Here’s a riddle:
Which American publication this week objected to Vice-President Dick Cheney’s remark that he didn’t take seriously Amnesty International’s description of the U.S. internment camp at Guantanamo as a “gulag”? Which also presented bribed English parliamentarian and Saddam Hussein stooge George Galloway as a hero?
The Nation? Mother Jones?
Here are some more clues:
In its cover story this magazine also defended “the culture of protest of the 1960’s” and lamented the collapse of the Black-Jewish alliance, going on to say that “the New Left in great degree [was] the direct off-spring of the old. Without the radical Jewish children, there would have been no early SDS, no Free Speech Movement at Berkeley, no New York kids going South for Freedom Rides to turn the civil-rights movement into a matter of national consciousness.” Too, the periodical criticized the rise of the Christian Right and called Robert McNamara “the fire-bomber of Tokyo, napalm-bomber of Vietnam”.
Dissent? The American Prospect? Or something still more nostalgically left-wing?
Nope. The magazine was The American Conservative. Yes, the one edited by Pat Buchanan and funded by socialite and sometime coke fiend Taki Theodoracopulos.
Granted, it does have much which is recognizably inappropriate for a left-wing journal. Hence, there was also in this week’s issue a lengthy article attacking Mark “Deep Throat” Felt and a very mainstream and conventional attack on the mainstreaming of porn. Buchanan also once more insinuates that Britain started both World Wars, a favorite theme of this author who has in the past suggested that not all that many Jews died at Auschwitz. Last week Taki defended British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, somehow maintaining that Baldwin had been unjustly blamed for his policy of appeasement.
All this weirdness raises some embarrassing facts. Before Taki set up The American Conservative it seems that he met with Katrina Van den Heuvel about investing in The Nation. (Perhaps that was the point at which the far-left and far-right literally met up.) And stranger still, this self-described “soi-disant anti-Semite” almost invested in Seth Lipsky’s strongly pro-Israel New York Sun. This isn’t to say that Taki doesn’t have genuine right-wing anti-Semitic views. But it does raise the question of whether Taki’s main interest is in his views or merely in seeing his name in print somewhere or other.
We know Taki is a function of his riches, and they are something
of great importance to him and more than simply because they provide
him with a snobbish sense of entitlement. Taki’s erstwhile friend
George Szamuely once told me that he had re-written Taki’s columns when
they’d appeared in The New York Post,
greatly improving them from their original versions in British
publications. I have as little idea if this was true as I do about
Szamuely’s claim that Taki has kept women in New York who cheat on him
the moment he leaves town. George’s claims must be given a wide berth.
Szamuely argued in print that 9/11 was a covert U.S. plot, after all.
And he is a nasty, malodorous little man with a huge quantity of
jealousy and abundant reason to be jealous of a rich, popular, amusing
ladykiller like Taki.
I am fairly sure, however, of another of Szamuely’s claims: That Taki had offered to split the money from their New York Post column, but that it never worked out for Szamuely because in spite of his vast wealth Taki insisted that George pay for the cost of the many faxes that they exchanged with one another in preparing the American-versions of the columns.
Why do I bring all this up? To be mean and small in the way that Taki himself is, of course. But there’s more than that.
The American Conservative is the pet project of a lightweight socialite who is not American and possibly not Conservative. I happen to regard The American Conservative’s views on U.S.-China trade with some sympathy, and I wouldn’t suggest that everyone in it is ipso facto wrong. But as I’ve said before: they should change the name. If The National Catholic Reporter became a promoter of Scientology, wouldn’t it change its title?