Sunday, May 13, 2018

Hi, it's Stupid: Bari Weiss

2008 edition of a work originally published in 2001, whose authors "had the ability to take an everyday menu of spaghetti and waffles and transform biblical, practical wisdom into a word picture that has encourage, equipped, and inspired couples worldwide." I haven't read it, but I think the idea of the central metaphor is that we guys are furnished with many tiny pockets in which butter and syrup collect, whereas for helpless gals it just runs off their backs, which explains why they have to do what we tell them to do or go without butter and syrup altogether, because that's how God planned it.

Hi, it's Stupid to suggest Bari Weiss in her notorious piece about those outlaw intellectuals was really writing about her own grievance at the way mean mean leftists have been treating her since she ascended to The New York Times—

Meet the Renegades of the Journalismic Dark Web

By Skari Speiss

Here are some things that you will hear when you sit down to dinner with the vanguard of the Journamalismic Dark Web: Both sides do it. Just because a president is ignorant, narcissistic, and venal, that doesn't mean we shouldn't give him credit for the numerous things he's doing right. Identity politics is a toxic ideology that is tearing American society apart. And we’re in a dangerous place if these ideas are considered “dark.” 
Though nobody actually calls it "dark" except the five or six members of the J.D.W. themselves, who made it up because they thought it was funny. Still, if people reading this sure-to-be-controversial article start using the term, that will be chilling.
A decade ago, as the situations in Afghanistan and Iraq and New Orleans seemed to be on the point of stabilizing, though the U.S. economy was in free fall, none of these now-dark ideas would have seemed even surprising. Today, people like the members of the J.D.W. who dare venture into this “There Be Dragons” territory on the intellectual map have met with outrage and derision — even, or perhaps especially, from people who pride themselves on openness, such as powerful bloggers, late-night television comics, and J-school professors.
And yet I have a feeling she was, in a way. As we know, the official subject was not Times journalists but intellectuals much worse off than she is, so abject and marginalized by the scorn of the majority that they can't even get Times gigs, and are forced to squeeze by on the charity of well-wishers—
These donations can add up. [Comedian Dave] Rubin said his show makes at least $30,000 a month on Patreon. And [psychologist Jordan] Peterson says he pulls in some $80,000 in fan donations each month.
—and such income as they can garner from jobs in academia (like Peterson, at University of Toronto, but Weiss cites four members who have "self-deported" from the groves), publishing (such as Ben Shapiro, formerly of Breitbart and now with the Daily Wire), or finance (like Eric Weinstein, managing director of Thiel Capital).

Nevertheless, there's some indication she really is taking it kind of personally:
Am I a member of this movement? A few months ago, someone suggested on Twitter that I should join this club I’d never heard of. I looked into it. Like many in this group, I am a classical liberal who has run afoul of the left, often for voicing my convictions and sometimes simply by accident. This has won me praise from libertarians and conservatives. And having been attacked by the left, I know I run the risk of focusing inordinately on its excesses — and providing succor to some people whom I deeply oppose.
It's funny that she's using that term "classical liberal", by the way, to mean something like, I don't know, "person who believes the government should try to be nice but please don't get crazy" or maybe "Joe Biden" when the entire right wing has just adopted it to mean "radical adherent of market fundamentalism". But what does she mean by it?

Because it sounds as if she's threatening us, to some extent: if her nominal party of the "left" doesn't stop attacking her, she just might end up getting too mad at it and providing aid and comfort to the enemy. She won't be able to help herself!

Reminds me, in fact, of those Trump voters we've been hearing about,

Or as the celebrated Joe Walsh put it

Something tells me old Walsh was not really going to vote for Clinton until I messed it up by insulting him! But young Weiss is another matter. Every time you force her to apologize for inadvertently causing pain to immigrants, non-immigrants, or people who use the word "fuck" on Twitter, you're driving her further to the right and into the arms of Jordan Peterson. So it looks like that really is what she meant to say!

Via JungCurrents.

Bonus theme I was working on before this post had a discernible shape:

I'm also not sure the hot takes she's picking up from these renegade intellectuals are exceptionally hot. I was around for most of "a decade ago", or 2008, myself, other than a few hours in November when I thought the New Jerusalem was upon us and every valley would be exalted and the hills made low, and the way I remember it the examples of "dark" ideas that Bari Weiss actually uses in her piece—that there are "fundamental differences between men and women" and that "free speech is under siege"—sounded to me just the way they sound now, things that didn't mean much of anything in themselves but served as stalking horses, to legitimize nasty, reactionary ideas such as the idea that men and women should have access to different opportunities, where the women's opportunities always paid less and gave them less personal autonomy and authority, or to deflect the public eye from a problem they don't want you to know about.

As Sarah Jones was saying a month or so ago in a piece in The New Republic, for instance, after the Christian pacifist Shane Claiborne was threatened with arrest by the Liberty University campus police if he showed up on campus:
The no-platforming of Shane Claiborne inspired no outrage outside the evangelical world. There were no columns about it in The New York Times, The Washington Post, or New York magazine. Bill Maher has not invited dissenting students onto his television show, even though they exist. Erin Covey, a Liberty journalism major, told Religion News Service on Saturday that Falwell himself blocked her from covering Claiborne’s revival for the student newspaper. “I do think that currently the level of oversight we have does make it difficult to pursue the accurate journalism that we’re taught in classes,” she told RNS.
The "free speech crisis" didn't start in 2016 but has existed since at least 1999, when the "Foundation for Individual Rights in Education" (FIRE) was founded to attack speech codes at colleges regarded as "liberal", and the actual suppression of speech at least that far back. As Jones goes on to remark,
My alma mater, Cedarville University in Ohio, committed a similar act in 2008. Administrators rescinded Claiborne’s speaking invitation after a clutch of fundamentalist bloggers complained that his presence on campus was further evidence that the school had drifted from its conservative identity. I understood this to be a facetious claim at the time: Cedarville, as I knew it, restricted student dress, speech, and religious expression. Students couldn’t wear jeans to class. Male students couldn’t let their hair grow past a certain length, and we could only attend churches belonging to certain denominations. Cedarville was conservative enough....
Nothing has improved since I graduated. In 2013, the school fired its two philosophy professors months after they co-wrote an editorial explaining their opposition to the presidential candidacy of Mitt Romney. At the same time, the school ended the philosophy major itself. Administrators claimed that they made these decisions due to a lack of interest in philosophy, and not to political differences. Months later, the school fired the same administrator who’d initially invited Claiborne to campus back in 2008.
Personally, I would never question the administration's right to run a school according to their deeply held religious principles as guaranteed in that self-same First Amendment—God forbid!—but I do feel they should lose their accreditation, on the grounds that a degree obtained in an institution so contemptuous of the norms of academic freedom, so stifling and repressed, shouldn't be counted as a degree. What if such people got jobs in government? (Oh wait, they have, from the ghastly Monica Goodling, Liberty University Law '99, to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Ouachita Baptist University '04.) But the obsessive focus on who's disinvited from giving a talk at Middlebury hides the pervasive crushing of individuals at hundreds of mediocre colleges across the country.

Cross-posted at The Rectification of Names.

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