Monday, April 30, 2007

Berube, you have it wrong

I didn't suggest that you disbelieved in the Vietnam war or opposed protesters but that your strategy in relation to Cockburn seemed similar to what people both in that era, as well as previous to it, and up to this day, use as a strategy to discredit people. If you actually read what Cockburn wrote about the militias, which I have, you see that he didn't support them because they were on the right but because they were a sort of populist anti-establishment movement, which went way beyond far right stuff into a criticism of society, yes through conspiracy theory. I can testify to this in that I grew up in rural Michigan. Doesn't make me a militia supporter, but things look different if you actually see them up close.

Basically, out of the thousands of articles Cockburn has written, on things from the Iraq war to inequality in America, to current events, a small minority line up with the right. I take this as an indication of Cockburn's independence from orthodoxy in political matters. It is wrong to judge him on this small minority of posts, considering that this isn't his main focus, not by a long shot. That's why I say that it's a pretty unfair game. For example, you know those militia articles? They're over ten years old. He hasn't to my knowledge published anything about the militias since they pretty much disbanded in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing. So you're bringing up very old stuff that's not representative of his main work in order to discredit him.

What does Cockburn's belief that global warming is hoax as you put in italics have to do with criticizing American foreign policy? I don't believe that it's a hoax, and I have actually read the article in question, which says that the accumulation of carbon dioxide is actually caused by natural processes and may even be the wrong thing to look at, and while I don't agree with it the article itself isn't an exercize in ideology but actually presents an interesting argument. But, again, what does this have to do with the main points of his writing?

This is the exact type of response I was writing against.

By the way, I think that pretty much anyone outside of the upper middle class would consider academia to be part of the "upper class establishment". Your bio also said you graduated from Columbia. I have a hard time believing that you haven't met the upper class establishment.

About the Cockburn Afghanistan post, you know, that's unfortunate but it's also 27 years old.


Michael Bérubé said...

Well, it's nice that you have a sliding statute of limitations for your intellectual heroes. But I think it's significant that someone says that Afghanistan deserves to be raped when the Soviets invade, and then does an about-face a generation later when the US takes out the Taliban. But now that I've made my point that Cockburn has been an erratic kinda guy for a very long time, I'll just add that for the record, I'm with the 82 percent of Afghans who agree that removing the Taliban was a good thing to do.

About the class status of English professors: you are, of course, welcome to your fantasies. But I grew up in Flushing, Queens, in an ordinary middle-class home. I was a scholarship kid, with none of the aristocratic family background of Mr. Cockburn. But I suppose his inherited wealth and position is OK with you too. Still, taking me to be the "upper class establishment" and Cockburn to be the "rabble outside" is way beyond the frozen limit of silly.

MW said...

Downs goes blogger! Down goes blogger! To excuse Cockburn's militia and global hoaxing is egregious - Hitchens walked up to Bush, they held hands, and jumped off the cliff. Now Cockburn walks up to Imhofe, holds hands, and the the two lonely souls jump off the same cliff. Everyone is entitled to some minor mistakes, but when the effort is so brazen, on so important a topic, and delivered with such conviction, the time has simply come to issue the eulogy.

Summerisle said...


Have you ever actually read what Cockburn said about the militias or are you just depending on what Berube wrote?

Quite frankly, I don't give a fuck what Cockburn thinks about global warming. His co-editor of Counterpunch, Jeffrey St.Clair, is a life long environmental activist in Oregon and whatever Cockburn's personal opinions they regularly publish environmental journalism.

Summerisle said...

By the way, I'm curious to know if people who read this ever read the next post, where I actually deal with Berube's comment on this post. Or are you content to read critical comments but not responses to them?