The Corner

An Iron Stomach, and Other Qualities

This is an age of much churning on the right, and this may particularly apply to conservative opinion journalism. I know a bit about this world. So does Ben Shapiro, the editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire. He used to work at Steve Bannon’s Breitbart. But that arrangement could not last for long.

I have done a podcast with Ben, here. We talk about our little world: conservative opinion journalism. We also talk about journalism more broadly, and politics more broadly, and America.

As I remarked to Ben, the 2016 election cycle made me much wiser, in addition to sadder. (Do you know “The Sadder but Wiser Girl” from The Music Man?) Consider one issue.

All my life, I had heard about racists, anti-Semites, and other such types on the right. Maybe I was sheltered, but I almost never encountered any of them. I thought they were essentially bogeymen, conjured by the lyin’ Left. The people I met were good Reagan conservatives — the salt of the earth.

Then came 2016, in partnership with the social media. The rock was overturned. In a way, I wish the rock had stayed put.

Surveys show — scientific surveys! — that Ben Shapiro is the No. 1 media target of anti-Semitic hate. And I can tell you that this guy has a spine of steel and a stomach of iron. He has an extraordinary independence of mind. In an age of conformity — of great pressures to conform — he continues to go his own way.

Contemporary composers get a lot of grief. (Including from me.) A composer friend of mine was once told something by the late George Rochberg. “A composer has to have an iron stomach,” Rochberg said.

Spend an hour with Ben Shapiro — again, that Q&A is here — and, whether you agree with him or not, you will be sure that he means what he says, and says what he means, wherever the chips may fall.

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