It happened quickly, over a sleepy holiday weekend, and that’s probably put a damper on the tick-tock of how John Derbyshire’s firing happened. Earlier today I exchanged e-mails with Derbyshire, asking about the basics.
Did he think there’d be repercussions when he filed “The Talk,” the column for Taki’s Magazine?
Did National Review offer him any sort of severence package?
“Nothing,” wrote Derbyshire, “but I wasn’t an employee, only a freelancer with an ‘understanding’ they’d use my stuff when suitable. So there was no reason to give me anything and I didn’t expect anything.”
Did he get a chance to defend his position at the magazine?
“Not really. I exchanged 3-4 emails with [National Review Editor in Chief] Rich Lowry, but he wasn’t listening.”
National Review’s website has hardly turned into an all-Derb-all-the-time sounding board, but it’s not censoring critics, either. Mark Steyn, who now writes the back-of-the-book column (once the duty of Flo King, then of David Frum), argues that Derbyshire shouldn’t have been canned. His close-out question is certainly worth a chin-stroke or two.
If Derb’s piece is sufficiently beyond the pale that its author must be terminated immediately, why is its publisher — our old friend Taki — proudly listed on the NR masthead?