Hate-mail burns a hole in the ‘Bag!

Here’s an e-mail from T.B. commenting on my InkWell-obit for Andrea Dworkin, who once compared all, or nearly all, heterosex to rape (see Andrea Dworkin, Resting in Man-Hating Peace, April 12):

“Re your dance party on Andrea Dworkin’s grave, this venerable quotation comes to mind: ‘The harpies of the shore shall pluck / The eagle of the sea!'”

Ah, a fine quotation from Oliver Wendell Holmes’s sonorous “Old Ironsides,” which I haven’t read since I had to memorize it in fifth grade! Excellent taste, T.B.–and apt, too, for the occasion.

I didn’t think Andrea Dworkin was all bad, and in fact I praised her now-highly-unfashionable stance against pornography and in favor of the death penalty for Scott Peterson, whom Dworkin rightly considered to be a convicted double-murderer, not a single-murderer as politically correct feminism insists. I just wish Dworkin had lain off the man-hating every now and then, taken better care of her personal appearance (which might have meant a longer life for her, not to mention more credibility), and not tried to get in bed with (I hope she wouldn’t have found the analogy offensive) the alpha males of trial lawyers’ bar in order to do something about the pornography that she rightly found degrading.  

Now for an e-mail from R.M., who digs way back to 10 months ago in the Inky archives to find something detestable: my take on Guatemalan activist Rigoberta Menchu, who’s still hawking her book I, Rigoberta Menchu, and swanning around on Guatemalan government-paid junkets to show off her latest peasant headdresses despite Middlebury College anthropology professor David Stoll’s expose of the book as containing many a fudged fact. (See I, Rigoberta Menchu, Am Still Around, June 22, 2004).

R.M. (who is not Rigoberta herself!) remains an ardent Menchu-vik–like many a U.S. and Euro intellectual) despite Stoll’s revelations:

“Although it has been found that certain facts in Rigoberta Menchu’s testimony are incorrect, if you look carefully at David Stoll’s findings, it is evident that her main argument is still intact, and the few facts that were proven wrong are trivial. She did not ‘[make] most of it up’ and whatever did not truly happen to her, happened to someone she knew personally.

“One might want to research David Stoll a bit and wonder why it is that some right-wing anthropologist spent 10 years of his life trying to discredit a young, revolutionary indigenous woman.”

Maybe it’s because this “revolutionary indigenous woman” turned out to hail from a relatively prosperous Guatemalan family, received a fancy convent-school education, and tried to pass off her relatives’ land feuds as battles between oppressed peasants and fascist thugs. Let’s face it: From all the evidence, Menchu and her cohorts among the Parisian Euro-Marxists among whom she spent a good portion of her “young” life massaged her tale in a 16th arrondisement apartment in order to embarrass the Great Capitalist Enemy, the U.S., which supported the Guatemalan government at the time.

And, R.M., you can’t have it both ways: Either Stoll was a honest researcher who discovered only “trivial” mistakes in Menchu’s narrative, or he was a “right-wing anthropologist” who spent a decade of his life in an unfair and dishonest crusade against her. It’s one or the other.

For an excellent summary of  the Menchu controversy that will help you, dear InkWell readers, decide whether the factual distortions in Rigoberta’s book were “trivial” or not, click here to this article by David Horowitz in FrontPage magazine. Horowitz calls the book “a tissue of lies, and one of the greatest intellectual and academic hoaxes of the Twentieth Century.” Horowitz, by the way, paid the price for his critiques of the left by being hit in the face with a pie while speaking at Butler College in Indiana last week. That’s the left’s way of standing up for the oppressed “indigenous.”