A sign of our times: the academic as multimillionaire star
The Mail has a story on the many extramarital affairs of high flying historian Niall Ferguson, whose recklessly extravagant lifestyle is fueled not only by his multiple, bi-continental academic appointments and his television programs, but by his remuneration as a financial advisor to hedge funds—he was once paid over 70,000 pounds for a single one-hour speech to a fund managers’ conference. So extravagant, and so reckless, is Ferguson that he paid 30,000 pounds for a fortieth birthday party for his mistress, the Somali-Dutch activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and invited his wife to the party.
“Frankly, no one can really understand what Niall has in common with [Ali], but he does seem to be obsessed with her,” says a close friend.To the contrary, Ferguson and Ali, as I’ve previously explained, have a great deal in common. So much so that I ironically entitled my article about their adulterous relationship, “Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments.”
Update: I was wondering if Robert Spencer, who has called Ayaan Hirsi Ali “one of the heroes of our age,” had mentioned the widely publicized affair of Ali and Ferguson. While there are 733 Google results for Ali at Spencer’s Jihad Watch, there are zero results referencing her relationship with Ferguson and the resulting destruction of Ferguson’s marriage.
In the past I have wondered why Spencer, a Christian conservative, gave his unqualified support to Ali, a declared enemy of Christianity. In this 2007 entry I note the first time that Spencer criticized Ali (very mildly) over her statement equating Catholicism with Nazism and Communism.
(The Spencer entry also includes a classic Spencer bit where he accuses me of dishonesty because in a VFR post I had not mentioned his recent criticism of Ali, which, as was obvious, I did not know about when I wrote the post. Here is a discussion in which Sjpencer repeatedly calls me a liar, and the complete emptiness of the charge is shown.)