NR dumps Derb

To the surprise of precisely no one, National Review has fired John Derbyshire. The announcement comes in a one-paragraph, 179-word entry posted at The Corner by Rich Lowry this evening.

Parting Ways
By Rich Lowry April 7, 2012 6:34 P.M

Anyone who has read Derb in our pages knows he’s a deeply literate, funny, and incisive writer. I direct anyone who doubts his talents to his delightful first novel, “Seeing Calvin Coolidge in a Dream,” or any one of his “Straggler” columns in the books section of NR. Derb is also maddening, outrageous, cranky, and provocative. His latest provocation, in a webzine, lurches from the politically incorrect to the nasty and indefensible. We never would have published it, but the main reason that people noticed it is that it is by a National Review writer. Derb is effectively using our name to get more oxygen for views with which we’d never associate ourselves otherwise. So there has to be a parting of the ways. Derb has long danced around the line on these issues, but this column is so outlandish it constitutes a kind of letter of resignation. It’s a free country, and Derb can write whatever he wants, wherever he wants. Just not in the pages of NR or NRO, or as someone associated with NR any longer.

- end of initial entry -

April 8

Scott B. writes:

So Derb has now been fired from National Review, and never have I been so filled with disgust about, nor so depressed at the slavish state of, the “conservative” movement than today. (This after spending literally hours reading blogs and tweets and not finding a single defender of Derbyshire other than a couple of guys writing Twitter messages.)

I also started an intemperate thread which I’m not particularly proud of, on the topic, at which is in effect National Review’s second home, which referred to Jonah Goldberg and Rich Lowry as spineless bastards and ended (I said it was intemperate) with the phrase F*** National Review Forever.

My membership rights were revoked within about five minutes, and now I can’t see the thread I started. That’s fair enough—they have every right to block people who openly despise them. I only wish enough people were similarly disgusted with this chain of events that they would rethink their pandering to PC.

LA writes:

In Scott’s comment as originally posted he wrote that he had not found “a single defender of Derbyshire other this guy (!/DanRiehl) who used to work for Breitbart, and this black guy (!/Billare) who apparently is an admirer of VFR, and who makes many fine points.”

I just got round to to checking out these two accounts, and there’s nothing there, just a couple of passing, substanceless comments. Which ought to be no surprise. How could a person say anything worth reading about a public issue, let alone “make many fine points,” in communications limited to about 12 words? With respect for Scott, why anyone would regard Twitter as a meaningful medium for the communication of ideas is beyond me.

If television circa 1960 was a “vast wasteland,” as Newton Minow famously said, Twitter is a vast wasteland cubed.

Alan M. writes:

So Breitbart comes out against reality as well … I think this is going to show just how big of an infection liberalism is in the so-called conservative blogosphere

But more importantly, Christ is risen!

LA writes:

I expect that some people are tired of this particular angle of mine, but I can’t help pointing out that Lowry is such a lightweight that even when he’s engaged in the serious business of publicly firing someone from his magazine he doesn’t have it in himself to use his own adult name, “Richard,” in his byline (which he does use in the masthead of the print version of NR, but nowhere else). Also, notwithstanding the seriousness of the occasion, Lowry doesn’t once refer to the man he’s firing by his full name, John Derbyshire, only as “Derb.” It’s a further indication of the lack of any adult gravitas at that magazine.

They are a bunch of kids. Except that, when I was a kid, kids had more gravitas than Lowry, Ponnuru, and Goldberg do in their forties.

These e-mails from Patrick H. came in on Friday, several hours before I posted about L’affaire Derbyshire:

Patrick H. writes

Here is a post by Andrew Sullivan quoting John Derbyshire, who in turn provides several items of advice on surviving and thriving in post-racial America.

The advice is fairly innocuous, but Sullivan describes it as Derbyshire “imploding.” Typical “liberal” response from this self-proclaimed conservative. No substantive response, just hyperbole. I am really sick of this. I feel my own soul separating from the rest of the country because of this sanctimonious evil. I no longer want to share a future with most of my fellow countrymen. This is a sad feeling and my heart is heavy, but I don’t think there is any way to bridge the gap.

Patrick continues:

I sent this item to Andrew Sullivan, just because I am angry and motivated. I know it won’t do any good. But here is a copy of what I sent:

Dear Andrew:

Seriously? Derb “imploding.” The reality, prevalence and severity of black on white violence in this culture cannot be dismissed. Recognizing this reality is not bigotry or racism, just common sense. Last summer there were a string of flash mob attacks by groups of blacks on unsuspecting and defenseless whites. I don’t think you or other mainstream media outlets covered this. It was of no interest to you and did not fit into the accepted narrative of black victimization and saintliness. Where coverage existed, the race of the attackers was suppressed.

Now, you ridicule a piece providing advice on how to avoid injury from a group disproportionately prone and intent on visiting inter-racial violence upon their fellow citizens. Why? Because such advice brings up something which should never be brought up in polite company, namely the severely violent racial attacks now routinely pepretrated by black citizens against white citizens.

While Derb’s statements may have disturbed you, to Carter Strange, a young North Carolina man beaten senseless by a group of black citizens, the advice probably seems understated.

LA replies:

You do not come across as angry. You make good, rational arguments and you don’t get personal.

James P. writes:

Whatever one may think about Derbyshire writ large, his article in Taki magazine contained nothing but truth and recommendations that people should act in accordance with the truth. In dumping him, National Review reveals itself not merely as a passive facilitator of liberalism, but as an active enemy of truth and freedom.

April 9

James P. writes (4-7):

What I sent to National Review:

Rich Lowry writes that “no one at National Review shares Derb’s appalling views.” Well, you ought to. His views are basic common sense and hardly appalling. (Personally, I am appalled at Lowry’s craven genuflection at the altar of political correctness.) Furthermore, the article contains sources for every claim he makes, so the claim that is is a “screed” is asinine.

Derbyshire is the only reason I come to NRO. If that is important to you, I suggest you continue to permit him to post in the Corner and publish in the magazine.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 07, 2012 11:30 PM | Send

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