Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

November 25, 2012

An open letter to a NYT Magazine hack

Filed under: journalism — louisproyect @ 4:18 pm

Andrew Goldman

Dear Mr. Andrew Goldman,

First of all, let me congratulate you on being reinstated as a NY Times Magazine contributor after being suspended for tweeting a remark about Tippi Hendren sleeping her way into a job acting in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Birds”. Since we know what stiff competition it is in becoming a hack for the Gray Lady, I can only wonder who you slept with to crawl your way to the top of journalism. But whoever you decide to fuck with, my guess is that it was your hatchet job on Oliver Stone’s Showtime series on American history in the 20th century that greased your way back in to the paper’s good graces. It is not only well-written but deeply schooled in the art of deviation and misdirection so enshrined there.

While most NY Times readers will not have a clue how your hands were helping to tip the scales of justice to one side against Stone, I do.

You deploy two experts on American history to rebut Stone, one from the “right”, the other from the “left”. While Ronald Radosh’s credentials as a rightist are well-established through his advocacy for Francisco Franco, it is rather mischievous to invoke Sean Wilentz as some kind of leftist given his hatchet job on Howard Zinn, another historian who dared to present a “revisionist” take on American history.

As I pointed out in https://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2010/02/04/howard-zinns-detractors/, Sean Wilentz took the opportunity of Zinn’s passing in 2010 to piss on his grave in the L.A. Times, saying “What he did was take all of the guys in white hats and put them in black hats, and vice versa.” You knew what you were doing when you passed Wilentz off as a “leftist” and I knew what you were doing as well.

Yours truly,

Louis Proyect


  1. Nice chest hair! Clearly takes his fashion tips from BHL.

    Comment by Steve — November 25, 2012 @ 4:33 pm

  2. Boom.

    Comment by Brandy Baker — November 25, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

  3. Amazing how a simple letter to some journalist I’ve never heard of allows one to safely conclude on which side of the Gaza siege Mr. Goldman is on.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — November 25, 2012 @ 5:04 pm

  4. You’re right that Andrew Goldman has what he says Stone lacks, “the deliberation gene,” i.e., the knack of waiting for the right moment” to scheme your way in. But I wouldn’t go along with you that the article is “well written.” Smooth, yes. Consider, “The sun peeking through….late morning clouds,” the inside dope on the interviewee’s’ sun glasses, “the glinting river” and the crap about Goldman–who is he?– and his wife in Connecticut. He fills space so there will be less left to deal with the points Stone’s “The Untold History of the US” raises. These he then washes over with off the cuff remarks by “historians” chosen to cut down Stone so he doesn’t have to do the job himself. He’s a friend, see? Who is the luminary who does this job best? The sold-out leftist Ronald. Radosh who now does his thinking in The Weekly Standard. There’s also Douglas Brinkley who bases Truman’s glory on the fact that he “presided over the end of World War II, racially integrated American troops, helped create the state of Israel and airlifted supplies into Soviet-blockaded West Berlin.” Presided? That’s good, something you can do while asleep. As far as integration goes, Truman was forced, begrudgingly, into making a move that couldn’t be put off any longer for fear of civil unrest. The way Israel was created was of course a crime. The Berlin airlift was an important step in the Cold War. But I suppose Brinkley thinks that was a “Good War” too. I had to laugh when Brinkley flashed his humanity by wondering if maybe there wasn’t a moral problem involved in dropping atom bombs on Japan. It’s permissible for the “main stream” to have qualms now, seventy years too late. Today’s plague of drone warfare doesn’t ruffle their neat little conformist consciences. The gist of this “friendly” hatchet job that Stone ought to find patronizing is in the title, “Stone Rewrites History.” How can anyone question such a big well-dressed thing as Establishment History? To do so is only to scribble fantasies.

    Comment by Peter Byrne — November 25, 2012 @ 8:47 pm

  5. Peter, that “well-written” was not meant seriously. It was a sucker punch. Btw, I heard back from Goldman: “Thanks, Louis”. I assume he was being sarcastic, as was I.

    Comment by louisproyect — November 25, 2012 @ 9:04 pm

  6. Hi, dear Louis. I’m Julio Fernández Baraibar, your friend from Buenos Aires. I lost the contact with you, but I remember you very heartly.
    We are struggling just now against the decision of Judge Griesa and I remembered that you, once, told something about him in relation with somo trotskist militants. Do you remember the case?
    I wait for your response.

    Comment by juliofernandezbaraibarJulio Fernández Baraibar — November 25, 2012 @ 10:16 pm

  7. Louis — I, too, was offened by Wilentz’s comments at the time of Howard’s passing. A friend of mine noted at the time that “curiously or not, the initial AP posting included some snide remark of Schlesinger on Zinn, and then in the NYT obit — the heir apparent (designate?!) court liberal historian Sean Wilentz put in his two cents, seemingly in much the same vein — all of this calling to mind “the enormous condescension of posterity” of which another much missed historian spoke (the Washington Post showed less courtesy to the facts, having Zinn’s wife still alive !)”

    Comment by Avram Barlowe — November 26, 2012 @ 1:45 am

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