What Liberals Say and What They Really Mean
by Victor Gold
(WND Books, 210 pages, $15.99)
Mock reference books go back a ways but the first really great practitioner of the art was newspaperman Ambrose Bierce. Collected under various titles and put out in a few editions, his so-called Devil’s Dictionary is the standard for judging the definitional darts of these specialized lexicons. Looking at Bierce’s Dictionary now, the tasty parts of the stew boil to the surface: its bile and wit, its misogyny, its digressions (poetry or snippets of dialogue follow many entries), its practiced cynicism.
Bierce poked at everything about society that seemed false to him, from organized religion to hypocritical social norms, but he also skewered the dissenters. So, while history was “an account mostly false, of events mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers mostly knaves, and soldiers mostly fools,” non-combatants in the Civil War were written off as a bunch of dead Quakers. A nihilist was “a Russian who denies the existence of anything but Tolstoy.”
Liberwocky is not nearly so catholic a work as the Dictionary. Its focus is tight and, in the definitions and the short essays, you can observe the anger seeping through the wit. Author Victor Gold is a grand old man of the right. He worked for Barry Goldwater and Spiro Agnew, co-wrote a book with George H.W. Bush, and back in the day was a regular contributor to several journals of conservative opinion, including this magazine, and his views haven’t “evolved” over the years.
Though Gold allows that liberals “can be a load of laughs” in the abstract, it is clear that he is more maddened than amused by the continuing dominance of progressives in the press, the academy, and certain slices of American society. The first entry under C is “Camelot. A mythical liberal era when all men were equal, affluent, and inspired, and women were beautiful, witty and well-groomed, and Republicans knew their place.”
The italics are his, which pounded the first warnings into my very thick skull that this is a serious book masquerading as a silly one. It wasn’t enough to throw the joke out there and let the audience either understand or fail to grasp it; it was important that you get the point. On closer inspection, the veneer of frivolity is very thin indeed. Gold didn’t even bother with the normal word-usage indicators (n., v., adj., etc.) that are common to the genre.
The point, he explains, is that words “like ideas-even empty calorie words that pass for ideas- have consequences,” and that liberals have been very good at molding the language to their own propaganda ends. Gold aims to draw out the assumptions behind word usage and thus do his own little bit to ruin some poor Democratic Party hack’s day.
Here’s is Gold’s definition of gender gap: “Liberal media conundrum first posed by a bored desk editor at the Sacramento Bee, circa 1980, viz. (1) the inability of the Republican Party to get wives to vote like their husbands; (2) the inability of the Democratic Party to get husbands to vote like their wives.”
And here’s why it matters: Reporters often thrust microphones and tape recorders at members of the GOP running for office and pepper them with questions about why, according to polls, the Republican is trailing Democrat candidate X in a race for the women’s vote. But I’ve never heard a reporter pull the opposite trick: ask the Democrat why he is doing so lousy with the men.
As a result, the votes of women are assigned grand metaphysical importance. Rather than attempt to make up for a small deficit of female voters by appealing to more men, Republicans try to smile more, talk often about education, and describe their policies as compassionate-in other words, they try to out Kennedy the Democrats.
Much of Gold’s shtick is predictable but probably worth saying. We may know that Peter Jennings will refer to left-wingers who take their grievances to the streets as “alienated” and right-wingers who do the same as an “angry mob,” but it’s worth reminding ourselves of this now and again.
Liberwocky really gets interesting when Gold departs from the well-trod trail of conservative media criticism and hike his skepticism up to altitudes where the air gets thin. In a five-page essay titled “SPIN-DOCTORING HISTORY,” the author expounds on his theory that the “Judgment of History” is, in fact, a “factitious verdict handed down by a stacked jury of Liberal revisionists bent on redeeming the reputation of failed Democratic presidents.”
For evidence, we call to the stand the presidencies of Woodrow Wilson and Harry Truman. Because of foreign policy blunders, personal prickliness, and domestic antipathy to civil liberties, both left the White House under a dark cloud of voter disapproval. However, “by the time the Liberal revisionists had cosmetized the record, all that remained was the myth of Saint Woodrow and the legend of Give-’em-Hell-Harry.” Undaunted, Gold takes out a can of makeup remover and goes to work.
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