, it’s good to dream. To realize that my life, such as it has been, has had so much more color and flavor to it than it would’ve in this Faust-Kafka vision of one of my alternate universes.


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