Two approbations for The Letter, and a summary of the critics’ views

I thought I wouldn’t write any more about “The Letter”, which of course refers to the Letter in Harper’s and four other international venues decrying “cancel culture” and promoting open debate and free speech. That piece,”A letter on justice and open debate“, with 153 signers, now sports its own Wikipedia page!

Over the past few days I’ve read a number of pieces both in favor of and against the letter, though one would think that a standard call for freedom of speech, and against “cancellation” (hounding, bullying, and trying to ruin people’s reputations and careers in place of debate and counterspeech) wouldn’t be that controversial. But to think that would be to underestimate the prickliness and capacity for outrage of the Woke.

Today I want to call your attention to two short articles in favor of The Letter, but first I’ll summarize the objections that I’ve seen, which I’ve put in bold (my answers are in plain type).

1.) The signers of the letters were famous, rich, and entitled, and had nothing to fear from calling for free speech.  This completely misunderstands the purpose of the letter, which was to have powerful voices stand up on behalf of those who have no such power, and who have been cowed into silence by the mob. The answer is simple, and was given by Steve Pinker in this tweet:


2. The signers of the letter were not silenced; after all, they published a big letter that got a lot of attention. They were beefing about nothing. Response: see #1. They weren’t complaining about their own cancellation. 

3. Many of the signers, while calling for free speech and open debate, tried in the past to suppress other people’s speech, so they were hypocrites.  I have no knowledge of any such attempts, but even if there were one or a few, it’s the principle of the letter itself that was being endorsed. Indeed, you could do a pot/kettle thing here and note that at least two people who worked for Vox complained on Twitter about one colleague, Matt Yglesias, who signed the letter. One of the Vox employees, a trans woman named Emily VanDerWerff, sent an email to her and Yglesias’s boss, which she posted on Twitter, saying that Yglesias signed a transphobic letter that made her feel “unsafe.” The letter was not transphobic, and I can’t imagine how VanDerWerff felt “unsafe” (I tend to be dubious about such claims.)

4. Nevertheless, Ezra Klein, a co-founder of Vox and an editor-at-large, issued this tweet raising another canard: the signers of the letter were merely trying to gain power and glory by publishing it.  The pushback from the Woke was merely a call for them to debate rather than tout themselves and “cancel” others.

Klein’s “dog whistle” (LOL):

Yglesias deleted his tweets, apparently because the Boss asked him to:

And Klein got some well-deserved pushback. Claims of “feeling unsafe” are all too often a way to call attention to yourself and your feelings, thereby avoiding debate.

One of the exponents of this view is the reliably Woke (and obtuse) Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who apparently missed the point of The Letter:

5. Bad people (e.g., J. K. Rowling) signed the letter, rendering its message completely worthless. See the response of Wendy Kaminer below.  Here’s an example of hyperbole from a piece criticizing The Letter in In These Times:

I say this, of course, in the context of today’s letter, published in Harper’s and signed by more than 100 of the worst people in the world of public intellectualism, titled “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate.”

Seriously? “Worst people in the world?” I’d rather hang out with these people any day than with the writers at Vox.

6. The Letter was full of right-wing and anti-trans “dog whistles”. This claim is based on no evidence, existing solely in the Pecksniffian minds of the critics. The letter doesn’t mention anything that approximates “dog whistles” criticizing transsexual people or pandering to conservatives. If you don’t believe me, read it again.

7. The letter didn’t give examples of “cancel culture” transgressions. Rightly so, and for a reason—it was making a larger point and didn’t want to get bogged down in specific details. As we’ve seen in several rebuttals, any example of “cancellation” given can always lead to an argument by the woke about how it was really something else, and those arguments become unending, mired in minutiae.  In fact, there’s no doubt, except among the Woke, that there is indeed a new a climate of chilled discourse in America and the UK. The evidence for that, which I cited yesterday, is that a large fraction of college students, especially conservatives, are simply afraid to open their mouths on campus. It resembles the chilling of the McCarthy era when people were sniffing out “communists” everywhere.

8. The letter called out the Left but not the Right for suppressing speech.  This claim is palpably ridiculous; read the letter again. It explicitly mentions the Right and Trump, but does concentrate on cancellations by the Left, which are those that are most frequent and get most of the attention, playing into the hands of Trump and Faux News, which report on this stuff regularly. And nearly all the signers I’d classify as on the Left.

