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Like some horrid recurring nightmare, Robert Bork is back, and he's carrying a big fat book with him. It's called Slouching Towards Gomorrah, and its contents are pretty much what one would expect from a book with such a title, only worse.
In the 300-odd pages galumphing up to his less-than-ringing final summation, Bork offers a kind of K-Tel's Greatest Hits of conservative cultural curmudgeonism, bringing back for an encore all the tired arguments launched against our culture by the likes of Allan Bloom and William Bennett. He denounces everything from flag burning to feminism, and even manages to work in a small tirade against performance artist Karen Finley, the chocolate-smeared, NEA-supported nemesis of all that is good and true.
For all of the attention Bork pays to popular culture, however, he doesn't seem to know terribly much about it. Indeed, his only contact seems to be with the boilerplate denunciations that clutter the pages of contemporary conservative writings. As a result, most of his attacks are a bit off-key. He believes that MTV stands for "Music Television Videos," and he seems to think Nine Inch Nails are a rap group.
It seems a tad preposterous for a man whose writing is so aggressively unwieldy, whose use of evidence is mercenary at best, and whose facts are often glibly wrong, to prattle on about the decline of intellect and the abandonment of objective truth. Bork begins this long tirade with a memory from the '60s: a heap of burning books, smoldering outside the Yale law library after being set afire, of course, by radical students. The image symbolizes to him the "violence [and] mindless hatred" of that decade. Later, Bork makes a vigorous (if not terribly coherent) case for censorship. After a while, one begins to realize that Bork's book is a case study in what Freudians call "projection."
Like some off-brand version of near-beer, Slouching Towards Gomorrah tastes bad, and isn't the slightest bit filling. But the book did succeed in making me feel good about one thing: I'm just glad its author isn't on the Supreme Court. -- Salon