Oct. 24, 2017: Leon Wieseltier, a major cocaine hound, has enjoyed many a threesome with leading male Jewish intellectuals (including famous professors) and various lucky ladies. Abusing drugs and women are his leading hobbies aside from lecturing the rest of us on right and wrong.Leon did drugs and girls with the late Leonard Cohen. That's how the peculiar pundit bonds with his fellow Jewish lefties. Wieseltier is no respecter of the sanctity of marriage -- his own or anyone else's. Numerous synagogues, including Sinai Temple in Westwood, had Wieseltier in as a scholar in residence after his book Kaddish came out. Though invited to speak on religious themes, Wieseltier preferred to pivot to his views on politics. A literary lady says: "He came on strong, but there wasn't anything really ever forced. I definitely put myself knowingly in situations and led him on a bit. And he's so fucking smart that he can manipulate women into doing anything. Almost." New York Times:
Leon Wieseltier Admits ‘Offenses’ Against Female Colleagues as New Magazine Is Killed Leon Wieseltier, a prominent editor at The New Republic for three decades who was preparing to unveil a new magazine next week, apologized on Tuesday for “offenses against some of my colleagues in the past” after several women accused him of sexual harassment and inappropriate advances... Several women on the chain said they were humiliated when Mr. Wieseltier sloppily kissed them on the mouth, sometimes in front of other staff members. Others said he discussed his sex life, once describing the breasts of a former girlfriend in detail. Mr. Wieseltier made passes at female staffers, they said, and pressed them for details about their own sexual encounters. One woman recounted that while she was attempting to fact-check a column Mr. Wieseltier wrote, he forced her to look at a photograph of a nude sculpture in an art book, asking her if she had ever seen a more erotic picture. She wrote that she was shaken and afraid during the incident. Mr. Wieseltier often commented on what women wore to the office, the former staff members said, telling them that their dresses were not tight enough. One woman said he left a note on her desk thanking her for the miniskirt she wore to the office that day. She said she never wore a skirt to the office again. According to the women, male staff members routinely witnessed Mr. Wieseltier’s behavior and did nothing.The Atlantic:
It wasn’t immediately clear how the allegations first reached Emerson Collective. Wieseltier was named—along with more than five dozen other men who work in journalism or publishing—on an anonymous spreadsheet titled “SHITTY MEDIA MEN” that quietly, and then less quietly, circulated in national media circles last week. (The Atlantic obtained a copy of the spreadsheet, but is not publishing it because the allegations are anonymous and unverified.) Anonymous charges against the men were wide-ranging, and spanned from acting “creepy af” in online conversation—“af” being an abbreviation for “as fuck”—to physical assault and rape. Wieseltier’s alleged misconduct, according to the unverified, anonymous spreadsheet, was “workplace harassment.” It’s not clear whether the Emerson Collective saw the spreadsheet. At the same time, a group of more than a dozen women who once worked at TNR started an email thread to discuss their experiences with Wieseltier—and to hatch a plan for how to make those experiences public. Several women who worked with Wieseltier described him to me as intellectually seductive and charming—even charismatic. He’s long had a reputation for being genuinely interested in the journalistic work of young women, especially at a time when the industry was even more male dominated than it is today. He wasn’t just a leader of the magazine at TNR, but a cultural arbiter there—which meant his opinion of you mattered, several women said. It was dangerous, one former staffer told me, to get on his bad side. Nearly a dozen journalists who have worked with Wieseltier told me they are unsurprised by the allegations against him. All of the women I talked to had their own “Leon stories,” which included everything from being called “sweetie” in the workplace to unwanted touching, kissing, groping, and other sexual advances. My colleague Michelle Cottle, a former TNR senior editor who is now a contributing editor at The Atlantic, told me about the time Wieseltier suggested they get a drink at the bar of a well-known luxury hotel in New York City where he was staying, only to declare that it was too crowded. Instead, they could go to his room, and order a bottle of champagne, Wieseltier offered. He delights in making women sexually uncomfortable, she