Thursday, September 16, 2010

Adam Serwer on D'Souza

Adam Serwer on Sept. 13:

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.


Michael said...

D'Souza is not a birther or a racist. Ad hominem much?

Michael said...

A quick scan of Mr. Sewer's articles reveals that anyone who criticizes Obama on any topic is a racist.

False, trite, tired.

Scooter said...

Nope, though Serwer writes with a real flair, D'Souza is not a racist or a birther. I'd have to add that to try to diminish someone of D'Souza's credentials as a mere president of a small religious college in New York is also pretty petty. Is he religious? Yep, devout (Catholic--I'm pretty sure) and author of What's So Great About Christianity. Also author of a great book and one very influential on me--What's So Great About America.

Former Rishwain Fellow at the Hoover Institution (the font of all wisdom) and not just a Dartmouth grad but a PBK Dartmouth grad.

While I don't pretend to know if there is legitimacy to D'Souza's arguments (I'm always reluctant to say I know what's going on in someone's head), D'Souza's background certainly lends some substance to the anti-colonial arguments, though I admit that India was quick, or at least quicker, to embrace many aspects of the political structures of it former Imperialist Overlords.

Stephanie said...

Look at that Fourth Branch piece on the mistakes in the D'Souza piece and then defend his work on this piece.

Michael said...

Appreciate the challenge, but since he knows this stuff and I don't, I'll let D'Souza handle his detractors. I'll keep an eye out and post any rebuttals here. I expect though that he may not respond until the book comes out.