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May 05, 2005

David Horowitz and the art of the cheap shot

Oddly enough, just after posting two consecutive days on David Horowitz's cheap shots against academics, yesterday I received the latest (May 6, 2005) issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education which featured a long cover story on him. (For someone who is constantly whining about not getting enough attention from academia, Horowitz seems to be extraordinarily successful in getting publications such as this to cover him and his ideas. See Michael Berube's blog for a response.)

Anyway, the Chronicle article has a lot of information about him and it also provides some interesting background information on his funding. So I thought that today I would use that information to try my hand at manufacturing a cheap shot, an art I can learn from the master, David Horowitz himself.

Recall that in my previous postings (see here and here), I showed how he distorts and misrepresents academic life, saying things like: "Shiftless, lazy good-for-nothings? Try the richly paid leftist professors securely ensconced in their irrelevant ivory towers" and again "You teach on average two courses and spend six hours a week in class. You work eight months out of the year and have four months paid vacation. And every seven years you get ten months paid vacation."

Well, the Chronicle uncovered the fact that "Mr. Horowitz received an annual salary of $310,167 in 2003. He declines to give his current income, but in addition to his salary, Mr. Horowitz receives about $5,000 for each of the 30 to 40 campus speeches he gives each year." Horowitz says that college Republicans always invite him. Other student groups never do. "My kids have to scrounge up the money off campus." He drives a 2004 model Lincoln Town Car.

Despite earning the kind of money that most people (including academics) can only dream about, Horowitz still whines. The Chronicle article says

If he were liberal, [Horowitz] contends, he could be an editor at the [New York] Times or a department chairman at Harvard University. And his life story would have already been told on the big screen. Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey, his autobiography, has been out for eight years. "Someone would have made a film out of it if I was a leftist," he says bitterly.
"He claims he would make more money as a liberal, too, "at least three times," what he earns now."

That's right, he claims he would have been earning about a million dollars per year if he were liberal. This is a man who is seriously delusional and needs professional help fast.

And there's more. His Center for the Study of Popular Culture receives millions of dollars from various right wing foundations. The Chronicle article says that: "The center itself is located on the fourth floor of an office building in downtown Los Angeles, but Mr. Horowitz prefers to work from home." Horowitz is quoted as saying: "I love my work space," and "I sit at my desk with my laptop. I listen to music. I take the dogs for a walk. Like most writers, I live in my head."

So here's my attempt at a cheap shot, to show how bits of accurate information can be rearranged for effect. Drum roll, please.

"Shiftless, lazy good-for-nothings? Try the richly paid right wing David Horowitz. He plays these gullible right wing foundations for suckers, taking millions from them in order to pay himself a fat salary just to stay at home, listen to music, and take his dogs for walks, when he is not out driving his fancy expensive cars. The only thing that gets him out of his house is if he is given the opportunity to pocket $5,000 for one hour's work delivering the same old tired speeches, extracting this money from impoverished campus student organizations, who have to struggle desperately to pay the high fees he charges them to support his luxurious lifestyle."

Ok, I'll admit that my cheap shot is not that great and needs considerable refining. But in my defense, I haven't had the years of experience doing this kind of thing that Horowitz has. And I don't aim to either.

