Talkin' trash to the garbage around me.

08 March, 2006

Amazon.com censors my Horowitz review

I must've hit a nerve with some peon at amazon.com, because portions of my review have been edited out. My original review is posted here, and you can find the scrubbed version on amazon.com here. Here's what it looks like now:
I'm familiar with a good number of the professors who are, erm... "profiled" in Horowitz's latest screed, and I'll agree with his assessment of many of them. Yep, they're radicals. They challenge sexism, racism, capitalism, U.S. foreign policy, etc., etc.

And this all occurs, shockingly enough, at a univeristy, where one expects a diversity of opinions. And luckily, this diversity is protected by the academy's commitment to academic freedom from [...] Horowitz and his ilk. And yes, I did have conservative professors in the University, in classes spanning a number of disciplines (and I earned my undergraduate degree from an institution that ranks right up there with the most liberal of them all). So there's radicals teaching on college campuses. Big deal. If universities are doing their job properly, an open-minded student will be able to sift through all of the studied opinions presented by faculty members (and yes, all of these opinions are arrived at after years of dedication to one's discipline) and draw their own conclusions.

Ah, but the sub-text of Horowitz's argument is that these professors are using the classroom as a bully pulpit to brainwash and indoctrinate unsuspecting undergraduates into accepting leftist ideologies. But a funny thing happens over the course of Horowitz's book. Not one instance of unprofessional conduct by these professors in the classroom is presented. NOT ONE. In fact, a number of these professors have been commended for their outstanding teaching. [...]

What Horowitz counts on to make his case is the general public's unwillingness to do their own research. Are the professors misquoted? Not at all. But Horowitz depends on the reader not searching out the context in which the statement is made. That makes it that much easier to twist a statement's meaning into some gross caricature of the "evil, anti-American communist professor who is out to brainwash your children and steal your tuition money." All academic writing is full of nuance and hair-splitting that most people don't have the time or the energy with which to deal. Horowitz uses this to his advantage in slandering the academy.

[...]

So here's my challenge. If you absolutely MUST read Horowitz's volume, take the time to read the writings of the professor that he cites as supporting his arguments. I guarantee you'll find work that is provocative (if not always correct), work that will raise certain questions and lead to some interesting discussions - precisely the type of discussions that Horowitz wants to shut down.
Apparently, "neo-McCarthyite" is a four-letter word. Was I wrong in my assessment here?

Anyways, this is mild, compared to what's happened to others, who've had whole reviews deleted. I won't be ordering anything from amazon.com anymore, nor will I be linking to them, the link above notwithstanding.

Rat-bastards.

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