Historian Ron Radosh’s comment on the History News Network’s interview with Oliver Stone ally Peter Kuznick was just a tasty appetizer. Today he serves up the main course at his blog.
Radosh loads up our plate with plenty of arguments in contrast to the buffet of lies that Kuznick and Stone are preparing to stuff down America’s throat:
If you wonder how people on the Left deal with their critics, look no further than this new lengthy interview with Prof. Peter Kuznick, the co-writer and co-director with Oliver Stone of the forthcoming Showtime ten-part documentary on the 20th Century. I first blogged about the projected series last January. Based on what Kuznick and Stone said about their concepts, I presented a tough and cogent argument about how it promises to be one of the most ill-advised and dangerous treatments of our past history by the media. I also addressed what I thought Kuznick was bringing to the documentary. I called him “yet another of the politically correct tenured radicals; a man of far left sympathies who considers Oliver Stone a man of great insight and profound truths.” And I called him a “left-wing activist whose concept of education verges on indoctrination, not scholarly inquiry.”
Now, in his new interview, Kuznick inadvertently confirms every one of the charges I made, and if anything, indicates that perhaps I was not even tough enough in my critique. First, I note that evidently my first blog hit home. Kuznick, instead of dealing with any of the specific criticisms I made, makes the following gratuitous comment: “I knew that participating in such a project would make me a target for the Ron Radoshes and David Horowitzes of the world, but that was a small price to pay for reaching such a vast audience of people eager to gain a deeper and more critical understanding of U.S. history.”
To those on the Left, for whom my name and David Horowitz’s name are both anathema, he manages to score a cheap point by informing his left-wing base that anything either of us says holds no weight, and he is boldly going ahead while ignoring any of our criticisms, even if they might have merit. Anyone familiar with Oliver Stone’s anti-Americanism, his profound love for every leftist dictator from Fidel Castro to Hugo Chavez, and his distortion of history revealed in all his fictional treatment of the Kennedy assassination, the Nixon presidency and the rest of his work, knows that one thing viewers will not receive is a “deeper and more critical understanding of U.S. history.”
Indeed, in his lengthy interview, Prof. Kuznick shows that this is precisely what he intends to do. First, he again returns to his own student past, as he shows readers how he combined his scholarship and his activism, and never made a separation between the two. He notes that he went to Rutgers because of those “exciting scholars” he studied with, when what he means are a group of Marxist and left-wing scholars who were at Rutgers in that period. I know most of those he puts on his list. He mentions the very distinguished historian Eugene D. Genovese, but neglects to inform his readers that unlike Kuznick himself, Genovese long ago left the ranks of the left, and became one of the most critical thinkers who openly reevaluated his old premises. In a path breaking essay he wrote for Dissent in 1994, called “The Question: The Fall of Communism and the North American Left,” Genovese tore apart the evasions and obfuscations of the pro-Communist and anti-American left-wing, thereby showing that even an old Leninist was able to learn from history and leave the world Prof. Kuznick still is part of.
The omission is strange, since Kuznick writes that he is “very interested in understanding the process of political transformation.” Evidently, his understanding, however, goes only one way- from those who started out conservative or mainstream and became radical. Those whose thought process led them to reach very different conclusions and to hence take different paths, he either ignores or simply condemns with snide comments.
READ THE ENTIRE THING. I’m doubtful that Kuznick will have the courage to take a bite of the hearty historical meal that Radosh has cooked up. No, Kuznick has spent his entire career stuffing himself with the Left’s intellectual junk food.