Boy, am I ever proud of my Alma Mater. Or rather my Alma Mater’s campus daily, The Daily Princetonian.
As you may have heard, The Prince was one of the campus papers that agreed to run David Horowitz’s laughably amateurish anti-reparations for slavery ad. But they wisely went ahead and ran it with an editorial blasting Horowitz as a self-promoting cretin.
Horowitz has now turned around and refused to pay The Prince for running the ad because he says they slandered him.
(At the end of what is actually a pretty mild editorial The Prince said it was giving the ad money to the local chapter of the Urban League so as not to “profit from Horowitz’s racism.”)
Now what makes me so proud about this isn’t that they ran the ad or gave away the money or anything like that. It’s that the folks at The Prince have managed to give Horowitz quite enough rope to hang himself. And, boy, has he ever taken the bait.
Bottom line: if your whole racket is taking a stand on free speech rights you are in a very, very weak position trying to break a contract on the basis of someone else’s offensive speech.
(I mean, come on, David. Just open up the *$%&#@% checkbook and give these kids some of Richard Scaife’s money already.)
Yet Horowitz’s actions really aren’t so much offensive or brazen as they are comic. And that gets us back to a point that has been too little made in this whole brouhaha. Horowitz isn’t really so much a racial provocateur as he is a sort of freelance imbecile, a flesh and blood cartoon.
(If you want an example, take a peek at the hilarious letter he wrote to Andrew Sullivan. It’s a classic.)
If you haven’t actually read his “ten reasons” why reparations are a bad idea you really should. They’re less offensive than they are pitiful. Sure, several of the points are tendentious to the point of falsehood (see 1, 6, 9 & 10). But what’s more striking is that they’re written with the sophistication of an over-eager high school student. It’s not even fact-checked: item #6 refers to the “slave system that was ended over 150 years ago.” (This, presumably, is a reference to that little-known ‘other’ emancipation that occurred in 1851?)
As the folks at The Prince did a good job showing, the proper response to Horowitz isn’t offense but laughter.
Why does anyone take this guy seriously?