9. The letter was motivated by racism: to suppress marginalized people who were “punching up”, so that those who called for free speech were the elitist signers, not the oppressed. This is a claim that might have been expected given the ubiquity and power of calling people racists. One example of this accusation is below:

This is a ridiculous assertion with no evidence behind it. Further, many of the signers were from minority groups, which makes the accusation even more ludicrous. But since when have the Woke cared about accuracy?

On to a brief mention of the two articles defending The Letter. They’re by two people whose writings I always enjoy: Wendy Kaminer and Nick Cohen. Although I rarely disagree with them, I still read them religiously because they often have fresh viewpoints, and Cohen gives the viewpoint of a journalist working in Britain.  Here’s Cohen writing in The Guardian:

I’ll quote him only briefly, as his piece, and Kaminer’s, deserve full reading. I cite this bit because it reprises, in the third paragraph below, the ridiculous obsession of the Washington Post with a “blackface” incident that wasn’t racist but was meant to call out racism: the racism of Megyn Kelly. Truly, showing up in blackface is not a good move, but the motivations of the woman, a government employee who got fired two years after the incident, weren’t even considered. The Post went nuts writing long articles about her:

I’m surprised such a statement of the obvious could be controversial. No honest observer can deny that the dominant factions in the modern progressive movement reject freedom of speech. They punish opinions they disagree with when they have power; and the more power they have, the more they will punish. You may think the censorship justified, but to deny its existence is absurd. Tellingly, few bother to deny it now. Occasionally, you can see them raise the exhausted excuse from the grave that only the state can censor. On this reading, Islamists killing cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo, or CEOs firing whistleblowers, are not censoring because they are not civil servants. More popular in the past week has been the claim that writers with the reach of Margaret Atwood, Noam Chomsky, JK Rowling and Salman Rushdie cannot take a moral stand because no one can suppress their thought – even though their critics give every impression of wanting to do just that.

Leave aside their belief that ad hominem and ad feminam attacks can refute an argument, and consider that the worst of the old elite directed its attention to silencing the marginalised because it knew that their voice was often the only weapon the latter possessed. Then look around. Now as then, people without access to lawyers and influential friends suffer the most.

To take an example of that encapsulates the cowardice of our times: the Washington Post, a newspaper I admire and have written for, went to enormous lengths to destroy the life of one Sue Schafer, a middle-aged woman who made a mistake. She turned up to a Halloween party at the home of one of its cartoonists in blackface. She did not mean to insult African Americans but had come dressed as a ghoul in the guise of a conservative morning show host who had defended whites blacking up. The joke didn’t work, as several guests forcefully told her. Because the words “Washington Post” and “blackface” could be said in the same sentence, and because several guests looked as if they might go public two years later, the paper gave 3,000 words to the “story” – the amount of space normally reserved for a terrorist attack or declaration of war. Her employer, a government contractor, fired her. Everyone’s back was covered except Schafer’s and, frankly, she was a woman of no importance.

Panic at the fear of denunciation and bad faith posing as rectitude can be found across the west. A comparison with the right shows how deep the decay has reached. Conservatives know there are thoughts they cannot whisper – Brexit is a mistake comparable to Munich and Suez, anti-black and anti-Muslim racism are tangible evils, poverty makes a nonsense of equality of opportunity. Likewise on the liberal left, the canny careerist takes care to avoid being caught on the “wrong side” of arguments about trans and women’s rights, leftwing antisemitism, and bigotry in ethnic minorities. The canniest decide the best course is to say nothing at all.

There’s a lot more, and a good rationale for the Left calling out its own, but I’m running out of time and space.

Do read Kaminer’s piece in spiked (click on screenshot):

Two brief excerpts of a brief article:

‘I rest my case’, I’m tempted to say, reviewing the unhinged responses of cancel-culture fans intent on cancelling the judicious defence of free speech in our ‘Letter on Justice and Open Debate’, published by Harper’s this week. I signed emphatically, which makes me one of ‘the worst people in the world of public intellectualism’, according to In These Times. What’s so bad about defending ‘the free exchange of information and ideas’ and critiquing ‘intolerance for opposing views’ and ‘a vogue for public shaming and ostracism’? In doing so we were not really defending the right to debate and criticise, according to In These Times: we were trying to squelch debate and censor our own critics, exhibiting a ‘bizarre aversion to being argued against … [that] now borders on the pathological’.

