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Beginning to See the LightSex, Hope, and Rock-and-Roll$
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Ellen Willis

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816680788

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816680788.001.0001

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My Podhoretz Problem—and His

My Podhoretz Problem—and His

Chapter:
(p.245) My Podhoretz Problem—and His
Source:
Beginning to See the Light
Author(s):

Ellen Willis

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816680788.003.0027

This chapter presents the author’s reflections about Norman Podhoretz. Like many leftists, Podhoretz is Jewish and has relied on verbal braininess as his chief means of getting on in the world. He purports to be, among other things, an intellectual. Yet despite his occupation and his manifest engagement with ideas, the author suggests that Podhoretz is far more visceral than cerebral. The power of his writing to anger or, conversely, to evoke the superior eyeroll depends largely on its subtext. On some level Podhoretz is usually raising a basic question: is real freedom desirable, or even possible? For the past decade his answer has been an aggressive and passionate no. Since his message often comes packaged in frenetic exaggeration and dubious logic, he is an easy target. But because radicals are not nearly so sure of their own answer as they pretend, he makes them nervous.

Keywords:   Norman Podhoretz, leftists, Jews, radicals

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