Sunday, September 03, 2006

Little Lee-Lee Happy At Last?

From Crooks & Liars, an apology that recently ran in The New Republican:

An Apology to Our Readers
After an investigation, The New Republic has determined that the comments in our Talkback section defending Lee Siegel's articles and blog under the username "sprezzatura" were produced with Siegel's participation. We deeply regret misleading our readers. Lee Siegel's blog will no longer be published by TNR, and he has been suspended from writing for the magazine…

Our first thought was, "Who knew The New Republican had a sense of humor!" "Our readers"? They crack us up. "Our readers"? Both of them. They should have just mentioned the last two holdouts by name.

We've noted Little Lee-Lee here before. Flashback with us now to December 15, 2005:

Jess: A broader examination that goes beyond an individual or a party and deals with the press itself. Both the mainstream and a rag like The New Republic that wants to claim it's of the left.
My parents are longterm subscribers of The Nation but they are very offended that New Republic writers are popping up. My mother says they're seriously questioning whether they will renew because she knows the comment Maria posted elsewhere about how Camille Paglia won praise in The Nation and she read that and wondered about it, read the issue. Now that she knows that the writer of that piece works for The New Republic, she's started looking at other bylines. The New Republic is not a left magazine and The Nation shouldn't be propping it up.

C.I.: Just to clarify, the review, by Lee Siegel, I believe, was not praising Paglia's new book. It was, however, in panning the new book, offering kind words for the infamous book that deserves no praise and received none from The Nation in real time. Considering that Susan Faludi is listed on the masthead, that Gloria Steinem appears in ads for the magazine and that Katha Pollitt, among many other feminists, has been attacked by Paglia, I found Seigel's evaluation of the infamous book revisionist and insulting. They've added Dave Zirin to their online edition and hopefully they'll be addressing the issue of reviewers but I agree with your mother, Jess, The New Republic does not belong in The Nation. The magazines are too different, their readership is too different -- for one thing, The Nation has a readership -- and when you invite those people over, you end up with reviews that are offensive.

Little Lee-Lee's getting a good bashing right about now. We won't defend him but we will chuckle and again make the point that there should be no 'crossing over' between The New Republican and The Nation. When you give people like that space, you're denying real writers on the left an outlet. No, we're not applying. But there are journalists struggling to make ends meet and the reality is that Little Lee-Lee had multiple outlets. There was no need to offer him space and money to bring his New Republican views into The Nation.

And note, all e-mails coming in defending Little Lee-Lee will be assumed to have been writing by Little Lee-Lee. With the suspension, he obviously has a great deal of time on his hands.

Little Lee-Lee has a book coming out, Falling upwards: essays in defense of the imagination and the title certainly describes his current situation. We intend to skip the book but look forward to reading the many, many reviews that will be posted on it at Amazon. With the suspension, he'll have plenty of time to think up noms de plum.
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