Monday, July 17, 2006


iIt's always been a curiousity that David Horowitz's center for the collection of large donations from right wing moneybags was called THE CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF POPULAR CULTURE. Not only because that name seemed to have a whif of the hated popular culture studies about it, but because the center seemed to spend precious little time studying anything at all, let alone popular culture. Readers of the center's old newspaper HETERODOXY, like readers of the FRONTPAGEMAG web site today, would be hard pressed to recall many articles devoted to any sort of popular culture studies.

Rather than presenting "studies", Horowitz was just as likely to publish outright fiction. ("Outright" meaning that it was termed fiction on publication, unlike the more persistent fictions of Horowitz's books and speeches.) One instance I especially recall, because of where I was working at the time, was a "story" titled OLD HOSE, that purported to send up those dangerous tenured radicals at San Jose State University, where I was teaching. Now, since the whole world was learning in those days that Shelby Steele was a member, indeed a tenured Full Professor, of my department at San Jose State, that university was an odd choice for anyone trying to make the case that rampant political correctness was driving right-thinking conservatives from the professoriate.

But that's exactly what the author of OLD HOSE, David Berlinski, and the publishers of HETERODOXY, the aforementioned Center for the Study of popular Culture, wanted to convey.

Those of us who were on the ground in San Jose knew, though, why Berlinski had to tell his tale of suffering the slings and arrows of leftist persecution in the form of fiction; it was fiction.

True enough, Berliski had eventually lost teaching assignments from more than one department at the university. It was clearly not, however, because of his politics. I genuinely doubt that many people at San Jose State knew anything about his politics. I doubt that, because I read his book BLACK MISCHIEF, in which Berlinski's truly objectionable racial politics are on full display as he complains about teaching "smouldering Leroy's," etc. [haven't checked to see if that remains in the later edition] -- I was in wonder when I saw that the author of that book was being assigned to teach courses designed to meet the school's cultural pluarlism requirements. Sure enough, it turned out nobody else had read the book.

By the time I made this discovery, it was already too late to ask what he might be teaching in those classes, as he was already gone. It seemed that Professor Berlinski had an aversion to such things as teaching students and grading their work. One by one, the departments that had been availing themselves of his services had found his work unsatisfactory.

[By the way, I should point out, in the mode of Ann Coulter, that everything I'm writing about Berlinski is SATIRE -- just like OLD HOSE, wink wink]

On his way out the door, Berlinski dropped off his stink bomb in revenge, with an assist from the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, which seemed every bit as unconcerned with studies as Professor Berlinski himself.

[Berlinski's later record as a hired hand in the "Intelligent Design" cause at the Discovery Institute seems to indicate that "studies" remain something he has a problem with. I note that his book BLACK MISCHIEF is not cited among his works in his DISCOVERY INSTITUTE profile -- perhaps out of concern that readers may make a link between his odd ideas about race and his odd ideas about evolution.]

So, to get back to the immediate occasion, it comes as no surprise to learn that the Center for the Study of Popular Culture is undergoing a name change that will communicate more clearly just what is and always has been its central preoccupation. The new name is -- are you ready for this?


Putting aside his legendary modesty, Horowitz has agreed to go along with his board's decision in the matter of the new name.

Any guess why the name of the center's original cofounder isn't also part of the center's new name?

1 comment:

Governator Jr. said...

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