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Same Old New Atheism: On Sam Harris | The Nation

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Name that tune

The article starts: “During the presidential campaign of 1964, a bit of doggerel surfaced among liberal wits,” then quotes “We’re the bright young men,/ who wanna go back to 1910,/ We’re Barry’s boys!/ We’re the kids with a cause,/ a government like granmama’s,/ We’re Barry’s boys!” Lears is wrong about that being “doggerel”; it’s from a Chad Mitchell Trio song that was quite popular in 1964. Lears was 17 at the time, and may have heard the song when it came out; but if so, his memory has faded, and he didn’t do the research needed for his topic sentence—an embarrassing start for an academic who makes a living by pontificating about pop culture. The article’s last paragraph, which comes after way too many polysyllabic words aimed less at communicating than at impressing raw undergraduates, says that Harris’s “self-confidence is surpassed only by his ignorance” and that “he might consider spending more time in his lab.” Back atcha; Lears should rewrite this mishmash in English, and this time do more basic fact-checking.