The Square Circuit

Academia, parenthood, living in a bankrupt city, and what I read in the process.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

naomi wolf on fascism

My brother-in-law pointed out that I have not been keeping up this site, and he's completely right. The first part of the school year is to blame, of cousre, as it the wife's nearing completion of her dissertation, sick children, publications and talks that need finishing, and so forth. Still, not good.

Several of my students wrote their first papers (a rhetorical analysis) on an excerpt from Naomi Wolf's BEAUTY MYTH, one of those perennials in the freshman-comp class. So I was moderately, but not greatly, interested in hearing her interviewed on the Colbert Report last night. She's got a new book out--THE END OF AMERICA: LETTER TO A YOUNG PATRIOT--and so Colbert went through his usual schtick of "grilling" lefty writers to as to allow them to clearly state their case and responding to them in a just over-the-top O'Reilly/Hannity/Limbaugh masquerade. Funny, in other words. Wolf's new book, whose title is just silly, apparently takes 192 pages to make the argument that the Bush administration has begun taking us down the road to despotism. Wolf asserted on the show that her "reading"--she didn't say who she's been reading--has shown her that there are ten steps that a government will take (or, to be more accurate, ten steps that despotisms have typically taken) in establishing dictatorship. She details them in short form here. I love these kinds of paint-by-numbers arguments, but I do think that they are far too easy.

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