Via Dan Riehl and Ace, this almost too good to check. Go read Rebel Pundit’s post for an explanation, then skip to 2:00 below. (If you missed Ed’s post this morning, by all means watch the whole thing.) After sneering at Joel Pollak for supposedly mischaracterizing the discipline and then refusing to define it herself, she finally demonstrates her grasp of Critical Race Theory by uncorking a definition that’s curiously similar to … the opening of Wikipedia’s intro on CRT, replete with the noncolloquial use of “intersection” to describe an interdisciplinary study. Could be a coincidence — the definition she gives is generic — but the thought of her taking this much of a tone with him over his alleged ignorance while she’s got some intern reading Wiki entries to her in her earpiece is irresistible.
But is that what happened? Turns out O’Brien does know who Derrick Bell is. Go look at this page at Michelle’s new site Twitchy compiling some of her tweets about him. She marked his passing last October, retweeted Charles Ogletree’s tribute to him, and mentioned that she was “re-reading” one of his books, so she’s familiar with his work. Could be they were even acquainted (she was a Harvard undergrad), although in that case, she maybe should have mentioned it to the viewers as a prelude to the ritual savaging of Pollak as a racist, huh? Bottom line: Yeah, evidently she does know what Critical Race Theory is, and yet somehow, despite that fact, the formulation she came up with here is vague to the point of meaninglessness. Pollak’s definition is much closer to the mark: CRT is all about how American law is used to disempower blacks and preserve white privilege. To get a sense of the academic environment in which it flourished, read this short, depressing memoir of Harvard Law in the early 1990s by NRO’s David French. I think his read on Obama is basically correct. The One is happy to go along with whoever the leading liberal lights are in whichever left-wing community he’s inhabiting at any given time, sans judgment. For more on that, go read this ABC feature about some of the more, shall we say, eccentric liberals that he’s palled around with over the years. And note the tone: ABC plays it off as essentially a joke and much ado about nothing, but try to imagine a similar right-wing rogues’ gallery for Mitt Romney and how they’d cover that. Hacktastic.
Update: A reader e-mails with another possibility: Maybe O’Brien came up with something off the top of her head and someone edited the Wiki entry for CRT afterwards to reflect that. Could be. Like I said above, she obviously does know the subject. She’s just poorer at defining it than Pollak is. In fact, Rebel Pundit notes in an update that CRT’s critique of “white supremacy” — the term mentioned by Pollak to which O’Brien objected — apparently was part of Wiki’s entry originally but was removed today.