Are students immune from criticism because of their identity?

January 27, 2021 • 8:45 am

I always take care when criticizing the public writings of students at my own university. After all, I am on the same campus, may encounter the student, and, although I no longer teach, I’m cognizant of a perceived power imbalance that may intimidate students whom I criticize.

On the other hand, the ideas of a student who writes a public op-ed in a newspaper, as did one undergraduate in a recent issue of the Chicago Maroon (a student paper directed at the University community), constitute a fitting object for criticism—especially if you go after the ideas and not the student’s character.  After all, the Maroon has a comment section, and our University is renowned for encouraging a give-and-take of ideas.

Ergo, I wrote a response to the editorial, for it was something that bothered me: an undergraduate who wanted to do away with free speech on campus because it supposedly propagates hate and white supremacy. Indeed, the student maintained that modern liberal education, as well as the Chicago Principles of Free Expression, were designed to buttress a status quo of bigotry (“By following the Chicago principles, the University effectively legitimizes and encourages students who may share similar bigoted ideologies.”)  This is disturbing, for it seems to be the view of many undergraduates, and I’m not a little worried that one modern trend, especially on the Left, is to dismantle the traditional liberal ideal of free speech as enshrined in the First Amendment.

Today’s post demonstrates what you can expect when you criticize the ideas of an undergraduate of color. This morning I found a comment (posted here only) from one “Olivia.”  The appended email was “”, and the IP address indicates that it comes from—get this—Columbia University.

The comment:

She’s literally 18 years old you fucking freak. You’re letting all these people attack a literal college freshman. A fucking teenager. You wrote an article entirely targeting this one girl and are encouraging her public critique as if she’s not EIGHTEEN. You put a student of color on the stage and are effectively putting her in danger and letting weird adult “intellectuals” villify [sic] and attack her. You’re a fucking weird, fully-grown white guy attacking an asian eighteen year old and saying her experiences as a marginalized person is [sic] not correct because of your dumbass views as a white heterosexual who doesn’t face oppression in those facets. You’re a fucking freak and I hope you rot in hell.

Note four points here. First, the commenter says not a single word about my argument, which was about the need to retain free speech on this campus and others. Ideas are no longer important: identity and power differentials are paramount. What was apparently “targeted” was a student, not her ideas.

Further, the commenter implies that I have no right to comment publicly on a publicly-written editorial because of a status and color differential. The woman was “a fucking teenager”, ergo she should be immune from criticism by someone older—and white. I would have thought that a student writer would welcome engagement with a professor, so long as it was a meaningful engagement in which the student’s ideas are taken seriously.  When students arrive at college, they should be treated as adults and their ideas treated as adult ideas. That’s what college education is all about. Imagine a professor who deferred to the views of her students because they were young! Instead, though, I let “weird adult ‘intellectuals’ engage with the ideas” —exactly as they do in the comments section of the Maroon. (And what are “weird adult intellectuals”?)

Most important, the central point of the comment is an identitarian one: the subject was an “asian eighteen year old”. (I didn’t know how old the woman was, and I don’t really care.) Because of her identity and mine—as a “fully-grown white guy”—she should be immune from criticism. In a way, “Olivia”, as unhinged as he or she may be, is making the student’s point for her: I was engaged in “hate speech” and therefore should “rot in hell.”  And no, I didn’t say that the student’s experiences as a marginalized person were not correct; the argument is about whether people should be censored for speech that others don’t like. That is an “idea”, not a “set of experiences”.

Finally, the writer claims that I have effectively “put the student in danger.” I’m sorry, but that’s ridiculous. If you feel “endangered” when someone criticizes your published ideas, then you shouldn’t publish your ideas in the first place, especially under your name. This is the conflation of “criticism” with “harm” that we see so often in arguments against free speech.

“Olivia”, in his/her intemperate and rude diatribe, inadvertently demonstrates many of the features of those who oppose free speech: some people have the right to censor others;  that privilege depends on your position in the hierarchy of oppression, in which those on the lower rungs are deemed immune from criticism but able to criticize everyone “higher up”; that hate speech causes harm, which is reason enough to ban it; and, finally, it’s okay to completely demonize one’s opponents (“you’re a fucking freak and I hope you rot in hell”). That last bit reminds one of the criticism atheists get from religionists, which, I suppose, is what people like Olivia resemble. They are ideological fundamentalists.

