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The Myth of the Indispensable Man


Elite editor gets fired for being bad at his job:

Ian Buruma, the editor of The New York Review of Books, left his position on Wednesday amid an uproar over the magazine’s publication of an essay by a disgraced Canadian radio broadcaster who had been accused of sexually assaulting and battering women.

“I can confirm that Ian Buruma is no longer the editor of The New York Review of Books,” Nicholas During, a publicist for the magazine, wrote in an email. It was unclear if Mr. Buruma resigned or was fired. He did not respond to a phone call and email seeking comment.

The essay’s author, Jian Ghomeshi, who was acquitted of sexual assault charges in 2016, lamented his status as a pariah, “constantly competing with a villainous version of myself online.”

Mr. Ghomeshi’s piece, which has yet to reach print subscribers, appears in the magazine’s Oct. 11 edition, which includes three essays on the cover as a package under the headline “The Fall of Men.”

After rumors about it began appearing on social media, it was published online last Friday, causing immediate furor, with some criticizing what they saw as a self-pitying tone, and soft pedaling of the accusations against him, which included slapping and choking, and had ultimately been brought by more than 20 women, rather than “several,” as Mr. Ghomeshi wrote.

In an interview last week with Isaac Chotiner of Slate, which was posted not long after the piece, Mr. Buruma, who was named top editor of The New York Review of Books in 2017, defended his decision to publish Mr. Ghomeshi’s piece, noting that while “not everyone agreed,” once the decision was made the staff “stuck together.”

In his interview with Slate, when pressed by Mr. Chotiner about the several accusations of sexual assault against Mr. Ghomeshi, Mr. Buruma said: “I’m no judge of the rights and wrongs of every allegation. How can I be?” He also noted that Mr. Ghomeshi had been acquitted and said there was no proof he committed a crime, adding, “The exact nature of his behavior — how much consent was involved — I have no idea, nor is it really my concern.”

Alas, MacArthur owns the place.

It’s worth noting that under Buruma the NYRB continued the worst record of publishing women of any comparable publication. (As Andi Zeisler observes, this also reflects his own reading habits.)  The idea that this was just the coincidental byproduct of a ruthless meritocracy is farcical on its face, but commissioning a cover story to allow a non-writer to dissemble about his own misconduct towards women while being completely indifferent to the facts of the case really highlights the obvious, just like the his feeble responses to Chotiner.

To unite our recent themes, this is a good essay by Danielle Tcholakian:

Ultimately, however, the same thing needs to be said in response to the “but it was high school” argument that is said in response to all the dismissals of Kavanaugh’s “mistruths” under oath: But it’s the Supreme Court.

Is it really that hard for Republicans to find one single solitary judge who has not violated a woman’s consent? Do they really need two people on the nation’s highest court with histories of sexual predation (hi, Clarence Thomas)?

The attachment to this one specific man is so unnecessary, and it buys into the notion of individual men being irreplaceable, which they’re not.

Your favorite comedian who did a bad thing is not the last comedian who will ever be good. The same is true for your favorite movie director or writer or editor or radio host, and so on. There are more than 3,000 other federal judges out there. Is it really not possible that even one of them has not “misspoke” under oath or violated another person?

Paul touched on this yesterday, but one thing that really should be emphasized is that if Kavanaugh withdraws his nomination, his “punishment” would be…a lifetime appointment to the second most-powerful court in the country, twelve years away from being eligible to make over $200K a year and a generous pension to do nothing. And yet, in the (now unlikely) event that Kavanaugh withdraws, the only question is which hack will be the first of many to talk about his PROFESSIONAL ERASURE.

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