No Republic for old men

And another good profile of someone who has deeply damaged our country, an excellent, sympathetic New York magazine piece about Marty Peretz. The short of it: he’s always been too emo for his own good but now he’s old, bitter, and recently divorced, and thus prone to saying excessively whack angry shit on his blog (which has recently been discontinued). He is no longer editor-in-chief of TNR.

Ultimately, it’s a story about how easy it is to buy some people’s loyalty:

From Harvard he brought E. J. Dionne Jr., Kinsley, Hertzberg, Wieseltier, and Andrew Sullivan. His joy in their ascent was palpable: When he hired Hertzberg the second time, Peretz impulsively took him to his own tailor and paid for a bespoke suit.


Peretz is famously generous—it is a quality as extreme as his partisanship. He has paid for medical treatments, found houses, coached careers. His close friend Michael Kinsley once told him, jokingly, that he should publish his collected letters of recommendation. Peretz has remained devoted to tarnished, even imprisoned friends, and he commands an outsize loyalty in return.

This is why it’s unfair to call journalists “whores”. A prostitute may spend a night doing as a client pleases in return for a cash payment, Hendrick Hertzberg (whose writing I like) will spend a lifetime doing the same for the gift of a bespoke suit.

88 replies
  1. 1
    JGabriel says:

    DougJ @ Top:

    The short of it: [Peretz has] always been too emo for his own good and now he’s old, bitter, and recently divorced, and thus prone to saying excessively whack angry shit on his blog … and in person.

    Those dying generations at their song.


  2. 2
    junebug says:

    With principles, simple ones, you cannot get ahead. Or rather you don’t even try.

    I was a superstar in my department, had the glowing reviews, even get the “you should do that research, I see a prize in it” to this day.

    I don’t want it. I want to teach and make a difference in my students’ lives.

    Others want to make money and gain personal or vicarious esteem.

    I’m just one person. I don’t want to make a million. I just want to feed my pets and pay down my vet bills.

    DougJ, you could write about people like me. You know them.

    Just a suggestion.

  3. 3
    DougJ says:


    Even better, were that I was literate enough to know more of the poem.

  4. 4
    Mike Kay (True Grit) says:

    he’s always been too emo for his own good but now he’s old, bitter

    basically, he’s turned into Al Goldstein.

  5. 5
    DougJ says:


    Would the story be a negative one about how people don’t get ahead if they follow their principles or a positive one about the dignity of following principles anyway? I would like to write about that more, but I don’t know what I think is the right angle.

  6. 6
    Ija says:

    That’s a bit unfair to Hertzberg, isn’t it? I don’t think he has been defending Marty.

  7. 7
    JGabriel says:

    @DougJ: Sailing To Byzantium, Here with analysis and here without.

    Memorized it (and a bunch of others) to impress girls, circa late high school / early college years. Don’t know if it ever worked or not. So damned hard to tell what’s actually getting you laid and what’s superfluous.


  8. 8
    DougJ says:


    He has, a bit.

    And when he’s more cowardly about it than Peter Beinart and Andrew Sullivan, well, then what does that make him?

  9. 9
    DougJ says:


    True. Such a fine line between clever and stupid.

  10. 10
    Mojotron says:

    I still can’t get over the fact that Goldberg was lured to the Atlantic with ponies for his kids. Someone posted that earlier today and I thought it was a stupid joke or reference or something, but no, it was true.

  11. 11
    Aidan says:

    Loyalty to friends is evidence of a deep moral corruption when they’re friends that DougJ disagrees with

  12. 12
    junebug says:

    The later, of course.

    Unless you buy into the idea that teaching, or cleaning public toilets or picking up garbage is not something people should be paid better for doing.

    Teachers have been less respected, even denigrated by the right. Their salaries are low. They are attacked all the time.

    Even waste management has been attacked here. Just wait until the people who clean up our waste strike. Most republicans even shun recycling. You know this. What would those same republicans do if they went into a dirty public restroom.

    They would bitch.