This is what citizens of cancel culture have apparently learned from Donald Trump: confound your critics by accusing them of precisely the sins you’re busy committing. Social-justice warriors have long demanded protection from the ‘trauma’ of hearing speech they deem offensive, calling for suppression of the speech and shunning of the speaker. So, employing Trumpian tactics, they accuse free-speech advocates of the censoriousness and psychic fragility that’s the raison d’être of their movement.

. . .I saw only a partial list of signatories when I agreed to sign and didn’t pay it much attention. I focused on the text, not the names endorsing it. I’m not responsible for their views (which I don’t always share), and they’re not responsible for mine. The refusal to endorse a statement you support and consider important because it will be endorsed by people with whom you sometimes differ reflects the intolerance for debate that the letter addresses.

I disagree with many of spiked’s writers, for example, and they, no doubt, disagree often with me, but in my view that’s what makes spiked interesting. I have no desire to speak only with or to people who applaud me.

This apparently contrasts with the Woke opponents of the letter, who desire to converse only with those who agree with them. The others they shout down, and, if possible, ruin their careers. Kaminer is spot on when she notes that it is the censors who most loudly accuse The Letter’s signers of censorship.


  1. Doug
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    I was glad that someone finally pointed out the obvious: the fact that the signers themselves have not been “cancelled” does not mean that they can not object when other people are. By that logic, someone like P. Z. Myers has no right to criticize racism, transphobia, sexism, etc. if they don’t affect him.

  2. GBJames
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 10:39 am | Permalink


  3. Posted July 12, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    With respect to point three: I’ve seen it alleged (by Alice Dreger in her book “Galileo’s Middle Finger”) that letter-signer Deirdre McCloskey engaged in some pretty nasty intellectual warfare against J. Michael Bailey’s book, “The Man Who Would Be Queen”.

    I say this as a McCloskey fanboy. And apparently this was back in 2003 or so. I don’t know if she’s reconciled her current views with her past views, or even if she thinks there’s anything to reconcile.

  4. Linda Calhoun
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Re: the “unsafe” thing –

    What’s so great about feeling safe, anyway?

    Putting your opinions out there, and having to defend them, is inherently unsafe, but it stretches your mind and makes you consider others’ views.

    You should be able to feel safe when you’re sleeping, but not when you’re thinking.


    • Patrick
      Posted July 12, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Exactly. The Woke use “unsafe” as a synonym for “offended.” I am reminded of Stephen Fry’s thoughts on that:

      “It’s now very common to hear people say, ‘I’m rather offended by that.’ As if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually nothing more… than a whine. ‘I find that offensive.’ It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ‘I am offended by that.’ Well, so fucking what.”

      If someone really feels unsafe when someone else disagrees with their opinions, they really aren’t emotionally mature enough to be participating in public dialog.

      • Linda Calhoun
        Posted July 12, 2020 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        I love Stephen Fry to pieces.


      • rickflick
        Posted July 12, 2020 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

        “…aren’t emotionally mature enough to be participating in public dialog.”

        That’s a big part of the problem. Twitter does not filter for maturity.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted July 12, 2020 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      It’s part of the rhetoric by which speech is equated with violence, which makes it easier to impeach. While people who say they are threatened might be using it as a synonym for offended, I don’t think we should takes claims of feeling threatened at face value.

  5. Posted July 12, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    I’ve also seen “but these people are not used to having their arguments challenged” and are reacting badly to finally being argued with.

    If only that were true in some cases. I’ll pick on Pinker, because there’s a case I’ve discussed at length. There’s a *lot* to be discussed in _Enlightenment Now_ that is important: small number effects on the statisitcs; capitalism vs. the climate; the future of technology, particularly AI and the related IT security and other matters. But amongst certain segments, I do not see any arguments, merely whining that “white male!!!!” or the like. This is not argumentation worth the name. There are also cases of “but he ignored this literature therefore his book is purely ideological”. No; I am perfectly willing to say he (as we all do) has inconvenient ideological blindspots. But the idea is not to whine that these are there; rather help to correct them and we can all do better.

    There *is* an interesting question about when one can detect that a work *is* in fact ideological to the point of being misleading. In the _Enlightenment Now_ case I dare say the most professionally interesting areas of oversight (the IT security and AI stuff) the failings are *not* ideological. On the capitalism and climate they are, but in a minor, IMO correctable or improvable way. (Compare that with, say, the buffoonery of a Sandra Harding, and the difference is night and day. I use a historical example here to avoid discussion of minutiae.)

