Mark Steyn has left the building, folks
Keeping our ear to the ground for further news, we came across the following in Pat Leahy's Any other business column in last week's Sunday Business Post:
Still with the Irish Times, it appears that differences have emerged between management gnomes and controversial colmnist Mark Steyn.
Apparently one of his columns was spiked and he gathered up his skirts in a sulk. The column hasn't appeared since, which has deprived countless letter-writers of the opportunity to be outraged.
We will continue our investigations into whether this was an outrageous stifling of free speech by the editor or a courageous decision on the grounds of taste and decency.
Could go either way at the moment.
As to the "stifling of free speech" vs. "taste and decency" debate, we're tempted to sit on the fence until we see what emerges in the fullness of time. Madam Editor did, indeed, infamously spike a John Waters column that had the temerity to question the generous remuneration IT bigwigs were awarding themselves (at the same time as telling everyone else to tighten their belts, inevitably).
On the other hand, Madam was the one who hired Steyn in the first place; and who also let Kevin Myers go ahead with his 'bastards' column without a murmur, then made this extraordinarily conceited apology. Given that brave Kevin has been given free rein for years to insult who he likes (especially the recently-departed, as in the late Captain James Kelly), we rather doubt the sudden outbreak of 'taste and decency'. So, we await the next few issues of The Phoenix with some interest, as the full tale will undoubtedly leak to His Nibs.
Reports that champagne corks could be heard popping in the Wicklow hills at the news of Steyn's white-feather behaviour cannot, alas, be confirmed as of this time. Unfortunately for his many wingnut fans out there, it appears that Mark Steyn just isn't manly enough to stay the course in a non-Conrad Black publication, unlike the heroic Colonel Myers (who has battled the great unwashed Irish public for years).
Stay tuned for updates as we get them in.