The Roots of Obama’s Rage, by Dinesh D’Souza

August 11, 2012 at 08:47 (Book Reviews, Politics, Poorly Rated Books) (, , , )

1/10

This schoolboy compendium of allegation and insinuation is the literary equivalent of a microwaved pizza. Bolt it down while it’s hot stuff, and almost forget about the metaphorical diarrhoea that inevitably follows. It is short enough and simple enough that even the simplest reader can quickly digest its pith, but is as nutritional as any tabloid rag. Dinesh D’Souza writes from the vapid standpoint that because he himself is not white, he can hurl the most despicable¬† and vile epithets and innuendos at his chosen target without repurcussion. In obsessively remaking Obama as a primitive African revolutionary stuck in the post-colonial cold war era, he transforms him into a wretched kind of golliwog, a nasty and unbelievable scarecrow of a man–reminding his readers several times that, as an Indian, he somehow has the right to dredge up whatever idiotic caricatures he pleases.

His central and resounding accusation against Obama, dressed up repeatedly in new language to fill out the hundred or so pages of his bitesize polemic, is that Barack Obama is against colonialism. The implication is often given that colonialism has no dirty laundry to air, no sins to purge, and no shame to recall. Of course any serious historian would readily admit that the colonisers of history left boons as well as smallpox, and legacies as well as corpses, but when D’Souza flippantly suggests without any trace of irony that the greatest sin of the Belgians in the Congo was their neglect of the education system, he assumes the mantle of a David Irving, and loses any credibility as an historian that he might have clung to.

“There is currently no alternative to American leadership in the world, and deep down even American liberals know this.”

-The Roots of Obama’s Rage

As a commentator, he is graceless and crass, with all of the baggage of the worst American neoconservative jingoism and none of the redeeming optimism. As a writer he is clumsy and often badly informed (hilariously noting at one point, for instance, that the Norwegian government dispenses Nobel prizes, or misunderstanding Hobbes’ eponymous Leviathan to refer to a massive government rather than an extension of the social contract). As a critical thinker he has a long way to go, and his arguments are based almost entirely upon his own baldly-stated “suppositions” or “beliefs”, and as much on his own circumstantial and highly suspect “explanations” and interpretations as on any actual facts. His seething hatred for the President is scarcely hidden behind a rather wilted fig leaf of protestations to the contrary, and his contempt for anybody who disagrees with him is plain in his casual and dismissive tone. He is absurdly preoccupied with meaningless minutiae, such as his fixation on Obama’s removal of Churchill’s bust from the White House, reading volumes into trifling happenstances. Sadly, this book has nothing whatsoever to recommend it, even for those looking for a book critical of Barack Obama. It is an ugly relic of the past, and a venomous agitation that stoops to the lowest of levels to make its erratic and misplaced attacks.

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