David Horowitz

David Horowitz’s Archives: Marc Lamont Hill’s Overrated Black People List: Michael Eric Dyson

Posted on November 23 2010 6:45 am
David Horowitz is the editor-in-chief of NewsReal Blog and FrontPage Magazine. He is the President and CEO of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. His most recent book is Reforming Our Universities

It comes with a blurb from the W.E.B. DuBois Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard’s W.E.B. DuBois institute comparing Dyson to….W.E.B. Dubois. It comes with an imprimatur vouching for Dyson’s scholarly credentials from (drumroll….) rapper Jay Z: “Michael Eric Dyson…is a world class scholar…”  but with no indication of how Mr. Z would know. Finally, Dyson’s book comes with a gag-inducing introduction by the prominent writer Dave Eggers titled “Telling the Truth Gently” (and killing me softly too). Eggers describes the book as “wall-to-wall aphoristic wisdom,”

In fact, Dyson is a virtuouso of the meaningless sentence and the banal (often illiterately expressed) cliche. I can only provide a small sample, which I will simplyquote leaving it to readers to see if they can make any sense of them.


“In the adjectival sense in which we measure racial progress, Obama is not ablack president, but a black president.” (p. 3)

Faith and Spirit

“Spirituality makes religion behave.” (p. 19)


“Barry White’s heterosexual boudoir bravado and elaborate orchestrations are of a piece with the bohemian rhapsodies spawned in homeoerotic fields of play.” (p. 68) I think he means that lesbians are big fans of the late R&B singer Barry White.

Literature, Language and Learning

“The writer’s gift can make us see ourselves and our moral possibilities different than what our reality suggests.” (p. 73)

“I was born in language; I was nurtured in a rhetorical womb.” (ibid)

“Writing is ultimately about rewriting.” (p. 84)

“Try as we might to quarantine knowledge, it invariably sneezes on us far beyond its imposed limits.” (p. 85)

Justice and Suffering

Justice is what love sounds like when it speaks in public.” (p. 125)


“Femiphobia — the fear and disdain of the female.” (p. 157)

“Real men aren’t afraid of real women.” (p. 164)

Preachers and Preaching

“In the best black oratory, style is not juxtaposed to argument; in fact, stylebecomes a vehicle of substance.” (p. 170)

“Paying attention to how you say what you say doesn’t mean you have nothing to say.” (p. 174)

“Martin Luther King’s speech was a clinic in the use of the vocal instrument to vibrate in swooping glissandos and poignant crescendos. King showed that there didn’t have to be strife between lexis (style, such as metaphor) pisteis(argumentation and proof) as there is in Aristotle’s view of rhetoric.” (p. 178)

Race and Identity

“Race is not a card. It is a condition.” (p. 185)

“When O.J. Simpson took that long, slow ride down the L.A. freeway in A.J. Cowlings’s Bronco, it wasn’t the first time he used a white vehicle to escape a black reality.” (p. 188)


“It is not hypocritical to fail to achieve the moral standards that one believes are correct. Hypocrisy comes when leaders conjure moral standards that they refuse to apply to themselves….” (p. 210)

Poverty and Class

“We’re still in the closet about class in America.” (p.260)


“Bill Maher is one of the bravest and most brilliant social critics we have in the aftermath of 9/11.” (p.292)

“Tell the truth gently.” (p.294)

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