It’s getting cold out there, just the sort of conditions the geniuses that have extended major league baseball deep into football season didn’t count on. They had read Al Gore diligently and believed we’d be preparing for Halloween in bathing suits and sandals. How lucky for baseball’s brass that it stuck Florida with a couple of franchises. One of them has survived into the final weekend of this year’s World Series, three of whose games it turned out were played in balmy Miami. Think of it as spring training in October. And think of this weekend’s finale in northern New York as the Ice Capades.
The big press had another of its crises of conscience. “Is Gregg Easterbrook an anti-Semite?” was the question of the week, posed of a philo-Semite. One current of thought argued yes; another (though it included many from the former) concluded no. All this, in the wake of Easterbrook’s complaining that some Jewish Hollywoodians like money-making as much as some Christians do. Oy. As always, the wrong question was being asked. It should have been: “Is Gregg Easterbrook a liberal?” He appears to believe that profit-raking is the ultimate sin, and he seems to insist on knowing best what’s best for people and how members of a given group should think. Ominously, though, he also seems to be religious. Conclusion: he’s in bigger trouble than anyone imagined.
Easterbrook’s ire had been raised by the box office success of a movie called Kill Bill, which just a few years ago would have been dismissed as a project of the vast right wingers and their Clinton-bashing backers. Of course, in a right-wing setting all the killing would be done by men. The progressives of Kill Bill allow women to have the honors. They in turn give new meaning to the notion of mercy killing. Who cares that women were once perceived as the deadlier of the species.
ESPN did itself proud during the Easterbrook brouhaha, by firing him as a columnist for its website faster than Michael Irvin can say Rush Limbaugh. Not only that, but the network erased every single word that Easterbrook ever posted on its site. Like many a Trotskyite during the Stalin glory, he simply ceased to exist, which must be disturbing news for any sportsman remotely connected with Easterbrook whether it be Michael Westbrook or Forrest Gregg.
All good things must come to an end. Paul Krugman, the original Mr. Nice Guy, penned a career-ending column praising to high heaven the anti-Semite of the Week, Malaysia’s very own Mahathir Mohamad (no relation to John). As we know, Bush made him do it, him being both Krugman and Mahathir. The latter needed to suggest that more millions of Jews need be killed to make reform possible in Muslim lands; the former needed to excuse Mahathir lest anyone begin asking questions about possible Enron-like consulting Krugman has been doing for Malaysian enterprises.
Some folks are even slower on the uptake. A few weeks ago the Rush haters (not to be confused with the Bush haters, though why not!) had their go at their man when he was down. It gave them great satisfaction to get their licks in when he was at his most vulnerable. Then they moved on with their meaningful lives. Not Hendrik Hertzberg, though. In the latest New Yorker, the same issue that calls Mikhail Gorbachev “the man who ended the Cold War,” the liberal lothario proves surprisingly hard-hearted, solemnly relying on the National Enquirer and Joe Conason to dispose of Rush as a coward and a criminal. A nicer Hertzberg would have imagined himself riding alongside Rush in Easy Rider.
More alarming, Hertzberg is becoming inexplicably prudish in his dotage. At one point he mocks Limbaugh for hiring the same lawyer employed by William Kennedy Smith and Marv Albert.
Will we next learn that Hertzberg is moonlighting at CBS on the upcoming Reagan two-parter? Or that he’s been spotted applying makeup to Mr. Barbra Streisand, who stars as the man who didn’t win the Cold War? These days you never know what to expect from an Enemy of the Week.