It’s telling that “Olivia” from Columbia University won’t divulge his/her name. That’s yet another lesson: social media brings out the worst in people, especially when they are allowed to speak anonymously. Aggressive cowards hide behind pseudonyms.

I stand by my arguments in favor of free speech at The University of Chicago, and urge “Olivia” to learn how to debate ideas rather than identities.

84 thoughts on “Are students immune from criticism because of their identity?

  1. Don’t expect much from Columbia students these days. The place has long been a sandbox for entitled ideologues with infantile concepts of how the world works, play-acting at radicalism. This is true, alas, across much of the Ivy League and the Seven Sisters, as they were known back in my day…

  2. It is difficult and frustrating to engage with people who will not discuss arguments and their merits, but insist in tangents and distractions. We can only hope this wave of confusion around the left end of the spectrum withers and dies. The opposite future is frightening.

  3. It’s the same on Twitter — relative nobodies feel free to go after public figures in aggressive terms (fine so far!) but then they get all huffy and upset and claim to be “unsafe” if anyone responds to them with anything other than agreement.

    If students are submitting essays to professors for assessment, then obviously they should not face public criticism of their work. But if they choose to participate as adults in a public discussion then they should be treated as adults.

  4. As Socrates says in Plato’s “Gorgias”, “Bosh, my dear Polus, you’re trying to give me a scare, not a refutation.” Aside from the question of whether “Olivia” knows how to argue, she is probably not interested in it. The idiom is now to savage opponents, and scare people from engaging in a debate that would legitimize the idea that there is another valid point of view. If Hui expects to be taken seriously as an eighteen-year old, then criticism is fair. If she is immune from criticism because she is “an asian eighteen year old”, the free speech is already dead.

  5. I’ve thought, ever since I was 18 myself, that people this age had entered adulthood. That’s why I was angered, back then, by being unable to vote in the ’68 election. (The voting age didn’t drop until 1970.) I am unimpressed by the idea that young adults aren’t grownups and need protection from the consequences of their published speech. Anyone who publishes an opinion in a newspaper should expect people to respond. Otherwise, why are they doing it?

    1. And grownups are taught, in work environments, especially IT ones, to have vigorous discussions about ideas so this whole generation is going to be shell shocked. Companies can’t compete and innovate if everyone just shuts up because words are violence and put people in danger.

      1. That may be true in the long run, but the marketplace is not perfectly responsive. Depending on their status and resources, an intellectually moribund and discriminating company could keep their market share and fight off more innovative competitors for years (or just buy them and destroy them). And at least superficially, it appears to me that some corporations are buying the woke kool-aid and integrating it into their corporate culture.

        So yeah, this too shall pass. But probably not before doing a lot of damage and killing some promising careers.

        1. Well hopefully I’ve retired from the workforce before this happens because I’m fairly used to arguing for and against things and I like that environment because I thrive where there is intellectual discussion with smart, invested people who argue ideas while respecting the person.

    2. Technically, buddy, the 26th Amendment lowering the national voting age to 18 was ratified in the summer of 1971. I remember, ’cause that’s the year I turned 18, and it gave me the chance to vote the next year against that rat bastard Dick Nixon. (FWIW, it’s also the year Alice Cooper’s “I’m Eighteen” climbed the US charts. Some things just stick with ya.) 🙂

    3. “Anyone who publishes an opinion in a newspaper should expect people to respond. Otherwise, why are they doing it?”


      Otherwise? This is religion. The new secular religion of Wokeness. The reader is supposed to silently genuflect to the wisdom of Wokeness.

    4. Aren’t these the same 18 year olds who turn up at university and tell experienced professors what they should be teaching, how they should be teaching it etc?

  6. I believe the issue most people had is that you linked her LinkedIn rather than just the article in question. Linking someone’s contact information in an article used to critique their ideas felt very fishy because of similar incidents across the internet. There are times when someone with a platform will post something to the effect of “look how wrong this person is, aren’t they stupid for saying this” and include that other person’s contact info which results in the other person being harassed. The issue is that the article could encourage people to not just comment on the article where the author put forth her ideas, but to comment on her elsewhere on unrelated media.

