News of the Book

26 Oct

It’s been a while since my last round-up of news about The Reactionary Mind. Here’s what you missed:

Reviews

Two reviews of the book have recently appeared. In The American Conservative, John Derbyshire—the British-born conservative who also happens to be a contributing editor at National Review—didn’t agree with or like the book. But he did have this to say (alas, the review’s behind the firewall):

On the positive side, The Reactionary Mind at least does not snarl or sputter. It is a thoughtful, even-tempered sort of book. The old maid tendency that dominates liberal polemic in the U.S.—the shrieking, clutching at skirts, and jumping up on kitchen chairs that one gets from a Joe Nocera, a Maureen Dowd, or a Keith Olbermann—is quite absent. For this relief much thanks. Nor is the book as immaculately humor-free as most leftist productions.

After citing one sentence from the book, he also writes this:

That’s as close to a sneer as Robin gets. I feel sure that if trapped on a desert island with the man, I should soon commit suicide; but he really seems to harbor very little malice.

Writing in The Daily—Rupert Murdoch’s latest venture in the world of new media—Thomas Meaney gives a decent account of the book’s arguments and offers some intelligent criticism of its main thesis. He also says:

“The Reactionary Mind” demands to be taken seriously by conservatives, and it helps that it’s written with panache. The series of scholarly strikes Robin makes against conventional wisdom are often exhilarating.

This isn’t quite a review, but the editors of n+1 did a little roundtable on what they’ve been reading, almost all of it for and about Occupy Wall Street. Here’s the list of recommendations they come up with:

We recommend Corey Robin’s Reactionary Mind, the first edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves, and Keynes’s General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money.

Good company, I’d say. For more on what they have to say about The Reactionary Mind, read here.

Interviews

Those of you who never made it to that to interview Chris Hayes did with me—or weren’t able to get into the door—can now watch it in three parts: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Forgive the theatrical hand gestures. Mine, that is.

Michael Medved, the right-wing talk radio host, interviewed me on October 21. Sadly, if you want to listen to it, I think you have to buy the podcast.

Sasha Lilley, who interviewed me over the summer about my book on fear, interviewed about The Reactionary Mind as part of KPFA’s Fall Fund Drive. Here’s a shortened version of the interview—the full one will be broadcast later—interspersed with some very sweet hucksterism from Lilley for the book (which was being given away to callers who made donations).

Radio National in Australia did a meaty segment on the Tea Party, for which I gave a lengthy interview.

Philadelphia Weekly did a probing piece on Occupy Wall Street, in which I’m also featured as an interview.

Blogs

The book continues to get a lot of discussion in the blogosphere.  Andrew Sullivan featured it here, here, here, and here; I responded here. Digby featured it here and here (and make sure to read the comments). The Volokh Conspiracy discussed it, sort of, here.

Scott Lemieux, my go-to guide for all things constitutional, took issue with my discussion of Scalia here.

For the last couple of weeks, Howie Klein has been burning up the internet with almost daily blogs about the book, in which he takes a quote from the book and some headline from the news, and spins something entirely fresh from it all.  These links are just a smattering, but you can check all of them out (I think) here.

Richard Seymour, whose blog Leninology (and books) cannot be recommended highly enough, wrote a fascinating post, putting my book into dialogue with Dominic Losurdo’s Liberalism (also make sure to read the comments there; always smart and snappy).

Two other blogs are worth checking out. In one, a blogger at Balloon Juice responds to my post about Ross Douthat, which takes up a theme in my book, and a weird and wonderful discussion ensues. And Marcy Wheeler added some interesting addenda to my discussion yesterday of Fear, American Style (and again, make sure to read the comments section).

Reactionary News

Every day, I come across some little tidbit in the news—often something that gets virtually no attention and goes unremarked—that illustrates some angle of my book.  Here are just three.

A Republican congressman from Iowa looks back fondly on the eighteenth century, when only white male property owners could vote.

A boss in Iowa—seriously, WTF is wrong with Iowa?—ran a contest among his employees called “Guess the Next Cashier Who Will Be Fired.” According to his instructions, the contest would be run like so:

To win our game, write on a piece of paper the name of the next cashier you believe will be fired. Write their name [the person who will be fired], today’s date, today’s time, and your name. Seal it in an envelope and give it to the manager to put in my envelope.

Iowa gets a reprieve in this story: seems like Alabama has revived the days of slavery, only this time it’s undocumented immigrants under the yoke. More democratic feudalism.

7 Responses to “News of the Book”

  1. NWLefty (@NWLefty1) October 27, 2011 at 10:26 am #

    I think it might be a small piece of evidence to your theory of conservatism that of the reviews you mention the only ones the reader must pay for are those from conservative media.

    I have interpreted this in the past to be that conservatives see everything as commerce and are always out for a buck. But in light of your Reactionary Mind ideas, it may be that they think only those with money, therefore power, therefore status belong in the world of political ideas. If you can’t pay to get in, you shouldn’t be there.

  2. McTavish October 27, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

    Hello. Loved the book. Can’t watch your three-part video with Chris Hayes. The sound quality is abysmal. In the first video one sees the mic and neither the man nor the woman use it; can’t adjust the time so I couldn’t get quickly to your part in Part 1 and gave up and in Part 2 you couldn’t be heard well either. Sorry, but this is a dud and on a site devoted to this kind of thing (Vimeo) it was a bit shocking that it couldn’t be heard properly and thus couldn’t be truly understood and I turned off all extraneous sound. Quite a disappointment.

  3. Hey, kids! Get off of my lawn! October 29, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    Love the website, Corey, but must you use a gray font?

    Makes it harder for us old geezers to read…

  4. Owen White November 1, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    Corey – I just read this: http://exiledonline.com/conscience-of-a-radical-corey-robin%E2%80%99s-the-reactionary-mind/ and I thought it well done.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. What is OWS? Is it even a left-wing movement, a left-liberal movement, blind rage, anti-capitalism, anti-corporatism? What? « Left Turn At the Crossroads of Critical Thinking: - November 2, 2011

    [...] adopting more and more conservative rhetoric, as Connor Kilpatrick pointed out in his review of the Corey Robin’s Reactionary Mind: But in a truly sick little twist, the liberals have–in recent years–started cribbing stale [...]

  2. In Which I Talk to a Conservative about His Reactionary Mind « Corey Robin - November 3, 2011

    [...] That’s the quirky  publication that reviewed my book and, in the highest praise I could ever hope for from the right, said of me: “I feel sure [...]

  3. When the Right Hand Doesn’t Know What the Right Hand is Doing « Corey Robin - November 3, 2011

    [...] have finally decided to liberate that review of my book from their firewall.  You’ll recall that the reviewer—John Derbyshire, who’s a contributing editor at National [...]

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