Now, if Frum’s an opportunist, then he’s a pretty stupid one. I’m pretty sure that refusing to negotiate one’s principles — even at the expense of one’s main source of income — doesn’t count as “opportunism” amongst normal people. Unless, of course, “opportunist” is merely a synonym for “someone I don’t agree with.”
Everything in David Swindle’s post is either totally irrelevant, an outright lie, or has already been addressed. Let’s take ‘em point-by-point.
1. The headline of my proposed article was “Ann Coulter: Traitor” because, as I mentioned in my previous piece, it worked as a tongue-in-cheek jab at her preferred style. It has nothing to do with some seething personal hatred toward her — it makes sense as a headline because the article is about Ann Coulter. There’d be no point in writing a headline such as, say, “Mark Levin: Traitor” because it makes no sense. Coulter, on the other hand, is notorious for such provocations. Really, I’m generally a fan of Ann’s work: I’ve read all of her books and check her columns on a weekly basis. But if making jokes about treason mark you as an unhinged lunatic, then I’m not sure what Horowitz is doing supporting Coulter in the first place. And if Swindle actually thought that I was literally calling her a traitor to the United States, then he has no business editing a student newspaper, let alone a blog headed by conservative professionals.
2. Apparently not believing that people who have served their prison terms should be confined to living under bridges makes me an apologist for child molesters. It would seem that anything short of wanting to personally slice sex offenders’ penises off with a basilard qualifies one as an apologist for child molestation in these people’s minds. Thanks to people like them — people like Horowitz and Swindle — it is simply impossible to have a rational debate about sex crimes. The only appropriate public line is that sex offenders are let off virtually scot-free: an utterly ludicrous contention. The insistence that anyone who deviates from the Nancy Grace-Bill O’Reilly moral panic is in bed with NAMBLA and all four of its members is astoundingly cynical.
My “creepy, bizarre” ideas about sex are unfashionable because they’re informed by history and biology, rather than by the desire to look virtuous in front of my peers. The idea that I wrote that fourteen-year-olds “should be looked at as sex objects” is — to paraphrase Ann Coulter on a New York Times reporter — so breathtakingly stupid that I question David Swindle’s ability to comprehend anything he reads. The point in question was a maxim lifted from the works of the Stoic philosopher Epictetus, who contended that fourteen was the age at which a girl begins to be treated like a lady. I guess Epictetus was a gigantic pervert, too.
3. It’s completely wrong to say that Coulter’s new-found opposition to the war in Afghanistan stems from different impulses than Ron Paul’s. She slams “neoconservatives” for their apparent penchant for “endless war,” brings up the idiotic Chalmers Johnson-approved bromide about Afghanistan being the “graveyard of empires,” and decries “nation-building.”
4. When I was on the team, my humor was “razor-sharp” but simply not appropriate for the subject matter. Now that I’m no longer in their good graces, I’m “unfunny” and “narcissistic.”
When I was on the team, I received an unsolicited e-mail telling me that my post outlining the truth behind the Israeli flotilla controversy was a major traffic boost. Now that I’m no longer in their good graces, I never generated any traffic.
I’m also reprimanded for not being “original” for slamming Robert Byrd’s racist legacy. Instead, Swindle writes, I should have been doing “creative” things, like criticizing the writers at the Daily Kos. Yeah, he actually wrote that.
5. And finally, the coup de grace from the modern right-wing populist playbook — if you’re not with us, you’re against us: I’m a future leftist. My teachers — radical leftists like Aristotle, Epictetus the Sex Pervert, Thomas Hobbes, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, Ayn Rand, Robert Kagan, and Camille Paglia — are basically a who’s-who of the radical left’s canon, after all.
Swindle topped this off by placing a link to his article on my Facebook page and sarcastically wishing me good luck on my post-graduation job hunt. His headline — crammed with dumb insults — was specifically designed to make me look bad to potential employers, I suppose. If the editors at the publications I hope to write for are as half-witted as David Swindle, then they’ll probably fall for it.