“Can you get me a Quid Pro Bro, Tom? For old time’s sake?”
Paul recently observed that “being an extremely difficult person to work with is actually a great reason for getting fired. One of the very best in fact.” Another one of the best reasons to fire someone is for being really bad at their job. The NYRB has issued a statement about Ian Buruma’s jump-before-being-pushed from the NYRB, which makes abundantly clear that what happened is that he did the latter in defense of someone fired for the former:
NYRB publisher statement re Ian Buruma firing over Jian Ghomeshi piece: “We acknowledge our failures in the presentation and editing of his story….We surely had a duty to acknowledge the point of view of the women who complained of Mr. Ghomeshi’s behavior. ” pic.twitter.com/tZIWvbHtQ4
— Cara Buckley (@caraNYT) September 24, 2018
- Buruma, as he more or less admitted in the Slate interview, wanted to run a piece about how #MeToo WENT TOO FAR irrespective of the facts, of which he was aware of very few, about either the Ghomeshi case in particular or the movement in general.
- He completely cut his staff’s female editors, and all but one of his male editors, out of the process, for obvious reasons.
- He did not ask any of Ghomsehi’s alleged victims for comment, while allowing him to egregiously dissemble about both the nature and quantity of the charges against him.
- He lied about the staff’s views about the article in the Slate interview.
- His whining about being fired by a “Twtter mob” was self-serving, insulting bullshit that failed to take responsibility for a completely failed editorial process.
Buruma, in other words, plainly committed multiple eminently fireable offenses here. This would be true irrespective of his background, but it’s worth noting that the Indispensable Man narrative is particularly ridiculous in this case. The announcement of his hiring lists his pieces for the NYRB and that he’s a professor, but not any experience, you know, running a magazine. The idea that there aren’t countless people as or more qualified to do the job is just absurd. (One of the strange things about This Thing Of Ours is that 1)many hiring processes in academia presume that ability as a researcher, writer and/or teacher implies the ability to be a successful administrator, although 2)anybody who has spent more than 15 minutes in academia is made painfully aware that nothing about being a good researcher, writer and/or teacher merits the presumption that one is a good administrator.)
Look for my forthcoming Harper’s cover story, “Nathan Peterman was fired by a Twitter mob without due process.”
UPDATE: really good piece on the subject by Moira Donegan.