Replying to Derbyshire

My article at The American Thinker is getting such positive responses that even the original metro-con himself, John Derbyshire, is praising it. But, as he�s done before, he mixes praise for my work with gratuitous and untruthful put-downs of me. He writes at The Corner,

I have… issues with Larry Auster, and he sure has issues with m—he cut me out of his will after I suggested in pixels that he was somewhat lacking in the sense-of-humor department. However, I think his current piece in The American Thinker is something every conservative ought to read.

What Derbyshire is saying about me is not true. He had been in an Internet interview in which he said that VFR is a “humor-free zone,” and went on to make personal comments about me (whom he has never met or spoken with) saying, not that I’m a person who is merely “somewhat lacking in the humor department,” as he now untruthfully quotes himself, but that I’m a person who goes “through life with no sense of humor.” totally devoid of a sense of humor, and he expressed his surprise that anyone could live that way. Since the two of us had had a friendly and mutually supportive e-mail relationship in the months preceding this interview, I was surprised and disturbed by this put-down, and I wrote to him about it. In the midst of the conversation, he said among other things that his goal in life is to “walk a fine line between seriousness and frivolity.” I told him that I took that to mean, not that he mixes seriousness with humor in life, as we all do, but that he’s not truly serious about anything, and I signed off: “You don”t have to bother replying, since I don’t value half-frivolous replies.”

So I didn’t “cut him out of my will,” I just said to him, “You don’t have to bother replying.” And I said this, not simply because he said I was a person totally devoid of a sense of humor, meaning that I was a seriously defective human being, almost a freak. I said it because when I asked him about this hurtful statement coming from someone whom I had been friendly with for years, instead of apologizing or retracting the remark or doing anything to heal the breach between us, he indicated that he would not respond man to man on a serious matter affecting our relationship. Instead he indicated that he would remain half-frivolous, not serious, not just in his responses to me on this personal matter, but in his responses to everything. That turned me off on him as a person, and our correspondence ceased.

Now that Derbyshire has (both gratuitously and dishonestly) gone public with this merely personal matter between us, perhaps at some point I will post our e-mail exchange in order to set the record straight, if it seems worthwhile to do so. In the only comment I’ve previously posted about this, I linked and quoted the Derbyshire interview with his remarks about me and referred to our subsequent exchange about it, without going into details.

Also, a reader writes about Derbyshire:

Still, he is big enough to see good work, unlike some Stalinist types who won’t acknowledge someone’s existence if they’ve contended with him.

This is true. For the neoconservatives, anyone to the right of themselves is a non-person.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 18, 2005 11:21 AM | Send

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