From The Archive: The First Hathos Alert

I wrote on June 20, 2001:

John Derbyshire’s uncategorizable advice to his timid son is now up on National Review Online. Who else would encourage his offspring to fight back against a bully by bribing him with ice-cream and the words: “But I want to see the blood. Ice cream for blood.” The piece ends with the injunction that anyone who advocates single motherhood as a lifestyle option should be “sewn into a heavy leather sack with lots of broken glass and rolled down a l-o-n-g slope.” Leather? Have I created a monster? Derb has also just written what must be one of the weirdest discourses on fellatio I have ever read in New York Press. It begins: “I have been thinking about fellatio. No, no, don’t hit the back button. This is serious stuff. I have issues.” On that last sentence, I think we can all agree.

A colleague of mine – I can’t remember who, maybe they’ll email me to remind me – once coined the term “hathos” for the compulsive need to read something you find horrifying, yet irresistible. Read these pieces and you’ll know what I mean.