This is the kind of thing that happens when for the first time in about a year I tried to stay off the computer for 48 hours, while I was out of town. While I was gone, I managed to miss an email from a reporter named Robby Soave from the Daily Caller who wanted a comment for a piece he was writing on teaching Howard Zinn in the Philadelphia schools and the blog post I wrote supporting that. I have a long history of talking to conservative radio hosts and journalists -- ask Jana Winter of Fox News, just to name one -- but I'm not sure if I'd talk to the Daily Caller under the best of circumstances, because they're not only right (politically), but so, so many times they get facts wrong. Most recently was an attempted hit piece on Sen.-elect Cory Booker, which given my distrust of Booker I might have jumped on, if remotely true.
But what was really priceless was one of the things that Soave wanted to press me on. This from the email (sent at 8:07 p.m. on a Saturday night) that I read after the fact:
Also, I note in your post that you refer to Chinese dictator Mao Zedong favorably, as if it would not be strange for you to be Maoist....?
If you're not old enough to remember Mao Zedong, and that would include Robby Suave, from what I could gather, he was a ruthless Chinese dictator responsible for the deaths of millions of his own people, kind of like Hitler except Mao's book was red and he had better PR people. So what on earth would cause a Daily Caller journalist to thnk that I'm a Maoist?
This line, from my post, apparently:
Although readers here assume because of my fondness for the radical '60s that I emerged from the womb carrying a picture of Chairman Mao, the truth is that I was a bland center-left voters and a pretty "balanced" journalist in the '90s, until the Iraq War, the Patriot Act and everything that came with it arrived after 2001.
In other words, a reference to one of the most iconic songs of the rock era, ":Revolution" by the Beatles, in which John Lennon famously (although not famously enough for Robby Soave of the Daily Caller) sang that "if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao/you ain't gonna make it with anyone anyhow." That went over Soave's head, as did the nuance that I was joking not about what I believe but what Attytood readers seem to think I believe. But then most stuff goes over Soave's head, apparently
Here's what he published, (moments after I didn't respond right away to the email he sent me while I was at dinner celebrating my son's 19th birthday):
Mao, the Chinese dictator whom Bunch recalled fondly, ruled communist China from 1949 to 1976. His policies of mass starvation and execution are responsible for an estimated 50 million deaths.
Comrades, I have to tell you that made my day, Hopefully, 100 flowers of right-wing idiocy will bloom from Soave's randomly bizarre act of journalism. As John Lennon also said, "Don't you know it's gonna be...alright." But then you already knew that, even if Robby Soave didn't.