    I’m not trying to tell you what to do, I’m just telling you that you might think your readers are super rich and don’t care about the little guy. You would be wrong.

    More about the struggle of the people making $40K or less. You might find a gold mine.

    And more ABL while you are at it.

  13. 13
    DougJ says:


    And more ABL while you are at it.

    I’m not in charge of writing her posts, you know!

  14. 14
    Brachiator says:

    The New York Magazine is more lefty than not. This piece is a reminder that more than anything, the Establishment takes care of it’s own. There are self-appointed opinion makers on the left and the right who zealously protect their roles, and fiercely fight off incursions from outsiders.

    Their status is as important to them as is their ideology, and so they will blubber over Peretz because he is, in the end, a member of the club.

  15. 15
    junebug says:

    Oh and where is aimie or what ever her name is to tell us about her family and its awards?

  16. 16
    DougJ says:


    I thought it was a good piece, I didn’t mean “sympathetic” as a put down.

  17. 17
    calling all toasters says:

    @DougJ: Agreed: sympathy is a two-edged sword. Wallace-Wells did us all a solid by getting this douchebag’s pals on the record as such.

  18. 18
    junebug says:

    Way to ignore every thing I wrote.

  19. 19
    Mike Kay says:


    This piece is a reminder that more than anything, the Establishment takes care of it’s own.

    it’s no different with the “new media” (with the exception of BJ). that’s the inherent problem with clubs.

  20. 20
    agrippa says:

    Most of the time I thought well of Martin Peretz; and. most of the time, TNR was a good journal. Still is, most of the time.

    I have no quarrel with Peretz.

  21. 21
    ldrks says:

    I like how at the end of the piece, Peretz admits to being racist:
    “The trouble with the progressivism of his children’s generation, he says, is that “it believes in diversity but doesn’t believe that people are really different. I believe that people are very, very different.””

    Maybe I just really hate Peretz, but that piece made me dislike him either more. I guess I was going under the assumption that there was at least a little internal consistency to his logic.

  22. 22
    DougJ says:


    The stuff where he laughed at his kids’ liberal rabbi pissed me off too. It made me sad too.

  23. 23
    srv says:


    waste management

    Personally, I’ve only been irate at those folks when the Waste Management Inc. truck just missed making GW a paver on West 1st in ’99.

    Could have stopped a lot of pain and suffering. Too bad we didn’t have Moore Awards back then.

  24. 24
    eemom says:

    @calling all toasters:

    did us all a solid

    that’s the second time today I’ve seen that expression, and I never had before. From whence does it derive?

    I only ask because the image being invoked in my mind at the moment can’t possibly be the right one.

  25. 25
    Jay says:

    In my mind, an under-informed person would only have to read one remark from Peretz in the whole piece to figure out what a gaping asshole he is. It is this:

    “I think (President Obama) has set his major emotional goal to make peace between America and the Muslims.”

    What does this even mean? Just who are “the Muslims?” Has it dawned on Peretz that there are Muslims in America, a not insignificant number of whom guard him in the military as he spouts his crap from Cambridge?

    On the last question, (despite ol’ Marty’s pathetic acrobatics involving the likes of Fareed Zakaria and Peretz’s half-baked apology for the “Muslim life is cheap” garbage) I think the answer is no.

  26. 26
    JGabriel says:


    From whence does it derive?

    It crawls from beneath the darkened declivities of man’s horror to one another, whence maggots breed and wherefore evil exists … from whence, only The Shadow knows — and, uh, in keeping with the holiday spirit, good King Whencelas.


  27. 27
    calling all toasters says:

    @eemom: Think of cool black heroes/antiheroes going “solid” when brought good news. I don’t know if that’s the origin, but it ought to clear out the imagery.

  28. 28
    lout standing around a water cooler says:

    Bad call on Hertzberg and the bespoke suit. It’s actually a pretty raw call, saying that a man will sell out for a bespoke suit.

    What the hell is a bespoke suit, anyway, that a man would sell his soul for one? And that you can assume that he did?

