More fallout from the Duck Dynasty controversy: On Dec 20, Mark Steyn wrote an article defending Phil Robertson in his fight with A&E and GLAAD. He included a couple of gay jokes from yesteryear, one from Bob Hope, another from Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. This article was then chastised by one Jason Lee Steorts, the publisher of National Review. His complaint:
“On the other hand, I can’t agree with Mark that anything of value is lost when derogatory epithets go out of bounds in polite society."
It seems we have arrived at the point in our society where quoting Bob Hope and Dean Martin can put one “out of bounds in polite society”. Land of the free and home of the brave, indeed.
“They tend to be bad even for humor, substituting stereotype and cliché for originality.”
Actually, this is false. The best humour often has a nasty, profane edge to it that is designed to offend its target.
“By way of criticizing speech, I’ll say that I found the derogatory language in this column, and especially the slur in its borrowed concluding joke, both puerile in its own right and disappointing coming from a writer of such talent.”
You know, I have been reading the National Review for nearly 20 years and I have never heard of Jason Lee Steorts before now. I assume this is because he is not a writer of any memorable talent.
Fortunately, Mark Steyn understands that explanations and apologies only embolden bullying cowards (like Jason Lee Steorts), and is not backing down.
My God, what has happened to the National Review? First, it was the John Derbyshire affair, where its most erudite writer was fired by its then-publisher, Rich Lowry, thanks to another specious charge of thought-crime. I met both Steyn and Derbyshire at the 2011 National Review cruise. Now, one is gone and the other is being threatened. But I guess this is what happens when fearless warriors like William F Buckley and John O’Sullivan are replaced by “men without chests”, like Lowry and Steorts.
The one good thing about incidents like the Duck Dynasty controversy is that they allow us to sort out the heroes from the febs.