For a book that has been called “warm,” “lyrical,” and “moving,” Norman Podhoretz’s My Love Affair with America has managed to kick up some furious discord.
In the latest episode of the Podhoretz Wars, Jim Sleeper, a prominent leftist author, has taken aim at FrontPageMagazine.com, calling us an “ideological hit sheet that does drive-by shootings.” What have we done to deserve such abuse?
Nothing, it would appear.
It all started when we innocently posted a review of Norman Podhoretz’s “My Love Affair with America” by FrontPage regular Ron Radosh. In his review, Ron hurled some harsh words at Jim Sleeper, who had previously slammed Podhoretz’s book.
Sleeper is an interesting fellow whose book Liberal Racism antagonized fellow leftists by arguing that race-conscious liberal policies had heightened racial tensions, rather than easing them.
It was a good book. So good, in fact, that it put Sleeper in danger of being expelled from the liberal cult. Ron accused Sleeper of trying to mend his fences with the left by doing a hit piece on Podhoretz.
Naturally, Sleeper was offended by Ron’s remarks. He sent us an angry response. I decided to give Ron an opportunity to answer Sleeper’s attack before posting it. Both letters ran on August 22, 2000.
That should have ended the matter. But, to my surprise, this weekend’s edition of the widely-read Arts and Letters Daily Web site featured a prominent link to the following message from Sleeper:
“On July 2, 2000, the Los Angeles Times Book Review published my 5000-word review-essay of Norman Podhoretz's “My Love Affair With America." Last week, Front Page, an online magazine edited by David Horowitz, published a rebuttal by Ronald Radosh, thinly disguised as his own review of the Podhoretz book. Radosh's essay was packed with delusions and lies about my own review and my record, necessitating a response. But Front Page, an ideological "hit sheet" that does drive-by shootings, neither acknowledged or posted my response. Here it is. I would be happy to read your own responses, sent to email@example.com.”
A text of Sleeper’s response then followed, which was somewhat different from the one he had sent us. Ron Radosh’s response to Sleeper’s latest can be found in today’s Go Postal section.
No doubt, it was all an unfortunate misunderstanding. We are sure that Sleeper will apologize for his error soon.
At least, we think he will.