    I myself wouldn’t sell out for a bespoke suit, and will presume that Hertzerg wouldn’t either.

    A nice pair of sweat-pants and a micro-fiber jacket off the Nordstrom rack, that might be different. But a bespoke suit? What planet are you on, DougJ? Give a little credit to your fellow man.

    Yo, disclosure. My old man, the class-chasing dipshit, used to get bespoke suits on Savile Row back in the day, when he could get a tour through London. And in 1973 I got a bespoke tweed jacket from a Hong Kong tailor operating out of a room at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, they sewed it up and sent it in the mail within two weeks. Not bad as bespoke items go.

    I think I may have spotted Hendrik Hertzberg slinking through the halls that day, a suit receipt in his hand.

    Please pull your shit back together, DougJ. You don’t have to apologize to Hertzberg. He already forgives you if my take on this situation is right.

  29. 29
    Jewish Steel says:


    What!? Et tu Hendrik? For reals? Oh, I am getting to the bottom of this.

    And why you gotta dog junebug like that?

  30. 30
    JGabriel says:

    @eemom: I think it’s actually slang from the 30’s/40’s, maybe earlier. It’s probably derived from turning the adjectivial slang use of “solid” as “good” — e.g., a “solid hit” or “Solid Potato Salad” — into a noun.

    That’s just speculation, though. I don’t know for sure. But, hey, it gave me a good excuse to link The Ross Sisters.


  31. 31
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @agrippa: It’s easy to have no quarrel with a person if you aren’t in the group whose humanity he questions. Go along to get along.

  32. 32
    Jewish Steel says:


    That is the strangest song I have heard in a while.

    Gah! They’re freaky contortionists too! What have you done?

  33. 33
    Brachiator says:

    RE: did us all a solid
    that’s the second time today I’ve seen that expression, and I never had before. From whence does it derive?

    . Do a favor for someone where you keep your word or faithfully execute the task, or do a seriously helpful deed.

    Slang, with perhaps a tip of the hat to Ashford and Simpson’s “Solid as a Rock,” with side trips to “solid as the Rock of Gibraltar,” and maybe even the biblical pun, “You are Peter (petros, rock) and on this foundation I will build my church.”

  34. 34
    de stijl says:


    @JGabriel: is correct, but for the wrong usage. When someone says “Jo Blow did us a solid” they are eliding the word “favor.”

    Jo Blow did us a sold favor.

  35. 35

    Monsters are not always monsters, not in every waking moment of their lives. Grendel’s mother loved him, and that’s why she came to avenge him. She was still a monster.

    Which is to say: I loathe Marty Peretz, and made rather a stink about it when the anti-Muslim shit hit the fan. But it is possible that, in addition to being a loathsome xenophobe and racist, he is generous to a fault with those he likes, and possibly also good at cards. Who can tell.

  36. 36
    DougJ says:


    I didn’t ignore it, I’m taking it under consideration.

  37. 37
    burnspbesq says:


    “That’s a bit unfair to Hertzberg, isn’t it?”

    That’s a lot unfair to Hertzberg. His work at the New Yorker has been exemplary.

  38. 38
    DougJ says:


    I said I liked his writing. It doesn’t excuse his general silence on Peretz.

  39. 39
    Cacti says:

    Marty Peretz, genial old fellow to his friends, nasty old bigot to everyone else.

  40. 40
    Jay says:


    “friends that DougJ disagrees with”

    Stop it. Peretz hasn’t ticked people off on something over which reasonable people disagree every day, like school choice. Rather, Peretz has ticked people off by being a raving bigot.

    I can’t just “disagree” with a frothing hater. Peretz’s friends have not been honest with or about the man. They’ve just given him cover. That’s ticked people off, too.

  41. 41
    kdaug says:

    @Emily L. Hauser/ellaesther: I can relate. Being a monster, I both grind little kids to make my bread, and am fairly good at cards (though I suck at Texas Hold-Em. Go figure).

