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.]]>
Very special thanks to Christine Monnier over at the GlobalSociology edublog for an incredibly detailed, thoughtful, and generous review of HTUW. Ditto for a kind mention by Lila Harper over at AFT’s FACEtalk blog.
You can preview part 1, Twilight of Academic Freedom, of my 3-segment interview with Cary Nelson in the mini-player above, or by following the link in the right column. It’s a doozy. I’ll write a proper intro for it tomorrow.
Finally: if you notice the “On Resentment” thread disappearing, it’s because I’ve decided on a firm anti-troll policy. When you have a gentle, kind zen master and experienced unionist like The Constructivist getting so frustrated that he smokes the troll with an “F-bomb,” you know it’s time to pull the plug.]]>