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As some of us prepare to attend the Society for Cinema Studies Conference
whose explicit theme is multiculturalism, we might want to consider
the following thoughts on the recent attacks on multiculturalism.
 
I clipped these from PostModern Culture's list.
 
----------------------------Original message----------------------------
1) McCarthyism from the left (Peter Wayner)
2) D'Souza and the outsider's view of the academy (Jack Kolb)
3) Two articles & D'Souza off the record (Jan Galligan)
 
1)--------------------------------------------------------------
 
Date: Wed, 1 May 91 16:28:27 -0400
From: [log in to unmask] (Peter Wayner)
Subject: Dinesh D'Souza
 
I've read through most of D'Souza's book and I really find it
full of attempts to pull his punches and simply make very
mainstream, non-kneejerk arguments. He has many solid points
about the lack of scholarship in the land of multiculturalism.
There are thousand of examples of how people have distorted the
truth to make all of non-Europe seem like nirvana. The sad fact
is though, that no one is innocent. For instance, Egypt a country
from which Greece got some of its vaunted culture, was filled
with slaves.
 
This sort of left-wing Macarthyism can be quite a threat to the
university. Everyone knows the story of how the editors of the
King papers at Stanford sat on the story of King's plagarism for
as long as they did. They even non-denied denied it to the press.
Only when the WSJ threatened them with running the story with or
without their cooperation did the editors at Stanford "announce"
their discovery. This sort of behavior is a big
threat to the pursuit of truth and all that stuff. People may say
what they want about politics, but I think D'Souza is making many
good points about the threats to objectivity and reason.
 
Peter Wayner
Cornell Univ.
 
2)--------------------------------------------------------------
 
Date:    Wed, 01 May 91 22:09 PDT
From:    Jack Kolb <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: Dinesh D'Souza
 
Inevitably, D'Souza's article must oversimplify (I have not read
his book either).  But I do think he reflects an increasing
judgment of those outside the academy who bother to reflect upon
what goes on in this hothouse.  If the perceptions are incorrect
--and that's worth discussing--then they ought to be corrected
and quickly, because we are dependent for our survival upon
pragmatic considerations.  If the perceptions are correct, then
we'd better do something about them.
 
I think the man has to be answered, whatever his political
persuasion.  His is hardly the only attack, and not by
extremists.  And much of what he raises deserves more debate in
an academic environment than it has received in most.  In any
case, we don't want the William Bennetts of the world dictating
to us.
 
3)--------------------------------------------------------------
 
Date: 02 May 91 12:32:57 EDT
From: Jan Galligan <JPG01@ALBNYDH2>
Subject: D'Souza
 
Two recent articles worth adding to the discussion:
 
The Nation
May 13, 1991
 
1. Reading Around: Computing the New PC
   Elizabeth Pochoda
 
     Adopting Norman Schwarzkopf's Hail Mary maneuver
against Iraq (one division up the center, the other outflanking
the left), the Genoveses (Eugene and Elizabeth Fox) have
moved in on the "political correctness" debate. Approvingly
reviewing Dinesh D'Souza's vitriolic attack on the univer-
sities, Illiberal Education, in The New Republic; Eugene
Genovese describes a politically correct cabal of Marxists,
poststructuralists and unspecified others as front men on
campus for a new McCarthyism and calls for counterterrorists
to 'draw their blood' and make them 'suffer hard blows'.
Wow! Reviewing the same book for The Washington Post, Elizabeth
Fox-Genovese struck a more moderate tone while also whole
heartedly endorsing the ravings of D'Souza. That universities are
hot beds of political subversion overseen by academic thought
police will surprise anyone who has spent any time at one lately.
And that includes Christopher Lasch, whose essay on university
politics and culture in the twenty-fifth anniversary issue of
SaImagundi restores perspective to the matter of political
correctness by granting the existence of academic radicalism and
observing that none of it approaches the foothills of subverting
the "corporate control of the universities: and it is corporate
control, not academic radicalism, that has corrupted our higher
education.'"
 
 
2.   Beltway Bandits
     D"Souza's Disclosures
     David Corn
 
Dinesh D'Souza has arrived. His book, Illiberal Education:
The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus, is this seasons's
The Closing of the American Mind. Conservatives have embraced
his polemic against affirmative action, multicultural curric-
ulum and the new bete noire of the right, political correctness.
D'Souza, a smooth 29-year-old, is being hailed as the Wil-
liam F. Buckley of his generation. A recent Washington Post
profile described this former White House policy wonk as
"palpably smart" "sober-minded" and a gentleman" I have a
hard time associating such a characterization with the
D'Souza I met nine years ago. At the time, he was on the staff of
the right-wing, mean-spirited Dartmouth Review one among a group
of editors who had published the notorious 'jive' article,
attacking affirmative action in stereotyped black 'dialect'.
D'Souza still has to defend that decision on occasion, but he
seems to have escaped the shadow of a more odious episode.
 
     Back in 1982 I snuck into a conference for conservative
student journalists held at the New York Athletic Club, where
D'Souza was received as royalty. People were eager to talk
about the Review's publication the previous year of a
confidential list of the members of Dartmouth's Gay Student
Association as well as their personal letters. As a result of
those exposures, some Dartmouth students had their sexual
orientation disclosed to friends and family. At lunch D'Souza
proudly confided to his tablemates, myself included, that his
paper had obtained the material through a covert operation.  He
intimated that someone connected to the Review had gained access
to the association's office and pinched the documents. The
Review's aim in this endeavor was plainly to make the lives of
certain students miserable. Hardly the work of a gentleman and a
scholar.