  42. 42
    de stijl says:

    We used to work with some data modeling software that stored schema information in a database dubbed SOLID. Every time that got mentioned in meetings, etc, I would do a Black Power salute a la Link from the Mod Squad. No one really got it, but at least I briefly amused myself.

  43. 43
    Jewish Steel says:


    Wait. Has he defended him, or been silent?

  44. 44
    kdaug says:

    @de stijl:

    No one really got it, but at least I briefly amused myself.

    Now see?

    THAT is what I’m talking about.

    Crack yourself up, and you might crack up people around you. Or they’ll think you’re just cracked.

    Either way, you get to laugh, and besides, fuck’em.

    Good for the soul.

  45. 45
    DougJ says:

    @Jewish Steel:

    Mostly silent. I think he’s too kind to Peretz in this particular article when he’s quoted.

  46. 46
    Waingro says:

    Creepiest passage from the New Yorker piece:

    The New Republic also served another purpose. Peretz adores collecting people. Even early in his career, at Harvard, he had assiduously cultivated the role of mentor, and his friendships with younger men were sometimes so intense that they could seem to border on the erotic. “Every so often, we’d talk about how he would sometimes grow obsessed with young men,” says one of his friends from that time. He had an equally fierce compulsion to promote them, and The New Republic soon becamea platform to turn graduate students into public intellectuals.

    Ick. This does explain the site of little Petey Beinart arguing for the Iraq invasion and twenty-something Andrew Sullivan proudly publishing Charles Murray. Harvard has a way of churning out clever-but-stupid people.

  47. 47
    Brachiator says:


    I thought it was a good piece, I didn’t mean “sympathetic” as a put down.

    I agree that it is an excellent, sympathetic piece. I am very glad that you brought it to everyone’s attention, because I otherwise would have missed it. But it is also an ass kissing apologia, aimed at a generation who used to be reliably left, but who largely “wised up.”

  48. 48
    DougJ says:

    @Jewish Steel:

    It’s a bit worse than I thought:

    Marty takes a lot of heat, usually well-earned, from the left-of-center blogosphere, but his solid services to liberalism far outweigh his forays into erratic, hot-tempered neoconservatism. The list of center-left journalists whose careers he has boosted—directly or indirectly, actively or passively—is astoundingly long. Dorothy Wickenden, Ryan Lizza, James Wood, Margaret Talbot, David Grann, me—and that’s just a few who are currently at The New Yorker. Then you’ve got Michael Kinsley, Bob Kuttner, Ronald Steel, James Bennet, Barton Gellman, Robert Wright, Jacob Weisberg, David Greenberg, Robert Reich, Spencer Ackerman, Jack Beatty, Margaret Carlson, Andrew Sullivan…

    There are dozens more. Not all of Marty’s beneficiaries love him. Some of them can’t stand him; some have been attacked by him, in print or in pixels or in person. All the same, they and their readers have reason to be grateful to him. I certainly feel that way.

    I like Barton Gellman and Robert Reich and Ackerman. There’s a few others I’m not familiar with. The others are right-center (e.g. Sullivan) or triangutards (Kinslely, Carlson, Lizza, etc.).

    And what about Charles Lane and Krauthammer and Fred Barnes?

  49. 49
    slag says:

    @de stijl: YouTube fail. Was this a special version of the black power solute or just a general one?

  50. 50
    Mike in NC says:

    Quit reading TNR a very long time ago…

  51. 51
    de stijl says:


    Link the character, not failed html link.

    On the show, Link would give your standard BPS and say “Solid.”

    My BPS was probably substandard given that I’m melanin challenged.

  52. 52
    srv says:


    Ick. This does explain the site of little Petey Beinart arguing for the Iraq invasion and twenty-something Andrew Sullivan proudly publishing Charles Murray. Harvard has a way of churning out clever-but-stupid people.

    Is Marty the first Boy Band manager? It would be irresponsible not to speculate.

  53. 53
    eemom says:


    hmmm……trying to fit this defended vs silent meme into the classic format…..

