A quick addition to Mark’s comments on Dinesh D’Souza

It’s not surprising that D’Souza has sold his soul once again. It’s just depressing that he finds many willing buyers.

As readers already know, conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza has written a Forbes cover piece which argues that, among other things…

Incredibly, the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s. This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anticolonial ambitions, is now setting the nation’s agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son.

D’Souza writes more words like that, claiming that Obama has doctored everything from foreign policy to health reform, Brazilian oil exploration, and even NASA out of Kenyan anticolonialism. (See Adam Serwer and Jonathan Chait explain how this article combines an offensive fundamental premise with deceptive and wrong backup details.)

Now Newt Gingrich has picked up the cudgel . One would think that Gingrich, being white, would have less latitude for thinly-veiled racialized hysteria. Then again, one would think Gingrich would have less scope for thinly-veiled anti-Semitism, too. Apparently not.)

I hadn’t heard about D’Souza for years. It’s quite a comment on the conservative movement that he’s held a series of cushy sinecures at various right-wing foundations and think-tanks. He’s now president of something called the King’s College and author of a forthcoming polemic The Roots of Obama’s Rage.

Twenty-five years ago, I knew D’Souza as an editor of a crudely offensive conservative campus rag called The Prospect, which disparaged the qualifications of African-American students and printed offensive things about women. In the mid-1990s, D’Souza wrote a Bell-Curve-lite volume that was equally offensive.

I was thinking about this junk when I encountered a strikingly rugged African-American in Princeton garb this weekend in my community. We got to talking. It turned out that he was in my college class, and played basketball for Princeton. He is now a distinguished medical specialist who treats patients in the Chicago southland. I would happily match this gentleman’s biography of accomplishment against Mr. D’Souza’s.

It’s not surprising that D’Souza has sold his soul once again. It’s depressing that he keeps finding such willing buyers.

Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect, tnr.com, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.

9 thoughts on “A quick addition to Mark’s comments on Dinesh D’Souza”

  1. Just for clarity, Dr. D'Souza is the President of "The King's College" in New York, which has no connection at all to King's College London, where I hold an honorary faculty post

  2. I'm not sticking up for that hack D'Souza…but _Illiberal Education_ really did hit lots of nails on the head.

  3. So do people like D'Souza and Gingrich truly think this kind of stuff passes for intellectual discourse, or are they just doing it to outrage the liberals?

  4. "Strikingly rugged." Seriously? Would your point be less valid if your acquaintance was homely, or not so athletically gifted?

    I'm not questioning your intent, but that comment's a bit off, no?

  5. There are other King's Colleges with which D'Souza's outfit has no connection, including the one in Cambridge. They typically have some historical connection with an actual king. See here for the British health policy think tank the King's Fund. (That was Edward VII.) In the UK you can't use such language freely to tone up your brand, but republics don't protect royalty.

  6. Harold, I clicked on your last link, and now I'm too astonished to think about anything else. Who would have thought that fifteen years ago, Time magazine was capable of denouncing conservatives like that — no equivocation, no pox-on-both-houses business, just a straight-up thrashing? It's a remarkable display.

  7. Mo doubt D'Souza would point out that the King of Kings has rank and seniority over George IV, founder of King's College London and Henry VI, founder of King's College Cambridge. But the Holy One, blessed be He, has always been somewhat lax in protecting His brand from trademark infringers.

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