With great sadness, and an even greater sense of moral purpose, I must announce that this is my final column for The Federalist. Though I’ve had frequent disagreements with the editorial staff of this publication throughout the years I’ve written for it, they’ve always picked up the meal tab. That goes a long way toward keeping writers happy.
But months of recent events have revealed that this is no longer the type of journal that I can frequent with my incredible words. When my editor rejected a column called “Some Jews May Actually Almost Be People” as being “too incendiary”, I knew that it was time to move along. “There goes Pollack, almost acknowledging Jewish humanity again,” someone wrote anonymously in the company Slack channel. That chilled me to the bone so hard that I asked my beleaguered manservant Roger to prepare me some miso broth.
When The Federalist hired me, they offered me unlimited editorial freedom. I was honored to work aside dozens of young writers who weren’t even close to alive when I boxed Gloria Steinem at Madison Square Garden to prove the inadequacy of feminism. Now, Madison Square Garden is closed forever because of the Coronavirus and also because the Knicks suck. I still feel like I could take Steinem in a TKO, or at least a split decision. But this is a different reality.
The good news is that the quality of my work doesn’t appear to be the problem. I am, after all, The Greatest Living American Writer. If that was the case when Tom Wolfe and Philip Roth were alive, it’s certainly the case now. My pieces for The Federalist have won countless awards and people have subtweeted them more than any other article ever written on the Internet or any other Net. My essay “John Bolton, Walrusman of the Serengeti” won six separate awards on one day.
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No, the problem appears to be that the young people who haunt The Federalist like evil TikTok ghosts consider me, in the words of one insouciant whelp on the company Slack channel, “a bitter old curmudgeon who smells like yesterday’s cheese.” They are afraid of my ideas. As they should be.
I can no longer write for a publication that refuses to admit that gender is fluid, or that fluid is gendered, and that will not allow to me publish my ideas that COVID-19 is a hoax that the Russians sent from space. In particular, I take offense with their promotion of the 1964 Project, which postulates that American history began when Barry Goldwater lost the election to LBJ. The Federalist denies that Josef Stalin, a close family friend of mine, was an excellent dancer. When basic historical facts take a back seat to trendy intellectual lies, it’s clear that a new McCarthyism, as well as an old McCarthyism, has taken hold.
The America in which I live part-time is no longer the old America in which I lived even less frequently. We can no longer enjoy freedoms that we once took for granted, such as leaving the house, drinking indoors, or criticizing the Chinese government. People no longer recognize the primacy of the First Amendment, and they’ve forgotten the 43rd Amendment entirely. We’ve replaced religion with a new religion of no religion. I can no longer work in that intellectual environment, nor an environment where my editor, in the company Slack channel, calls dealing with my prose “cleaning up the poopoo.”
This resignation letter is different from the letters I’ve written in the past when I’ve resigned from McSweeneys, The New York Press, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Post, The New Yorker, Popular Mechanics, Unpopular Mechanics, Slate, Salon, Nerve, Motor Trend, Elle, Ladies’ Home Journal, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Collier’s, Harper’s, Vanity Fair, The Nation, The New Republic, The Daily Stormer, the Weekly World News, Reader’s Digest, The Paris Review, Paris Match, and Cat Fancy. All of those were about money or because I just like drama and can’t stand it for one second when the story isn’t about me. This is different. It’s about ideas.
When a mysterious cabal founded The Federalist in the back room of a secret underground restaurant many years ago, they did so on the principle that nothing was more important than freedom of speech and good old-fashioned homespun folk wisdom. Now, however, a climate of fear, and a fear of climate, has descended over the publication like a warm face towel. I hope they find those principles again, even the editor who, in the company Slack channel, described me as “Bernard Malamud times Robert Novak divided by Liberace.”
I look forward to my next adventure at another publication or broadcast network or podcast that shares my commitment to personal freedom and the near-humanity of Jews. If you have to ask what it will cost, then you can’t afford me. But know that whoever invests in my voice is investing in democracy itself.
This, then, is my message to you.