Mark Steyn on the Passing Parade, Michael Mann, and NRO

 

mark_steyn_passing_parade_cover_5-20-14-1Ricochet members may enjoy my new podcast interview with Mark Steyn, who talks about the newly updated edition of his anthology of celebrity and political obits, Mark Steyn’s Passing Parade, plus where things stand with Michael Mann’s lawsuit, and why he left National Review in December. Plus some thoughts on how England’s nationalized socialism (heh) led to its disastrous decline in the 1970s, and how it foreshadowed the Obama era.

Click here to listen.

There are 27 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. user_358258 Member
    user_358258
    @RandyWebster

    Welcome, Ed. I’ve not seen you post here before, though I’ve read you stuff for years at PJ media.

    • #1
  2. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Is it available on iTunes?

    • #2
  3. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Passing Parade is my favorite Steyn book. I’ve purchased two copies of the paper edition and just picked up the expanded Kindle edition in case I missed anything the first two times.

    • #3
  4. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    Thanks, Ed. Great to hear Mark discuss all these things. He’s really a national treasure.
    Also, thanks for asking questions about his law suit. Mark gave good background information and brought us up to date.
    You are a wonderful interviewer and this longer form interview is invaluable for us Steyn devotees.
    I’m sorry you don’t get more comments here but if you can at least do one round of replies it would be nice and would probably generate more interest. Don’t take this as any criticism because I really want you to continue posting these interviews. I’m sure its just a question of your time and its best use — but, number of comments is the metric we all depend on here.

    • #4
  5. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    Good interview. Interesting to hear Mark confirm the breakup with National Review, that it was his decision, and that it was a combination of disagreement over the right legal strategy and the Jason Lee Steorts dust up that made him decide to part ways with National Review.
    I don’t think that National Review has quite bought into the liberal self-censor culture as Mark does, but I can understand his decision to separate.

    • #5
  6. user_428379 Thatcher
    user_428379
    @AlSparks

    I second the question Misthiocracy had. And why not? I have a pod catcher on an iPod Touch, and don’t seem to be able to download it. Why not? Why make this inconvenient to listen to?

    • #6
  7. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Al Sparks:

    I second the question Misthiocracy had. And why not? I have a pod catcher on an iPod Touch, and don’t seem to be able to download it. Why not? Why make this inconvenient to listen to?

    Not everybody knows how to set up an RSS feed.

    Since Ed’s stuff is on YouTube, you can create an RSS link for his video uploads:

    http://gdata.youtube.com/feeds/api/users/eddriscollcom/uploads

    (Edit: Apparently YouTube changed their API a while back, and this RSS method may not work with iTunes. Give it a shot, regardless.)

    • #7
  8. user_11047 Inactive
    user_11047
    @barbaralydick

    I hope it’s a matter of the holiday weekend because the low number of comments is appalling. This on a site that misses Mark’s presence. In any event, it’s so good to hear his voice again. Thank you Mr. Driscoll.

    Mark’s description of the difference between NR’s approach to the lawsuit and his own is priceless. One would think it’s an Onion piece (but better as it’s true).

    My subscription to NR has lapsed and I’m rethinking renewal. WFB must be spinning in his grave.

    • #8
  9. Freesmith Inactive
    Freesmith
    @Freesmith

    Ann Coulter, John Derbyshire and Mark Steyn are three who have separated from National Review during the Lowry-Goldberg era.

    • #9
  10. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    Freesmith:

    Ann Coulter, John Derbyshire and Mark Steyn are three who have separated from National Review during the Lowry-Goldberg era.

     Yes, sad isn’t it? I think that they are falling subject to O’Sullivan’s First Law — even though they were setup up as a right-wing organization the left-wing is starting to affect them. They just don’t see why we should go hammer and tong against the Dems and Obama in particular. He will pass from the scene eventually and the system will move more to the center and their lives aren’t so bad — so what’s all the fuss about?
    I wonder, too, if they don’t just see people themselves changing and that is the main driver. No one wants to have children anymore. Marriage is passe. Who wants their children to go into the military? Not them — it’s all of a piece. It’s a brave new world of uncharted territory.
    NR has spent 64 years so far and had no ability to stop the leviathan. As William F. Buckley, Jr. used to lament towards the end of his life: Initially, we tried to prevent no fault divorce.

