pick of the weekend

Sometimes – given a skilled writer – a “mere” book review becomes a vehicle for profound insight, and this weekend’s pick is a rare example of just such an essay. It is ostensibly Asia Times contributor John Parker’s critical review of a volume entitled Anti-Americanism, by Jean-Francois Revel. The book is a French intellectual’s formidably logical condemnation of the world-wide hate-America cult – no, your eyes are not deceiving you – but Parker's splendid review is, in its own right, a mercilessly ironic deconstruction of anti-American hysteria. Parker's writing is as caustic as anything by H. L. Mencken, and it is quite possibly the best such work I have ever seen. Here is a sample passage:

Indeed, it is not the slightest exaggeration to say that in 2004, anti-American sentiment has become the biggest single obstacle to human progress. It sustains repressive dictatorships everywhere; excuses corruption, torture, the oppression of women, and mass murder; provides ideological oxygen for vile, stupid "revolutionary movements" like the Maoist insurgents in Nepal; and has even promoted the spread of disease (as when, for example, Europeans haughtily dismissed Bush's AIDS initiative as insincere - God forbid that they should concur with any policy of the wicked Bush, even at the cost of a few million more African lives). By focusing monomaniacally on "why America is wrong", instead of asking "what is right", the global anti-American elite has massively failed to fulfill the most fundamental responsibility of the intellectual class: to provide dispassionate, truthful analysis that can guide society to make proper decisions. And it has contemptuously cast aside the irreplaceable, post-Cold War opportunity to irreversibly consolidate the "liberal revolution" praised by Revel - in which inheres the only true hope of lasting, global peace and development - all in the name of redressing the gaping psychological insecurities of its members.

Parker’s review is not a quick and easy read, but like the book that is its subject, it is a long-overdue antidote to a toxin that is notorious for paralyzing the intellect. Parker's writing is deliciously sarcastic and delightfully thought-provoking, something to relish, contemplate and share with friends, available here.

posted by on April 10, 2004 12:42 PM

» Common Sense and Wonder links with: Anti-Americanism

It is good to know that there are those who have the intelligence to stand up and confront the ignorance of those who would twist the truth in order to promote their own agendas. I thank you for that tidbit. It was marvelous, albeit not quite as tasty as a morsel of cheddar. ;)

Posted by: Mr Mouse at April 12, 2004 03:33 AM