    Furthermore, I’d like to ask everyone to ask themselves not, “How do I prove this person who I disagree with wrong?” but instead ask yourself, “Why does this person think this way?”

    1. That was the only link I could find to who she was, but I can see your point, so I’ll remove the link. Thanks.

      As to why the author thinks this way, I think that’s a bad road to go down. You wind up playing psychologist, and to no useful end I can see. Discussion like this is not therapy, nor an attempt to “fix” the thinking of the author, but a general discussion for the audience about an idea. I for one have no idea why or how people come to oppose free speech, and I’d take issue with your admonition that we play Freud with our intellectual opponents.

    2. Huh? I followed Jerry’s link and got the Maroon article, not her LinkedIn page.

      “Why does this person think this way” is a great question…for her professor to ponder. Teachers in general should be figuring out the ‘why’ of students getting things wrong. Jerry, however, is not her professor, and a Maroon op-ed is not graded classwork.

      “Here is why this person is right/wrong” is a perfectly acceptable comment in response to a newspaper op-ed.

  7. I fully agree with you PCC on the need to be careful, thoughtful, etc.when replying to a student’s op-ed in the student paper. This IS a learning experience for them, not like a (e.g.) George Will op-ed in the NYT or WashPo where the author is claiming experience and expertise in the subject.

    However, the student did put their opinion out there, in public, when they wrote their original op-ed. That pretty much invites discussion over their points. You didn’t put her on a stage – she did. And you didn’t let other people attack her – she did (I note her Maroon article received two replies in it’s comment section, both negative. It is now closed from further comment).If a young person doesn’t want the community thinking about and commenting on their opinion, don’t write it in a community newspaper.

    Last, your article IMO focused on the problems of wokeism and censorship, so it seemed to me sufficiently careful, thoughtful, and non-personal.

    1. Except, according to the Woke, engagement is not welcomed. (It is religion, after all.) We are just supposed to agree, to bend the knee to their obvious wisdom. Argument, having to defend their ideas, shatters their safe space.

      1. When you have a firm point of view, and it’s obviously the only correct one(!), then everybody else is wrong and stupid or evil. And you don’t have to listen or engage with anyone who is wrong and stupid or evil.

        So they lash out to protect themselves from exposure to wrong or stupid ideas.

    1. I would say use one’s own minority status as a cudgel. ‘I’m from a Jewish background and your relative privilege to that axis of my identity means your words are just the latest version of the pogrom!’ But, as we know, Jews aren’t considered particularly marginalised in wokeland, so it probably wouldn’t work…

      1. These people are perfectly fine with name calling when its against whoever they don’t like. Only when the names are used against them do they care about “isms”

  8. Yes, absolutely. Not only are certain people are immune from criticism due to their identity, but entire organizations can leverage this by using them as spokespeople, thereby shielding the organization form criticism. I would say that it is a new social norm, particularly in matters of race and sex.

  9. Going to the main article and reading it was interesting. I’ve yet to see the response our host made though. I see just two comments to the article and no link to anything by the good doctor. Can someone help?

    1. I believe Jerry is referring to the earlier article he wrote here, on his web page, when he talks about his ‘response.’ Like you, I went to the Maroon on-line to find it (and didn’t).

    2. The Maroon deletes URL links to posts like mine. That’s why I didn’t post a link to my critique. There’s no way they’ll even let someone call attention to a critique. And now comments are closed.

        1. Or ‘Nothing But Applause’.

          One of the reasons I stopped commenting on ‘Comment is Free’ section of the Guardian was how mysteriously comments that didn’t comply with the Guardian mindset were modded or just never turned up. Indeed many more articles also became ‘no comments allowed’.

  10. Here’s a recent experience I had on FB with a FB “friend” who is alos a (somewhat distant) relative.

    This Facebook Friend (FBF) posted something about Alexandria Ocasio Cortez calling the Capitol Rioters “Nazis”.