    • #10
  11. user_428379 Thatcher
    user_428379
    @AlSparks

    Freesmith:

    Ann Coulter, John Derbyshire and Mark Steyn are three who have separated from National Review during the Lowry-Goldberg era.

    Steyn left on his own. Coulter and Derb were “kicked out”. This is something that’s in National Review’s DNA. William F Buckley kicked the John Birch Society out of the “conservative movement” or more accurately he publicly broke with them, and refused to have anything to do with them. He was also very sensitive to any kind of racial bigotry, perceived or real.

    In Derb’s case, I consider any accusation of racism towards him to be mostly the result of perception and not reality. As for Coulter, she can be a bit of a dingbat sometimes. I think she likes to say outrageous things to see if they stick. Steyn left because he didn’t think they showed enough spine fighting the Michael Mann suit.

    Singling out Lowry-Goldberg implies that National Review suddenly changed, and that’s not the case. I too agree with Steyn and Derb that they can be weak-kneed sometimes, and I continue to be a fan of theirs. However, I remain a loyal subscriber of National Review.

    • #11
  12. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Al Sparks:

    Freesmith:

    Steyn left because he didn’t think they showed enough spine fighting the Michael Mann suit.

    That was certainly the reason he separated himself as a defendant from NR in the Mann suit. I suspect he chose to leave the magazine itself because he had been publicly trashed by his editor for quoting what the editor viewed as politically incorrect jokes.

    • #12
  13. Freesmith Inactive
    Freesmith
    @Freesmith

    Coulter, Derbyshire and Steyn wrote things that any free man should be able to say – or to write in a magazine dedicated to liberty.
    They wrote things our fathers could say without apology. My father and your father.
    National Review, a magazine founded to yell “Stop!” to the zeitgeist, said “Not here” to Coulter, Derbyshire and Steyn.
    Who’s conserving the past?
    Who has changed?

    • #13
  14. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Basil Fawlty:

    Al Sparks:

    Freesmith:

    Steyn left because he didn’t think they showed enough spine fighting the Michael Mann suit.

    That was certainly the reason he separated himself as a defendant from NR in the Mann suit. I suspect he chose to leave the magazine itself because he had been publicly trashed by his editor for quoting what the editor viewed as politically incorrect jokes.

    Spine is the reason he gives for his difference with NR over the lawsuit. I don’t think that it’s actually the difference, though. On other occasions, he says that it’s because he doesn’t want the hassle of the lawsuit, and that reason is more closely compatible with his actions. 
    Similarly, Steorts wasn’t “his” editor, in the sense of the guy who edited his work (that’s ultimately Lowry). Steorts has some editorial duties at NR, but isn’t particularly senior.

    • #14
  15. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Freesmith:

    Coulter, Derbyshire and Steyn wrote things that any free man should be able to say – or to write in a magazine dedicated to liberty. They wrote things our fathers could say without apology. My father and your father. National Review, a magazine founded to yell “Stop!” to the zeitgeist, said “Not here” to Coulter, Derbyshire and Steyn. Who’s conserving the past? Who has changed?

     Coulter wasn’t canned for what she wrote. She was canned for badmouthing NR on Bill Maher’s show. Steyn left because a colleague of his disagreed with him in a public forum specifically designed to air intra-conservative disagreements and he had a fit of pique. If he went back to NR, they’d take him back in a heartbeat. 
    Derb is the only one of your examples where NR said that content was unacceptable. This wasn’t a big departure from WFB’s rule, though; Buckley spent a lot of time working to purge the movement of anti-Semites, Birchers, and the like. NR was never a forum in which all thoughts would be published, but only one in which ideas that supported conservatism would be. 

    • #15
  16. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    James Of England:

    Basil Fawlty:

    Al Sparks:

    Freesmith:

    Steyn left because he didn’t think they showed enough spine fighting the Michael Mann suit.

    That was certainly the reason he separated himself as a defendant from NR in the Mann suit. I suspect he chose to leave the magazine itself because he had been publicly trashed by his editor for quoting what the editor viewed as politically incorrect jokes.