  6. Historian
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Extremists, radicals, ideologues, call them what you will, of any political ilk have at least one thing in common: lack of faith in the masses that they supposedly represent. For them, the masses are like a herd of cattle, unable to understand what is “right” for themselves. They must be told what to think, and this is achieved by denying them access to opposing views. There is no need to confuse them. Let their betters do the thinking for them.

    This is why this variety of authoritarianism is anti-democratic. If, as history has demonstrated innumerable times, should the ideologues gain power, they will continue to suppress free speech. So, the authoritarianism of the Woke is not a new phenomenon and should have been anticipated, but, of course, it wasn’t. So, my main displeasure is not with the Woke, but with, as the Letter refers to, the institutional leaders that have failed to resist ridiculous demands and accusations.

    In the meantime, the actions of the Woke manifest a disturbing side effect: lack of attention to defeating Trump. As Nick Cohen says, “If you are an American voter, your sole priority should be the removal of Donald Trump.”

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted July 12, 2020 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      That last paragraph gives me another thought. The problem with all of this is one extreme part of the party always attacking the other even to result in no longer having any confidence in freedom of speech. Why are they not putting more effort into Trump and the pathetic right wing. Partly because Trump has taken away their arguments by not arguing with them. Pay attention and you see Trump rarely argues any policy much at all. What he does primarily is attack and name call. What he just did to Senator Duckworth is classic Trump. He did not argue any of her positions on him, he just put both barrels into attacking her personally. All that is left for the pundits is – oh, how awful, how disgusting. The real points that started it all are lost in the dust.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted July 12, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      The lack of focus on Trump might be intentional. If Biden were to win, they might argue, we will once again be stuck with reformism when what we want is for the whole rotten system to be destroyed. This, they might say, is better achieved by re-electing Trump, which will continue to undermine pluralist democracy. Remember how Stalin sold out the German Social Democrats, rather than go after Hitler?

  7. DrBrydon
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Cohen is pulling his punches: People have been trying to suppress Rushdie’s thought and LIFE for thirty years. He misses, too, I think, the point about the blackface incident. The Wokiees are not interested in motives, or having a discussion about what might be acceptable, any more than they are interested in facts. If they were, we wouldn’t be talking about cancel culture. They are not honest disputants.

  8. Posted July 12, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    “I can’t imagine how VanDerWerff felt “unsafe” …”

    “Unsafe” is woke-speak for “disagreed with”. She means that she felt disagreed with.

    And, as we know, disagreeing with the woke is heresy.

  9. Posted July 12, 2020 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    As I wrote in my comment on Sean Carrol’s tweets a few days ago, it’s a main feature of this ideology that it cannot be named, cannot be discussed, and doesn’t exist. The army of denialists are legion, and that “naming problem” became a major concern to me years ago.

    It looks like a kerfuffle about the hegemony of interpretation: the Woke want to be in charge to say what’s important and what it all means. They want to shove people onto stages to make an example; turn the spotlights to disgraceful individuals who commited a crime against intersectionality; and direct attention to further their particular ideology (which I don’t accept as “left wing” because material conditions, income equality or class play virtually no role). They hate it when somebody takes away that power and turns the spotlight onto them, and thereby scrutinizes their ideology that has no coherence, rhyme or reason.

    Recall that one main feature is that wokeness aka callout culture aka intersectionality aka “social justice” aka cancel culture never really explains itself, but sees it as “emotional labor” to actually advocate for a position. The entirety of its activism is the “callout”. It’s an idelogy that spreads like wildfire, from pyre to pyre. The unwoke masses gather around columns of smoke, and in the smell of burning flesh hear the sermon of intersectionality and what this unfortunate individual has done wrong. The fearful masses are intimidated, the authoritarians love the clarity of this arrangement and abusive powertrippers rise to the top to become the inquisitors to sniff out the next transgression.

    When people say this wasn’t reallly a thing, I think they are ignorant. If they use social media, I think they’re either lying or are non compos mentis.

  10. Posted July 12, 2020 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    There’s another criticism I’ve seen, though from another direction. Some conservatives have been complaining that the signatories are mostly left wing! They say conservative voices were left out, and the liberals should make common cause with the right. Which may be a fair point (I’m willing to stand for these broad liberal ideals with anyone who shares them, right, left, or middle) but seems to miss the point of The Letter.