said. At TNR, there was frequently talk of Wieseltier’s possible dalliances with young women writers, and he relished this kind of gossip, three separate acquaintances of Wieseltier told me. They described him as someone who bragged graphically about sexual encounters the way a teenaged boy might. Two former colleagues described him in separate conversations as “lecherous.” The suspension of Wieseltier’s new magazine comes after a series of blockbuster scoops by The New York Times detailing a decades-long pattern of alleged sexual harassment by Harvey Weinstein, the now-infamous film producer. Weinstein and Wieseltier have similar starpower within their industries. “Wieseltier is, in sum, well on his way to achieving the best kind of American celebrity,” Vanity Fair wrote in a 1995 profile, “being famous to the famous.” Yet even after a week of mounting accusations against powerful men in several industries, and even in Washington—a town accustomed to sex scandals—the accusations against Wieseltier are electrifying. It’s not that Wieseltier is universally liked. Quite the opposite—though he is admired by many for his erudite cultural criticism, and by many of the authors who wrote for him at TNR. He is some combination of beloved and despised; his reputation as a philosopher king is perhaps equaled by his reputation for being a machiavellian operator. Wieseltier’s observers have, in one case in the span of two sentences, described his persona as both “saintly” and “thuggish,” as a writer for The Nation put it in 2014. (Wieseltier himself wrote, in a lauded 1994 essay on identity and culture, “I hear it said of somebody that he is leading a double life. I think to myself: Just two?”) “The nice thing about everybody speaking their mind is that social opprobrium will do its work,” Wieseltier said in a conversation published by The New York Times last year. “If you say something really disgusting, you will be vilified.” “I feel very uncomfortable without controversy,” he added. “If the stakes are high about important questions — matters of life and death or the future of the culture — it’s inevitable. You have to argue ferociously.” My colleague Ta-Nehisi Coates has pointed out that Wieseltier can be “gleefully mean.” In the 1980s, Wieseltier and another TNR essayist, Charles Krauthammer—now a columnist at The Washington Post—were known to so dislike each other that they attended the same editorial board meeting for years without speaking to each other, according to a1989 New York Times article. Wieseltier’s many intellectual feuds—unspooling over his three decades in the literary limelight—are as famous as his halo of Doc-Brown-white hair. The Times once described his enemies as “legion.” The vendettas have been so numerous as to perplex even his confidants. Wieseltier is, as a result of all this, one of the best known intellectuals on the East Coast... The women who worked with Wieseltier, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s, felt he could make or break their careers. His role as a mentor to female colleagues, however, was somewhat complicated by his louche reputation. A 1999 New York Times Magazine profile of Wieseltier described him as having “squired a sequence of ‘extremely beautiful, alluring girlfriends.’” That same profile describes a period of “well-reported excesses, which included heavy drinking and cocaine binges” and “a flurry of infidelities” which allegedly ended his first marriage and cast considerable doubt over his literary future. “For Wieseltier, the tension between the scholarly and the sensual is not easily resolved,” Sam Tanenhaus wrote in the Times article. “Until recently, majority opinion in the literary-cultural world—the narrow, gossipy corridor that stretches from Boston to Washington, with tentative windings in the direction of London and Los Angeles—held that not even the most rigorous polishing could restore the sheen to his tarnished image.” Yet Wieseltier went on to write a widely acclaimed memoir, and continued in his role at The New Republic for nearly two decades, until he and much of the rest of the editorial staff walked out in protest of the company’s digital strategy under new ownership. Now, as Wieseltier’s former colleagues reckon with his alleged inappropriate behaviors, several of them told me they worry they were complicit in enabling him over the years.
Lloyd Grove wrote for the March 1995 edition of Vanity Fair:
New Republic literary editor Leon Wieseltier is the egghead boy toy of such glamorous powers as Barbara Streisand, Shirley MacLaine, and Tipper Gore. But has he abandoned the life of the mind to be the life of the party?
...he once described his job as "policing the culture."
