December 29, 2001
8:54 AM   Subscribe

John Derbyshire calls for the murder of Chelsea Clinton. [More inside]
Link via Andrew Sullivan's blog.
posted by Slithy_Tove (44 comments total)
Note the second paragraph from the end. No, he's not being serious, but no good can come of giving the Nazis, Joe Stalin, and Imperial China as examples proper public policy. Unaccountably, he missed Alexander the Great, who also murdered his rivals' families when he assumed the kingship of Macedonia.

What, exactly, is his beef with Chelsea? Being a callow 20-year-old, as easily manipulated by the charms of her father as any other young woman? Sheesh. Tell me again, why are we beating up on children? National Review used to be a worthwhile read, but I dropped my subscription a few years ago when the writing started getting increasingly waspish and whiny. I switched to The Weekly Standard, which although it has less flair and savour than NR at its best, never makes a total ass of itself, as NR has been doing lately. Jonah Goldberg, too, lately seems to spend the majority of his time backpedaling from and apologizing for previous dumb remarks. And Ann Coulter...

I know this doesn't mean much to those of you on the left, to whom all journals right of center must look alike. But to those of us to whom NR was, for decades, a beacon of rational thought in a misty fog of liberal media soup, it's sad to see the magazine in its dotage.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 8:55 AM on December 29, 2001

Impeachment Nostalgia?
posted by y2karl at 9:03 AM on December 29, 2001

He didn't need to write the whole article, he summed it all up in one line:

" More than anything, I admit, I hate Chelsea because she is a Clinton." (emphasis original)

I'm amazed that people like him are still working themselves into a lather over Clinton, but at least it keeps them busy.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:07 AM on December 29, 2001

More than anything, I admit, I hate Chelsea because she is a Clinton.

Obviously he's getting paid by the word, because this is really all he has to say. What a twerp.
posted by briank at 9:08 AM on December 29, 2001

You beat me to the post button, Mr. Crash Davis....curse you :-)
posted by briank at 9:09 AM on December 29, 2001

The basic lesson here? You don't have to be that smart to be a columnist or commentator. Poor Chelsea -- I guess she must be used to it by now.
posted by josh at 9:28 AM on December 29, 2001

It doesn't sound like such a bad idea to me. Who'd miss her?

We may as well learn from our mistakes. Imagine the good we, as a dignified culture, could have done had we planned in advance for the Bush brood.

Where's Robespierre when you need him?
posted by generic human at 9:34 AM on December 29, 2001

Word is the Secret Service paid Mr. Derbyshire a visit when Chelsea received his 50th mash note in the mail.
posted by KLAX at 9:43 AM on December 29, 2001

I'm amazed that people like him are still working themselves into a lather over Clinton, but at least it keeps them busy.

Conservatives will look upon the impeachment follies as the pure zenith of the conservative upswell that Reagan started.

Historians will will pump out books by the dozens as it was, love it or hate it, a fantastic historical event and/or phenomenon.

Impeachment Nostalgia is a real thing. Listen to Talk Radio. Like Nascar clinton-bashing is a national pastime to a lot of folks (many of them Nascar fans!).
posted by BentPenguin at 9:46 AM on December 29, 2001

What is this, the Best of 2001? Did anybody check the date on this article? I also recall a thread on this same article, back when it was current.
posted by Ty Webb at 10:00 AM on December 29, 2001

Yeah, thanks -- I was just wondering the same thing. The articles from Feb. of 2001, folks -- we've covered this already...
posted by metrocake at 10:03 AM on December 29, 2001

having read that article, I feel like I have de-evolved a little bit.
posted by mcsweetie at 10:07 AM on December 29, 2001

Pretty weenie.
posted by fleener at 10:09 AM on December 29, 2001

owillis posted it and said the same damn thing about switching to reading the weekly standard.
posted by machaus at 10:13 AM on December 29, 2001

Hmm. I can't think of anyone who was more disgusted by the constant flow of slime that came from the Clinton years.

However, they are now over. I've got more important things to pay attention to than "what Chelsea might do". Who cares?

I'll critique and condemn Chelsea when and if she goes into politics and can have an effect on my life (and if such comments are appropriate) - as of now she is simply another US citizen.

To do otherwise is simply bad manners.

P.S. for another publication that seems to really, really hate Chelsea check out NewsMax.
posted by hadashi at 10:19 AM on December 29, 2001

I love satire...that was satire, right? If it isn't, this guy is lower than snakeshit in the bottom of the grand canyon. His redundancy on the Clinton crime chronicals needs to be turned over to the ASPCA. Maybe he is just an ugly freak trolling for attention.
posted by Mack Twain at 10:23 AM on December 29, 2001

What unmitigated rudeness! It's no wonder that a recent Washington Post headline reads "Media-Shy Chelsea Clinton Ends Her Silence."
posted by Carol Anne at 10:57 AM on December 29, 2001

For a more recent inflammatory Derbyshire piece, try his whoppingly gay-bashing Christmas letter from about a week and a half ago. The man obviously gets his jollies from annoying people; probably best just to ignore him.
posted by gimonca at 11:08 AM on December 29, 2001

