I’m shocked, shocked! The L.A. Weekly, usually the Left Coast’s most reflexively leftist voice, has a thoughtful and favorable review of Oriana Fallaci’s expose of Islamofascism, “The Force of Reason” (that’s the book that San Franscisco’s oh-so-free-speech-loving City Lights bookstore refuses to carry):
“Considerably less intemperate than her last book on the topic of radical Islam, the volcanically angry The Rage and the Pride, The Force of Reason is despairing, but often surprisingly funny. (‘The rage and the pride have married and produced a sturdy son: the disdain,’ she writes with characteristic wit.) And, Fallaci being Fallaci, it is occasionally over the top and will no doubt be deeply offensive to many, particularly when, in a postscript the book might have been better off without, she claims that there is no such thing as moderate Islam. Nonetheless, the voice and warmth and humor of the author light up its pages, particularly when she takes a leaf out of Saul Bellow’s Herzog by firing off impassioned letters to the famous both living and dead. She is savage about the Left, the “Peace” movement (war is a fundamental, if regrettable, condition of life, she states), the Catholic Church, the media and, of course, Islam itself, which she considers theological totalitarianism and a deadly threat to the world. She is much more optimistic about America than Europe, citing the bravery of New Yorkers who celebrated New Year’s Eve in Times Square despite widely publicized terrorism threats, but here one feels that she is clutching at straws. Though Fallaci now lives in New York, little amity has been extended to her by her peers since the post-9/11 publication of The Rage and the Pride, and she remains almost as much of a media pariah here as she does in Europe. The major difference is that we’re not putting her on trial.
“As that Norwegian Mullah told Aftenposten, ‘Our way of thinking … will prove more powerful than yours.’ One hopes he’s wrong, but if he is, it will be ordinary Americans and Europeans, including courageous Arab-Americans like L.A. resident Wafa Sultan and the Somali-born Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali (two women openly challenging Islamist supremacism), who prove him so, and not our intellectual classes (artists, pundits, filmmakers, actors, writers …). Many of the latter, consumed by Bush-hatred and cultural self-loathing, are perilously close to becoming today’s equivalent of the great Norwegian novelist Knut Hamsun, who so hated the British Empire that he sided with the Nazis in World War II, to his everlasting shame. The Force of Reason, at the very least, is a welcome and necessary antidote to the prevailing intellectual atmosphere.”
Help me pick myself up off the floor.