Magazine article Insight on the News

War on Words Won't Be Won in Bad Books

Magazine article Insight on the News

War on Words Won't Be Won in Bad Books

Article excerpt

This is that joyous time of year when my colleagues and I on the J. Gordon Coogler Committee confer the Coogler laureate upon the author of the literary work that we adjudge the worst book of the year.

Generally, the award is announced a couple of months into the new year, for in this era of widespread higher education a stupendous number of terrible books are published. Reading them all takes a vast amount of time. In fact, reading merely one or two can be time-consuming. Some are sleep-inducing, particularly those written by the so-called professoriat, and others can leave the reader nauseated, such as the dreadful stuff written by that ghastly literary set cosseted at writers' workshops - think of novelist Robert Coover, the author of The Public Burning and Coogler laureate for 1977.

This year our job was easy. Another feminist law school Professor has heaved up a semiliterate tract, and all the judges rushed to it. Years of reading bad books suggested to us that she would turn out true drivel, beyond anything any other university professor might exhale. Surely her scholarly efforts would be a mess upon the page.

We have not been disappointed. Professor Catharine MacKinnon, the screaming jewel of the University of Michigan Law School, has won the Coogler Award. for 1993. Her book is Only Words, another feminist sally into misandry. Now there is a word we in the age of feminist rant rarely see. It means the hatred of men.

The argumentation in Only Words is specious and sophomoric. Its data are dubious when not arrantly bogus. Its prose is what we have come to expect from the modern law school. And its theses are nonsensical and often mischievous to the Bill of Rights, the rule of law and a happy sex life. This is such a dreadful book that I shall not be surprised if it also wins a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.

MacKinnon believes that words are deeds. Bad words are the same as bad deeds. Ipso facto, bad words should be treated as bad deeds, which is to say punishable by law. The First Amendment shall be abbreviated.

But a word is not a deed. To enter into debate with such a fraud is to enter into her fantasyland. If a bad word is a bad deed, then a good word is a good deed, so the honored axiom that "actions speak louder than words" is extinct. …

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