city hospitals down for 24 hours arnmonth—but to be brutally honest in arnway no “serious” politician ever can. Tornquote Mailer and Breslin’s campaign slogan,rnthese are campaigns with No bullsh-rnt.rnSo Mailer and Breslin were on the levelrnabout overthrowing the city bureaucracyrnand restoring power to the neighborhoods.rnThompson was dead set onrnstopping the gentrification of Aspen. Biafrarnwas out to show up the local corporate-rnstate interests and to make fun ofrnthe police. Stern’s was a populist thrustrnat the two most common complaintsrnabout life in New York: crime on thernstreets, and the streets themselves.rnAnd that is why this invisible collegernis, if not important in its own right, atrnleast more significant than the soul-lessrncivic faith it challenges. Even if Sternrnhad not dropped out of the race, hernwould not have been elected governor.rnHe would have gathered a lot of votes,rnthough—not so much from people whornlike the death penalty and hate potholesrnas from those who think that Stern isrnfunny and the other candidates arernslime. After all, what does “don’t wasternyour vote” mean, if not “do somethingrnspecial with it”?rnJesse Walker is assistant editor of Libertyrnmagazine.rnForbes-FundedrnMarxismrnby Todd SeaveyrnSteve Forbes may not have won thernRepublican presidential nomination,rnbut the Forbes millions are helpingrnto shape the political culture of BrownrnUniversity. The Forbes Foundation donatedrn$2 million to Brown’s most Marxistrndepartment, Modern Culture andrnMedia.rnWhen Tim Forbes announced the donationrnin 1991, just as I was graduatingrnfrom Brown, the irony of the notoriouslyrncapitalist family giving money to therndepartment was obvious to everyonernat Brown. Even at this very liberal IvyrnLeague school, MCM was often consideredrna leftist joke. That’s something,rnsince it took a lot of effort to stand out asrnpolitically absurd at Brown. Relativismrnwas a basic assumption of most humanitiesrnclasses and many students dressed asrnhippies over 20 years after Woodstock.rnThe Brown student mentioned in ThernBonfire of the Vanities who never heard ofrnhippies is an impossibility—going tornBrown in the 1980’s, he would have metrnhundreds.rnEven in that milieu, MCM was special.rnValued by most students mainly forrnits film production courses, MCM wasrnalso one of American aeademia’s greatrnstrongholds of deconstructionism, thernFrench-spawned brand of film/literaryrntheory that uses relativism—and justrnplain intellectual inconsistency—tornweave together radical feminism, Freudianism,rnand hardcore Marxism. MCMrnwas notorious for blaek-clad, pseudointellectualrnstudents, jargon-filled textsrn(hermeneutic patriarchal signifiers, etc.),rnand professors who humorlessly denouncedrnall capitalism. One such professor,rnDuncan Smith, even wrote of thernrelief he felt when driving from West tornEast Berlin, escaping the crush of commercialism.rnDeconstructionists spend most ofrntheir energy attacking Western capitalism,rnbut the odds are they would hate—rnand attack—the foundations of any societyrnof which they were members. Thernreductio ad absurdum of Enlightenmentrnrationalism, deconstructionism treats everyrnbelief as suspect, every tradition asrnoppressive, and every idea that was notrnthe conscious product of ideology as arnsort of evil subliminal command to bernrooted out and destroyed. No functioningrnsociety—of necessity a thing built onrnhistory, tradition, implicit assumptions,rnand market transactions—could ever bernsatisfactory to deconstructionists. Thoserncivilizations that do exist must be sub-rnerted, through calculatedly strange art,rnscathing political criticism of anythingrninsufficiently egalitarian, and film studiesrnclasses that treat all conventionalrnmovies as propaganda. Forbes’ moneyrnnow aids this cultural mission—or anticulturalrnmission.rnI returned to Brown at the end of thern’95-96 school year for my five-year classrnreunion. I had abandoned my plan tornwear my “Forbes for President” button tornthe reunion when Steve Forbes droppedrnout of the race (go ahead and call me arnneocon—at least he talked about shrinkingrngovernment and instituting schoolrnchoice). The Forbes name was presentrnelsewhere at Brown, though. Tim Forbesrnwas being awarded an honorary degree,rnfive years after the MCM donation. Andrnthe new, snazzier MCM building bearsrnthe legend: “Malcolm S. Forbes Center,rnDepartment of Modern Culture andrnMedia.” While visiting the building, Irnwondered if the Forbes money hadrnworked any magical ideological transformationrnon the department. I noticedrnthat in this bastion of feminism, somernthoughtless perpetuator of patriarchyrnhad left a toilet seat up. Beyond that, thernmost striking thing about the new buildingrnwas the fancier, upgraded productionrnequipment it housed.rnWhen the donation was first announced,rnmembers of the departmentrndownplayed the seriousness of the ideologicalrndivide between the communistrnsympathizers at MCM and America’srnmost notorious family of “capitalistrntools.” Moreover, since communism’srncollapse. Brown has backpedaled a bitrnon its enthusiasm for socialism. Courserncatalogues that a year or two eariier hadrntouted courses’ “Marxist perspectives”rnnow advertised “posteommunist” andrn”postmodernist” perspectives.rnThe changing political times and thernnew production equipment will probablyrnhasten MCM’s move toward emphasizingrnfilmmaking instead of arcane theory.rnWhat students tend to want mostrnout of the department is the praxis theyrncan put to use in film school or in thernnonacademic world. As Ali Kokmenrn(Brown class of 1992), who majored inrnMCM and now works with a New YorkrnCity book publisher, puts it: “I supposernspending my college years in the MCMrndepartment wasn’t a total waste of time,rnbut I’m thankful I’ve gotten better.”rnThe theory wears off. It should not bernlightly dismissed, though. Deconstructionismrn—if only because of its extremismrnand the fundamental nature of its assaultrnon civilization—was the philosophyrnto which I most felt the need to respondrnin college. As such, it probably helpedrninspire me, initially an English major, tornpick up philosophy as a second major,rnand as intellectual self-defense. Havingrnthe deconstructionists’ complaints andrnthe standards of academic philosophy inrnthe back of my mind has, 1 think, helpedrnkeep me from being complacent in myrnviews and kept me from being satisfiedrnwith the pat, often smug answers ofrnmainstream conservatism.rnI cannot blame paleoconservatives forrnbeing suspicious when capitalist millionsrnflow—seemingly without regard to politicalrnand cultural consequences—to peoplerndedicated to the undermining of thernNOVEMBER 1996/45rnrnrn