    First they came for Marty Peretz
    but he got Hertzberg a gig at New Yorker, so Hertzberg said nothing
    Then they came for Marty Peretz again
    but he bespoke Hertzberg a suit, so Hertzberg said nothing
    Then they came for Marty Peretz again
    but he got Goldberg’s kids a pony, so Goldberg said nothing
    Then they came for Marty Peretz again
    but he did cool stuff for Sullivan and Dionne and Kinsley, so they said nothing
    Then they came for Marty Peretz again
    but there was no one left to say nothing
    And he lost his job at TNR and now he’s all old and bitter ‘n’ shit.

    Iz must be doin it wrong…..

  54. 54
    Jrod the Cookie Thief says:

    @de stijl: It’s Linc. Short for Lincoln, cuz like he’s black.

    There can be no Linc fail.

  55. 55
    Jewish Steel says:

    @Dougj: your googling mojo is much stronger than mine. Good looking out, there. I can’t quite see that link on my phone. Will peruse when I get home.

    Robert Reich, Labor Secretary? I thought he was in the Clinton admin. Is Peretz responsible for his career?

    Oh, Hendrik. I hope that’s one badass suit.

  56. 56

    @kdaug: See? Living proof. I’ll bet you even occasionally let the kids beat you at cards before you grind them up.

  57. 57
    de stijl says:

    @Jrod the Cookie Thief:

    Linc cannot fail. Linc can only be failed.

    Clarence Williams III too.

    I’ve been told that Rudie can’t fail either.

  58. 58

    @Jrod the Cookie Thief: I read this and honestly thought a conversation had started about Lincoln Chafee, who is also called Linc, but is most decidedly NOT black, and I was very confused.

    Until I scrolled up. Then I got sorted.

  59. 59
    DougJ says:


    I like it.

  60. 60
    slag says:

    @de stijl: I got it. I was saying that YouTube failed to provide me with a satisfactory example of Linc’s behavior. Which you did. So thanks!

    Also, WordPress fail.

  61. 61
    de stijl says:


    Sorry for the confusion. It did get a bit meta there.

    BTW, did you ever notice that 21 Jumpstreet was a total rip-off of The Mod Squad?

    Keep the faith.

  62. 62
    slag says:

    @de stijl: Used to love 21 Jumpstreet. Never seen Mod Squad. Must rent (if I can find it).

  63. 63
    Hob says:

    @Waingro: I dunno how many people here are Harry Potter readers, but Professor Slughorn in the sixth book (played by Jim Broadbent in the movie) is a lot like that. He’s vaguely sympathetic in a really pathetic way, but he has a creepy need to “collect” talented young people who might reflect some glory onto him; all the creepier because it’s not sexual, it’s just lonely insecurity papered over with paternal smarm. It’s a pretty sharp characterization, one of Rowling’s better moments… so I hope it’s not always going to make me think of Marty fucking Peretz from now on.

  64. 64
    DW says:

    A big part of this has to do with the sociology of political writers. Making friends and influencing people is important in any line of work but it is crucial for would be pundits. Pre-web, if you wanted to be a political writer and weren’t a conservative, there were very few avenues with very limited access. So if you got to add “New Republic” or “Washington Monthly” to your resume early in your career, you had a shot at the big time. Otherwise, you were stuck writing letters to the editor, bitching to your friends or at best a column in a local paper. The overwhelming majority of pundits could easily be replaced with little decline in quality. Staying friendly with the people who could get you good gigs was crucial – actual ability was far less important. Hertzberg couldn’t have the career he did without Peretz. After all these years, I’m not sure I can really despise Hertzberg for supporting Peretz in twilight.

    I don’t think it’s accidental that the best liberal pundits followed different paths – the late Molly Ivins had a couple of decades as a regular reporter, Krugman had made his name as an economist, etc. The blogosphere changed this a little by making entrance easier, but the establishment can still try to buy people off if they play ball. That’s more true among conservatives but that’s because conservatives have more money. But dangle a gig at the Atlantic in front of a blogger, and that blogger might learn to speak politely of Sullivan and McArdle and stay friendly with them. Poverty sucks and the paying gigs go to those who cooperate.

