Maud has the scoop on the Crouch-Peck affair from Crouch’s lunch companion, ZZ Packer. Packer’s story closely matches Yablonsky’s. Even if Crouch is genuinely sorry, it still doesn’t excuse his boorish behavior, which is inexcusable in any context, much less the fact that an apology to Peck is long outstanding.

The more I hear about this, the more this whole thing reminds me of the thrown drink episode in John O’Hara’s Appointment in Samarra.


  1. This reminds me of a story about someone approaching Martin Amis at a party, saying, “Are you Martin Amis?” He said he was, the other man wrestled him to the ground and then left. It’s quite complimentary to Peck and Amis that their antagonists didn’t feel they had sufficient mental firepower to retaliate and therefore had to sink to violence. I don’t know either party, but Crouch’s slap can only be interpreted as an admission of intellectual inferiority.

  2. Despite all her honorable connections, if I had been ZZ Packer, I would have gotten up and left. If Crouch was capable of losing control and smacking Peck, just think if she had said “the wrong thing” herself to this smoking idiot.

    One more thing: all this talk about Crouch “pimp” or “bitch” slapping Peck. Just remember that these words formerly meant, in black street parlance that someone–a woman, a black woman or woman of color if you will–is being beaten or abused or forced to submit to the rage and will of a personality unable to take someone thinking or acting on their behalf and volition.

    In this case, it certainly means Dale Peck, a writer and critic who is also a gay male. It’s far easier to insert this man as victim and then ”FORGET” what it originally means. Not that I don’t respect Peck or his work, or think of him as being weak. It also doesn’t mean that all gays cannot defend themselves against such behavior–if you don’t believe me, I’d like to introduce you to some guys from Folsom or Polk Streets or the Village who are into something very serious.

    Men of Crouch’s generation–I’d love to name names and episodes right now, but I won’t–tend to believe their own hype and stick tenaciously to their own worldview. One especially means gays are as weak as women, and women of course, can be slapped around at will. Crouch is not a fighter for the word. He’s an alligator of the first water: an oversized reptile cunning and dangerous, making out like he’s a harmless, polite log in the sun, and then without warning, quickly dragging someone down into his murky depths for a meal.

    I don’t believe for one minute that he was sorry then at that restaurant, and I don’t think that he’s sorry now, with all that prancing and dancing he’s been doing privately and publicly. This kind of behavior, no matter how someone dreams about doing it (I certainly had dreams of smacking down a few writing profs), just isn’t done. No matter if you are Mailer and Vidal, both of whom are too fragile nowadays to get ugly. People are not going to be impressed. Crouch needs to take more than just one pill, in my estimation, not unlike another fighter intellectual making the news: Mike Tyson.

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