Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Louis Proyect Puts Hands On Matt Taibbi And The Weinstein Bros.


counterpunch |  In the opening moments of their conversation, Taibbi repented for not making a big stink over Weinstein’s ostracism and eventual resignation from Evergreen over student protests. Suing the school for $3.8 million in damage, Weinstein walked away with only a half-million.

One wonders if Taibbi looked into the case against Weinstein made by three Evergreen professors that year on Huffington Post titled “Another Side of The Evergreen State College Story”. One of them was Zoltan Grossman, who has written dozens of articles for CounterPunch over the years. The three make an essential point:
In order for a propaganda campaign to succeed, it needs a Big Lie. At Evergreen, the Big Lie is that Evergreen’s Day of Absence demonstrated “reverse racism” as whites “were forced to leave campus because of the color of their skin.” It is stunning to us how often this “alternative fact” has been repeated until it has become unchallenged truth. The truth is that the Day of Absence has long been an accepted — and voluntary — practice at Evergreen. On the Day of Absence, people of color who chose to do so generally attended an off-campus event, while whites who chose to participate stayed on campus to attend lectures, workshops and discussions about how race and racism shape social structures and everyday life.
Once they got past the Evergreen business, Weinstein and Taibbi settled into a litany of how bad things have gotten in the U.S. because of uppity anti-racist students dragging the country down. They struck me as two middle-aged men ready to write a book titled “The Decline of the U.S.” after the fashion of Oswald Spengler. They probably could make good money writing such a book since there is always a market for screeds against political correctness, identity politics, and that sort of thing. Usually written by conservatives like Allan Bloom (“The Closing of the American Mind”), they also have their liberal counterparts like Todd Gitlin, who wrote “The Twilight of Common Dreams: Why America is Wracked by Culture Wars” in 1996.

Gitlin, who signed the Harper’s letter, described himself in the book as sympathetic to blacks but was distressed by their retreat into what he felt were self-absorbed, symbolic politics, according to a N.Y. Times review. He wrote that “few political campaigns are launched against the impoverishment of the cities” and that “The diversity rhetoric of identity politics short-circuits the necessary discussion of what ought to be done about all the dying out there.” He had come to the same conclusions as Adolph Reed Jr., who also got the red-carpet treatment from Taibbi and Halper.

Weinstein gushed over Taibbi’s long record of courageous journalism as if writing take-downs of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump risked a jail term. Yes, Taibbi is entertaining, but how far can you go stating the obvious, even if scabrously. I’d prefer a little less scabrousness and a lot more economic analysis. That’s one of the reasons I stopped reading Taibbi after the good old “vampire squid” days ended.

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