We move toward the second commemoration of the date that also lives in infamy, still puzzling over how so many intellectuals, so called, literary sophisticates and fatuous scribblers could have spoken and written so much idiocy, metaphorical and otherwise, about what happened on Sept. 11 at Ground Zero.
"Two years of gibberish," Geoffrey Wheatcroft calls it in the British magazine Prospect. He collected some of the most blatant examples of hideous perceptions, showing how easy it is for man's word to exceed his grasp.
Adam Gopnik, writing in New Yorker magazine, detected an aroma at Ground Zero "almost like the smell of smoked mozzarella." Novelist Alice Walker mused over the appropriate punishment for Osama bin Laden: "What would happen to his cool armor if he could be reminded of all the good, nonviolent things he has done?" she asked. "What would happen to him if he could be brought to understand the preciousness of the lives he has destroyed? I firmly believe the only punishment that works is love."
Mary Beard, classics editor of the Times Literary Supplement, felt required to admit a feeling she shared with many of her colleagues, "that the United States had it coming." Michael Moore, the documentary-film maker determined to prove that he's the most stupid white man around, lamented that the target was New York City.
"If someone did this to get back at Bush," he said, "then they did so by killing thousands of people who did not vote for him! Boston, New York, D.C., and the planes' destination of California - these were places that voted against Bush." Their mistake was merely in their targets; the Islamist bombers should have aimed at cities in the red states.
Mr. Wheatcroft detects a mindset that binds these intellects to militant Islam: "They share the common experience of defeat." Islam is still waiting for a renaissance of its golden years between the 8th and 12th centuries. If the Leninist left was buried in the rubble of the Berlin Wall, the literary academics are still trying to climb out of the ashes of Ground Zero.
The double-think of the left is seen most starkly in the works of Noam Chomsky, who continues to enjoy a following among naïve and politically correct sophomores. Clothed in the rhetoric of moral arrogance, Chomsky has preserved the forked tongue he famously revealed in the '60s when he wrote of his opposition to the Vietnam War in the New York Review of Books: "It is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and to expose lies."