    I replied that I did not think it was helpful to call your opponents “Nazis”, to beware of Godwin’s Law. And that it undermines your arguments if you are inaccurate. I said it didn’t make sense to call people Nazis unless they wore Nazi insignia or self-identified as Nazis.

    Her response: Stop mansplaining.

    My repsonse: Wow, disagreeing with you and presenting my point in a calm, logical way is “mansplaining”?

    Her response: You’re being ridiculous! You’re having a “hissy fit” for being called out for mansplaining. You need to be better!

    I just deleted all my comments. Such people are a waste of time to engage with.

    Her point: I’m male, she’s female, therefore anything I say to her is “mansplaining”. She failed to address any of my logical points.

    How dare I disagree with her? And she knows exactly how I need to “get better”.
    Sorry, but this input is unconvincing.

    1. It’s so frustrating, isn’t it? It’s identical to asking a person of faith for evidence of their belief, and having them reply that you have to have faith first before you can “see the evidence”.

      In her mind, “mansplaining” is a sacrosanct concept and only when you accept this will you see how what you’re doing is wrong. She can’t talk to you until you buy into that.

      Of course, her position is circular and removes any possibility of falsification. She can’t see that; she’s like a fish caught in a fish trap.

      Your position, which asks for evidence for assertions, leaves you open to being convinced about the truth of “mansplaining”, or allows you to defer your assent for that concept until the evidence is forthcoming. Crucially, you are open to the notion that your position can be falsified.

      This idea of falsification, as in “what facts could show my position to be wrong”, is something that we all should be taught in school. It is so foreign to the thinking patterns of the woke and religious…indeed, it does not come easy to most of the population.

    2. Eh, I can kinda see it. A reply along the lines of “I think it’s bad to compare your opponents to Nazis” is not ‘splaining anything, it’s just giving your opinion back. So far so good.

      But yes, a reply along the lines of “let me talk about Godwin’s law, describe it, describe why it’s relevant here, and then conclude with why I think it’s bad to compare your opponents to Nazis” is explaining something to an adult that most adults probably don’t need explained to them.

    3. Yup, you see that all the time on Twitter. A woman will tweet something that’s factually wrong, and any man that offers up a correction, no matter how politely, is dismissed as a “mansplainer.” Often it will be in conjunction with a statement like “She exaggerated a bit, but we know what she means!”

      Even before I gave up on Twitter, I gave up on trying to engage in good faith with people like that.

      The irony, of course, is that these are the same people most loudly decrying the right wing’s detachment from reality and facts. Jeez, if facts and reality matter so much, why take so much offense when your facts are corrected?

      1. I’ve thought of the correct response to this (and, as usual: How stupid of me not to have thought of this before!):

        “That is the ad hominem logical fallacy. I’m still waiting to hear what your point is.”

  11. I have a feeling that “Olivia” wasn’t the least bit worried about age when she was almost certainly posting raging comment and tw**t after comment and tw**t about the Covington High School kids, who were younger than the person who wrote that deluded and indignant op-ed form the other day.

  12. It’s the way of the world today. Entire groups of people are immune from even the mildest critique. One can’t even suggest that Amanda Gorman’s poem really wasn’t very good. If you are foolish enough to express your opinion, you will immediately be accused of harming a Black child, erasing her and that you are advancing White Supremacy.

    I just didn’t like her poem*.

    It should all be comical, with sane people pointing and laughing at them, but Olivia, Ms Hui and millions like her are our future. Some intimate that since they are so young that this nonsense is simply childishness (it is, in more than just the literal sense), that they will “grow” out of. However, they are being taught by people who think like them.

    *actually, it stinks. I’ve read is several times now and there is just no other adjective I can come up with.

    1. Yeah, the only way this is a poem is because it’s short sentences or parts of sentences on separate lines. And the imagery is pretty lousy overall. “ Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest”. I mean, WTF does that even mean?

      1. I actually didn’t realize that it was the promised poem she was reciting until about three minutes in, and even then I wasn’t sure. When she first started, I thought those were just her intro remarks leading into the actual recitation. But as time went on, it began to seem like an awfully long time to be making introductory remarks, and then the light went on…

        Vita Sackville-West or Edith Sitwell she definitely isn’t, and pretty certainly isn’t ever going to be.

