January 22, 2003


DISAPPEARING DERB: As Gene Healy, Jesse Walker, and Andrew Sullivan have noted, the post in the Corner by John Derbyshire mentioned below disappeared after Andrew Sullivan linked to it. It read: "A friend in DC emails to tell me that there are 100,000 antiwar protestors on the Mall. I am reminded of watching the New York St. Patrick's Day parade once with a friend of Ulster Unionist sympathies. As the massed ranks of Irish marched past, my friend sighed and said: 'The things you see when you don't have a gun!'"

Healy thinks this is "unbelieveably lame," mainly because he's dovish on Iraq; if they don't mind talking seriously about killing Iraqis, his reasoning seems to go, they shouldn't mind jokes about killing the Paddies. Please. A website's editors have every right to edit its content as they see fit-- in this case, that would be as Catholic-friendly pro-war editors see fit, not as Gene Healy sees fit. Derbyshire himself has written:

I do have some opinions that aren't very respectable on race, for example, and homosexuality. On the whole NRO is easy-going about that sort of thing, which is one reason I like to write for them. There are boundaries, though. We are involved in politics; and politics, as Jonah observes, is about persuading people. I try my best not to send in stuff that I know the editors won't use this is my living, and I'm not into wasting time but sometimes I get it wrong. Then some polite exchanges take place, along the lines of: "The piece is fine, but we don't feel comfortable with that paragraph." Most often I yield on these things. I believe in the totalitarian-despotism model of magazine editorship that is, I don't see why an editor should run something he doesn't like. I sure won't, when I'm editor of National Review. Very occasionally the editors will turn down a whole piece (this hasn't happened for at least a year). On about the same frequency, I will feel that the changes they insist on have gutted the piece to the point where I pull it myself.
So this is pretty normal for Derbyshire. Just because a Corner post has seen the light of day doesn't mean they're obliged to keep it on their website, anymore than they would be with a piece spiked in the traditional, private manner.

Posted by John Tabin at January 22, 2003 01:56 AM