    Spine is the reason he gives for his difference with NR over the lawsuit. I don’t think that it’s actually the difference, though. On other occasions, he says that it’s because he doesn’t want the hassle of the lawsuit, and that reason is more closely compatible with his actions. Similarly, Steorts wasn’t “his” editor, in the sense of the guy who edited his work (that’s ultimately Lowry). Steorts has some editorial duties at NR, but isn’t particularly senior.

    No wonder Steyn is no longer with NR. The fool didn’t even know who his editor was. (I believe Steorts was Managing Editor of the magazine at the time – usually a rather senior position and something more than just a colleague.)

    • #16
  17. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Basil Fawlty:

    James Of England:

    No wonder Steyn is no longer with NR. The fool didn’t even know who his editor was. (I believe Steorts was Managing Editor of the magazine at the time – usually a rather senior position and something more than just a colleague.)

     He’d have been more than just a colleague if Steyn were some random journalist, like Scott Johnson’s daughter. Steyn was NR’s most prominent author, though, and his departure is a tremendous blow to the organization, both financially and in terms of influence and prestige.

    One way that you can tell that Steorts lacked much editorial control over Steyn is that he voiced his disagreement in the Corner in the manner of a colleague, rather than cutting the offending joke before it ran. 

    • #17
  18. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    James Of England:

    Basil Fawlty:

    James Of England:

    He’d have been more than just a colleague if Steyn were some random journalist, like Scott Johnson’s daughter. Steyn was NR’s most prominent author, though, and his departure is a tremendous blow to the organization, both financially and in terms of influence and prestige.

    One way that you can tell that Steorts lacked much editorial control over Steyn is that he voiced his disagreement in the Corner in the manner of a colleague, rather than cutting the offending joke before it ran.

    Or, more likely, Steorts didn’t have the balls to spike the column (or had his decision to do so overruled by Lowry) and then chose to go a-sniping in The Corner to maintain his pc creds. In any event, your statement that Steyn separated himself from the NR lawsuit defense because he “doesn’t want the hassle of the lawsuit” is silly. How do you avoid the hassle of a lawsuit by dismissing your insurance-paid lawyers and going it alone?

    • #18
  19. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    Basil Fawlty: In any event, your statement that Steyn separated himself from the NR lawsuit defense because he “doesn’t want the hassle of the lawsuit” is silly. How do you avoid the hassle of a lawsuit by dismissing your insurance-paid lawyers and going it alone?

     According to the Ed Driscoll interview, Mark said that he wanted to stop all the pretrial stuff and get Mann in the courtroom and ask him questions — the sooner the better. No more delays. NR was causing more delays and not getting to the political issues. 
    One thing that I learned in a court proceeding is that the insurance company gets to call a lot of the shots. If the insurance company is only looking at the cost issues and the possibility of a libel ruling risk then they may want to lay the groundwork very carefully in order to control the riskier elements. 
    Mark seemed to indicate that he wanted the focus to the be on the political stuff. I really admire him for this if this is the case. Ultimately, a political win would be bigger and better for Mark and the country.

    • #19
  20. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Basil Fawlty:

    Although I side with Steyn on the merits of the fruit joke, I don’t see anything obnoxious in debating those merits. If Steorts had, as you say, “had the balls”, there’d have been a problem, but in the absence of abuse, even if good behavior was achieved only through cowardice, I don’t see the issue. Steorts was snotty, but a lot of people get snotty Corner debates, just as they sometimes do on Ricochet. It doesn’t seem like something that ought to even ruin one day. 

    Regarding the lawsuits, Steyn plans not to turn up to large chunks of the trial now, leaving NR, CEI, and a Ricochetti to do the work. He’ll have his Clarence Darrow moment, but he’s freed from the heavy travel requirements and boring procedure that he was complaining about. 

    • #20
  21. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Larry Koler:
    According to the Ed Driscoll interview, Mark said that he wanted to stop all the pretrial stuff and get Mann in the courtroom and ask him questions — the sooner the better. No more delays. NR was causing more delays and not getting to the political issues.

    Mark seemed to indicate that he wanted the focus to the be on the political stuff. I really admire him for this if this is the case. Ultimately, a political win would be bigger and better for Mark and the country.

     The procedural stuff is boring, expensive, and frustrating, but it is not unimportant. Steyn getting his moment of glory in the courtroom is nice, and may be persuasive to those who read about it, but will not be read about by all that many non-partisans (partisans of both sides will read it, of course, but not necessarily usefully). The important thing in victory is that Mann suffers, and is seen to suffer. The most important thing, though, is victory. 