      2. It mean’s she’s been beaten down/harshly tested, but persists.

        I like the poem. Certainly a heck of a lot better than I could ever do. But I’m also not going to throw around woke accusations of racism just because you and EdwardM say you don’t like it. Don’t like all you want. 🙂

        1. What Eric said. I thought it was pretty good, and like slam poetry it is meant to be spoken, not read. The cadence is a big part of it.

          But I can understand how people would find it unsatisfying for reasons other than the person delivering it.

          1. What, you think I didn’t hear her speak it? It’s drek, spoken or read. She made a valiant effort and I applaud her creativity but it’s just bad poetry.

            It’s a silly argument as it boils down to a matter of taste. But it does bother me that all one has to do is write short mostly unconnected phrases filled with vaguely portentous vocabulary and then you get to pretend it’s poetry.

            Oh, and get off my lawn!

            1. Yes, for sure: A chacun son gout.

              “write short mostly unconnected phrases filled with vaguely portentous vocabulary and then you get to pretend it’s poetry” Seems to me this has always been so.

    2. At least it was better than this dreck that an old Jimmy Stewart subjected Johnny Carson to on his show. I won’t show the whole thing (it’s long) but you can get a taste for it here. If you watch a clip of it, you can hear some faint clicking…that’s the sound of millions of TV sets turning off across the country…

      A Dog named Beau

      “He never came to me when I would call
      Unless I had a tennis ball,
      Or he felt like it,
      But mostly he didn’t come at all.
      When he was young
      He never learned to heel
      Or sit or stay,
      He did things his way.
      Discipline was not his bag
      But when you were with him things sure didn’t drag.
      He’d dig up a rosebush just to spite me,
      And when I’d grab him, he’d turn and bite me.
      He bit lots of folks from day to day,
      The delivery boy was his favorite prey.
      The gas man wouldn’t read our meter…”

      And it just goes on like this for days…

      1. ” . . . dreck that an old Jimmy Stewart subjected Johnny Carson to on his show.”

        I saw that show. Somehow I resisted the impulse to turn off the TV. Would it have been marginally better had it not rhymed? (No doubt it takes a substantially larger vocabulary, and it’s more difficult, to write a poem with no rhyme.) Or was it the subject matter (essentially a boy and his dog)? Did Carson later complain about having to endure it? Was Stewart’s being old somehow relevant? (I remember years ago seeing the Sons of the Pioneers – members approx. same age as Stewart – on The Tonight Show. Carson more than once insisted that, whatever else they sang, he wanted to hear “Tumbling Tumbleweeds.”

  13. “And no, I didn’t say that the student’s experiences as a marginalized person were not correct;”

    I’m sure Olivia is referring to the fact that you disagreed with the student who simply based their writing on their own lived experience. Of course, this means one can never disagree with anyone. It all makes me so angry.

    1. It makes me angry and depressed.

      We quickly get to the issue of….what if your lived experience is different from mine? What do we do then? Clearly, we end up with some kind of official or sanctified lived experience, and those contrary to that are deemed heretical.

      So you’ll have black people accusing other black people of not being “truly black” because their lived experience does not fit the narrative. But how do you determine the “correct” lived experience in the first place? Through non-rational processes like emotional appeal, political power struggles, etc.

      This is medieval, primitive stuff, and should have been killed off in the 18th century, yet it now permeates our so-called elite discourse.

      1. Yes. Everyone’s opinion is based on their “lived experience”. So what?

        Although I recoil at glib comparisons between the Far Left and Far Right, I can see that both sides do share belief in (different) really stupid ideas. Stupid People Unite!

      2. The backlash against JK Rowling is a whole bunch of people who trumpet “lived experience” refusing to acknowledge Rowling’s contention that biological women have their own, unique “lived experience” that is different from a trans woman.

        It boggles.

        1. You have also described my workplace (NHS, in the UK) to an absolute tee.

          It is very depressing and more often feels like a political advocacy organisation – filled with posters, leaflets, ‘workshops’, training modules, badges, lanyards, networks, ‘allies’, ‘champions’, campaigns, mandatory declaration of pronouns and even public floats at festivals.

