The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Saturday, April 27, 2002  

David Horowitz: Hysterical Hetero

David Horowitz, the former radical turned conservative agitator was among the members of the Punditboro who had quite a bit of fun this week mocking author David Brock for his allegedly pathological dishonesty.

Writing on his web site, and in, the sandals-with-suits-wearing conservative gadfly accused Brock of lying about Horowitz in his latest book, Blinded by the Right.

Horowitz makes a fleeting appearance in the book, as Brock relays an anecdote in which Horowitz comes off looking like something other than the warm-hearted tolerant intellectual he purports to be.

In the book Brock wrote: "Horowitz uttered a hateful anti-gay slur to an editor friend of mine whom Horowitz didn't know was gay. At the time, I shrugged it off, not willing to face the truth about my friends and supporters. Not until such epithets were hurled at me would I realize I had been on a fool's errand in trying to carve out a place for myself as an openly gay icon in the conservative movement. Only then did I begin to see by allowing myself to be used as a kind of gay right-wing poster boy, I had been complicit in the bigoted politics and rank hypocrisy of the conservatives."

Horowitz correctly determined that the editor in question was Chad Conway of The Free Press. In a self-defense published on and on [Ed.:Full story requires subscription.], Horowitz, with his customary ferocity, denounces Brock as a liar.

Horowitz says he called Conway to back up his attack on Brock. It appears that Conway came through. "Chad had not read Brock's book, and was unaware that it contained the anecdote in question," wrote Horowitz. "In other words, Brock chose to print a hateful, damaging story about me -- which contradicted everything he otherwise knew about me from my public and private behavior -- without even checking with his source to see if he had heard or remembered the incident correctly," adds the highly agitated rabble-rouser.

"When I read Chad the passage, he was as appalled by Brock's slander as I had been," claims Horowitz. "Chad and I had discussed Brock many times over the years of our friendship, and Chad knew that my views of Brock and his political conversion were entirely free of anti-gay prejudice."

Horowitz asserts that "for the record" Conway agreed, "You [Horowitz] have never made an anti-gay slur to me or about David Brock or anyone else; you have never said anything hurtful to me -- not about gays or anything else."

"When I [Horowitz] confronted the bestselling defamer [that would be Brock] on [National Public Radio] with this refutation of his claims, [Brock] was not the least apologetic or regretful for what he had done."

Conway's E-Mail Exposes Horowitz

Since then, things have taken a dramatically different turn.

Media Whores Online apparently got its hands on an e-mail written by Conway after the controversy exploded. In the e-mail, not only does Conway confirm Brock's version of the story, he adds even more to it, and offers to write a letter in support of Brock's account.

Here's Conway: "I didn't know about Horowitz's piece [in]. Here is the piece he left off: I told David Brock on the telephone the amusing story of how I came out to David Horowitz. [Horowitz] was on the phone with me one day, a piece he had written on some gay issue came up and he said to me, 'The problem with the gays is that they are hysterical!' I laughed and said, 'David, you don't think I am hysterical do you?' 'Jesus,' said Horowitz, [']you're not gay are you?' "

"Horowitz was always very good about the gay issue with me, and personally I don't think that he is a homophobe," writes Conway. "But there is absolutely no doubt that he stuck his foot in it that day, in that conversation, and that he might have said even more hurtful things (and saying all gays are hysterical IS hurtful) if I hadn't outed myself. Horowitz is an ass for trying to turn this on David."

"I would be happy to write Brock a letter backing him up, though I doubt anyone cares," Conway adds.

We can't leave this matter without noting the irony of Horowitz using the term "hysterical" in reference to "the gays." If you haven't had the pleasure of watching Horowitz on a talk show or news program sputtering like a deranged fanatic from the lunatic fringe, we suggest you keep your eye out for the next available opportunity. Horowitz may have swung from left to right, but the guerilla tactics and inability to countence disagreement that characterized this washed up radical in the '60s have stuck with him. It's an ugly sight, indeed.

By the way, the conclusion to Conway's e-mail message is priceless: "All that being said, I have now read the book. It is an extraordinary piece of work and has absolutely bowled me over. Bravo, David!"

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