In a long essay, Roger Kimball informed us that "many illusions were challenged on September 11. One illusion concerns the fantasies of academic multiculturalists, so-called." Kimball named some of these multi-cultis, though he apparently couldn't think of many living ones: "Figures like Edward Said and Susan Sontag, Harold Pinter and Noam Chomsky continue to bay about the iniquity of America, the depredations of capitalism, and so on," said Kimball, but thanks to 9/11 and the great success of our subsequent wars, "the spurious brand of multiculturalism that encourages us to repudiate 'dead white European males' and insists that all cultures are of equal worth may finally be entering a terminal stage."
Kimball cited no evidence for this alleged turn toward monoculturalism, but he did let readers know how deep his contempt of multiculturalism ran: he reproduced a 1910 assessment of the typical native of Afghanistan as "unscrupulous in perjury, treacherous, vain and insatiable, passionate in vindictiveness... by breed and nature a bird of prey," and pronounced it "refreshingly frank." One wonders why America bothers to liberate such people.
Much of the essay's remainder was devoted to snarls against the liberal media et alia, who in Kimball's view "had been waiting for a repeat of Vietnam" in Iraq and Afghanistan, which hope "the Bush administration disobliged by giving them a conflict in which America was in the right and was winning." Though Kimball's reminiscences reach back to the Periclean Age, they stop well short of the present, in which Americans are sharply divided as to the efficacy of those wars. Maybe multiculturalism is making a comeback.
UPDATE. I tried insofar as possible to avoid all the 9/11 X ballyhoo, for a couple of reasons. First of all, with due respect to the very good writers who have tackled the subject, I have not read a blessed thing this month that has illuminated 9/11 -- as history, as event, as a social or political phenomenon or anything else that would make such an account worth reading.
People have said good things about New York magazine's Encyclopedia of 9/11, and it's a nice approach, but I mainly learned from it how information workers, some of whom were kids when the towers fell, have risen to the challenge of writing something linkworthy about 9/11. Irony is dead! No it's not! Well it sort of is and sort of isn't! And this is not to speak of other reminiscences that egregiously stink. ("Without 9/11... I would not have started blogging; I would not now be a journalist." As if the attacks weren't tragic enough!)
Between the people who wrote about it because they or their editors felt they ought to, and the people who wrote about it as a therapeutic exercise (and who seemed to think, as the people on reality TV shows do, that therapy works better if it's done in public), 9/11 X just dumped a more dross onto what was already a mountain of it.
Maybe you've seen something really good, but before you recommend it to me, please ask yourself: Is this just a clever bit of magazine prose for which the MacGuffin is 9/11? Basically if it isn't Voltaire on the Lisbon Earthquake I don't want it.
All honor, though, to alicublog commenters on the less exalted topic of my column and its subjects. Angry Geometer, for example, offers an unexpectedly convincing endorsement of Don Surber's Hibernian hate-on:
I think it's no coincidence that they're the only ethnicity, aside from American Indians and Vikings, that are deemed worthy of sports mascotdom. The reason is because they are terrifying. Besides, we saved their soda bread eating asses in Dubya Dubya Eye Eye, so Bono should shut up if he's not also going to mourn Chappaquiddick, the real Irish 9/11.On a more meta note, Jeffrey Kramer observes, "Every time we toast the Founders for creating an open, tolerant society dedicated to equal protection under law, we gain five Freedom Points. When we collect fifty Freedom Points we can trade them in for a secret prison camp for torturing Muslims."