    • revelator60
      Posted July 12, 2020 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      I think those who are left-of-center (a majority of literary types and public intellectuals) pay more attention to instances of liberal/left people being cancelled or bullied by the extreme left.

      Undoubtedly there must be a lot of cancel culture involving the extreme right bullying center-right folks, but many of us don’t hear about it. I don’t read much right-wing media so I’m not privy to all the drama going on there.

      Had the Letter included more right-wingers that would have given its predominantly far-left critics more ammunition to attack the letter by attacking its signers, rather than its ideas. The attackers would have doubled down on the notion that free speech supposedly serves powerful right wing interests rather than those of the marginalized.

  11. Don
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    The link to the Kaminer piece goes back to the Cohen piece again.

  12. Posted July 12, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Obviously I agree with pretty much all you say here. I just want to add one point.

    With respect to point 9, I think the argument being made by Alicia Grauso has more merit than you credit. I don’t think she’s accusing the letter writers of being racist, though perhaps she does elsewhere. I think she’s saying that cancelling of people in power is pretty much what has been happening to women and POC for a long time, and that it’s tit for tat justifiable. That’s arguable. I would suggest to her that two wrongs don’t make a right and that the Letter signers are more her allies in this fight and she should treat them as such.

  13. Richard Sanderson🤴
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    I see some sections of the regressive left and the #NewRacists have not reacted well to Nick Cohen’s column.

    Notably, the notorious Re****a Wa***n, who is now getting retweeted and liked by the like of Sacha Saeen.

    This is how far the rot has set in. Cohen is kinda like a British Bari Weiss. He’s Jewish, and left-liberal (but more centrist and rational)…so he gets hate and bile from the Far Left, Far Right, and the antisemites.

    PS Anybody read Billy Bragg’s piece of trash in the Guardian a few days ago?

    • jezgrove
      Posted July 12, 2020 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

      The Billy Bragg piece is here:

      The very vast majority of the comments below the line – and there were many of them – were highly critical of Bragg’s take on the situation, and suggest that there’s hope for The Guardian‘s readership yet.

      For those unfamiliar with Bragg, he’s a British left-wing singer-songwriter and activist who was chosen by Woody Guthrie’s daughter to set some of her father’s unrecorded lyrics to music; the resulting album was nominated for a Grammy.

  14. Posted July 12, 2020 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    I do think there are plenty of occasions where one can really feel unsafe, broadly construed. Broadly construed, feeling unsafe can be about feeling stared at, sized up (in a way that seems based on your race, gender, or appearance), talked over, or ostracized because you don’t fit into norms. Anyone from a vulnerable group will have stories, and it is very telling that essentially no one from those groups scoff at persons who agitate online about feeling unsafe.

    So bringing these situations up online gets a lot of attention on both sides, while support comes from the far left. Now the far left has a tendency to over-reach. So their arguments about feeling safe and having safe spaces has unfortunately de-volved into untenable and laughable positions like having minority-only dormitories at a University, or claiming that trans women are literally female so un-transitioned trans women athletes can compete in women athletics. These views are just dumb, I think, but feeling unsafe is a very real thing.

  15. Jackson
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Jerry!

  16. Posted July 12, 2020 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    I will have to side with with a rewording of Hall’s Voltairean principle here:

    I disagree with the illiberal left’s stupidity, but I will defend their right to put it on full display.

  17. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    I thought I wouldn’t write any more about “The Letter” …

    Whoa, for a second there I thought you were talkin’ ’bout the Box Tops’ 1967 blue-eyed soul tune:

  18. Max Blancke
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    I think a big part of the problem is that many of the woke folks really do think they they have a moral imperative to purge dissenters. They cannot see the injustice of what they are doing.

    I hope that some of those of them who have not already lost all ability to self reflect will notice that they are the ones with (metaphorical) skulls on their uniforms.

    • Posted July 12, 2020 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      Yes, they are so self-righteous they can’t even see the unfairness of what they are doing. Or they do but they think their position on the absolute highest moral ground gives them license.

      I like the “skulls on their uniforms” meme.

