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[Jaw drops six feet. Hurts]

Parenti is not a rigorous thinker.

He's a cheap polemicist, a lazy, pompous, self-indulgent bottom feeder and an ideological wanker of the first order. Not an ounce of rigor and nothing original to say. He just rehashes what has been thought and said much better by others. He happens to be a very successful beneficiary of one of the many denunciatory, pseudo-radical jerk circles that exist here and there in the academic poli-sci left.

Contrast with people like Altmeyer.

by Francois in Paris on Fri Mar 21st, 2008 at 10:20:42 PM EST
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serious hacks. Can't see here what the problem is, is there some discussion of Valenti which leads you to call him this? For me, the biggest hacks write airport best-sellers and get their columns published twice weekly, they don't get published in the New Left Review.

I forwarded this to my da, former political science prof, first thing he said was he taught out of the guy's textbook. I see his bibliography, and note he is well published, and anybody on the Verso Press list gets an automatic pass from me for life.

We talking about the same guy? I mean, I know we're not exactly ideologically compatible a lot of the time, but we're still broadly on the same side...

Just checking.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Mar 21st, 2008 at 11:40:13 PM EST
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Michael Parenti, not Valenti.

He's highly praised in some academic circles but he's still a vacuous hack.

by Francois in Paris on Fri Mar 21st, 2008 at 11:51:27 PM EST
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oops, that's what i meant.

well, everyone has their taste in writers, there's no explaining it.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Mar 21st, 2008 at 11:54:03 PM EST
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He's a hack.

It's not even that I necessarily disagree with some of the positions he embraces. It's more that I find him utterly banal when he's correct and completely loopy and discredited otherwise. Racism in the US is a decoy issue to control the white lower class? Well, yeah, duh. Rich people like power and use it to consolidate their positions at the expense of everybody else? Wow, now that's a profound truth that needed to revealed for all to know! Thanks you, Michael! How courageous! And for the rest, barf: barely disguised apologetics of communist totalitarians, open support for conspiracy cranks, knee-jerk victim-sucking for any "struggle" out there, etc.

The last I paid attention to that idiot was "Against Empire". I found that book atrocious. He manages to be at the same time hectoring and whiny, zero useful information and an inordinate amount of BS and highly selective fact dropping. All in one Noam Chomsky without the brains and Ann Coulter without the legs.

On that article Sven quoted, there was something I found very amusing:

Whatever wrongs and new oppressions introduced by the Chinese in Tibet after 1959, they did abolish slavery and the serfdom system of unpaid labor. They eliminated the many crushing taxes, started work projects, and greatly reduced unemployment and beggary. They built the only hospitals that exist in the country, and established secular education, thereby breaking the educational monopoly of the monasteries. They constructed running water and electrical systems in Lhasa.

First, I wouldn't trust any of that at face value given the BS that precedes. He's pretty much spewing Chinese propaganda, the Maoist-Marxist correct version of our own western pro-colonial literature a century ago.

But more importantly: So what? Close to the same could be said of Israel when it took over the occupied territories from Egypt and Jordan who had grossly mismanaged Gaza and Cisjordan. Under Israeli occupation in the 70s and early 80s, Palestinians had one of the highest living standards in the Arab world. Not difficult given how disastrous the rest of the region was at that time. It didn't prevent Palestinians from really resenting the occupation :)

I just find Parenti profoundly useless and unremarkable at his least offensive and grossly hackish and dishonest otherwise.

by Francois in Paris on Sat Mar 22nd, 2008 at 09:53:27 PM EST
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if you´d rephrase this without the deeply sexist message, regardless of views on the topic, or the people.

All in one Noam Chomsky without the brains and Ann Coulter without the legs.

Thank you.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sun Mar 23rd, 2008 at 10:57:48 AM EST
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In the US context and regarding Ann Coulter, it's not sexist to say that. It's plainly, factually accurate. Ann Coulter's legs are the only asset that carried her in politics. Ann Coulter, with others like Laura Ingraham, was a forerunner of a deliberate strategy by the right wing noise machine and in particular Fox News to play on the sex appeal of a handful of somewhat cute women, with no other value but their good looks, as mouthpieces to spew the most reactionary crap. It was meant 1) to attract their mostly male and frustrated audience and 2) to disarm the other side by eliciting the kind of defensive/solidary reactions like yours.

You should watch that, posted by bluegal at C&L and be edified. I'm not the crass one in that issue.

That being said, I think that strategy is thankfully well past its sell-by date.

It'd be sexist if I made the same remark on, say, Rachel Maddow or Keli Goff, here both of them demolishing Pat Buchanan, who have their seat as political commentators on their own merits from the trenches (and Maddow as a pretty witty humorist on Air America Radio), independent of their (very) good looks.

by Francois in Paris on Sun Mar 23rd, 2008 at 07:57:31 PM EST
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I repeat:  comparing yourself to others who use  insulting sexism, does not stop it from being sexism, regardless of opinions.  No need for long and overworked excuses.

The more it is practiced and accepted as normal, the more it spreads and harms social behavior.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Mon Mar 24th, 2008 at 05:01:25 AM EST
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