Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Sadly, even though Marty Peretz has sold his remaining share of The New Republic, he will not be retiring to go and volunteer with traumatized children in Gaza. As part of the deal, Peretz will retain the title of editor in chief (and, of course, retain the shiny satin bowling jacket which identifies him as such) and continue to contribute to the magazine in the print edition and, Michael Calderone writes, in "his pugnacious blog, The Spine." Pugnacious, right. In the same way that Ann Coulter is "flamboyant" or Professor Griff was "outspoken."

I guess I understand Marty's requirements here. There's no way he would be able to wait for his semi-annual Wall Street Journal op-ed (for which he's usually brought in to bash some Democrat or Democratic initiative) for the opportunity to reiterate, once again, his view that Arabs are subhuman, their culture stinks, and Palestinian identity is just another word for Jew hatred. Peretz's kind of obsessive bigotry requires a regular forum to be properly and satisfyingly indulged, which, come to think of it, is probably what led him to buy TNR in the first place. Boy, times have sure changed since then (fade in harmonica, creaking of rocking chair.) Back in the 70's, in order to get published in a prominent political magazine you had to work hard, write well, and have something interesting to say. That, or marry someone with enough money to buy you your own prominent political magazine. Here in the future, we possess all kinds of new and wonderful tools which enable us to participate in political conversation in ways that our forebears couldn't have imagined. Broadcasting one's obsessions and advertising one's prejudices is now no longer the sole purview of trained journalists and wealthy cranks.

Andrew Sullivan marks the end of an era with a single tear rolling down his cheek. I can understand that Sullivan has warm feelings for Peretz because Sullivan began his career at TNR, but I wonder whether he would have written such praise for Peretz if, for the past several decades, Peretz's bile and loathing had been directed at homosexuals and gay culture, rather than Arabs and Arab culture?

Eric Alterman has more.