Intellectual constipation

Extracts from an interview with Daniel Finkelstein who was denied tenure at DePaul University because of a campaign of intimidation led by Harvard professor, O J Simpson defender and all round little shit, Alan Dershowitz,

Jews sans frontieres: Fun with Finkelstein
There's no "intellectual" battle with Dershowitz. On his part there's no summoning of facts or elegant use of logic. It's just bar mitzvah speeches. He doesn't know anything, I doubt if he's read more than a half-dozen books on the topic. I don't entirely fault him. You can't defend high profile spousal murderers like O.J. Simpson, high profile sexual predators like Jeffrey Epstein, and high profile mass murderers like Radovan Karadzic, yet still have time left over to do serious scholarship. What he does is entertainment; it's a circus. He's like Hitchens. No one really cares about the facts Hitchens brings to bear. He could be making one case today and the opposite case tomorrow. Would anybody notice? They're just interested in the rococo tapestry he weaves around the facts. You don't walk away saying, "I've learned X, Y or Z from Hitchens," you walk away saying, "Wasn't that a witty line? Wasn't that a clever repartee?"

It's the same thing with Dershowitz -- of course, Dershowitz is not witty or clever. You don't learn anything and you don't expect to. I live near Coney Island. It's like the popular sideshow "Shoot the Freak." I haven't read a journal of intellectual opinion in years. Gandhi's collected works come to 90 volumes. Most of it consists of letters, quite a few on diet. There's more moral seriousness in one Gandhi letter to an anonymous correspondent on treating constipation than nearly the whole of our intellectual life.....

Everybody is terrified of Dershowitz because he wields a lot of power and is a very vindictive little man. I wasn't afraid and, I think, did a pretty solid job of demonstrating he is a preposterous charlatan. So he got his revenge by driving me out of academia, although -- in his mind -- not enough to compensate for the damage I did to his name.