Since my reading habits tend more to The Nation than National Review, this is the first I've run across Derbyshire. What a rancid little mind he has!
posted by barkingterrier at 11:32 AM on December 29, 2001

I remember Sullivan complaining about this a long time ago. Why are we hearing about it again now? Now Sullivan's flogging him for because Derbyshire complained about Billy Elliot (movie about a non-gay ballet dancing working class British lad) being gay propaganda. Whatever. Derbyshire tends to give of the odor of crank. Goldberg's bloggish column is bizarre (he insulted libertarians awhile back, and then insulted cat owners the next week), but I get the impression it's partially flamebait.
posted by Charmian at 11:56 AM on December 29, 2001

Gimonca... I didn't find the peice you referenced to be too far from center. I thought that it was a bit emphatic, but that's hardly a sin. And gay bashing? Hmm... you must have a fairly soft definition of the term.
posted by silusGROK at 12:56 PM on December 29, 2001

Though Derbyshire didn't have a billy club in a dark alley, referring to homosexuality as "freakish" and "disgusting," then going on to say that the hard-working and stouthearted of the world agree, is the verbal equivalent.
posted by juniper at 1:19 PM on December 29, 2001

Though I'm certainly not conservative, I might point out that many people dislike the man living at 1600 PA Ave., because he is the son of a disliked former president...
posted by Kevs at 2:41 PM on December 29, 2001

An honest question: Where do you go to study how to be an opinion writer whose every column concludes with an argument for the objective superiority of Western "culture?" Seriously, what books do these columnist read? I ask, not because I disagree (I heartily object the wording of any question they pose to themselves is more like it), but because they all read like they're from another intellectual planet. I just had no idea Fukuyama was so widely admired. Is that all there is to it?
posted by rschram at 2:47 PM on December 29, 2001

By way of background, Fukuyama lit a fire with his piece: "The End of History". I agree with him. Western secular democracies are objectively superior to other ways of organizing society. Though, Fukuyama uses the term "liberal" in place of "secular".
posted by Real9 at 4:03 PM on December 29, 2001

OK, seriously. Who does America like better as First Daughter? Chelsea Clinton or Amy Ford?
posted by ilsa at 4:25 PM on December 29, 2001

Amy Ford? Did Amy Carter and Susan Ford merge?
posted by rodii at 4:27 PM on December 29, 2001

Who does America like better as First Daughter?

I thought Tricia Nixon was a hottie.
posted by MrBaliHai at 5:11 PM on December 29, 2001

Before Bush was elected: "George's Girls Aren't Exactly Party Animals: They love sports and they date, but they keep their social lives private." Then, we learned: "Jenna and Barbara Bush are tearing a torrid swath through the Hollywood party scene..."They don't seem to care about getting caught anymore," said an insider. "Their mother is condemning the media for writing about them, but they're the ones who are going out every night."
posted by Carol Anne at 5:11 PM on December 29, 2001

Derbyshire's entire line of argument would be derailed if Chelsea was Webster Hubbell's love child. Before the humorless thought police kick in. It's a joke!

I think technically she would still be a First Daughter. Though the burden of it all might lead to heavy drinking.
posted by Real9 at 5:16 PM on December 29, 2001

The gay yule thing is a glorious example of meta insanity. He claims that

What I object to is the assumption, rapidly becoming universal, that those of us sharing this opinion should keep their mouths shut if they know what's good for them, and should feel ashamed of thoughts that seem to me commonplace and reasonable.

Huh?? He doesn't object to people thinking gayness is fine? He objects to people thinking that people that think gayness is bad are wrong?

I just wish the bad and the good guys could express their opinion without resorting to recursive arguments about the opinion of the opinion and my opinion about your opinion of the "legitimacy" of my opinion. Bah.
posted by Wood at 5:33 PM on December 29, 2001

Amy Ford? Did Amy Carter and Susan Ford merge?

Somebody get to rodii fast--before he really wakes up and realizes he's actually Ragle Gumm!
posted by y2karl at 6:07 PM on December 29, 2001

Lemonade stand

What's this?
posted by rodii at 6:09 PM on December 29, 2001

Lemonade stand

And all these years I've been thinking and telling people hot dog stand
--now I have to go back and check.
And one of the most crucial passages of Philip K. Dick's...

Oh. the flexibility of my memory!
posted by y2karl at 10:16 PM on December 29, 2001

Owowowowowow! Sorry for the repeat fpp. Crappy due diligence. Bad Tove! BAD!

[smacks himself around a bit with a very hard fruitcake]

Okay, of my total of 2 fpp's, one has had bad links, and the other was a dupe, almost a year old. Aaarrrggghhh. I'm cursed.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 10:18 PM on December 29, 2001

Hrm, I clicked the link to his supposed 'anti-homosexual rant' I clicked the link to his book. It seems intresting.

