My new Think Again column is called “A Bully Pulpit for Billionaires” and it examines The Economist’s odd coverage of the New York City mayor’s race.
My Nation column is called “Village People” and it discusses the sequel to Game Change, Double Down and its authors’ contempt for liberals.
A few final words (I hope) about You Know What.
I am resisting the urge to delve back into the muck with regard to the Blumenthal book—recently endorsed, I see, by the website of famed neo-Nazi, David Duke—I do, however, feel a need to clarify two points that may be lost to those who are still paying attention amdist all of the hysterical (and patently false) accusations I’ve experienced as a result of my column, “The ‘I Hate Israel’ Handbook.”
1) There were no errors in my column. None. Zero. Zilch.* If there had been, The Nation would have run a correction in the magazine. It didn’t and it won’t.
2) It is nonsense to claim, as the website “Mondoweiss” did, that I publicly refused to debate Blumenthal and secretly demanded $10,000 to do so. What happened was this. Phil Weiss has been hassling me for years to debate him about Israel. I have said “no thanks” for years, but try to get him to leave me alone, I told him that if someone wanted to pay my speaking fees, I would debate anyone at all. I’m hardly afraid to debate people. I just don’t believe in giving away my time for free, especially to people like Weiss.
When the Blumenthal column came out, Phil started hassling me again. I said “no” again, adding the same conditions I had given him years ago still applied no matter who he wanted me to debate. Phil broke all the known rules of journalism by not only publishing my private responses to his entreaties when I had clearly and explicitly refused permission for this–he asked twice and I said “no” twice–but also making it appear that I had said things I clearly had not. Looking back, I don’t know why I was surprised. I do know it’s the last time I will ever answer an email from Phil Weiss.
And speaking of Jews, I love this anecdote about Norman Mailer and Philip Roth that I noticed in Andrew O’Hagen’s review of the big new Mailer bio in The London Review of Books
‘You know,’ he said, ‘when you get to my age you have to pee a lot. And there is no distance at all between knowing you want to pee and then just peeing. I was at Plimpton’s funeral in St John the Divine not long ago, and they sat me near the front, you know. Suddenly, I had to go. I knew I wasn’t gonna make it all the way down the aisle so I spotted a little side door and I got the canes and nipped in there. Halfway down the corridor, I was looking for a john and who do I see but Philip Roth. “Hey, Philip, what you doin’ here?”