  19. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    From Wendy Kaminer’s piece in Spiked:

    … I’ve been called worse than ‘one of the worst people in the world of public intellectualism’. A former colleague on the American Civil Liberties Union national board once called me a ‘fucked-out boozy bitch’ …

    Please suffer me to vouchsafe a voice in support of “fucked-out boozy bitch[es]” across this great land of ours. Some of my best friends …

  20. Posted July 12, 2020 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Wokeness is a collection of memes that won’t and can’t maintain any momentum as it is built on weak, flimsy, flakey reasoning. Albeit there are dangers for individuals.
    Emotional tagging to an etheral ideology.
    This requires lots of energy and as such, pessimistic victim rejoicing wokeness is a cake baking at the wrong temperature, (complete indifference by many, pilliared by significant others ) coupled with being undercooked, it will never rise it will only show it’s flat and soggy disappointment.
    That is what IMHOptimisticO we deal with here.
    Free speech none the less, as it should be on how to dunce yourself out.

  21. Steve Gerrard
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    From Kaminer: “The unhinged responses to it proved our point perfectly.”

    This line captures my puzzlement about the purpose of the letter. If it is eliciting “unhinged” responses from those it might try to persuade, it is evidently not persuading anyone. It then becomes a statement of the known view of known figures, suggesting the response “we already knew that,” which is not all that interesting.

    I have not seen anything that is more conciliatory from either side, and the whole thing seems to me headed for the status quo.

    • Posted July 12, 2020 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Such efforts often share the “What does winning look like anyway?” problem. The fact that there were many unhinged responses doesn’t mean there weren’t thoughtful people convinced by it. Lucky for us, the unhinged are not often in policy setting positions. Perhaps a better target for letters like this might be those that university funding decisions and those who otherwise might put Woke administrators in charge of them.

    • Max Blancke
      Posted July 12, 2020 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      A certain percentage of the woke crowd are just drawn to it because it offers an opportunity to act out their antisocial impulses. They would have been just as enthusiastic for any other cause that offered them those opportunities.

      But there are also a bunch of otherwise decent people who have just been caught up in it, and are capable of realizing that they are the ones with “skulls on their hats”.

      Since I am an optimist, I believe that most of the woke crowd are of the second category. I think those are the folks the letter is meant for.

  22. kelskye
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    I’m still quite confused as to what J.K. Rowling said or did that’s so bad. As far as I can tell, her transgression was a question of semantics, rather than saying anything that’s genuinely anti-trans.

    It’s getting really hard to care about issues that revolve around definitions. And even harder to see why others care so much.

    • Posted July 18, 2020 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      She challenged the idea of not only two sexes, which means she’s transphobic. Therefore evil. Sex is a continuum you know. You are anti-LGBTQASDFHJKXYZ+ if you don’t believe that and deserve to be de-platformed for your racist views. Off to the re-education camps for you.

  23. Posted July 13, 2020 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    Ezra Klein pisses me off regularly. WHY is he such a famous guy? He called Sam Harris a racist. That REALLY got my goat.
    He’s the Pol Pot of PC culture, of the Woke Rouge.

    He makes me feel “unsafe” quite often. Today, for instance, in the deli, I thought of Ezra and I felt VERY VERY unsafe.

    This “unsafe” shit. Spare me. And that VanderVox woman. That happened to ME once – with some millennial Harvard women regards an article I was writing. To “blow up” and “cc” lots of people, or worse, twitter out something that is a personal discussion is the height of bad faith.

    D.A., J.D., NYC

    • JP415
      Posted July 13, 2020 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      Emily VanDerWerf is narcissistic, paranoid, and manipulative. She claims to be the victim when she’s really the aggressor. Shame on Ezra Klein and Vox for enabling her prima donna behavior.

  24. Posted July 13, 2020 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    Well. It is a good thing we can spend all our time kvetching about tasteless make-up at parties, I say.

    Imagine if we had real problems like a pandemic and a psychopathic griter crime family in the white house.
    We’d REALLY be screwed THEN!
    Now back to that make-up….
    D.A.,J.D., NYC

  25. Another Tom
    Posted July 13, 2020 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    The font of item 6 is different from the rest of the post. Not sure why, but I found that distracting…

  26. Posted July 16, 2020 at 4:07 am | Permalink

    One could at least conclude that she was clueless, but in fact Kelly had a history of making racist claims, which you can read about here:

    And, at any rate, the point is that the woman at the Halloween party was making fun of Kelly’s perceived racism, not being racist in her costume.

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