Freitag, 21. September 2018

The cleansing of the American mind

The cleansing of the American mind

Haimo L. Handl

Ian Buruma on a New Era at The New York Review of Books
John Williams, NYT, Sept. 9, 2017

When Ian Buruma became editor of the famous NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS, John Williams portraied him in his article. One could read:
One can understand why Ian Buruma, when he was announced as The Review’s new editor in May, thought: “What the hell have I taken on?” But that only came after a happier intitial reaction. “I thought it was a challenge I would regret not accepting,” Buruma said. “The first feeling was a sense of euphoria, of a changed life.”

A reviewer once called Buruma’s writing “disarmingly reasonable and calm,” and this is precisely how he comes across in person.

Buruma intends to feature a more unpredictable ideological roster, given the unprecedented nature of the country’s political climate.

“We’re not living in the same time as Nixon or Clinton or Bush,” he said. “Under Trump, the distinctions that used to exist, roughly speaking, between left and right, have become much more fluid. People who may never have come within a mile of the pages of The Review 20 years ago might have a place in it now. Everything will be looked at with fresh eyes.”
Now it's a fact that he has gone too far. He didn't forsee with fresh eyes the changed climate, the the changed mental sets, the changed powers.

An article which led to uproars exploded like a bomb and led to his ouster.

What has happened?

Buruma had published a very controversial peace of a Canadian writer who has been accused of sexual harassment but finally got acquitted. It wasn't just the plain article but Burumas defense and helpless explanations why he did publish that peace. Buruma had to go. One reads of the reactions:

New York Review of Books Editor Is Out Amid Uproar Over #MeToo Essay
Cara Buckley, NYT, Sept. 19, 2018
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 women.

The upheaval at the publication shows the raw emotion still surrounding nearly every #MeToo accusation and response, less than a year after the first reports about Harvey Weinstein’s behavior unleashed a tide of allegations against other famous men.

On Wednesday, the magazine posted a note atop the essay that began, “The following article, which has provoked much criticism, should have included acknowledgment of the serious nature and number of allegations that had been made against the writer, Jian Ghomeshi.” It then listed some of the allegations. *)

Ms. Kipnis also said as news of Mr. Buruma’s departure spread, fellow writers shared alarm. “People are terrified to get caught in a Twitter storm,” she said. “And if they say they support Ian, it’s easy for someone to say, ‘There’s someone who doesn’t care about sexual assault.’”
Buruma had given an interview to a Dutch paper as well as with  Isaac Chotiner from SLATE.

Why Did the New York Review of Books Publish That Jian Ghomeshi Essay?
We asked the editor.
By Isaac Chotiner, SLATE, Sept. 14, 2018

*) The core of the affair:

Reflections from a Hashtag
Jian Ghomeshi   
October 11, 2018 Issue, THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS
The following article, which has provoked much criticism, should have included acknowledgment of the serious nature and number of allegations that had been made against the writer, Jian Ghomeshi. In October 2014, Ghomeshi—about whom multiple women had filed harassment complaints—was fired from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation after executives saw evidence that he had caused physical harm to a woman. Shortly after, more than twenty women accused him of sexual abuse and harassment, which included hitting, biting, choking, and verbal abuse during sex. Many of these allegations were made in respected publications, including The Toronto Star. That November, Ghomeshi was charged with the sexual assault of three women. (Sexual assault, under Canada’s Criminal Code, can include threats and nonconsensual physical contact. There is no specific legal provision for rape as it is defined in US law.) In January 2015, additional counts of sexual assault were brought against him by three more women. He was acquitted of all charges, and settled a further charge of sexual assault, of a coworker at the CBC, out of court with a peace bond and public apology. Substantial space will be devoted to letters responding to this article in the next issue of The New York Review, dated October 25, 2018.
[This note which has been put in front of the article, evokes a kind of déjà-vu. THE NATION felt it necessary to put their craven apology in front of a poem which has insulted thousands of readers.]

America, it seems, is getting clean. The cleansers are working hard.

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