Yesterday I may well have spent a lot of time attacking a strawman—or rather a straw woman: one Nicole Valentine, who supposedly wrote a piece at the Medusa Magazine site on why white women owed it to women of color to abort their white fetuses, reducing the number of white “family units” and freeing up white women’s time to help their sisters of color. The piece was outrageous, a call for racist eugenics, and I took it to be part of the “let’s demonize/attack/kill white people” attitude that seems to be increasingly frequent among racial activists.
Several readers suggested that Medusa (motto: “Feminist Revolution Now”) was in fact a hoax (I don’t call it satire because satire is both funny and susceptible to discovery), but I wasn’t so sure. For instance, their article on Bret Weinstein and Evergreen State, “Patrarchal conformity and the invasion of The Evergreen State College“, is not funny, and is completely indistinguishable from the many Control-Left pieces that expressed similar sentiments. Does this final paragraph sound like a hoax or satire?:
So, for all of his claims of being a progressive, Bret Weinstein essentially invited the fringe-Right extremists onto the campus. His ridiculous stance, followed by cries for attention to the right-leaning press, created a climate (and continue to create a climate) of fear at the campus, to the point where students have to carry baseball bats to defend themselves from the Alt-Right who are descending upon the campus. At this point, I cannot understand how this man continues to have a job, let alone a job at that college. The staff at the college should be ashamed that they haven’t done more to oust him, and the board of directors should be ashamed that they let a professor insult their students to the media without holding him to account. It undermines the safety of the campus, it undermines the very concept of the campus, and it undermines the ability of students to safely and effectively learn. For the campus to heal, Bret Weinstein must be removed.
And there once was a real Medusa Magazine. Reader Craw noted that in a comment:
Well I think my analysis of the Father’s Day is convincing, but I did some more checking. This is ambiguous, but take a look.
Note the 1 April date. [JAC: it’s actually April 22; I think Craw got April 1 from the fact that on the right there are the number of posts for April as “April (1)”]
But I admit this is still inconclusive. As far as I can tell from other searches there (probably) was a real Medusa student magazine at Syracuse University, but the trail stops in 2012. It seems to have ended then. This new Medusa starts after that, as you can see.
and Craw added this in another comment:
Let me explain my theory more carefully. There was a Medusa. It was a radical feminist magazine, of the type many would wish to satirize. It had a FB page. In 2012 the wind went out of its sails. In 2013, on April 1, someone with the FB password put up a post linking to the this new site, which is a satire site, in an act of magazinal identity theft.
Note the sly comment about rebranding, and the lack of any further link to Syracuse. I think the satirical nature of the site is evident, having read a bunch of its articles.
On the side of “hoax” is also the fact that none of the authors’ names link to real people. And there’s also this comment by reader “Bortwell”:
It’s easy to prove that this website is fake. For example, take this article: https://medusamagazine.com/are-military-combat-roles-really-best-suited-to-men
The author is “Hailey Altmigi”, who supposedly has a journalism degree, but whose name appears nowhere else on the Internet. Also, “migi” is the Japanese word for “right”. So her family name translates to “Alt-right”.
Definitely a fake website, although Poe’s law makes it very difficult to tell.
Finally, reader Chakravarthy commented:
This website is satire, PCC.
The site is registered in the name of one Elijah Adiasany. This is the guy who runs the website Age of shitlords. Looking further: https://www.sockt.com/php/ageofshitlords.com or here: http://whois.easycounter.com/ageofshitlords.com
Age of shitlords is a website that is dedicated to criticizing these “SJW” types.
To me, all of this has the piscine odor of a hoax, though Chakravarthy hasn’t yet told me how he/she figured out that the site was registered in the name of Elijah Adiasany (exactly the same claim appears on another site).
If the last finding proves to be true, then I come down on the side of “big hoax”. But I’m not sufficiently convinced of that that I’d bet on it now. But if it is a hoax, is it a good one? Well, since to some of us it’s indistinguishable in the main from other sites that are Control-Left, yes, it fooled me—and others. In that sense it’s a “success” in the same way that Alan Sokal’s piece, or the “conceptual penis” article of Boghossian and Lindsay, fooled journal editors. And that shows something: that you can make up really outrageous and extreme stuff, and yet it’s indistiguishable from extreme true stuff from the Regressive Left. That says something about the Regressive Left. But we knew that already.
But if it’s a good hoax, it’s not good satire for two reasons: most of the pieces aren’t in the least amusing, and good satire is not only amusing but detectable as satire. So I’ll say to the readers that while I may well have wasted my time criticizing “Beyond pro-choice: The solution to white supremacy is white abortion”, I await further information before I’m fully embarrassed.