The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Thursday, January 08, 2004
Gregg Easterbrook and the speech permafrost - Columbia Journalism Review marks the hacks' cards
The whole sorry Kill Bill business  has been revisited in a piece by one Douglas McCollam in the current issue of the Review under the head
So right, one might think, that a cautionary tale, after the Victorian model, should have a sub-title!
As a piece of journalism, it leaves something to be desired . But as a warning to hacks to think long and hard whether what they're writing might, in some light, by determined chisellers, be characterised as anti-semitic, it does pretty well.
Easterbrook, as interpreted by McCollam, is left humiliated and a fair bit the poorer for his transgressions; the process whereby
The final graf is pathetic, ending
Harvey Weinstein, head of Miramax, had written to accept Easterbrook's apology. Eisner, though, had yet to respond, which clearly troubles Easterbrook. "If he wants me to engage in a public discussion of the dangers of stereotyping and how I learned about them I would be willing to do that," Easterbrook told me. "If it happened, that would be a Disney happy ending, I suppose. Since it is Disney there should be a happy ending, right?"
Throughout, there's a tut-tuting, head-shaking tone of moralistic disapproval as the tragedy unfolds. Easterbrook is allowed to condemn himself in a similar spirit:
I felt that, because I had acknowledged that Christians are guilty of the same thing, I had counterweighted the argument properly. But when you criticize a Christian, you don't invoke a thousand years of persecution.
That last is surely a sentence that ought to be on the wall of every newsroom in foot-high letters!
Interesting is the fact (if it is one) that Beinart had his chance to yank the piece, but failed to do so. It wouldn't be to suggest the most bizarre theory ever invented  to suppose that Beinart (perhaps in conjunction with TNR owner Martin Peretz) refrained deliberately from so doing, in the expectation of just such a furore as in fact erupted, with the purpose of deriving just such an object-lesson for journalists as in fact was provided.
Not a theory I'd subscribe to, lacking as it does any cogent evidence. The point - as stated by Easterbrook himself (the very model of a Winston Smith, post-Room 101) - is that, in some cases, cogent evidence is not enough: the journalist must also place in the balance those
thousand years of persecution
Or, rather, he should, if he knows what's good for him.
free website counter