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Marty Peretz in Full

What the magazine profiles don’t mention

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Martin Peretz.(NYT Magazine)

As media criticism, this Gawker post on New Republic owner Martin Peretz, a frequent Scroll subject, is spot-on. (That both the New York and the New York Times Magazinepieces—and believe it or not, both are well worth your time—sent dog-whistles to readers “in the know” is all the more objectionable: These little knowing asides depend on the ideal of exclusive, elite knowledge that is the proper enemy of all good journalism.)

But I’m writing this post mainly because I already barked up this tree, earlier this month, when discussing the late Jewish singer-songwriter Debbie Friedman. Is this the same kind of thing, or not? You tell me.

Why Won’t Anyone Tell You That Marty Peretz Is Gay? [Gawker]
Related: Martin Peretz Is Not Sorry About Anything [NYT Magazine]
Peretz in Exile [NY Mag]
Earlier: Debbie Friedman in Full
Peretz Agonistes
Harvard Cancels Peretz Speech

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Gawker has no right to call anyone a moral cripple.

Always liked this parable (this version from the Jewish Virtual Library):

The harm done by speech is even worse than the harm done by stealing or by cheating someone financially, because amends can be made for monetary harms, but the harm done by speech can never be repaired. For this reason, some sources indicate that there is no forgiveness for lashon ha-ra (disparaging speech). A Chasidic tale illustrates this point: A man went about the community telling malicious lies about the rabbi. Later, he realized the wrong he had done, and began to feel remorse. He went to the rabbi and begged his forgiveness, saying he would do anything he could to make amends. The rabbi told the man, “Take a feather pillow, cut it open, and scatter the feathers to the winds.” The man thought this was a strange request, but it was a simple enough task, and he did it gladly. When he returned to tell the rabbi that he had done it, the rabbi said, “Now, go and gather the feathers. Because you can no more make amends for the damage your words have done than you can recollect the feathers.”

And your point, Marc Tracy, is what? I never spent a moment of time thinking about his (or yours) sexual preferences — why is it any of my business. Until now.

It seems to me that if you play in the mud, you too will get muddy. Since you’re obsessed with the topic, do tell us your own sexual preferences?

Go on. Spare us no detail…


And since when is it lashon hara among the readership of Gawker?

To Marc Tracy,

I think it’s different, because Debbie has passed away (and there seemed to have been indications she wanted to come out), while Marty Peretz is alive and possibly asked not reveal his “open secret.” Since he is not a proponent of homophobic views or laws as a public person, I believe he should have been left in his glass closet.

Staying in the closet is done out of fear – well-based or baseless. People who are gone have at this point nothing to fear…

That quote was in reference to Gawker, not homosexuality, if there was any confusion. But as an active supporter of the gay civil rights movement, I have to say I find the whole issue boring.

Les Miller says:

The Gawker piece is an example of how fetid the “new” journalism of today is. The old journalism, as exemplified by the NYT piece on Peretz with its sly allusions to his sexuality dropped in like inside jokes, doesn’t come off much better, either. The significance of Peretz is not his sexuality. If this irrelevant aside becomes the only reason for discussing Martin Peretz, then we really have become a sick society.

Setting up Marty with Steve Rosen would make a very nice shidduch.

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Marty Peretz in Full

What the magazine profiles don’t mention

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