This event points to another signal facet of the conservative movement’s long con: convincing its acolytes that they are the true intellectuals, that anyone to their left is the merest cognitive pretender. (“Will this 3 Minute Video Change Your Life?” you can read on FreedomFest’s website. Because three-minute videos are how intellectuals roll. Click here to learn more.)Ooh, we've hit paydirt there. We've just found the mirror image of the faculty lounge zeitgeist. When my colleagues are more interested in think-pieces and life hacks than books they are mirror images of a cultural segment for which they would proclaim nothing but disdain. Three-minute videos aren't how true intellectuals roll, but they are how too many in the Academy roll. And that style of marketing is no less effective with a certain segment of academics than it is with the conservative base.
Perlstein, incidentally, is the author of 3 excellent books on the history of the conservative movement: Before the Storm (about Goldwater and the 1964 Presidential campaign), Nixonland (about the rise of Richard Nixon and what it meant for American politics), and The Invisible Bridge (about the events culminating in Reagan almost but not quite winning the nomination in 1976). Partisan politics are not an interest of this blog, but Perlstein is a master of dissecting American culture. At some point I may re-read Nixonland just so I can blog about Franklins vs. Orthogonians, Perstein's framing of American cultural divides in terms of social clubs in Richard Nixon's college years. It has direct parallels to the internal politics of the faculty lounge.