Sunday, January 15, 2006

Hyman Hoodwinking Again

Mark Hyman treats us to another of his book recommendations (rather than actually offer commentary on anything) in his most recent editorial. And as with past Hyman recommendations, it appears that this tome’s rightful place is in the bathroom—and not as reading material.

I’ve not read “Hoodwinked” by Jack Cashill, which purports to unmask laziness and chicanery by notable intellectuals (a term that apparently is synonymous with liberals in Cashill’s vocabulary) such as Alfred Kinsey, Margaret Sanger, Rachel Carson, and Charles Darwin.

But while I haven’t read it, I have done some research on who Jack Cashill is. Under the heading of “consider the source” and “physician, heal thyself,” it would be wise to keep the following in mind:

Jack Cashill is a regular contributor to ultra-rightwing website
He wrote a
7 part series for WND arguing that radical pro-lifer James Kopp did not murder a doctor who performed abortions. Kopp later admitted that he had killed the doctor, but Cashill has apparently not retracted the story.

Cashill also has similar warm fuzzy feelings about Atlanta Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph, whom
he suggests was targeted by the FBI because of his anti-abortion politics. Rudolph has confessed his guilt in the bombings.

Cashill has written a book suggesting that Clinton friend and cabinet officer Ron Brown, who died in a plane crash in the former Yugoslavia,
was actually assassinated because of his potentially embarrassing revelations about the administration.

Cashill suggests that
the crash of TWA 800 was not an accident (as was determined by a lengthy investigation), but was part of yet another Clintonian cover-up.

has blamed the 9/11 attacks on the Clinton administration, somehow working it into an expansive narrative that also includes the Olympic Park bombing and TWA 800.

Cashill’s most recent book
suggests that Muhammad Ali was somehow responsible for racial division in the United States in the late 60s and for ending “the dream” of Martin Luther King.

claims that the theory of evolution is a fraud and that there is no compelling fossil evidence for it.

One of my favorite Cashill nuggets is the following quote, culled from his

The America that the terrorists hate is progressive America: gay rights,
abortion, radical feminism, pornography, MTV, you name it. And yet, our
progressive friends are almost pathetically eager to embrace radical Islam. Why?
There’s one thing they have in common: their shared distaste for America.

That’s right: the animosity of the Islamic fundamentalists toward the United States doesn’t have anything to do with U.S. troops stationed in Saudi Arabia, the American position vis-à-vis the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, or decades of disingenuous foreign policy guided by thirst for Middle Eastern oil—it’s those damned feminist lesbians watching MTV!

All this suggests that “Hoodwinked” probably features the same lucidity and intellectual content as an
Anna Nicole Smith awards speech. But again, I haven’t read the book. So, I’ll provide some excerpts of reviews from those who have. I was unable to find an official review from a reputable source, so I’ll simply give you some reader reviews about Hoodwinked from And lest one think these are simply people who are predisposed to dislike the book’s premise, keep in mind that these are written by people who actually looked at the book and decided to plunk down the $25 for it.

This book uses a mixture of truth, half-truth, and misrepresentation to attack
the Godless "progressives." It's aim, I assume, is to "preach to the choir" of
religous conservatives, boosting morale - it will have no effect on Godless
"progressives" except to provoke righteous anger. The treatment of evolution is
atrocious. The book also suffers from lousy proof-reading - in various places
Cashill gives the authors of "Inherit the Wind" incorrectly, inadvertently uses
a man's middle name (rather than last) to refer to him, and gives the title of
Kinsey's second book wrong.

If one were not knowledgeable of the subject matter, it would be easy to swallow
Cashill's assessments whole and unquestioned.

At the recommendation of a friend, I purchased Hoodwinked. I eagerly anticipated
the opportunity to read about lazy or fraudulent academics hoist on their own
pitard. (As a faculty member at Harvard, by the way, I expect that my own work
should also be held to standards that require clear, rational, and obviously
non-fraudulent argument.) There are certainly some interesting and entertaining
stories in this book. However, it was difficult to accept any of Cashill's
theses at face value after reading chapter 4. It was abundantly clear from both
the book jacket and large portions of chapter 4, 'Darwin's Heirs', that Cashill
is no lover himself of honest intellectual effort. The stunning hypocrisy of an
obvious evangelical Christian creationist (Cashill) accusing Neo-Darwinists of
intellectual fraud was difficult to stomach.

As another reviewer rightly submits, this book offers some slightly interesting
attempts at discrediting intellectuals of left-leaning type...until we get to
Chapter 4. After that, you come to understand that this author is defecating on
your time, energy, and (poorly spent, if you bought it) money. Run; run as fast
as you can from this work; better yet...borrow it from someone and read it...but
start with Chapter 4. That will keep you from utterly wasting your time beyond

The most laughably unsupported and wild claim of moral superiority has to do
with Mr. Cashill's claim on the Judeo-Christian ethic. I agree that it is in
trouble from some of the persons so represented, but no less from liberals, than
from right-wing nut brains. Mr. Cashill has shown little Christian forebearance
himself in his joyful de-constructions. I wonder how Mr. Cashill from his high
moral position would de-construct Mr. Robertson statements...or Mr. Bush's
decidedly un-Christian strategy of "kill your enemy"?

Unfortunately the author simply lets his right wing prejudices run wild. Which
is unfortunate, for he is right about intellectual hucksters in many cases.
However he himself becomes one when he starts his rants about evolution,
sexuality, etc. One problem, among many, appears to be that he simply has no
grasp of scientific method at all.

The author writes about bias from a biased point of view. If one is looking for
truth, one should avoid this book.

This isn't a novel or research; it's propaganda for the tenacious conservative
right that continues to peddle half truths skillfully written to ensure being
Hoodwinked. This is cherry picking at it's best and in normal conservative
fashion an issue is plucked clean of any useful material with the rest of the
'picture' out of view. This book serves one purpose: to blind those seeking the
entire argument of an issue and the promotion of old school thinking of the
conservative dogma. No wonder free thinking scares conservatives; once you get
the ball rolling, their house of cards will come crumbling down.

This reader cannot easily recall the last time he encountered such a cumbersome
work of tripe. This book is easily the most tiresomely and trite diatribe of the
year. Save yourself some money and go watch mold growing. There is neither
anything new in the way of rhetoric, illuminating in the way of "information",
or enlightening in the way of political philosophy. It's another one of those
works where you'll be slapping your head wondering a. why did you buy this? and
b. can I use it as a doorstop? This is fringe reading at best for those who are unable to spend their time more productively.

And those are The Counterpoints.


At 11:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for juxtaposing Anna Nicole Smith's and Hyman's outputs.

Things are much clearer now.

At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given the poor reviews that this book has gotten, one wonders if ol MarkyBoy has a personal or financial interest in it, aside from his interest in furthering extremist propaganda.


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