March 21, 2008

Whatever happened to David Horowitz—the ex-leftist -turned-neocon whose hysterical maunderings are practically emblematic of the species and who used to make quite a bit of noise as a kind of right-wing Bizarro World version of the campus lefties of the 1960s? We don’t hear much from him anymore. His web site, Frontpage, used to attract attention on account of the over-the-top “exposés” of his enemies (both real and imagined) that appeared on a daily basis: he used to run frenetic attacks on me practically every week, and I got in the habit of logging on to his site every morning just for an easy laugh. Alas, these days, he seems to have quieted down, and fallen into a weird sort of self-celebration. His Center for the Study of Popular Culture has morphed into the David Horowitz Freedom Center (“More Freedom for David Horowitz, less for everyone else!”), and Frontpage has become—oh, say it isn’t so!—boring. He got rid of his bloggers, who posted at the Frontpage blog entitled “Moonbat Central” (appropriately enough), such as Steven Plaut and who, for all their kookiness, at least provided some comic relief. Fun, albeit unintentional, soon turned a bit sinister, however, when one of his pet bloggers, a guy named Michael Lopez-Calderon, started making death threats:

“Expect heavily armed and infuriated conservatives to launch a cleansing war against the traitors. The armed will mow down the mostly unarmed segments, especially those elements that devoted forty-plus years to anti-American hatred to destroy this country. Should the likes of Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Michael Parenti, Michael Moore, Ward Churchill, Dennis Raimondo, et al. act out their sedition in a just-nuked America, expect their bodies to be found shot full of holes. Expect gun battles at banks, food stores, ATMs, gas stations, and outside hospitals. Leftist professors will be strung up. It will be every man, woman, and child for themselves.”

Senor Lopez-Calderon, we soon found out, was a high school teacher—not a good position for somehow who aims to start a “cleansing war” and threatens to “mow down” unarmed enemies. His local school board didn’t think so, either, and Lopez-Calderon soon found himself out of a job. “Moonbat Central” closed down shortly afterward.

A shame, really: oh, there were more nutty attacks, but, somehow, the fun seemed to have gone out of it. Horowitz seemed to be slowing down. These days, his site, while still functioning, seems largely moribund, with a stultifying same-ness to the posted screeds, which seem almost exclusively concerned with defending Israel’s every aggressive action—and praising the Dear and Glorious Leader, Horowitz himself, who has become the Bob Avakian of the Right. His organization now devotes itself, increasingly, to a Horowitzian cult of personality, built around the alleged world-historic greatness of Horowitz. This morning I logged in to find a “symposium” dedicated to praise of Horowitz’s 1997 tome, Radical Son, an autobiography detailing his neocon-journey-to-the-Right, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of its publication. The headline for the symposium reads: “Has ‘the first great autobiography’ of the 60s generation withstood the test of time?”

As in the case of most of the other neocons, whom Professor Claes Ryn trenchantly diagnoses as creatures of their own colossal conceit, in the end it’s all about David Horowitz, and his alleged “greatness.” From the Black Panthers to incipient megalomania—what a career path!

To “celebrate” the 10th anniversary of Radical Son—a volume in which Horowitz actually cheers on the firing of his own parents from their jobs as public school teachers on account of their leftist political views! How’s that for “family values”?!—check out my review [.pdf file], which appeared in the June 1997 issue of Chronicles magazine.

[Note: Link fixed on the .pdf file]


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