Monday, January 23, 2006

Ix-Nay on the An-Play

I keep reminding myself that this blog is about promoting sales of DONKEY CONS, not Michelle Malkin's UNHINGED. But last night, I happened to notice Kathryn Jean Lopez's column at National Review Online, and now find myself about to promote yet another book.

Ms. Lopez (aka K-Lo to the galley slaves who pull the oars at NRO's "Corner" blog) points to the bizarre hatred poured out toward Kate O'Beirne's WOMEN WHO MAKE THE WORLD WORSE:

[Y]ou might think that Kate O'Beirne should be pretty pleased. It would appear that, as of Thursday morning, not only had at least 500 people read her new book, but it had made enough of an impression on them that they were compelled to review it on Amazon.com. ...
[W]e see that one blogger gives kudos for faux reviewers' work: "I want to thank everyone who aided in the sacking of Kate O'Beirne's book Women Who Make the World Worse over at Amazon."
Here's how another blogger gave his marching orders: "Go on over there. Get yourself an Amazon account if you don't have one and write yourself a review of Ms. O'Beirne's book. You can sign your review with an Amazon ‘pen name’ if you don't want to be spammed with conservative hate-dreck. The goal is to ensure that Ms. O'Beirne's book has a one star rating so no one will go out and buy it who would not have already done so."


Now, I think I might once have shook Mrs. O'Beirne's hand at a Heritage Foundation event featuring my late friend Balint Vazsonyi, but I don't really know her. Still, to the extent that I am familiar with her work, she's pretty much a mainstream Reaganite. She's very much pro-defense and has been a critic of the "women in combat" agenda, but there are plenty such people in the world, and I don't remember Mrs. O'Beirne ever going off on some opaque rant about "hunting giraffes" and women getting infections (although that notable Gingrich moment was actually a [sadly bungled] reference to a legit Pentagon study about a genuine problem).

So I was somewhat familiar with Mrs. O'Beirne's ouevre, and when I first heard of her book, didn't expect it to be anything particularly controversial, seeing as how her position on the ideological matrix was certainly not extreme. So what's the book about?

[S]he takes on America’s leading feminists—including Hillary Clinton, Gloria Steinem, Eleanor Smeal, Maureen Dowd, Kate Michelman, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and even Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw. She confronts them with hard evidence of how women like them have done more harm than good over the last four decades.

What's the controversy? A Heritage Foundation type who doesn't much care for Hillary Clinton -- how dare she!! What? Are the people who're attacking O'Beirne just very enthusiastic "Sex and the City" fans? Ardent admirers of Kate Michelman? I simply don't understand this.

Is it just that O'Beirne is a woman who criticizes feminist orthodoxy? Lots of those around: Phyllis Schlafly comes to mind, as do Carolyn Graglia, Danielle Crittenden, Wendy Shalit, Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, et cetera. (I am particularly fond of Mrs. Graglia's radical views of sexuality -- lucky Lino!)

Why go after Kate O'Beirne? Why now? I'm mystified, but K-Lo says:

I'd just ignore it, but in the interest of making the world better (that's the kinda woman I try to be) I’d like to get some of this on record. Maybe it will help the Left admit it has a problem.
"I've never seen such a cynical attempt by liberals to torpedo a book's Amazon ratings," Kate's editor at Sentinel, Bernadette Malone, told National Review Online earlier this week. "It's particularly galling since hardly any of the reviewers seem to have even bought or read the book." Unfortunately, it may be a trend in the making, however. By late Thursday, I had received book-smearing reports involving Mark Levin's "Men in Black" on activist judges and Fred Barnes's upcoming "Rebel-in-Chief" on President George W. Bush, too.


OK, OK, I'm just enough of a cynic to imagine that maybe some conservatives have figured out that the way to sell lots of books is to have yourself viciously denounced by the left-wing blogosphere. (I mean, c'mon: Fred Barnes, menace to Democracy As We Know It? He's a pussycat, about as dangerous as Ward Cleaver.) So maybe the whole VRWC is setting up Mary Rosh/Jeff Gannon type fake left-wing blogs, and using those to incite unsuspecting lefties into smearing their books, thereby generating "buzz," and ....

WAIT A MINUTE! I nearly gave away the whole thing, right? Somehow the neocons running VRWC Inc. failed to get me my new secret decoder ring in time, and so I must have missed the double-encrypted memo explaining that this is all hush-hush. I certainly wouldn't want to give away any national-security secrets, like how only certain brands of aluminum foil are genuinely effective against CIA mind-control rays.

But seeing what's happened to Kate O'Beirne really opened my eyes to the reception that's awaiting DONKEY CONS. I mean, if kind and gracious Kate gets this kind of treatment -- oh, boy! I am serious in saying that this prompted some prayer on my part. Then again, if Kate O'Beirne is the spawn of Satan and Fred Barnes is [insert your favorite Nazi ad hominem here], I guess by April the left will have exhausted its vocabulary of vituperation and our book will be greeted with nothing but hoarse, gasping sounds.

I tell you, when that Karl Rove cooks up a strategy, it's always a humdinger. Great work, Karl. (And mum's the word on the in-tay oil-fay -- your secret's safe with me!)

- MCCAIN