Elaine Showalter attack on Terry Eagleton
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As some of you are probably aware, the Chronicle of Higher Education--nominally a trade publication--has lurched more and more to the right in the past year or so. The latest foray I noted here was the "symposium" on Ted Honderich, which was introduced by neoconservative Richard Wolin, who labeled Honderich as an anti-Semite. Honderich did not even know that this attack was being mounted and only found out about it after the fact from Jim Farmelant, a Marxmail subscriber.
The Chronicle also made the dubious decision to hook up with Denis Dutton's Arts and Letters website, a place that can best be described editorially as a mixture of the New Criterion and Frank Furedi's spiked-online. In other words, a call for a return to "standards" when the native knew his place and the blessings of DDT.
In the latest Chronicle, there's a rather nasty attack on
Terry Eagleton by
Although the Chronicle is generally restricted to subscribers, you can read her critique at http://chronicle.com/free/v50/i20/20b00901.htm. Nominally concerned with themes in Eagleton's latest work "After Theory", an attempt to rally the academic and literary left, the review is ultimately a counter-response to his assault on the "triumphalist right".
She faults him for calling
The other day on Doug Henwood's list there was an interesting discussion about the rightward drift of some 1970s and 80s feminists that was prompted by Phyllis Chesler's newly published book on the "new anti-Semitism". It is basically a valentine to George Bush and prompted by the same reactionary politics as Wolin's attack on Ted Honderich. It is obvious that this process has affected Ms. Showalter as well.
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Dear Professor William Deresiewicz,
I was very impressed with your hatchet job on Terry Eagleton in the latest Nation Magazine.
(http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20040216&s=deresiewicz) It was much
more polished and urbanely cynical than Elaine Showalter's smear job in the
Chronicle of Higher Education--like a vintage Village Voice piece in many ways.
With Yale (you) and
Both you and Showalter are equally put off by Eagleton's "anti-Americanism", a term that seems to be scotch-taped to him as much as "angry" was attached to Howard Dean (up until his recent political housebreaking). She says that "he seems to think that cultural theorists can defeat George Bush simply by fulminating about his 'reckless, world-hating hubris'", while you view him as "objectively" (as we used to put it in the Trotskyist movement) aiding the ultraright through his untoward swipes at Wolfowitz and Rice:
Anyone who thinks of Davy Crockett and Donald Trump as the paradigms of all things American, who blithely claims that pro wrestling is our most popular TV sport and who caricatures the current Administration as "semi-illiterate" (a grievous underestimation of people like Wolfowitz and Rice) only plays into the hands of the xenophobic, unilateralist right.
Now I wouldn't presume to speak for Terry Eagleton, but I don't think he was being *literal* when he
spoke about the semi-illiteracy of Condoleeza Rice.
She was, after all, the provost of
You also paint Eagleton as something of a hypocrite: "Eagleton wishes for capitalism's demise, but as long as it's here, he plans to do as well as he can out of it. Someone who owns three homes shouldn't be preaching self-sacrifice..." Do I note a hint of envy here? I won't worry too much about catching up to Eagleton. If you continue to write nasty screeds about "anti-American" Marxists in the liberal media, money will grow wings and fly to your door.