Still the Colonies

Since the days when Tom Paine set himself up as chief propagandist for the emerging American colonies the United States has been subject to invasion by British journalists. They come for a variety of reasons. Tired of tax collecting in England, Tom Paine came to start anew, and if doing so involved the common sense of opposing English taxes, that is just one of history's little ironies. The late Henry Fairlie, who had made his home at the New Republic until his death in February, came here in 1965 because after calling Antonia Eraser a name over British radio, he found he could not pay the damages assessed against him when she won her case for libel. Christopher Hitchens, Harper's Washington editor and columnist for the Nation, says he came here because the U.S. is "immense and varied and important." Tom Bethell of the American Spectator came here in 1962 because, he says, "I liked jazz."

Whatever their past in England, they often do very well in America. People like S.I. Newhouse seem to hire nothing but Brits, installing Tina Brown at Vanity Fair, her husband, Harold Evans, at Conde Nast Traveler, and sending Anna Wintour from American Vogue to British Vogue to House & Garden back to replace Grace Mirabella at American Vogue. When William F. Buckley, Jr. needed someone to head up his National Review, he went after an English Catholic,...

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