  65. 65
    Jewish Steel says:

    @DW: Yes, I reasoned something similar. That seems very plausible.

    It occurred to me that for every H Hertzberg there are likely half a dozen writers of equal talent but are too prickly, principled, anti-social etc to get along in that (vanishing) world.

  66. 66
    Elia says:

    Thanks for pointing this piece out.

    I thought it was really well-written with a few beautiful turns of phrase. “[A]ny scene in which…that man is drowning” was particularly great.

    I’ve never forgiven NY & Chris Beam for the tongue-bath they gave David Brooks this past summer (the reason I avoided his piece on Libertarianism), but here and there the mag still is home to great work. (I enjoy Edelstein on movies, especially.)

    Back to the piece: a sad depiction of a clearly very sad man. Would have liked to hear more about his relationship with his father and whether or not he made good on his promise to do better by his children (the fact that the author mentions this without ever following-up is interesting, to say the least); but the piece was rather intimate and intense even without.

    Reading this — and having seen The Social Network for the 2nd time recently — I’m struck by how deeply weird, creepy and surreal a place Harvard seems.

    The other thing that comes to mind w/r/t this thread is how hard it is to take shots at people who have done your kindness in your personal interactions. I agree with you, DougJ, that it’s imperative for journalists and the like to do so anyway, but I nevertheless wonder at times whether I’d be able to do it.

  67. 67
    hamletta says:

    @Elia: Yeah, I’m not ready to throw Hertzberg under the bus just because he thinks kindly of ol’ weird Uncle Marty.

    I thought the piece was rather sad. I felt sorry for the guy. He reminds me of my dad, who registered black voters in DC in the early ’60s as an earnest young liberal, but who’s not speaking to me because I called him out on a cheap-ass e-mail joke about Indian-Americans.

    I love my dad, and we’re both too old for this shit, but am I supposed to hate him?

    I don’t see where Hendrik Hertzberg can be held responsible for propping up Marty Peretz in his nasty dotage. And it looks like the old bastard ain’t getting much prop at all these days, now that his ex-wife’s money’s run out.

  68. 68
    Aidan says:

    @Jay: Fair enough, but the day I see a Balloon Juice writer criticize one of his fellow bloggers instead of falling back on feigned outrage over false equivalences and the horrors of the Moore Award is the day I’ll take I’ll take them seriously about loyalty and looking out for one’s own.

  69. 69
    Bruce Webb says:

    I can be bought. Cheaper. And have some blogosphere cred due to ten years of participating.

    Well hell it worked for most of he past editors for TNR, and I am not kidding here. I am not looking for more authority than Kinsley or Sullivan, just cut their pay by 80% and bring me on. It is not like the quality would degrade much.

    “will fluff for bread”

  70. 70
    morzer says:

    It seems that Rick Hertzberg’s thought crimes consist of not having ritually opened every article and blog post with an immediate call for Marty Peretz to be marched out and shot. This, apparently, is an act of self-prostitution. Oddly enough, I seem to remember quite a few posts by DougJ in which Peretz was not even mentioned. Whatever should we assume about DougJ? Still, we seem to be operating on the principle of let him who is without a bespoke suit cast the first stone.

    On the topic of Peretz, Hertzberg produced the following:

    Not all of Marty’s beneficiaries love him. Some of them can’t stand him; some have been attacked by him, in print or in pixels or in person. All the same, they and their readers have reason to be grateful to him. I certainly feel that way.
    Marty’s fulminations shouldn’t necessarily be taken too seriously. As I say, he’s excitable. Anyway, being lambasted by him can be nearly as advantageous a career move as being hired by him.
    For example, in his blog item ranting about Sid, he writes: “I do not hold the written rantings of his son Max against him.”
    Max Blumenthal, who is indeed a Sidovich, is a diligent reporter who specializes in using old-fashioned journalistic methods, such as picking up the telephone, attending public events, going places to interviewing people, and consulting public records, in order to illuminate the swampy far reaches of the far right….

