Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

More on the Gregg Easterbrook flap, from Jack Shafer, at Slate. Everyone that knows Easterbrook says he's no way an anti-Semite, and it is certainly true that nothing I've read of his before the Kill Bill review hinted at bigotry. Indeed, he usually came across as utterly contemptuous of bigotry-- the Chesapeake Watershed Region Indigenous Persons was his moniker for the offensively named Redskins, for example. So what happened? Well, although anti-Semitism is a specialized sort of bigotry, I suppose we can accept the instance of the people who know Easterbrook that he is not an anti-Semite. The evidence about his attitude towards women is shakier, but in context I suppose we could say that the photographs of cheerleaders were in the same spirit of fun as beer advertisements and the like. That sort of nod and a wink doesn't go over well with a lot of serious folk, but when we are talking about sports it doesn't always pay to be too serious-- this sort of thing is intended to be entertainment, after all. So I don't know. The Tuesday Morning Quarterback stuff was intended to be lighthearted, and the essay about Kill Bill he says, was from the heart-- where that leaves us is with a writer who has transgressed at least one line, and who may have crossed another. If we accept the testimony of those who know him that his is not an anti-Semitic misogynist, then I guess we go back to the idea that something is wrong with his ideation. Some stress in his life, or malfunction in brain chemistry is causing him to behave in ways that are both inappropriate and inconsistent with his actual beliefs. That happens, it happens all the time. If that is what happened here, I hope he works out his demons, and manages to get straightened out. Until he does, I don't see that ESPN pulling his column is wrong, although taking the archives down impresses me as an absurd and sinister overreaction.

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