S U C K

"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 16 October 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
 
 


 
    Michael Lind and David Horowitz


 

Investing the phrase "egg on your face" with rich, new significance, Suck is proud to announce the recipients of its first annual Evil Genius Grants. Over the next 10 days, the Suck EGG honorees, as selected by Suck's blue ribbon panel of experts, will be profiled on this page. Included are standouts in fields as diverse as pop music and pop-music criticism, film acting and film directing, magazine punditry and television punditry. But unlike those humdrum, dime-per-dozen MacArthur Foundation "genius" grants, each Suck EGG fellowship is offered not for such narrow purposes as "rewarding outstanding achievement" or celebrating the "power and possibilities of human creativity." Nor are they extended to those whose work represents the "greatest benefit to mankind," like the recently announced Nobel Prizes.

Instead, the Suck EGGs provide an infinitely more valuable service to humanity: Namely, each fellowship is granted only on the condition that for the next calendar year, in the interests of Human Civilization, its recipients stop doing the voodoo that they do so annoyingly well. (To prevent welshing, actual prizes are not conferred until the completion of each term.) Those who aspire to the heights of EGGdom in the future should realize that, by definition, it is impossible for us to accept applications - since this is an award not for who you are, but who you will cease to be.

- Sucksters


  From the 12 Apostles to Al-Anon's Bill W. and Dr. Bob to your Amway-flacking brother-in-law, the best proselytizers draw strength from the stories of their own conversions. Although David Horowitz and Michael Lind have eschewed such traditional paths to enlightenment as falling off a horse or (as we would have preferred) doing some time upstate, they are living demonstrations that a spiritual conversion is also a good career move.

Lind was enjoying a dissolute youth as an assistant bottle washer at a right-wing "think tank" and pennyboy to slack-jawed Im-Ho-Tep William F. Buckley when he was shocked by Pat Robertson's decidedly un-kosher theory about who is really behind the New World Order. The scales quickly fell from his eyes, and within minutes Lind had found a new faith as a recovering conservative. He later explicated his journey toward the light in the sleep-inducing life of the saint in Up from Conservatism and has received his spiritual reward with stints at Mother Jones, Harper's, and The New Yorker. But while leaving behind both the dogmas of the right and the cabalism of the 700 Club, Lind has retained a knack for finding universal field theories of everything. He is a redoubtable conjurer of pie-in-the-sky theorems - past articles include an accusation that closet Europhiles are secretly undermining American culture and a world-domination plan in which Democrats can gently demagogue anti-immigrant sentiment - that wither like Blacula when exposed to the daylight of common sense. That hasn't stopped him from whispering into some powerful ears. One of the author's recent brainstorms - a scheme to invent new Senate seats by gerrymandering the entire United States - was inspired, Lind tells us, by the offhand dinner remarks of a "prominent New York senator." Which conjures a pretty unlovely image: the ambitious young beltway ass-kisser scribbling Pat Moynihan's Jameson-fueled skylarks on the nearest napkin.

But it's out of such humble cloth that Lind fashions his bolts of intellectual thunder, dazzling superstitious editors who regard a reformed conservative as a sort of totemic Tarzan figure from the distant world of the Right.

Horowitz, as he never tires of telling us, began life as a red-diaper radical and is bent on ending it as a rich pampered rightist. Back in the '60s he edited the left-wing magazine Ramparts, achieving the considerable feat of being the least distinguished mind in a field that included such undistinguished thinkers as Todd Gitlin and future Tikkun tycoon Michael Lerner. Ignoring the arguments of reason and of most of his colleagues, Horowitz spent several years lionizing the Black Panthers. According to his own story, Horowitz's discovery that his homeys were actually a bunch of homicidal goons set him on the path of self-righteousness. With the kind of logic known only to the Reborn, Horowitz reasoned that the problem must be with the world rather than with his own judgment and spent most of the 1970s in a dark stupor of the soul, emerging reborn at last as a shrill conservative fishwife and relentless baiter of his former pinko allies. Horowitz brings to his right-wing Center for the Study of Popular Culture the same intellectual rigor he once brought to his left-wing bullhorn bullying, compiling enemies lists that feature such luminaries as Mario Van Peebles and "liberal cartoonist Cathy Guisewite." Intriguingly, though, he has a knack for pulling his punches when job security is on the line. We like Horowitz. His frequent barbed bouquets to the decade that refused to die are as diverting as a nursing home geezer's tales of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, and his determination to keep fighting the last war has taught us what ad nauseam really means.

But while Lind preaches to Washington's Kings and Counsellors and Horowitz offers discount baptisms in the wilderness of Los Angeles, both have shown the market potential of being Saved. We should all be grateful that it's never too late for a deathbed conversion.

Place of Residence:
Lind: Washington, DC
Horowitz: Los Angeles, CA
Ages: Lind: 36 Horowitz: 58
Award: Each recipient will receive 2.5 million Confederate dollars, which can be exchanged at rate for Yankee greenbacks next time the political wind changes.




courtesy of the Sucksters