    I rather suspect that if DougJ bothered to do some research (old-fashioned idea, I know) he might just possibly discover that Hertzberg is perfectly prepared to criticize Peretz, while acknowledging that Peretz was personally good to him. Clearly such a complex perspective doesn’t suit the form of political correctness by which all right-thinking people must scream for the blood of Peretz in the name of tolerance and liberal values… but it does have the merit of being slightly closer to honesty, slightly more compassionate, and slightly more courageous than simply howling when the pack howls.

  71. 71
    Jewish Steel says:


    Earlier, I went ahead and sent Hertzberg an email pointing him towards this post and asking him to respond. He’s corresponded with me before, so I don’t think it’s out of the question…but he may find the whole thing too sordid soil his hands with.

    There was an English prof at our local state school who was baffled that his colleagues would bother speculate about and attempt to interpret the works of living poets and authors. “Just call ’em up and ask ’em!” he’d tell his students. And he would. So, that’s what I did.

  72. 72
    bob h says:

    Peretz wrote an endorsement of Al Gore in 2000 that was just beautiful in its expression of admiration and love. I was so taken by it that I took out a subscription to TNR.

  73. 73
    Nancy Irving says:

    The thing about the bespoke suit is scary. It sounds like the kind of thing a mobster would do. The kind of thing deliberately designed to create an untouchable obligation.

    I like Hertzberg too. He should never have accepted the gift.

  74. 74
    PeakVT says:

    @Bruce Webb: You’ve told too much truth about SS. No soup suit for you!

    he’s always been too emo for his own good but now he’s old, bitter, and recently divorced

    I can’t think of a better punishment for Peretz than dying old and bitter, except old and bitter and deported from Israel for some reason.

  75. 75
    rickstersherpa says:

    I was a reader and subscriber to the New Republic for nearly 30 years, starting shortly before Marty P used Ann Farnsworth’s money to buy it, and I stayed with it up until the Iraq war. Then Marty Peretz’s indifference not only to human beings who happen to be Arab or Muslim (or both as there are substantial number of Arab Christians), but human beings who happen to be American soldiers became unbearable. Nevertheless, the man apparently has a charismia (hence the charming of Ann Farnsworth and so many others). And actually, what he has done is a very old custom, called patronage (think of Slughorn “collecting” students in “Harry Potter” and living vicariously through them. I also have friends and family who believe and say things that I consider monstrous, but they do have other qualities, and I find that I love them still. We reach silent agreements to avoid certain topics to maintain a relationships that we find precious. Perhaps that is wrong, but when you reach a certain age, you find it harder and harder to make new friends.

    The best take down I have read of Peretz was done by Eric Alterman in the American Prospect 3 years ago. It is one I essentially agree with.

    It is amazing when reading it over the years that I can recall that Krauthammer and Mort Kondrake were basically social democrats/liberal in the 1980s, except on foreign policy, and Barnes (like Steve Chapman) was a libertarian skeptic who covered the Reagan White House and Reagan without any hagiography. Hard to imagine that now. To the list of liberals who I started first reading in TNR you can add Robert Kuttner’s name.

  76. 76
    Amir_Khalid says:

    One of the students Professor Slughorn collected in his first hitch at Hogwarts was Tom Riddle, the future Lord Voldemort. Is there anyone (potentially) like that in Marty Peretz’s version of the Slug Club?

  77. 77
    liberal says:

    but now he’s old, bitter, and recently divorced

    He’s been bitter since George McGovern accidently referred to his wife as a dog or something, decades ago.

  78. 78
    sparky says:

    @morzer: yeah, pretty much what you said. pundits and writers are not judges (e.g., prohibited from taking gifts of any kind) nor should we expect them to be. that’s a silly, unrealistic purity test. and to assume that having a mentor blinds one to the mentor’s faults seems more like a ready-made reason to dismiss someone’s POV.

    also, too, Hertzberg begins with this in the piece that you quoted:

    Toward the end of a recent post, I pointed the finger of shame at unnamed “Obama advisers” who are reported to have blackballed Sidney Blumenthal from a post on Hillary Clinton’s staff at the State Department.