Trackbacks

Trackback URL for this entry is: http://blog.case.edu/singham/mt-tb.cgi/1231 The Freedom of Profs, Prostitutes, Philanthropists and Think Tank Thinkers
Excerpt: Posted by The Happy Tutor From a review by Rebbeca Bushnell of Paul F. Grendler, The Universities of the Italian Renaissance (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), 592 pp. Some people think of universities as intellectual fairylands, se...
Weblog: Wealth Bondage
Tracked: September 18, 2005 09:31 PM The Freedom of Profs, Prostitutes, Philanthropists and Think Tank Thinkers
Excerpt: Posted by The Happy Tutor From a review by Rebbeca Bushnell of Paul F. Grendler, The Universities of the Italian Renaissance (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), 592 pp. Some people think of universities as intellectual fairylands, se...
Weblog: Wealth Bondage
Tracked: September 18, 2005 09:33 PM The Freedom of Profs, Prostitutes, Philanthropists and Think Tank Thinkers
Excerpt: Posted by The Happy Tutor From a review by Rebbeca Bushnell of Paul F. Grendler, The Universities of the Italian Renaissance (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), 592 pp. Some people think of universities as intellectual fairylands, se...
Weblog: Wealth Bondage
Tracked: September 18, 2005 09:41 PM The Freedom of Profs, Prostitutes, Philanthropists and Think Tank Thinkers
Excerpt: Posted by The Happy Tutor From a review by Rebbeca Bushnell of Paul F. Grendler, The Universities of the Italian Renaissance (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), 592 pp. Some people think of universities as intellectual fairylands, se...
Weblog: Wealth Bondage
Tracked: September 18, 2005 09:57 PM The Freedom of Profs, Prostitutes, Philanthropists and Think Tank Thinkers
Excerpt: Posted by The Happy Tutor From a review by Rebbeca Bushnell of Paul F. Grendler, The Universities of the Italian Renaissance (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), 592 pp. Some people think of universities as intellectual fairylands, se...
Weblog: Wealth Bondage
Tracked: September 18, 2005 10:03 PM Harry Belafonte
Excerpt: For those of you fortunate enough to be in the Cleveland area, Harry Belafonte has been invited by the University...
Weblog: Mano Singham's Web Journal
Tracked: February 6, 2006 09:01 AM

Comments

Mano, as you have argued that Horowitz attacks academics because of his jealously of their freedom, one could argue that you attack Horowitz because of your jealousy for his income. Perhaps neither argument is well founded?

Posted by on May 5, 2005 04:58 PM

Although there seem to be interesting developments in the ability to read people's minds it is nowhere close enough to unabiguously determine people's motivations. So the best we can do is to make inferences, based on external evidence. Of course, such inferences are never certain and one can only aim at plausibility.

In the case of Horowitz, his desire for academic recognition is expressed repeatedly (see the Chronicle article and Micheal Berube's blog entry.) He complains that he is not invited to teach courses, to give lectures to classes, that his books are not required readings, that he should be the chair of departments at prestigious universities, etc.

But you will never find any sign that I have sought to make a lot of money because that has never been an important issue for me. All academics know from the outset that, although they will not be poor, they will never make a lot of money either, despite the fact that it is very hard to get academic jobs. You have to get a PhD and the competition for these jobs is fierce.

All my classmates who wanted to be really rich chose to go into the private sector, and I am happy for them. The things that I (and most academics) enjoy doing (reading, researching, writing, and thinking) require little money.

Frankly, I make more than enough to meet the needs of my modest lifestyle and I really enjoy my work. What more could I possibly want in terms of my job?

Posted by Mano Singham on May 6, 2005 11:46 AM

Mano,
I've been reading the right wing blogs, and I ran into the case of Scott McConnell, who was supposedly expelled from Le Moyne College for writing an "A-" paper advocating the use of corporal punishment in the classroom. Some Pundits are calling this a 'typical' example of liberal censorship in the collegic atmosphere (David Limbaugh and the FIRE group being two of them). My guess is that McConnell's termination is an outlier action taken by an anonymous university, but I can't find any statements from Le Moyne administrators about the termination of McConnel's graduate career, only pundit reviews of the situation. Since this is exactly the kind of thing Horowitz feeds on, I wonder if you've heard about this?
Thank you,
Gregory Sutton

Posted by Gregory Sutton on May 17, 2005 02:34 PM

I was not aware of this case but tried to look it up. Le Moyne is a Jesuit college in Syracuse, New York. Apparently the suit by McConnell was filed on May 5th.

If a legal case has been filed, then there will be the discovery process in which the relevant information will come out.

I tend to be a little wary of initial press releases and news reports on things like this, because they are always being pushed by people who have taken one side or the other. Once the actual documentation is released, then outsiders like us can better judge what is going on.

Posted by Mano Singham on May 18, 2005 11:14 AM