Anyway, this guys is a troll, plain and simple. The fact that he's getting paid for it dosn't really change it.
posted by delmoi at 11:17 PM on December 29, 2001

I'd just like to point out that back in May of this year, at the same time Jenna Bush was getting cited for underage drinking and had the Secret Service spring her drunken boyfriend from jail; and her sister Barbara the WWF wrasslin' fanatic had her fake ID confiscated trying to get into a bar and was seen passed out on a Mexican beach during spring break; classy Chelsea Clinton was visiting the Whitney Art Museum and Metropolitan Opera.

By most accounts, Chelsea has grown up to become an intelligent and polished young woman; while the Bush twins... well... haven't. But maybe they will grow out of their "youthful indiscretions" phase about the same time their father did - when they get to be about 40 years old or so. ^_-
posted by SenshiNeko at 3:59 AM on December 30, 2001

classy Chelsea Clinton

Actually, accounts of Chelsea getting sloppy drunk in Aspen back in June of this year have surfaced in the tabloids. She's also getting quite a bit of press at Oxford for her partying. So it would appear that she's quite busy shedding that classy image now that she's reached the legal drinking age.
posted by MrBaliHai at 8:04 AM on December 30, 2001

I know this doesn't mean much to those of you on the left, to whom all journals right of center must look alike.

Classic projection, to divide the world and everything in it into two overriding chunks, especially to denigrate those who aren't in your chunk. (No, I don't like it when self-proclaimed "leftists" do it, either.) So is this a reflex (reflux?) troll, or do you actually believe it?
posted by retrofut at 1:20 PM on December 30, 2001

You're awfully quick to take offense, retrofut. I didn't think that was a troll at all--just an honest admission that to people of the opposite stripe, distinguishing between National Review and The Weekly Standard would seem like hairsplitting. I found it kind of winning, actually.
posted by rodii at 3:22 PM on December 30, 2001

I probably spent more time thinking about that sentence than our jabberwockian neologism did. (For example, I considered whether "the center" was a place, and whether or not the use of the "left/right" paradigm made the statement so meaningless in a complex world that it wasn't worth pointing out. Plus whether Metafilter is a place of reasoned political discussion or politically-inflected entertainment.)

I'll just reiterate here that "left" and "right" (and their cousins "conservative" and "liberal") are pretty useless ways to break up the world, and getting less relevant all the time. So rather than being offended (which I'm not, believe me I could be much more intemperate), I'm trying to point out the absurdity of simplistic rhetoric, and trying to ascertain how much thinking went into slithy's throwaway. It's part of trying to see people as people instead of political lapel buttons.
posted by retrofut at 7:03 PM on December 30, 2001

retrofut: I'm sure the opposite is true, as well. Folks on the right often can't distinguish well between shades of politics on the left. I couldn't tell you the difference between the politics of The Nation, and The Progressive. Yes, this is an issue I think about a bit. The right is quite fragmented (and has become even more so since the collapse of Russian communism, its main unifying enemy), but the media, and even more so average left-leaning individuals, are often oblivious to the difference between a techno-structuralist like Newt Gingrich, a traditional-values conservative like Pat Robertson, a populist like Pat Buchanan, a libertarian-dynamist like Virginia Postrel, and a 'Movement' conservative like Wm. F. Buckley. I've heard Gingrich, for example, referred to as a member of the 'religious right', when in fact he showed zero interest in abortion, school prayer, porn, or any of their issues.

I agree that right/left is an increasingly poor way to try to slice and dice modern/post-modern politics. I happen to like Postrel's dynamist/stasist division (which puts her, Gingrich, Tony Blair, and maybe even Bill Clinton in one camp, and Buchanan, Robertson, Tom Daschle, and the NEA in another). But there are probably many other plausible political taxonomies.

And a final snark: you really mustn't assume that others spend less time thinking about their posts than you do. It's unkind, and probably incorrect.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 10:30 PM on December 30, 2001

Retrofut: I probably spent more time thinking about that sentence than our jabberwockian neologism did.

Slithy_Tove: And a final snark: you really mustn't assume that others spend less time thinking about their posts than you do. It's unkind, and probably incorrect.

I was talking about the sentence I quoted, not the whole post, as my earlier reply should make clear. (Though I see I miscapitalized your nym.) If I were to have that attitude I would be not only probably but inevitably incorrect. Interesting that your snark is kinder than that poor sentence I took aim at, which illustrates my point.

I'm glad you took the opportunity to expand the conversation and give more information. Calloo! Callay!

It's amazing what a hold the "left/right" conceptual paradigm has on our thinking. But aren't labels like "traditional-values conservative" just packaging for consumption? I sure don't hear much in the way of actual "Christian values" from those who most publically promulgate them, unless you count the Old Testament. (Pat Robertson, born six months into his parents' marriage, invests in "blood diamonds". And that's leaving out his activites in Central America during the Reagan era.) It's like wrapping yourself in the Bible instead of reading it.
posted by retrofut at 11:52 AM on December 31, 2001

DOH! My bad. I meant Amy Carter of course.
posted by ilsa at 1:15 PM on December 31, 2001

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