Over at Vanity Fair, James Wolcott is puzzled by the presence of Peter Worthington at the Frumforum site. Wolcott quotes a Worthington column on the World Cup which includes this observation, “And as a reflection of African ethnicity, well, maybe the vuvuzelas are the apex of cultural achievement.” Wolcott rightly describes Worthington’s column as a “moldy crumb of racial condescension” and doubts that it “will make FrumForum a lot of friends in the African community.”
As a cultural commenter Wolcott is dauntingly erudite. He can write with informed verve about everything ranging from the film noir classics of the 1940s to the novels of Norman Mailer to the peculiar humour of Benny Hill. But even Wolcott can’t be expected to understand the genealogy of Canadian conservative journalists.
Peter Worthington is the father-in-law of David Frum. Worthington is married to Yvonne Crittenden (herself a conservative writer); Worthington’s step-daughter is Danielle Crittenden, also known as Mrs. David Frum. Frum’s sister Linda was also a conservative journalist before being elevated to the Canadian Senate by Frum family friends in the Conservatve government.
As with the Kristol clan and the Podhoretz people and the Kagan coterie, the conservatism of the Worthington/Crittenden/Frum family is very much a matter of keeping things close to home.
Worthington’s “racial condescension” is best appreciated by remembering that he was an ardent supporter of the apartheid regime in South Africa. So his snorting over the vuvuzela is perhaps his way of mourning the passing of the Boer Republic. To be sure, Worthington isn’t dismissive of all dark-skinned Africans. In the 1980s, Worthington wrote many articles for the Toronto Sun and the National Review celebrating Jonas Savimbi, the erstwhile Maoist guerrilla leader who killed many Angolans. Worthington’s support of Savimbi was perhaps not unconnected with the fact that the Angolan mass murderer was being backed by both Washington and Pretoria. Savimbi had many conservative fans including Jack Abramoff, who later gained noteriety for his corruption but was pretty much a creep from high school onwards.