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O Tempora, O Morrie

This morning’s New York Post has an article by Allan H. Ryskind tilted “‘Trumbo’ is a whitewash of an unrepentant Hollywood commie.” Dalton Trumbo, the subject of a just-released biopic, was one of the truest of true believers, who never found a Communist dictator he wouldn’t support (he was even pro-Hitler while the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was in effect). Ryskind, who was editor of Human Events for many years and remains editor-at-large, is the son of Morrie Ryskind, who had a cover story in the very first issue of National Review, 60 years ago this month.

Morrie Ryskind, who wrote screenplays for several Marx Brothers films, knew from censorship himself, having gotten kicked out of Columbia in 1917 a few weeks short of graduation for criticizing the university’s president, Nicholas Murray Butler, in the pages of Jester, the college humor magazine. As perhaps the only other* Jester alumnus to make the NR masthead, I can report that in my day, we could only dream of such notoriety. We made ceaseless crude jokes about the two men who served as Columbia president during my undergraduate years, and I regret to say that neither of them took the slightest notice (nor did anyone else; the only campus publication that people paid less attention to was the one Barack Obama published in).

* UPDATE: Well, for “only other” substitute “least important”; Ralph de Toledano, an NR co-founder, wrote for Jester.

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