Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Jihad Apologist at the Helm of the New York Review of Books

From Bruce Bawer, at Pajamas, "Ian Buruma: A Jihad Apologist at the Helm of the New York Review of Books."
In The Last Intellectuals (1987), Russell Jaboby described the NYRB as a closed shop that kept publishing the same big-name leftists (Noam Chomsky, Susan Sontag, I.F. Stone, Tony Judt) and that ran so many British professors that it was redolent more of “Oxford teas rather than New York delis.” Also, it had no interest in developing younger talent. (I must have sensed that, because when I left grad school and started writing for New York literary journals, I don't think I even tried the NYRB.) In a 2014 article, Jacoby raised a question: although Silvers, then eighty-four, had been “unwilling or unable to groom successors,” eventually “he will have to give up the reins, but when and who will take over?”

The answer came this year. Silvers died, presenting an opportunity to open the NYRB up to non-academic – and even non-leftist! – writers living on the far side of the Hudson. No such luck: it was soon announced that Silvers's job would be filled by Ian Buruma, a Dutch-born Oxford fellow who is sixty-five and has been a NYRB writer since 1987. For me, above all, he's the man who wrote Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance (2006), pretty much the only book about the Islamization of Europe to receive the imprimatur of the New York literary establishment.

I'm not going to be that down on NYR. I subscribed while in grad school and got a lot out of it. Frankly, the journal offers intellectual material and you can take it or leave it. Lately, I've been leaving it, but I'm not going to rag on it. I don't care about Buruma, of course, but I doubt it's going to make much difference who edits the magazine. It's by definition stodgy. Take what you like and forget the rest.

More, in any case.