Tuesday, July 15, 2014
On behalf of all liberals -- living and dead -- I'd like to apologize to Adam Bellow. In 1976, Bellow was at a Michigan State University writing workshop when a radical feminist publicly rebuked him for saying she had "balls." He says he meant that as a compliment.
Some formative experiences are forged in the hell of war, others in the crucible of writing class.
Bellow never recovered from his. In a recent piece for National Review, he recounts this 38-year-old hurt as exhibit A for why the right needs to launch its own literary movement to tell its own stories.
"I didn't see why I should be called out in front of the group and angrily chastised as though I were merely an embodiment of the white male heterosexual power structure," complains Bellow, son of the great novelist Saul Bellow.
I don't see why, either, but how about a larger picture? More recently, right-wingers disrupted town hall meetings, shouting down the elected representatives trying to address their constituents. Might that be "a bare-knuckled attempt to enforce an ideological orthodoxy by policing the boundaries of acceptable speech," an accusation Bellow chucks at the left?
Such examples would cloud the simple tale of mannerly conservatives battling the '60s hippies. So down the memory hole they go.
But the long-term memory still works fine. For boomer conservatives, the '60s remain fresh material. It matters not that most of today's students barely remember the '90s, much less the '60s.
Anyhow, Bellow complains that when he joined the culture war in 1988 as an editor, "conservatives had little to read." One of the rare examples he cites was "The Road to Serfdom."
"Serfdom" is a classic we all should read. I especially hope its conservative fans will review Chapter 9, where Friedrich Hayek advocates government-guaranteed health care. But I digress.
Bellow acknowledges that on the nonfiction lists, the right is doing OK. Actually, more than OK.
A quick check shows that No. 1 and No. 7 are by conservative movement authors. No. 8 is by an evangelical Christian, and No. 10 by a Republican strategist. The only liberal in the lineup is Hillary Clinton at No. 3.
The top book, "Blood Feud," was issued by Regnery, a conservative publishing house. "For the past 15 years," the publisher's website says, "Regnery has boasted one of the best batting averages in the business -- placing more than fifty books on the New York Times bestseller list, including nine books at No. 1."
The author at No. 7 is Ben Carson, a hero of the right. He's published by Sentinel, a conservative imprint of the Penguin Group. Perhaps, just perhaps, the objective of the media conglomerates now publishing books is to sell books.
But their business interests don't reach into fiction, according to Bellow. In fiction, conservative authors are "embattled and excluded."
The only way to fight liberals' "thought control," Bellow insists, "is by turning their weapons against them and channeling the spirit of the Sixties counterculture."
Conservatives must bypass the establishment. They're already self-publishing their novels through digital technologies, though some are afraid to use their names. "Their resistance and courage are deeply inspiring," Bellow writes.
You've seen those midnight roundups of right-leaning novelists, haven't you?
The publishing houses must have been asleep at the switch when they let conservative Ayn Rand through the barricades. Her novels currently rank No. 1 and No. 2 on the Modern Library reader's list of 100 best novels.
Well, imagination is a good thing. And in that vein, I can almost hear the feminist meanie telling Bellow to "man up."
And don't anyone ask me to take that back. One apology per column.
Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM
See Other Political Commentary.
See Other Commentaries by Froma Harrop.
Views expressed in this column are those of the author, not those of Rasmussen Reports. Comments about this content should be directed to the author or syndicate.
Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.
We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.
Some information, including the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll and commentaries are available for free to the general public. Subscriptions are available for $3.95 a month or 34.95 a year that provide subscribers with exclusive access to more than 20 stories per week on upcoming elections, consumer confidence, and issues that affect us all. For those who are really into the numbers, Platinum Members can review demographic crosstabs and a full history of our data.
To learn more about our methodology, click here.