Discover more from Overtime
"That's a Casual"
Remembering Terry Eastland, a fantastic boss.
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🚨 OVERTIME 🚨
Happy Tuesday. As I go through the day and plan out what I think you might be interesting, or worthy of your attention, sometimes reality cuts in. Last month, my father in law passed away. Around that time, I found out that my former boss Terry Eastland was not doing well. I wish I had called him, as I do every few months or so. I regret not doing so.
I’d like to co-sign everything JVL wrote about him today. He did a far better job (because he knew him for much longer, and is, frankly, a far better writer) than I had hoped to do. But this is what happens when you come third in the daily newsletter order.
I, too, was a Terry Eastland person. I would run through walls for him. A decade or so after JVL relinquished his role as the online editor (before re-taking that post at the end when digital was a different animal), I was hired. And I worked a lot with Terry. He was, for lack of a better comparison, a saint.
Whenever I see a reference to Diet Dr. Pepper or rhubarb, I think of him. Back at The Weekly Standard, we did “Casuals.” If we did them here, we’d have at least three about Terry. If you’ll indulge me, today’s Overtime will be about him.
I’d like to think that Terry and I, us, including the former TWSers here, were cut from the same cloth. That is only partly true. Terry was a tall, soft-spoken southerner. A philosopher. The man went to forking Oxford.
George Will called him “a public philosopher seasoned by public service.” E.J. Dionne wrote "He is utterly convincing that ethical behavior is central, not peripheral, to a strong presidency."
The man was wicked smart.
JVL talked about him being not hip to the modern ways of publishing. At first glance, that’s a reasonable conclusion. Terry was old school. But, as JVL writes, Terry was wise.
A decade after JVL set up the TWS website, I was there, working on e-books, podcasts, newsletters, the website, advertising, and the like with Catherine Lowe (who is here with us) and JVL couldn’t be more right. Our business overlords were shortsighted idiots. A lot of us turned down hush money to not state our opinions when we were fired, en masse, two weeks before Christmas, when we started this thing.
Terry was not one to be conned by slick talking northerners. I might be one, I’ll admit, but we were kindred spirits in what was good for editorial independence and what was good for the people who paid us their hard-earned money.
Before the goons forced him out, Terry and I spent a lot of our time battling bad business ideas they forced on us.
Politics ain’t beanbag, but there is nothing worse than lying. And Terry Eastland was not going to lie. No sir.
Our art director, Philip Chalk, at The Weekly Standard, his great grandfather, Whitfield Chalk, served with Eastland, but survived. And Terry’s mom was Philip’s middle school teacher. Chalk was an integral part of what made TWS distinctive. What a weird coincidence.
I recently bought a copy of a Dallas Morning News weekend magazine after Terry was fired by Meese. I was probably 5 when it was published, and our friends at the Dallas Public Library (if you’re a library fiend like me, please consider donating) were able to get me a PDF of this cover story.
Here’s an excerpt:
While Eastland struggled all weekend with the why, he had no trouble determining what he had to do. The morally appropriate, as well as practical, course would be to leave immediately.
Terry was a deeply moral person. I think it’s safe to say that his courage as a government employee, rare today among Republicans, influenced us all as Trump came on stage.
We’d rather lose our jobs than lie. And lose them, we did. And Terry, was first among them. Like William Mosby Eastland, he drew the black bean before we all did. And thanks to him and his wise advice, we were able to establish this thing.
The Bulwark exists not because of the stupidity of Philip Anschutz, MediaDC, and Clarity Media, but because of the wisdom of friends like Terry Eastland, one of a kind. He will be missed.
Don’t go easy on us, but be fair… This election is going to suck.
Psychology in crisis… What happens when established knowledge is called into question?
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