Last semester, I wrote an article recommending “Trailer Park Boys,” a show centered on the stupidity of the dope-dealing, heavy-drinking, uneducated inhabitants of a Canadian trailer park. Among the many traits that make “Trailer Park Boys” great is that it operates under no delusions about how stupid a show it is, even if its stupidity is implemented in a smart way. It never imagines itself to be smarter or more important than it is. The main character, Ricky, is well aware of how stupid and uninformed he is and readily acknowledges it. Endearingly, he’s eternally trying to pass his grade 10 (sophomore year of high school), despite being at least 30, to impress his daughter.
Unfortunately these valuable lessons about acknowledging stupidity and seeking growth through learning seem to have been lost on the organizing committee of Trinity’s chapter of the Young America Foundation (YAF), a national conservative youth organization. YAF recently announced that they will be bringing Dinesh D’Souza to campus on Mar. 7. Indeed, due to demand, they have secured Laurie Auditorium, as they did when they brought Milo Yiannopoulos to campus. I would say that congratulations are in order for any student group that is able to arouse enough interest in a speaker to warrant the use of Laurie Auditorium. That is, I would say that if I thought the speaker drawing the interest was worth anyone’s time.
Like Yiannopoulos, D’Souza is not worthy of attention. A confessed felon, D’Souza pleaded guilty in 2012 to a felony count for using straw donors to make $20,000 in illegal campaign donations to a Republican candidate for the senate. He has termed his latest lecture tour “D’Souza UNCHAINED.” The lack of shame would be appalling if it weren’t such a transparent money-grab.
D’Souza is a filmmaker. His 2012 thriller-documentary, “2016: Obama’s America,” managed a 25 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, worse than Suicide Squad. It seems the felony took its toll on D’Souza’s filmmaking abilities though. His 2016 masterpiece, “Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party,” has an eye-popping four percent, worse than “Fifty Shades Darker.” D’Souza can’t make a film better than a terrible adaptation of the terrible sequel to a terrible kink novel.
Lest anyone doubt his versatility, D’Souza is also, ostensibly, a writer. In a 2010 Forbes article, D’Souza summed up the extensive legacy of Barack Obama’s father: “This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anticolonial ambitions, is now setting the nation’s agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son.” Taking the words right out of my liberal mouth, The American Conservative described the article thus: “Dinesh D’Souza has authored what may possibly be the most ridiculous piece of Obama analysis yet written.”
If anything, D’Souza’s ridiculousness has only grown since. Before speaking at Columbia University earlier this week, he tweeted, “Snowflakes beware! I’m on my way to Columbia where we’re going to talk Trump, conservatism and campus activism.” At the talk there were no disruptive snowflakes, just students asking probing questions. How disappointing.
It really is pathetically sad to watch D’Souza, a 55-year-old man, degrade himself in his quest for relevance by aping the language of Milo Yiannopoulos. It is all the more ironic and revealing that Yiannopoulos was only dropped by movement conservatives and, of all places, Breitbart News, after his past comments defending pedophilia emerged in recent days. His promotion of misogyny, racism and anti-Semitism were apparently not enough. Neither, it seems, was his complete lack of any real intellectual rigor. Did Trinity’s conservatives think that having a man declare “feminism is cancer” in Laurie without any further clarification or academic argument was a means of convincing the liberals on campus of the merits of conservatism?
D’Souza may actually be a step up in that regard. At one of his recent talks, D’Souza declared, “The progressive Left has been, from its origin, the party of racism, bigotry, segregation, slavery, lynching and the KKK.” Such a statement can only be defended by the particularly amusing blend of alternative facts and logical somersaults that are a hallmark of D’Souza’s films, writings and public lectures. I call this a step up from Milo because such a nonsensical argument may stir real conservatives to put forward a compelling case simply out of disgust at how hacks like D’Souza have co-opted their intellectual tradition for the purposes of petty fame and profit.
YAF could have invited intelligent conservatives like David French or Ben Shapiro who intelligently articulate the merits of conservatism. Instead, they opted for the stupid, gaudy, intellectually bankrupt antagonism of D’Souza. After the lecture I’ll probably watch some “Trailer Park Boys” for a refreshing dose of morality, humility and intellectual honesty.