          Personally, since we employ, treat, and take taxes from people across the political spectrum, I think we should advocate only for *shock horror* health outcomes, not political ones. Other advocacy is for outside work, and discrimination is for policy writers based on law. After all, I’m very anti-murder, but I don’t think taxes should be used to for all the above to promote not murdering. And this opinion does not make me complicit with the murderers!

  14. Olivia’s response is a clear and depressing distillation of the poisonous power of wokeness. It doesn’t turn people into conscientious stewards of social justice. Rather, it just turns them into unhinged reactionaries, completely immune to reason, lashing out at anyone who trespasses their slippery doctrines of power and privilege, fully indifferent to questions concerning the accuracy and usefulness thereof.

    Going forward, outfits like the Pew Research Center should revisit the criteria they use to evaluate American religiosity. Anyone who believes the proposition that huge swaths of modern society—from economic systems to government institutions—function as active instruments of white male supremacy is part of a strange new religion. Right now, I suspect at least of some of those people are being inaccurately lumped with the religiously unaffiliated.

  15. Edward M. above comments: “However, they are being taught by people who think like them.” That is the crux of the matter, and it has been going on for at least a full generation now. In one of Gary Shteyngart’s very funny autobiographical notes, he recalls college around 1990 as a place where he learned that every comment in class had to be prefaced by the magic word “azuh”. Examples: “azuh young person”; “azuh woman of color”; “azuh duck-billed platypus in a former life”; and so on.

    Shteyngart’s identification of the magic phrase “azuh” would be called case definition in epidemiology; while the Schools of Ed, which transmitted the condition everywhere, could be described as vectors. I suppose this way of looking at it is just epidemsplaining.

  16. In the abstract, in my view, when a student publishes something publicly it is fair to respond to it publicly. In practice, there are reasons why I would be very cautious. Publicly referencing the student’s name and her attendance at the University could be used by someone to allege a FERPA violation. IMO, that would be a stretch but that wouldn’t stop someone from using it. I had an argument with a colleague once who objected to how I responded on a student’s facebook page (the student had friended me) and objected to my referencing the post (absent the student’s name or any other identifying information) on my blog. I won’t actually post any personally identifying information on my blog, student or colleague, without that person’s express permission-even when writing about course cases. There was a Wisconsin case which has some similarities to this event, but there are also some clear differences as well. The case is McAdams v. Marquette. It’s also the FIRE website.

    1. If you don’t want to be criticized in public, or have your public statements referred to, then don’t trumpet your opinions from a newspaper. When you step onto a public stage, you’ve chosen to be in the public glare. Buck up little camper.

  17. “Olivia’s” email address is appropriate if it’s self-referential. It’s astonishing and pathetic that a student at Columbia University (if that is indeed where this person is from) feels that this concatenation of epithets constitutes ANY response at all to your highly civil and reasoned reaction to a published editorial. I’d be tempted to reply with “I’m rubber, you’re glue; whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you!” since that’s about the intellectual level of this bit of abuse. At least the original editorial writer was reasonably cogent and coherent, albeit misguided. Columbia University should be embarrassed by this…as should the person who wrote it.

  18. The “punching up/punching down” framework for human interactions: how someone may behave towards us may be different from how we may behave towards them, depending on our relative positions in the power hierarchy. Everyone must be assigned a place above, below or equal to us before we know what we may say to them.

    While of course there are situations in which we shouldn’t punch down, this concept has been stretched into something pretty repulsive.

  19. Back in the dark ages, the school newspapers were read only by member of the university. Many students posted idiotic commentary.There were letter-to-editor responses for the next week or two and then it was over. I think this was good.

    It does not seem proper to call out a student in a public forum because it discourages discourse within the university. The next freshman will be more reluctant to speak because a professor emeritus vs. a freshman is not a fair fight. There needs to be a place where a student can publish their viewpoint confident that there will be limited backlash.

    I agree with Jerry’s views but I do not believe his response was appropriate.

    1. Nonsense. Ms Hui may be young but she’s no child. Her opinions are fair game. Besides, I think Dr PCC(e) treated her with kid gloves – her ideas deserved a far harder comeback.

