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January 06, 2003

Symbiotic Celebrity Boxing

Disclaimer: I'm not homophobic and I don't have a problem with gays. But I think this is damn funny!

Andrew Sullivan is kicking John Derbyshire around, right on schedule. For those have you who haven't followed this little feud, Sullivan has been pissed off at Derb for quite a while. It goes like this: Derb makes a witty, sly, deliberately offensive, Prince Philip-type soundbite that is insensitive and unabashedly true. Despite his surrounding such one-liners with sensible, if less hilarious, commentary, Sullivan takes them out of context and makes Derb sound like Sir William McCordle. Derb makes a policy of remaining stoically silent. Fans of both authors hate the rival and love their man even more. A fairly profitable arrangement for both, and boistrous entertaiment for me, but I must comment on a paragraph that is the source of Sullivan's current wrath:

"In National Review again, Derbyshire recently described looking for a place to live in the New York suburbs:
'One time we got off the train in a town that was pretty solidly
black. It took us about five minutes to figure this out. Then we went
back to the railroad station and sat half an hour waiting for the
next train.'

He justifies this by citing a range of statistics about why black neighborhoods tend to be worse off than others. "Are we racists?" he asks of himself and his wife. "Depends what you mean," he answers. "

In Sullivan's mind, Derb not wanting to live in a mostly-black neighborhood is bitter, evil, hatred. I think this is just the simplistic position of a bachelor with no wife and children to protect from the "statistics" that he thinks barely important enough to mention.

But as I mentioned, these little skirmishes are too much fun to knock. Archetypally, its an utter classic: The tweedy, crunchy, somewhat bilious English conservative against a Boy George look-alike. I can't say who'd win, but if they showed this on Pay-Per View I'd shell out the bucks.

Posted by duende at 01:54 PM

Sorry about the bad link. Here it is again

Anyway, I'm off. You've heard more than enough from me today, and I have to dig my car out of the snow.

Posted by: duende at January 6, 2003 02:26 PM

You can be sure that I wrote Sullivan a pretty scathing letter. There's nothing worse than using fallacious charges of racism as a tool to intentionally try to destroy someone's career. He pretty much twisted everything derb said, to make it look like he hates blacks. And even worse, saying that John implied that "Asians don't count". The man is married to an Asian wife for Chrissakes!

Granted, I think Derbyshire expresses some fairly retrograde attitudes towards homosexuality (which was Sullivan's transparent, and genuine beef), but that in no way justified Sullivans attempt to twist the views of a race realist into those of a race hater.

Posted by: Jason M. at January 6, 2003 02:37 PM

Yeah, Sullivan really mischaracterized Derb's article, especially the "two races in America, black and non-black." All Derb was saying there (if you look at the CONTEXT) is that anything "racial" or "interracial" in America deals with blacks and........non-blacks. He used his own marriage as an excellent example--when he said he was in an interracial marriage, people looked at him in disbelief, until he clarified that his wife is Chinese. "oh that doesn't count" comes the reply. How to explain that, other than to say that whites in America much more readily mix with Asians, Hispanics, etc (non-blacks) than with blacks?

This is just Sullivan carrying his personal dislike of Derb past the realms of reason. And we all know the source of Sullivan's dislike is his knowledge of Derb's undisguised disdain for, as Derb would put it, sodomites.


PS I'd really like to see Sullivan's neighborhood. $10 says that there are a LOT fewer blacks there than one might expect from his strident denunciations of Derb.

Posted by: David at January 6, 2003 03:48 PM

I believe he lives in Adams-Morgan, a bobo enclave in Northwest DC; but spends most of his time typing in that bastion of diversity, Provincetown, MA, where there are two classes: local yokel whites, and rich whites with luxurious 2nd homes.


Posted by: Diana at January 6, 2003 07:18 PM

Yeah, Sullivan really got out of hand this time. I've never been a fan of his "Derbyshire Award", and now even less so. The hair trigger denunciation of racism is more characteristic of PC leftists. Sullivan is just barely a conservative.As another post pointed out, he has no wife or children to look after and besides lives in white neighborhoods. Does that make him a racist? Could be....

Posted by: Dennis at January 7, 2003 08:25 AM

Whatever faults Andrew Sullivan has, he is probably the best there is at DESTROYING 'leftist intellectuals' on 9-11 issues and that makes up for anything he screws up on. Currently read his utter annihilation of Joan Didion's essay against Bush.

Posted by: -R at January 8, 2003 12:25 AM