Mangan and friends take up their burden again
John Derbyshire makes an appearance at Mangan’s! He comments:
Auster’s objection to your remarks is likely not unconnected to the fact that he is a major prude. In his various diatribes against me he never fails to include, up near the top of the charge sheet, my having once said that Playboy is a conservative magazine. (Which is not, in point of fact, precisely what I said: read the offending column here.)
I guess I should be grateful, at least, that my later offenses against the Austerian Creed seem to have eclipsed Auster’s original cause of antipathy to me: my having once remarked, more than ten years ago, that he is a humor-free zone. I can’t imagine what prompted me to say something as absurd as that.
Derbyshire is a fact free zone. The relevant facts are here:
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I don’t know what his remarks at Mangan’s have to do with my comment on Mangan’s endorsement of the sexual frustration theory of the Fort Hood massacre. The “conservative” blogosphere seems to have an entire sub-population of malcontents and Mencken manques who whenever I criticize their ideas, or whenever my name simply comes up in relation to my ideas, leap into print with attacks on my personality.
As for his oft-told lie that I stopped communicating with him because he said in an interview that I was humorless, the truth, as I said to him at the time, and as I’ve explained since then, is that I stopped communicating with him because he said, in the middle of a conversation we were having on a serious matter, that his goal in life was to walk a fine line between earnestness and frivolity. The comment revealed a man incapable of taking any matter seriously, and I lost all interest in communicating with him. As I told him, I wasn’t interested in talking to someone from whom I would get half-frivolous replies.
The reasons for my various critical writings of Derbyshire over the years are plainly stated in those writings. I pointed out that Derbyshire was using his position at National Review to undercut conservatism from within, a statement for which there is voluminous evidence. I said that Derbyshire undercut Islam critics, denied the doctrinal reality of Islam, and denied the possibility of knowledge about Islam, all of which was true. I said that Derbyshire had embraced nihilism, a demonstrated fact. I said that Derbyshire had become an atheist, even though he was denying it at the time. Within a year he admitted he was an atheist. Derbyshire has a thorn in his side about me because I’ve shown the truth about him.
Rob C. writes from St. Louis:
Derbyshire’s view of you as a “major prude” may make his eyes roll, but his own behavior has been steadily inching the other way, to the point that mine can’t be the only eyes rolling too. I regularly listen to his weekly “Radio Derb” segments at National Review Online. For at least the last several months, Derbyshire nearly without fail has made at least one reference per half-hour show to his imaginary stable of bimbos—Mandy, Brandy and Candy—usually instructing them towards the end of the half-hour to prepare for his post-show massage, or a romp in NRO’s version of the Playboy Mansion grotto, well stocked with baby oil. I am quite a bit younger than the 64-year old Derbyshire, but even I find off-putting his regular invocations of a fantasy harem of sex pots barely older than his own teenage daughter. It makes me wonder if his wife ever listens to his “conservative” output.
Thanks for this. He’s at the level of an adolescent, acting out adolescent rebellion against his parents. Except that Derbyshire’s “parents” are conservatism. And his parents spoil him no end, letting him do whatever he wants. And when a rare adult in this scenario comes along and takes him to task, he can’t stand it, and strikes back. He’s accustomed to the likes of Rich and K-Lo, and expects to have his way.
Karen B. writes:
A prude is hardly the worst thing to be.
It’s better than being someone who wrote a novel in which his thinly- disguised wife is described, extremely unattractively, in the throes of drunken passion.
Thanks, but I’m not sure what novel you’re referring to.
Karen B. replies:
Derbyshire’s novel. It’s called “Seeing Calvin Coolidge in a Dream.”
D. writes from Seattle:
Regarding Derbyshire and his drift away from conservatism towards libertinism, I get the impression, based partially on what I’d read in the past and partially on your readers’ comments, that Derbyshire is trying to emulate Taki. Taki has always been open about being a playboy, but at least he has the looks, the attitude, and the money to act like a playboy. As for Derbyshire, well, he’s not going to fool anyone. In their own parlance, Taki = alpha, Derbyshire = beta.
Ian B. writes:
More damning than any of Derb’s actions mentioned here, in my opinion, is his admiration of Roissy, and his labeling of Roissy as a “conservative.” Doesn’t Derb himself have a daughter in the age group that Roissy targets?
The man seems to have gone from from the belief that reductionism, libertinism, and the absolute rejection of the transcendent are compatible with conservatism (which is questionable enough in its own right), to the belief that they are singularly qualifying (which doesn’t even pass the laugh test).
And by the way, don’t feel bad about Derb calling you a prude. It was only a couple months ago that he was complaining about conservatism being too lowbrow. How he squares that complaint with his own vulgarity beats me (perhaps he thinks that vulgarity is conservative when it has a British accent), but just know that this particular stance of his, much like his “conservatism,” consists only of what he’s feeling on any given day.
Derbyshire’s praise for Roissy has been discussed here, just last month. I said in that entry, “When conservatives embrace Derbyshire as one of their own, we’re doomed, indeed.”
Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 21, 2009 08:02 PM | Send