July 26, 2007

NY Observer Piece on Bob Novak
It’s difficult to tell whether or how Mr. Novak’s "Prince of Darkness” image will be affected by his tendency to point to the “inner peace” that has followed his late-life conversion from non-practicing Jew to Catholic. But even Mr. Novak’s spiritual quests have been controversial in some quarters.

“I think Deb Solomon (his interviewer for today's Times Magazine) was really bothered by this – it was how she asked me about it, and kept coming back to it," he said. "I’m used to that kind of reaction. A lot of people resent my confession, especially Jews and fallen-away Catholics. It really makes them crazy … even though, yes, I still consider myself Jewish. Socially, ethnically, culturally. That will never change.”

According to a throwaway line late in his book, Jews displeased with his religious evolution include many members of his own family.

That minor personal controversy is a pale echo of the raging professional drama that has accompanied Mr. Novak for decades.

“... I have been a stirrer up of strife – for half a century,” he writes in Prince of Darkness. “But I was not merely causing trouble for trouble’s sake.

"I’d like to think I emulated Bertrans de Born in stirring up strife but not in wreaking havoc," he writes a little later, referring to a medieval monk and schismatic, "so that I will avoid an eternity in purgatory with my head in my hand.

"At least I hope so.”

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