...Wieseltier squired Tipper Gore in the 1980s to Washington's 9:30 club, where they danced the night away to heavy-metal bands while Al was apparently up in the Senate, protecting the national interest...
Wieseltier came to this perch of high culture highly recommended by his doting intellectual mentors: critic Lionel Trilling at Columbia, philosopher Sir Isaiah Berlin at Oxford..., and historian Yosef Yerushalmi at Harvard... He was, they all agreed, a brilliant young man of breathtaking promise who would one day bring forth works of enduring importance.
His academic articles feature such sentences as, "The undifferentiated, followed by the simultaneity of the undifferentiated with the differentiated, followed by the withdrawal of the undifferentiated and the triumph of the differentiated: this has been the pattern of metaphysical history in the Jewish view..."
According to witnesses, Wieseltier was soon bringing to the office another habit [aside from alcohol] that he also enjoyed outside the workplace: frequent cocaine use. A person familiar with Wieseltier's indulgence estimates that at one point in 1993 he was snorting -- from a petite silver spoon, dangling from a chain attached to a vial, an entire gram a day. To support this expensive pastime -- all but impossible on his salary, which is in the high five figures -- he regularly loaded dozens of books he received as literary editor into the trunk of his Honda Accord and hauled them to Washington bookstores, selling them to finance purchases of "truth serum."
Leon Wieseltier is a pompous self-proclaimed policeman of the culture who refuses to be edited. As a result, his writing is virtually impossible to read all the way through.
Michael Kinsley, early in his tenure as editor of The New Republic, edited one of Leon's turgid essays. Leon threw a hissy fit, went over Michael's head to the owner of the magazine (Marty Peretz) and reserved for himself the right to never be edited.
After publishing his over-praised book Kaddish, again unreadable except in sections, Wieseltier was invited to Temple Sinai in Westwood by Rabbi David Wolpe to be a scholar in residence at the shul one weekend and speak about his book. Instead, Leon used all but one of his lectures to expound on his views on the Clinton and Lewinsky scandal, much to the rabbi's displeasure.
After receiving a Modern Orthodox education at the Yeshiva of Flatbush, Wieseltier led a famously dissolute life.
Dominic Lawson writes in the 11/14/94 Spectator: "...the journalist Leon Wieseltier... the literary editor of New Republic, is the nearest thing the political correctness mob have to a cultural Gauleiter. In an interview with New York magazine earlier this year Mr. Wieseltier referred grandly to 'part of my job of policing the culture'. (See the policeman wield his truncheon in this issue's letters pages.)"
Talking to The Los Angeles Times about the controversy over Gregg Easterbrook's blog about Jewish Hollywood on tnr.com, Leon attributed it in part "to the hubris of this whole blogging enterprise. There is no such thing as instant thought, which is why reflection and editing are part of serious writing and thinking, as Gregg has now discovered."
The New Republic's Literary Editor Leon Wieseltier Drones To Toronto Shul
"I went to see Wieseltier speak," says a source. "He's kind of a dick. He just read his treatise on Jewish messianic thought – nothing that I didn't already know and hard to absorb what was unique about it. Then he took questions on whatever. Some of the old folks were complaining that he read in a monotone. That was the extent of his performance. The average age of the audience was 65."
I've never heard a good word about Wieseltier's public speaking. He's the most over-rated intellectual in American letters.
Feb. 9, 2010
In an article on Andrew Sullivan, The New Republic's Literary Editor Leon Wieseltier writes: "He is the master, and the prisoner, of the technology of sickly obsession: blogging–and the divine right of bloggers to exempt themselves from the interrogations of editors–is also a method of hounding."
What's with calling "blogging" the technology of sickly obsession? Why is it more sickly obsessive than cell phones? What is sick obsession? Why are you dogged and I am obsessed?
A lot of people have called me obsessed in my blogging. I know then that they lack argument and can only use cheap put-downs.
A Google search could not turn up Leon Wieseltier's email address. I guess he doesn't want to be questioned. It's so much more comfortable just to pronounce.