Sunday, April 17, 2011

"You might as well be asking about the carbon footprint of unicorns."

Alexandra Gutierrez on Michael Bérubé's The Left at War, a book I'm pleased to recommend, in a review I recommend as happily, which I came upon only just now:

"Bérubé identifies the Manichean Left with linguist-cum-political dissident Noam Chomsky -- it defends figures like Serbian nationalist Slobodan Milosevic and Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad while dismissing any atrocities they have committed as minor compared to the crime of American imperialism. Because the United States is by definition bad, anything opposed to it is good. Conservatives and liberal hawks alike had no trouble characterizing this brand of reactionary leftism as representative of the left at large."

I don't quite like the ambiguity of that last sentence. If reactionary leftism really has become representative of "the left" at large - a fair evaluation, by my lights - it would be true no matter whether conservatives or "liberal hawks" characterized it that way.

It would also help to know that Bérubé would be considered a "hawk" on Afghanistan, but Iraq, not so much. Still, a fine review. And here's the Bérubé essay with the hilarious carbon footprint of unicorns bit.

It's always nice to find signs of intelligent life on the left. Here's some, in the matter of Libya. Oh look: here's some more.

Another thing I liked about the Gutierrez review is that it appears in American Prospect, which is based in Washington, D.C., and it takes its lead from a British case - the shuttering of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies - and the review was brought to my attention by our pal Zack Baddorf who is now at CENTCOM after a long stint in Sudan, and Zack is up for an award for his radio documentary about Vancouver's downtown eastside. Plus Gutierrez lives in the Aleutian Islands.

I like this sort of thing. Dunno why. Probably because I'm a shill for globalization or something.


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