Reeducating Jeff Jacoby

By Steyn, Mark | The American Spectator, September 2000 | Go to article overview

Reeducating Jeff Jacoby


Steyn, Mark, The American Spectator


The ultraextremist Boston Globe proves its bona fides.

New Hampshire

More columnar trouble at the Boston Globe. A couple of years back, you may recall, Patricia Smith, an African-American columnist, wrote a heartwarming vignette of a young girl going to the neighborhood hair-braider to have her hair braided as a traditional African-American rite of passage. Unfortunately, the girl, the braider, the braids, none of'em actually existed. So Ms. Smith was sacked. Hair today, gone tomorrow. Next to be upbraided was Mike Barnicle, who wrote a heartwarming vignette of a young black child and a young white child, both sick with cancer yet lying side by side in the same hospital ward. Unfortunately, the black kid, the white kid, none of'em actually existed. So Barnicle was sacked. He'd never bothered going and checking whether in fact within the Greater Boston area any such ailing infants were to be found. You know how difficult it is to get a columnist to do house calls.

Enter Jeff Jacoby. Or rather exit Jeff Jacoby-the token conservative among the sappy hair-braiders at the Globe. For the Fourth of July, Jacoby wrote a piece about the fate of certain Signers of the Declaration of Independence, a timely rumination on an important comer of history. Next thing you know, Jeff's history. Suspended by the Globe for four months without pay. He's a young guy with a wife and family to support and he's just been told his income this year will be reduced by a third. He could, of course, do what any self respecting columnist in London or Dublin or Sydney would: Tell the Globe to shove it and take his act to the rival broadsheet across the street. Except there isn't one, Boston being all too typical of major U.S. cities in that its one soporific broadsheet and one mildly more readable tabloid have the town to themselves. For a Boston columnist to fall out with the Globe is about as smart a career move as a Soviet columnist falling out with Pravda. (By comparison, Montreal, with a smaller population, has four local dailies-one conservative federalist, one moderately nationalist, one austerely separatist, and one sensationally tabloid-plus one provincial and two national newspapers.)

Now I assumed automatically that Jacoby must be guilty of the same offense as Mike and Patricia: All these heroic dead white male "Signers" were fictitious, right? But no, apparently the Signers of the Declaration of Independence did really exist-- though, to judge from current editorial philosophy, the Globe would rather they hadn't. But Jacoby's crime was that his column bore certain thematic and structural similarities to a favorite Paul Harvey radio commentary on the subject and various versions thereof circulating on the Internet. So, according to the Globe, he had to go.

Mulling over this latest crisis in American journalism, whom should we blame? I point the finger all round:

First, those Signers. If only they'd been willing to put up with George III a while longer, the American colonies would have remained under the Crown and the U.S. might today have a lively, competitive, readable, diverse press such as Britain, Canada, Australia, India, and other Commonwealth countries enjoy, instead of the butt-numbing snoozefest that is the Boston Globe.

Secondly, Jeff Jacoby. Unlike my conservative chums at National Review and the Weekly Standard, I'm disinclined to make Jeff the li'l Elian of the summer months. Whoever cooked up the column originally-Paul Harvey in 1956 or Rush Limbaugh, Jr. (father of the present Rush), who may have beaten him to it-had a neat theme: that the Signers showed great courage and paid a high price. But those versions and the one on the Internet are full of guff "Five Signers were captured by the British as traitors and tortured before they died." Really? I'm no historian, but by my count the number of Signers tortured to death is zero. This kind of Mel Gibsonization of the Revolutionary War reduces it to an idiot cartoon. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Reeducating Jeff Jacoby
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.