Stain of sanctimony

The Human Stain, by Philip Roth
The Day After: A Retrospective on Religious Dissent in the Presidential Crisis, by Gabriel J. Fackre

Philip Roth's powerful new novel takes place during the time when news of Bill Clinton's misconduct with White House intern Monica Lewinsky dominated dinner parties and casual conversations. Roth tells the story of a professor of classics who is drummed out of his job by a pack of faculty jackals. The author wants to make vivid a parallel between the scapegoating that destroys a professor and the scapegoating that all but destroyed a president. The persecutors are politically correct, which in the context of American higher education is left-liberal or "progressive." But for sanctimonious intolerance there is not much to choose between the haters on the left and those on the right.


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