    Here’s a related finger, pointed at someone with a name: Martin Peretz, editor-in-chief and sometime owner of The New Republic. Like Sid, Marty is an old and dear friend of mine. I’ve known him for forty-eight years, a dozen of which I spent toiling for him at TNR.

    DougJ–you’re a pretty incisive guy on the media front, but to ignore this and quote from elsewhere in that piece is pretty damn disingenuous or blatantly unfair. and i say this as someone who dislikes Hertzberg and loathes Perez.

  79. 79
    Svensker says:


    I have no quarrel with Peretz.

    Really? Do you, as well, think that Arab Muslims breed like rabbits and are too uneducated to realize that the only loving families are small families?

  80. 80
    DougJ says:


    I included the stuff where he talked about Peretz being a neocon hothead. I think my quote was fair.

  81. 81
    Jay says:


    Wow. I’d love to get all the goods on that story.

  82. 82
    HyperIon says:


    Even better, were that I was literate enough to know more of the poem.

    Memorizing Yeats’ poems is time well-spent.

  83. 83
    HyperIon says:


    Never seen Mod Squad

    But it’s legacy is all around you.
    Look for ads/shows that contain three people who could be described as: “one white, one black, one blonde”.

  84. 84
    Bella Q says:


    The stuff where he laughed at his kids’ liberal rabbi pissed me off too. It made me sad too.

    Since pretty much every bigoted thing Peretz says pisses me off, it primarily made me sad.

  85. 85
    Bella Q says:

    @slag: Now I know I’m officially old. I never saw 21 Jump Street but adored Mod Squad as a youngster.

  86. 86
    Pococurante says:

    I agree with him often enough. When I don’t it’s a pretty violent disagreement.

    Like Goldberg, Peretz comes down hard on Lieberman and the other fanatics. Like Goldberg, Peretz hates the settlements. Like Goldberg, Peretz hates those who can’t separate Arab semites from Jew semites, hates those who immediately assume Palestinians means Arabs “who’d just like to take care of their families”. As, which is the reality, Palestinians are Muslims and Jews who’d just like to take care of their families.

    I’ll take old crusty emo any day over faux “DIAF”. At least crusty old f*ks actually give a reason and they (me) have lived long enough to understand there really are shades of gray.

    BTW “age” and “living long enough” are not the same thing. Some folks pay attention every day in class. They’ve “lived long enough”.

    The current Peretz is a man who can opine on all religious and secular folks in the “much too promised” land and does so genuinely. He’s the guy actually over there doing volunteer teaching with children. And still be an old crusty emo kind of guy – bitchy yet doing the heavy lifting most folks never do.

    Like, ahem, many here?

    Disagree? Well.


  87. 87
    Pococurante says:

    @morzer: Precisely.

    Peretz is a man who whatever the merits has been uniquely positioned to be public, iconic, and influential. That means we watch him evolve over time. Like we all evolve over time.

    Just another wall in Plato’s cave.

    Some watch the shadows over time and rethink each hour.

    Some just bay.

  88. 88
    Xanthippas says:

    This is why it’s unfair to call journalists “whores”. A prostitute may spend a night doing as a client pleases in return for a cash payment, Hendrick Hertzberg (whose writing I like) will spend a lifetime doing the same for the gift of a bespoke suit.

    Come on Doug. It doesn’t make you a “whore” to have some fondness or loyalty for people who’ve treated you well, or been generous to you, or helped you in hard times. The fact that Marty Peretz has defenders among people who’ve known him personally isn’t any surprise; practically everybody is likable on some level. Nothing they write changes anything Marty Peretz has ever written, so I don’t know why you think it’s necessary to go after his defenders as well for their completely human gratitude towards him.

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