Gregg Easterbrook, anti-semitism, and ESPN
Despite yesterday’s post about the Malaysian Prime Minister’s graceless remarks, I don’t blog all that much about anti-Semitism. Alas, this will have to be the second post in the last 48 hours on the subject. I just learned about the accusations of anti-Semitism against Gregg Easterbrook for his tirade against Miramax, Quentin Tarantino, and “Kill ...
Despite yesterday's post about the Malaysian Prime Minister's graceless remarks, I don't blog all that much about anti-Semitism. Alas, this will have to be the second post in the last 48 hours on the subject. I just learned about the accusations of anti-Semitism against Gregg Easterbrook for his tirade against Miramax, Quentin Tarantino, and "Kill Bill" on his TNR blog. Having read the controversial post, I concluded: Easterbrook has clearly never seen Reservoir Dogs; Easterbrook did not "get" Scream; Easterbrook's final two grafs -- the source of all of the controversey -- was a bizarre and offensive rant extraneous to the rest of his misguided post; After reading his apology, my conclusions are slightly more charitable than Virginia Postrel's. What genuinely puzzles me is that Easterbrook is hardly a novice in his writings on religion. He is, however, a novice blogger, which might be the best explanation. Andrew Sullivan phrases it nicely in his Inside Dish:
Despite yesterday’s post about the Malaysian Prime Minister’s graceless remarks, I don’t blog all that much about anti-Semitism. Alas, this will have to be the second post in the last 48 hours on the subject. I just learned about the accusations of anti-Semitism against Gregg Easterbrook for his tirade against Miramax, Quentin Tarantino, and “Kill Bill” on his TNR blog. Having read the controversial post, I concluded:
Blogging is, indeed, a high-wire act. Looking back, I write about a quarter of a million words a year. The notion that I will not write something dumb, offensive or simply foolish from time to time is absurd. Of course I will. Writing is about being human. And blogging is perhaps one of the least protected, most human forms of writing we have yet discovered. It’s like speaking on air, live. Yes, bloggers should take criticism. But they should be judged on the totality of their work, not their occasional screw-ups. Welcome to the blogosphere, Gregg. You jumped in at the deep end.
Eric Alterman makes a similar argument:
Action frequently gets the better of thought. Gregg could have used an editor before he wrote those silly words, but apparently he didn’t have one. He is, as he said, willing to defend the thoughts behind his anti-Semitic-sounding post, but not the words themselves. Many bloggers could and should say the same, but don’t do so often enough.
[Easterbrook should have taken your advice!–ed. Well, that post also recommended blogging about religion, so maybe he did.] As a big fan of Easterbrook’s writings in general, and his Tuesday Morning Quarterback column for ESPN in particular, I’ve never come across anything else in his voluminous set of writings that even hinted at anti-Semitism. When someone without a track record of these utterances apologizes, I tend to think that’s the end of it. However, according to Roger Simon, Easterbrook has been fired from ESPN for what he wrote on his blog. Glenn Reynolds has a collection of responses across the blogosphere, as well as ESPN.com‘s Orwellian response. Meryl Yourish — who has been unrelenting in flogging Easterbrook for his screw-up — thinks ESPN has screwed up. I tend to agree. This situation is not analagous to Rush Limbaugh’s. Easterbrook’s gaffe does not appear to have been on ESPN, and he’s apologized. Limbaugh made his statements on ESPN, did not really apologize, and then refused to appear on Sportscenter to defend himself. [A side note: the above graf is based on Glenn Reynolds assertion that this decision was, “especially bizarre given that the whole flap was about something that wasn’t even published at ESPN.” I’m not completely sure that’s true — a lot of Easterbrook’s initial posts at Easterblogg appeared in his Tuesday Morning Quarterback posts. However, since ESPN has erased all of his posts, I can’t check on my own and will assume that what Reynolds says is true. UPDATE: I just found the cached version of the last two TMQ columns at Google — and “Kill Bill” is not mentioned in either of them.] Think ESPN screwed up? Let them know about it.
Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Twitter: @dandrezner
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