The prehistory of “liberal fascism”

by John Quiggin on October 28, 2009

A week or two ago I was doing a bit of work on the Wikipedia article on political correctness, and I came up with what may well be the first introduction of the term (initialised as “p.c.”) to the general public, as represented by the readership of the New York Times, in an article by Richard Bernstein.

At least since the 1970s, the description “politically correct” or, in Australia, “ideologically sound”, had been used within the left to mock those who were excessively concerned with doctrinal and linguistic orthodoxy. The story of how “political correctness” turned from an inside joke to a Marxist-inspired assault on All We Hold Dear is reasonably well known. Bernstein traces its emergence as a pejorative to a conference by the Western Humanities Conference held, appropriately enough, in Berkeley.

For me, at least, the real surprise in this article came right at the end, with a quote from Roger Kimball, now of Pajamas Media, who said “It’s a manifestation of what some are calling liberal fascism”. Apparently, Jonah Goldberg owes him royalties.

Update I haven’t made proper use of the excellent NYTimes search facility until now. This search shows a string of sardonic references to political correctness in the Arts section (and one reference to its use by the Chinese CP) appearing in the years before Bernstein’s piece. After that, there’s an explosion). And “liberal fascism” made its first outing (post-1980 at any rate) in a 1988 story about the Dartmouth Review, spoken by then editor Harmeet Dhillon.

Labor Notes Online

by Harry on October 28, 2009

My friends at Labor Notes tell me that it has gone, rather spectacularly, online. More then ten years of archived issues, the current issue, a blog, and a shop (with hoodies and mugs!).

The Dark Depths of Comics History

by John Holbo on October 28, 2009

You don’t have to go back into the 19th Century to find those dark depths, you know. Marvel did swimsuit issues in the 90’s. Start here. Here is another set.

So, which page is your favorite and why? (Defend your answer.) I’m partial to the Escher-like quality of Thunderstrike’s – what is it? I guess you could describe what we are seeing here as a cross between a deltoid and a mobius strip. Or between a pectoral and a tesseract?


In short: where exactly is either his left shoulder or the left side of his chest? Did his shoulder just sort of give up on becoming an arm and then the arm tried again, launching itself out, a bit below, where the intercostals should be? I could stare for hours. It’s like a cross between a Japanese sand garden and a fancy butcher shop. But perhaps you prefer the Doctor Strange pin-up in which the good doctor is – well, how tall would you say he looks to be?

via War Rocket Ajax