January 18, 2008

So there we were, at the storied Elaine’s restaurant, Taki, R. Emmet Tyrell, Lewis Lapham, and several other luminaries… but I couldn’t help feeling (sorry, Taki) that the most important man at the table was Peter Brimelow—the courageous journalist, formerly of Forbes and National Review, author of the prophetic immigration book Alien Nation. It was mostly a social gathering, wherein the Great Greek graciously treated to a festive dinner a variety of his friends, some of whom had little to nothing in common. (When Tyrell explained why he was supporting Giuliani I nearly gagged on Elaine’s excellent anchovies—and choked back a pro-life tirade in my throat.)

Peter Brimelow was there with his lovely, relatively recent bride Lydia, and we didn’t get much chance to talk. I fairly basked in the reflected glow of their marital bliss, and reminded myself to visit them in Connecticut. But now I’m writing to encourage you to visit Peter online, at his fascinating, edgy Web site VDare. While it runs a wide variety of thinkers—some of whom I really can’t endorse—the site is mostly persuasive, and always brave.

And lately it has run two of the best bits of commentary I’ve read in quite some time:

If you’d like some perspective on the seamier side of The New Republic and its hit-job on Rep. Ron Paul, check out Steven Sailer’s hilarious exploration of the odious James Kirchik—the kind of sneering, preening Yalie that gives the rest of us second thoughts about having turned down City College. It includes a rather prurient reading of Marty Peretz’s taste in dapper young editors….

The other piece you simply shouldn’t miss is by the many-cojoned commentator John Derbyshire, who still tempts me to glance at NRO from time to time. It begins as an admiring account of the politically incorrect last testament of the popular British novelist George MacDonald Fraser—who may well prove to be the last Englishman ever to speak his mind. Just before going off to his reward, the Flashman author delivered himself of a rant against the Orwellian state of opinion in Cool Brittania which would have done the good Taki proud. Derbyshire gives a fine account—but goes on to do something else. He makes of the writer’s dying counterblast a meditation on the fact of historical change, a melancholy reflection on how fleeting are our attitudes—and how quickly fickle opinion can turn our heroes, and even our fathers into monsters. Don’t miss this piece—and while you’re at it, add VDare just below Takimag to your bookmarks. It will sometimes make you angry—and it might just get blocked by your company’s email censor—but it will always keep you thinking.


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