Here's an extract from my latest column, which includes lots of juicy gossip:
Martin Peretz, veteran editor-in-chief of the neoliberal New Republic magazine, has cultivated a long line of youthful protégés stretching back through Andrew Sullivan all the way to the 17-year-old Al Gore. Peretz's latest bright young man, James Kirchick, his new assistant and winner of the 2006 National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association Excellence in Student Journalism award, published last week in TNR a furious 4000 word article bitterly denouncing Congressman Ron Paul as an "Angry White Man."
After laborious research in the dusty archives of two Midwestern university libraries, Kirchick proves that some old newsletters once sent out by the GOP Presidential candidate…well, I'm not quite sure exactly what Kirchick proves, other than that Dr. Paul's newsletters weren't as boring as the MainStream Media.
Sadly, it appears likely that Dr. Paul, being a busy Congressman, didn't actually write most of his newsletters. Whoever wrote them (and I have my guess) wasn't as politically prissy as Peretz and Kirchick demand.
The newsletter also printed this insensitive dialogue about the rioters:
“Robin: ‘I was going to bring you a VCR, but the stores had none.’
“Johnny: ‘A little low are they?’
“Robin: ‘Somebody, I guess, had done a little “political shopping.” [Suddenly imitating an angry black male] “Yo, man, this [giving the clenched-fist Black Power salute] is for Rodney King … and the five TVs are for me.”’”"
Oh, sorry—that wasn't actually in Ron Paul's newsletter at all! That was an exchange from perhaps the most fondly remembered talk show episode in American television show history, the penultimate broadcast of Johnny Carson's Tonight Show on May 21, 1992, with Carson's favorite guests, Bette Midler and Robin Williams. (You can watch Williams' classic routine on Youtube here)
Darn. It's so hard to keep straight what you are supposed to be amused by and what you are supposed to be offended by.
Similarly, Kirchick implies that Congressman Paul is an anti-Semite who nurses "deeply held bigotry against blacks, Jews, and gays" After all, as Kirchick thoroughly documents, Dr. Paul has close ties to the paleolibertarian Ludwig von Mises Institute, founded by his former aide Lew Rockwell, who was profoundly inspired by the late Murray Rothbard.
Oh, wait! It appears that von Mises and Rothbard were Jewish.
The New Republic is also alarmed that:
"The newsletters display an obsession with Israel; no other country is mentioned more often in the editions I saw …"
That's in complete contrast to Marty Peretz's magazine, where Israel, being a small, distant foreign country, is almost never mentioned, and the only test applied to our foreign policy is whether it advances the general welfare of the American people.
Oh, sorry…that's the Bizarro World version of The New Republic. In our space-time continuum, Israel is the most important country in the galaxy, at least according to Peretz's priorities.
In the liberal American Prospect, Eric Alterman mused in his article My Marty Peretz Problem—And Ours, [June 19, 2007] on the 34 years of Peretz's stewardship of The New Republic:
"It would be theoretically possible, I imagine, to overstate the centrality of Peretz's obsession with the Arab-Israeli conflict to the magazine's politics and to its editorial voice. But … it is really not too much to say that almost all of Peretz's political beliefs are subordinate to his commitment to Israel's best interests, and these interests as Peretz defines them almost always involve more war."
Kirchick, enraged by what he has dug up in the antiwar candidate's newsletters, concludes that the libertarian surgeon is "a man filled with hate."
In sharp contrast, Kirchick's boss, Marty Peretz, is the reincarnation of St. Francis of Assisi.
Oh, oops, check that … As Alterman points out, Peretz is in thrall to an "obsessive and unapologetic hatred of Arabs". [More, lots more, including Al Gore and Stephen Glass]