Some weeks ago a commenter asked when I was going to complete my assessment of Rick Perlstein’s Nixonland. Rest assured it will come in a few days. In the meantime here is an interview with Perlstein from the new issue of the libertarian journal Reason, conducted by its managing editor Jesse Walker. Walker asks some searching and intelligent answers, and gets answers from the historian that are more worth reading than some of the more perfunctory interviews that have appeared elsewhere. In one response, Perlstein states: “My theory is that Bonnie And Clyde was the most important text of the New Left, much more important than anything written by Paul Goodman or C. Wright Mills or Regis Debray.”
Yes, he’s talking about the movie. I just hope none of the old New Leftists, reformed or otherwise, among TNN’s readers ever happened to be poring over Growing Up Absurd one night and skipped the chance to go to the movies. Up until now, digesting all those heavy-duty volumes and forsaking the allure of Faye Dunaway in a beret would have been proof of real commitment to the Revolution. Why does the eminent author of Nixonland have a hankering to take that away from the old folks?