Vanity Fair critic James Wolcott looks more than a bit like Droopy Dog, the jowly, slow-moving dog who was quietly capable of great feats of strength and cunning, who Wikipedia describes like so:
What made the character even more hilarious is his incredible strength, given his dimunitive stature and unassuming looks and personality, but only when he was upset, and then he would monotone, "You know what? That makes me mad."
The likeness is significant for two reasons. The first is that Wolcott really, really looks like Droopy, and how often do you get to say that about someone? The second is that Wolcott, in a recent post, goes into full-on, defcon-4, “that makes me mad” Droopy mode, and it’s awesome to behold. He writes:
?yesterday I received the galley of Dinesh D’Souza’s new book from Doubleday, The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11, to be published in January 2007.
It isn’t rare that I take instant animus against a book like this. But I don’t tend to react right away. The responsible thing for me to do as an occasional book critic is to wait until the official pub date, find a suitable venue for review, and thrash the book based on its merits.
But this is a special book, deserving special mistreatment. With The Enemy at Home, I prefer to do the irresponsible thing and declare war on Dinesh D’Souza and his stinking mackerel of a book starting now. I intend to pound this scurrilous piece of scapegoating at every convenient opportunity. It is long past due that the likes of Ramesh Ponnuru (Death Party A-Go-Go), Jonah Goldberg (Hillary Clinton Was Himmler’s Mistress), and now D’Souza be put on notice that they are not going to get away with vilifying liberals, mainstream Democrats, radical thinkers, academics, and entertainers as traitors and terrorist sympathizers. They want to wage culture war? Then, to quote Nabokov, they should brace themselves and prepare for the next crash. They want to practice character assassination? They’ve picked the wrong time, the wrong adversary.
I don’t know exactly what it looks like when James “Droopy Dog” Wolcott goes culture warring on someone’s ass, but I’m wicked juiced to find out. I look forward to a long campaign of looting, pillaging, burning to the ground, and, I hope, relentless pointing out of the fact that D’Souza’s a huge honking schnoid.
If I might dwell for a moment on that last point, I’m not saying that Wolcott, and whoever he enlists in his anti-D’Souza crusade, shouldn’t demolish D’Souza’s intellectual arguments and his shoddy research and so on, but they should always do so within a larger meta-narrative of his massive, undeniable, unforgivable schnoidity.
This is important because the point of going to war, metaphorically or literally, is to defeat the enemy, and you don’t defeat amoral, conscience-less, power-worshipping propagandists by pointing out that their reasoning is faulty and their facts are shaky. Of course their reasoning is faulty and their facts are shaky; that’s what they do. That’s what they do best, and not only aren’t they diminished by the reasoned opposition of their more thoughtful political enemies, they tend to feed on such opposition. If your purpose is to add intelligence to the discourse, then the reasoned approach makes sense; you won’t vanquish the enemy, but you’ll have added to the sum of human intelligence.
If you’re warring, though, you have to make war. You have to hit your enemy where’s he vulnerable. And if there’s one thing I know about amoral, conscience-less, power-worshipping propagandists, it’s that under the arrogant veneer they’re almost all total schnoids, and a great deal of their amoral, conscience-less, power-worshipping propagandistic existence is, unconsciously, about hiding from their shame and their schnoidity.
Inside they’re still the scared, pasty-faced, weak-kneed kids who got bullied and mocked in junior high school, and they seek to be feared and hated precisely because when we fear and loathe them, we’re granting them power. People like D’Souza do things like build entire careers out of attacking people who’ve been victimized because they can’t acknowledge their own history as victims of nerd persecution. They hate their own vulnerability, and so they lash out at the vulnerability of others.
They’re the bullies now. That’s what they want. What they’re afraid of is that we’ll find them out as the schnoids they never really stopped being. So that’s what needs to be done, if they need to be defeated (which, on the balance of the evidence of the imminent implosion of the world, they most definitely do). They need to be outed as schnoids.
For example, when Wolcott, later in his post, sets up an attack with the line, “Here is a small example of D’Souza’s dishonesty as a polemicist,” he could modify it to, “Here is a small example of D’Souza’s dishonesty as a polemicist, and of his being a schnoid.”
Or when he says, “How inept is he?” he might change it to, “How inept is he, and how obvious is it that he’s been traumatized by the hundreds of swirlies he got during junior high school?”
See. It ain’t pretty, but it’s pretty easy.