    1. That’s interesting, but I’m a bit wary of taking his self-description at face value.
      1. His list of traits is a whole mix of apples and oranges. Many of the factors have known and obvious causes. The idea that they’re all explained by a single genetic variability model seems at best to mistake correlation for causation. Possibly indicates cherry picking. At worst, yes it could indicate crank science, like someone claiming the have a simple unified model explaining milk prices and cometary orbits.

      2. Moreover, if the sensitive social issue is human variability, and his model applies to many species as he says, then why didn’t he do the simple and obvious paper revision of using other species as his examples? This removes all woke complaints, meanwhile the model is still published and usable by researchers who want to try and apply it to whatever species and whatever traits they want. Darwin himself did this for OOS – he talked about flowers and bees, and all his smart readers were perfectly capable of reading between the lines and start applying his ideas to humans. D. left talking about humans for a later book. Seems to me that if he was unwilling to do this, then he is likely pointedly trying to make a case about human variability and is not really concerned with modeling other species, not all that excited about having a model that accurately predicts or explains much of cross-species male variability (which, frankly, would be pretty amazing even if it didn’t model humans well).

      3. But, with that it mind, “political pressure” is a very crappy reason for a journal editor (or two) to withdraw and memory-hole ones’ paper. They shouldn’t have done that. And while my next suggestion doesn’t fully make up for that bad conduct, here’s hoping that he gets a book out of it, even if academia won’t touch it for political reasons.

  20. Glad to join all you weird intellectuals in agreeing that Jerry’s post was a legitimate refutation of a published opinion piece. When I clicked on the link, it took me only to the Maroon article, BTW.

    1. Precisely

      It clearly illustrates that personal shortcomings are inevitable in everyone – but making a point takes work.

  21. As the brain is not mature until about 21, I think we have to give leeway to young adults. Probably we should raise the ages of consent, legal responsibility, voting etc etc to 21 to recognise this.

    1. The voting age was lowered to 18 back when 18-year-old boys were subject to the military draft during the Vietnam War era. Some states also made the legal drinking age 18 at around that time. (The drinking age was raised to 21 across the country in 1984, a decade after the US conscription laws had expired, as part of a requirements for states to remain eligible for federal highway funding.)

      If you’re serious about raising the age of consent to 21, you’re gonna have to figure out a way to outlaw teenage hormones, or risk turning nearly everyone in the nation between the ages of 18 and 21 into sex offenders.

  22. In your reply by me:
    I did not mention how fucking pissed off I am with this fucking shit.
    Condemning and attacking my person or any one for that matter, without making one fucking valid point about what I fucking wrote.
    I’m aged, possibly covid wired not weird and yes, fucking white but so fucking what! .
    Under the tenets of free speech you can argue your fucking points and we can converse til the bloody cow’s come home… until then, fuck off.

    Delete if this does not meet the appropriate fucking standards.

  23. Writing a political article a few years ago I ran into a very similar buzz saw as that which you describe, my accuser being a young female recent Harvard grad (as she told me, early and often). I was flabbergasted, even with my being a “middle aged rich white lawyer man”. Which was apparently germane to my argument. It made me take the whole woke horror and its intersectionalism waaay more seriously.

    1. It also makes less sense, since both Olivia and the author of the original op-ed appear likely to qualify as WEIRD.

  24. Let me see if I understand correctly.

    An analogy: a new student enters a boxing gym and says, “The way you guys box is crap. You should do it like this. Prove me wrong.”

    One of the coaches humbles – but does not harm – them.

    Some masked (anonymous) observer says the coach should not have hit the student because the student is 18, Asian and female. This masked observer says this while punching the coach then flees.

    Does that about sum it up?

    Seems like a standard case of hubris. Of course, the Greek writers – being white, western, male*, old, wealthy, patriarchal, slave-owning paedophiles – have nothing to teach young minds of 2021.

    This is how the world ends: not with a bang, but with a hashtag.

    *yes, I have assumed their genders, races, political beliefs, sexual preferences etc. It’s ok though, I’m not white, so I can do anything I want and you can’t criticise me.

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