For whatever reason, elements of the right have chosen not to evaluate Barack Obama based on his actions or his policies but through the kind of postmodern literary interpretation that wouldn't make it through the vetting process of a freshman bong circle at Wesleyan. In these retellings of Obama's personal history, the president's life is an epic, Marxist, sinister version of a Joseph Campbell-style heroic journey, with its hero ultimately falling, like Anakin Skywalker, to the dark side of the force.
Emerging from his sinecure as president of a small religious college in New York, Dinesh D'Souza, who has been laundering the racism of the right through an "intellectual" filter since his days at Dartmouth, gets back to where his career began. In an essay for Forbes, he concludes that the animating philosophy of the president is "Kenyan anti-colonialism." The purpose of the essay is to synthesize the most idiotic conservative criticisms of Obama into one handy term...
This is birtherism with big words. This is the witchdoctor sign without Photoshop, WorldNetDaily without the exclamation points. D'Souza doesn't need to stare at Obama's birth certificate for hours to come to the same conclusion as the birthers, which is that the president is a foreigner. But neither is "Kenyan anti-colonialism" a superficial term. At once, it engages all the racialized elements of the conservative critique of Obama -- not just that having an African father means he isn't really an American but that his inner life consists of a deep anger toward white people, and the office of the presidency is merely the means to secure a collective payback. It also manages to nod in the direction of another conservative racist meme, that having a black president makes the United States somehow analogous to African Third World countries run by bloodthirsty despots.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Adam Serwer on D'Souza
Adam Serwer on Sept. 13: