Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Hugh Fitzgerald: another fleeting glimmer of the hallowed interiors of the Gentlemen's Club
As a continuing reader of Jihad Watch (even though Marisol, in her capacity as editor for Jihad Watch, not too long ago unfairly banned me from commenting there), I'd been wondering what happened to Hugh Fitzgerald. While in times past, Fitzgerald would occasionally take a break from publishing essays at Jihad Watch, those breaks as far as I recall never lasted more than about a month at the most. It is now getting close to December, and a few days ago I combed through the Jihad Watch archives and saw that his last essay was on September 14 -- over two months ago (and his output for that month was well below average, at only three essays out of approximately 350 articles total, which is a typical month at Jihad Watch).
Not only has Fitzgerald failed to publish any essays on Jihad Watch in the last couple of months -- apparently he also has failed to post any comments in any comments threads (as far as I know, as I go through most of the comments threads on Jihad Watch several times a day). Regular readers of Jihad Watch will know that in times past, the comments thread to at least every third article would have at least one or two comments by Fitzgerald -- and oftentimes those comments would be lengthy and dense. (Indeed, I had long noticed that not infrequently what turned out to be an official essay by him had begun, in the week or so preceding, as a lengthy comment -- indicating that he used the comments fields as a way to stoke and spark his inspiration.)
Well, it's official. Today, in a long comment thread to a Jihad Watch article on NBC's plans to award Sharif El-Gamal as "Man of the Year", a couple of Jihad Watch readers noted Fitzgerald's absence, and Robert Spencer replied to them:
Hugh is no longer with Jihad Watch -- and he is certainly missed.
Fitzgerald has been with Jihad Watch for several years, since 2004 officially distinguished there as "Vice-President of the Jihad Watch Board of Directors", and since then penning regular essays of distinctive, even singular, erudition and wit. And Jihad Watch readers have to find out -- after asking, mind you -- from an inscrutably terse comment in a comments thread? Why hasn't Spencer marked this major occasion with a formal essay? Why didn't Spencer invite Fitzgerald to pen one last essay, as a valedictory, before he moved on to, if not greener, at least other pastures?
One is tempted to conclude that something occurred in their relationship behind the closed doors of the "Gentlemen's Club" -- just as seems to have occurred with Spencer's longtime friend and colleague Andrew Bostom, and before that, with Baron Bodissey and Dymphna of the Gates of Vienna blog, and before that, with Diana West (see Baron Bodissey's comments below for a different timeline -- probably more accurate than mine). At some point in the sordid process a serious rift also developed, apparently, between Debbie Schlussel and Pam Geller -- and thus, inexorably, with the apparently joined-at-the-hip-to-Geller Spencer. As usual, Spencer deigns to keep all this hidden from his loyal readership and fans. In the past, when I have pressed this point (specifically, with the case of Bostom), Spencer has responded in typically prickly and brusque fashion to the effect that he has no obligation to reveal details of his personal life -- as though such major rifts among prominent, popular and influential individuals in the (still inchoate) anti-Islam movement can be deemed to be merely, and strictly, "personal"! On the contrary, insofar as they impinge upon and affect that movement, they ought to be of concern to all who have a stake in the ongoing problem of Islam and its closely related problem, Western myopia to it.
And, in keeping with Spencer's apparent modus operandi in circumstances like this -- to wit, after he has burned a bridge with a former friend and associate -- he has unceremoniously removed Fitzgerald's blog (The Iconoclast, a subsidiary of the New English Review, a blog Fitzgerald has shared with other writers for years now) from the Jihad Watch blogroll. Today, the New English Review is not on the Jihad Watch blogroll; however, using the Wayback Machine, I confirmed that approximately a year ago, in October of 2009, the New English Review was indeed on the Jihad Watch blogroll. If Fitzgerald is so "certainly missed" at Jihad Watch, why did Spencer remove his blog from Jihad Watch?
Incidentally, one of the contributors, along with Hugh Fitzgerald, to the New English Review I recently noticed is none other than Andrew Bostom -- yet another reason, perhaps, for Spencer to exercise his petty blog-removing penchant. (Spencer has left the link "Articles by Hugh Fitzgerald" in its prominent place at the top left of Jihad Watch; however, as that link merely directs the reader to a list of Fitzgerald articles that are already in Jihad Watch archives, it would be pointless to remove that link, unless Spencer had plans to remove all those essays from his own archives -- and anyway, were Spencer to remove that prominent link, it would be noticed by many readers, whereas his removal of the New English Review from the blogroll likely caused nary an eyelash to be batted.)
Hugh Fitzgerald: Man of Mystery