Linguist John McWhorter doesn’t go along with the prescribed narrative of Critical Race Theory, and as an African-American he’s received his share of opprobrium for that. He mentions the pushback in his new piece in Quillette (click on screenshot), but characterizes it as coming with the territory, and sometimes even useful. More important, McWhorter explains … Continue reading John McWhorter on the Harper’s letter
Eve Fairbanks is a journalist from South Africa, and her national origins play a substantial part in this rather weak essay on free speech in the Washington Post (click on the screenshot). Increasingly, I find long-form op-eds in both the New York Times and the Washington Post—the two sources I’m subscribed to besides Andrew Sullivan’s … Continue reading Another weak argument against the Harper’s letter
I used to think of Slate and Salon as brother sites, with Salon being the slightly unhinged and woker younger brother and Slate being the more serious elder. Well, Salon has gone down the drain of wokeness, and Slate is no longer nearly as interesting as it used to be, full as it is now … Continue reading Slate obliquely criticizes the Harper’s letter, blames Twitter for everything
I’ve been remiss in following—or even learning about—Noam Chomsky. I’m not much into linguistics, and, truth be told, I couldn’t even recount his big contributions there beyond the concept of Universal Grammar, or how well they’ve stood up over time. I have read several of his political pieces, so I’m aware of his severe criticism … Continue reading An interview with Noam Chomsky and why he signed the Harper’s letter
UPDATE: In a New York Times article, Thomas Chatterton Williams, a Haper’s writer who helped organize the letter, got specific with some of the incidents that inspired its creation: He said there wasn’t one particular incident that provoked the letter. But he did cite several recent ones, including the resignation of more than half the board of … Continue reading Pushback from Sean Carroll and others against the Harper’s letter promoting open discourse
HuffPo, one of the biggest exponents of “cancel culture”, now has published one of its longest articles claiming that such a culture doesn’t exist. The piece is a long and unconvincing response to the letter published last week in Harper’s (and four other international venues). That letter was simply a call for open debate, and … Continue reading HuffPo denies that “cancel culture” exists
This letter in Areo (click on screenshot) gets the point of the Harper’s letter in a way that many outraged people and offended intellectuals didn’t. The author, who asserts that he’s a “nobody”, isn’t really: his Areo bio says this: Angel Eduardo is writer, musician, photographer, and designer in New York City. He has been published in … Continue reading Think “cancel culture” is a fabrication? Think again.
I was surprised to see this full-editorial-board opinion piece in yesterday’s New York Times. But any endorsement of freedom of speech is okay with me. Yet as I read it, I realized that the New York Times is really attacking “cancel culture” rather than endorsing free speech. Read on to see what I mean (click … Continue reading The NYT apparently doesn’t understand freedom of speech
The two noteworthy incidents in Cancel Culture this week—a term that the woke hate but seems pretty accurate to me—were the attempted demonization of Steve Pinker, involving a letter demanding that the Linguistics Society of America rescind two of its honors to Steve, and a letter in Harper’s and four other international magazines calling out … Continue reading Jesse Singal on “cancel culture”
Whether you think “Cancel Culture” is real depends, of course, on your definition of the term. In this article from The Nation, writer and critic Katha Pollitt, a Leftist and also a distinguished poet, defines “cancel culture” this way: Cancel culture—which I’m loosely defining here as a climate that encourages disproportionate social and/or work-related punishment … Continue reading Is cancel culture real?