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Past Valve Book Events

cover of the book Theory's Empire

Event Archive

cover of the book The Literary Wittgenstein

Event Archive

cover of the book Graphs, Maps, Trees

Event Archive

cover of the book How Novels Think

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cover of the book The Trouble With Diversity

Event Archive

cover of the book What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts?

Event Archive

cover of the book The Novel of Purpose

Event Archive

The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Happy Trails to You

What’s an Encyclopedia These Days?

Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Intimate Enemies: What’s Opera, Doc?

Alphonso Lingis talks of various things, cameras and photos among them

Feynmann, John von Neumann, and Mental Models

Support Michael Sporn’s Film about Edgar Allen Poe

Philosophy, Ontics or Toothpaste for the Mind

Nazi Rules for Regulating Funk ‘n Freedom

The Early History of Modern Computing: A Brief Chronology

Computing Encounters Being, an Addendum

On the Origin of Objects (towards a philosophy of computation)

Symposium on Graeber’s Debt

The Nightmare of Digital Film Preservation

Richard Petti on Occupy Wall Street: America HAS a Ruling Class

Bill Benzon on Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat?

Nick J. on The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Bill Benzon on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Norma on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Bill Benzon on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

john balwit on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on That Shakespeare Thing

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

JoseAngel on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on Objects and Graeber's Debt

Bill Benzon on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on Objects and Graeber's Debt

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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Baddest of the Bad

Posted by Marc Bousquet on 03/09/10 at 12:44 PM

What’s worse than David Horowitz’s brand of right-wing drivel giving yellow journalism a bad name? A ghost-authored Horowitz sequel, padded with over 150 witless, tendentious summaries of courses that the compilers erroneously imagine will frighten middle America into hauling the faculty up the nearest telephone pole.

The current issue of American Book Review highlights their Top 40 Bad Books.  Heading the list for me is One-Party Classroom: How Radical Professors at America’s Top Colleges Indoctrinate Students and Undermine our Democracy, by David Horowitz and Jacob Laksin.  Since I often can’t make time to review excellent books, I don’t usually waste pixels on bad ones. But one has to make an exception for the epic badness of Horowitz’s failed hit job.

At least the first book in this series, The Professors, gave the “101 Most Dangerous Academics in America” something to brag about in their red-diaper parent-participation preschools (whilst plotting Trotskyite mayhem from behind piled bookshelves).

This cheesy compilation is too lazy even to attack faculty scholarship. It’s little more than a list of syllabi with a shrill “I see Marxism!” appended to each--150 times.  The somnolence it produces is hard to describe.

Evidently they should have credited Google as the third author.

The Horowitz staffers tasked with compiling this stinker simply trolled online campus catalogs to yield course descriptions employing such “democracy-undermining” terms as justice, inequality, race, and feminism. Then the staffers wrote lame descriptions characterizing the syllabi as part of a plot to deprive plutocrats of their hard-earned profits.

Once I got the concept, I briefly held the flickering hope that I could read it ironically--as in, “hey, what a bunch of good classes I wish I’d been able to take in college."

Wrong. The relentless, narrow-minded prose immediately disappeared my hopes of snarky thoughtcrime.

Even if you’re sympathetic to its politics, the concrete brutalism of this compilation’s formal properties will crush your spirit in a few pages--like reading a year’s worth of your daily horoscopes straight through, or a cookbook cover to cover.

I know, I know. I’m well-known for holding such anti-democratic views as that we should all have enough to eat, health care, and free education. So don’t take my word for it. Peruse a chapter over at the Random House website. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

x-posted: howtheuniversityworks


I actually have this book - I snagged a preprint from the used rack at the local bookshop - but (for similar reasons as you) I never got to it.  It’s around here somewhere though.  Sounds ghastly.

By Dave Maier on 03/09/10 at 09:28 PM | Permanent link to this comment

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