I want to reiterate my complaint about the drive-by mugging New Yorker staff writer Benjamin Wallace-Wells administered to me in the profile of Ilhan Omar that was posted online this past Wednesday. In one paragraph of the profile, W-W defamed me with the straightforward implication that I was peddling hate and conspiracy theory in raising the question whether Omar’s husband number 2 is her brother. I emailed W-W on Wednesday afternoon asking what factual basis supported his implications. He has failed to respond. Having slimed me with old-fashioned libel, W-W has moved on.
When I was a college undergraduate, Noel Perrin was one of my great English teachers. Professor Perrin was a man of enormous learning and wit. He wore his learning lightly, as in his National Book Award-nominated book Dr. Bowdler’s Legacy: A History of Expurgated Books in England and America (1969). Professor Perrin was not only a wonderful teacher. He was also a frequent contributor to the New Yorker.
Professor Perrin was one of many teachers who taught me never to do what W-W did to me. I think he would be appalled by W-W and his similarly high-handed colleagues at today’s New Yorker.