Sunday, November 14, 2004

One's embarrassing English friends

Every so often when scrolling through the comments on an Andrew Sullivan related post on a blog, someone says something along the lines of "who gives a f*ck what he thinks," a sentiment with which we'd agree except that he is influential, although lately that has meant just influential enough to get on Bill Maher's show on HBO and make a complete fool of himself both with what he said and what he did.

So anyway, having established that we do give a f*ck about what he says, here's a topic where it will be equally revealing if he doesn't have something to say. One of the values of reading Sullywatch every day is to track Sully's chronically inconsistent positions on privacy, a classic sign of inconsistency being that he has retool his position with each new case that comes onto the radar screen, including of course his own [Here's one post from Sullywatch in 2002 trying to make sense of his then position on the issue].

The new problem: Sullivan likes dropping references to his English chums into his blog, and archetypal chum Boris Johnson has made this list a few times. Boris is the court jester for the UK branch of the Vast Rightwing Conspiracy -- as Tory MP, editor of the Spectator, columnist for the Telegraph, and general media personality. He got into trouble parroting some VRC spin about the murdered hostage Ken Bigley but this mess is now dwarfed by personal problems.

It had been rumoured for months that the married Boris was having an affair with Petronella Wyatt, a well-connected columnist at the Spectator (the type of connections that are signified by having a mother named Lady Verushka Wyatt). To be honest we thought that this was already fact, since the incomparable Private Eye has been making reference to it for months.

But Sunday's British papers bring the allegation that not only has there been an affair, but that it produced an unwanted pregnancy and that Boris paid for the abortion [here's a link to the tabloid version of the story]. A toxic set of circumstances for the principals, for sure, but what will the self-styled Catholic Tory pro-privacy anti-hypocrisy pro-life pro-Boris media rebel make of it?

UPDATE: He clearly is reading the news from England so he can't claim not to know about it.
FURTHER UPDATE [Nov 24] Boris's travails even made last Friday's New York Times. Perhaps, like us, Sully still has a stack of recent NYTs to work through.

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