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Andrew Young is ""the black man's burden,"" Lillian Hellman is ""a decadent nuisance--the prototype for radical chic,"" and Gore Vidal is ""a Frantz Fanon for upper Park Avenue."" Tyrrell's non-stop insults of ""intellectualoids,"" ""eminentoes,"" and imperfect politicians are irreverent, caustic, and occasionally hilarious--unless his peevish sniping sounds familiar. In this outrageous pantheon of Gucci liberals and hypocrites-for-all-time, left-leaning headliners like John Kenneth Galbraith are studiously dissected and even less vulnerable targets--Walter Mondale--get the same unsparing treatment: ""To him everything is just as Upton Sinclair discovered it in 1906."" Also systematically castigated: Betty Friedan and Bella Abzug; Bob Dylan and Robert Coover; Joseph Califano, Ralph Nader, and President Jimmy (""HIs vision is that of a small-town boomer dreaming of a paved road for Main Street""). American Spectator editor Tyrrell does not confine his literate rage to Democrats; he reserves some scorn for that unindicted co-conspirator (""everything he touched grew fangs and let out a howl"") and in a superlative image he refers to Watergate as ""a historic black hole."" Will Tyrrell (author of the cranky The Future That Doesn't Work, 1977) take his place alongside other professional curmudgeons? Probably not. Several of his subjects are too trifling to merit such high dudgeon, his across-the-board dismissals of homosexual liberation and the women's movement are merely jejune, and nonstop insults can be tedious. Still, his cerebral mooning should attract more than a few nods of approval.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1979
Publisher: Basic Books