It happens to most academic stars. Eventually, they begin self-parodying. So it is no surprise that Dinesh D’Souza, the conservative academic who hit the big time with his 1991 critique of political correctness, Illiberal Education, has swung even farther right with his newest book, The Enemy at Home. To give a quick and dirty measure of how far right, I present its subtitle: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11. What’s odd about this is that D’Souza isn’t parodying himself, but political sound-byte machines. The right is really on message, is it not? Especially for a message like this one, which contains no truth whatsoever.
I’ve always wondered, do the Joe Blows of the right-wing believe some of the more absurd bits of spin they repeat? (I have, after much thought, come to conclude that most of the higher-ups, with some grandiosely off-kilter exceptions, do not.) But I’ve never seen an academic doing the work of political rhetoric quite as explicitly as this.