    If Mann wins this case, there will be an immense chilling effect on conservatism in the media. If he loses the case, the hockey stick claim will take considerable damage. 

    • #21
  22. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    I don’t know exactly what happened at NR, but here’s my guess: Steyn objected to having his work attacked publicly and after the fact by Steorts, a member of senior NR management and the person responsible for editing the work and approving it for publication in the first place. He told Lowry he wanted another editor. Lowry refused. Steyn quit.

    As to the implication that Steyn was trying avoid the boring procedural stuff and make his life easier by separating his defense from that of the other two defendants, I don’t buy it. The boring procedural stuff was being handled (expensively) by the lawyers. As things dragged on and on, Steyn’s thesis about Mann and others of his ilk that the process is the punishment was confirmed. He decided to stop playing Mann’s game and start playing his own. Good for him.

    • #22
  23. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Basil Fawlty:

    I don’t know exactly what happened at NR, but here’s my guess: 

     To your mind, would this narrative make Steyn look like he wasn’t thin skinned? I agree, though, that this hypothetical is about as positive a spin as one can put on Steyn’s story. 

    Basil Fawlty: As to the implication that Steyn was trying avoid the boring procedural stuff and make his life easier by separating his defense from that of the other two defendants, I don’t buy it. The boring procedural stuff was being handled (expensively) by the lawyers. As things dragged on and on, Steyn’s thesis about Mann and others of his ilk that the process is the punishment was confirmed. He decided to stop playing Mann’s game and start playing his own. Good for him.

     I don’t understand the difference between opting out of the process and stopping playing the game in which the process is punishment. He repeatedly said that he was fed up with the legal meetings and trips to DC. He’s given up and let the others handle that stuff (although he’ll still reap the benefits). Sensible move, but hardly heroic. 

    • #23
  24. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    James Of England:

    “To your mind, would this narrative make Steyn look like he wasn’t thin skinned? I agree, though, that this hypothetical is about as positive a spin as one can put on Steyn’s story.”
    ***
    I don’t see it as thin skinned. If I wrote for a living, I wouldn’t continue to work with an editor who approves my work for publication and then turns around and trashes it. Perhaps you’re confusing thin skin with self respect.

     

    “I don’t understand the difference between opting out of the process and stopping playing the game in which the process is punishment. He repeatedly said that he was fed up with the legal meetings and trips to DC. He’s given up and let the others handle that stuff (although he’ll still reap the benefits). Sensible move, but hardly heroic.”

    ***
    Given up? I’ll wager that Steyn is spending far more of his time and money on this case now than he ever did while joined with the NR defense team. I don’t think of him as particularly heroic, but I do admire his integrity mightily.

    • #24
  25. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    Let’s not forget that extending pretrial process is what people who know they’re going to lose do. Mark said that his lawyers are feeling pretty bullish about winning. 
    The sooner the better.

    • #25
  26. James Of England Moderator
    James Of England
    @JamesOfEngland

    Basil Fawlty:
    I don’t see it as thin skinned. If I wrote for a living, I wouldn’t continue to work with an editor who approves my work for publication and then turns around and trashes it. Perhaps you’re confusing thin skin with self respect. 

    You think that self-respect means never working with people who openly disagree with you? I guess we just have to agree to disagree. I don’t think that any of the organs that Steyn writes for agree with him and respect him as much as NR does; certainly not the Spectator. As he said in the interview, NR supporters treats him like a Rock Star when he attends gatherings (it’s true! I’ve attended those gatherings!) 

    Basil Fawlty:
    Given up? I’ll wager that Steyn is spending far more of his time and money on this case now than he ever did while joined with the NR defense team. I don’t think of him as particularly heroic, but I do admire his integrity mightily.

    What do you think he’s doing with his time? I’m not sure there’s much for him to do right now but wait.

    • #26
  27. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    James Of England:

    You think that self-respect means never working with people who openly disagree with you?

    Working with people who openly disagree with you is fine. Working for people who openly disagree with you is the problem.

     

    What do you think he’s doing with his time? I’m not sure there’s much for him to do right now but wait.

    He’s been pretty good about detailing his lawsuit-related activities on his website.

    • #27

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.