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    bariweiss.com | 8 min
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    bariweiss.com
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    • sjwoo
      Scribe
      3 weeks ago

      But the truth is that intellectual curiosity—let alone risk-taking—is now a liability at The Times.

      If a newspaper is a reflection of the world, then the Times is accurately reflecting the times. This is the state we live in now, and it'll most likely take some sort of a revolution to stop it. Sorry, Bari. But I'm not too worried for your future, and I'm sure you aren't, either. I have no doubt you'll land quite nicely on your feet.

      It's all rather tiring, if I can be honest. To quote Danny Glover from Lethal Weapon, "I'm too old for this shit."

      • SEnkey
        Top reader this weekScoutScribe
        3 weeks ago

        To push back a little: A sitting US Senator published a piece with which I personally strongly disagreed but that polling showed had popular support (somewhere between 47% and 58% at the time). In other words, his opinion that the military should be used to quell riots was an opinion commonly held by the people of the US and therefore worth debating. Especially if you want to convince those individuals to reconsider. When it fires one editor and reassigns the other and if the Times refuses to publish those pieces in the future, is it really representing the times? the country?

        Until I read that opinion piece and saw the polling behind it I had no idea that there was a real consensus growing around it. I'm glad the Times ran it because then I knew the idea was out there and I could debate it. Now I wonder, what ideas are growing and are commonly held that I'm going to be blown away by because the Times won't run those opinions?

        • sjwoo
          Scribe
          3 weeks ago

          I hear you -- debate is good. But if 50% of Trump voters (~63 million) believe in Pizzagate (https://www.vox.com/2016/12/9/13898328/pizzagate-poll-trump-voters-clinton-facebook-fake-news), then in order to accurately reflect the mood of the country, could we suggest that the Times be publishing pro-Pizzagate opinions, too, for the sake of debate? Maybe the Times can publish one of these far-out pieces a year, so all voices can be heard. (I honestly don't know the answer to this -- maybe they should.)

          I've written about this before, but the cost of slavery has come due. Of course it came due big time during the Civil War, but is not what we're experiencing now a kind of a civil war? The lines between red states and blue states have never been more defined, at least as long as I can remember.

          I have to be such a Debbie Downer, but this country is irreparably broken. I don't think we're coming back from this, especially with the virus raging on. I can't remember if I read this on RU, but Larry Summers feels like he's on target: https://www.ft.com/content/de643ae8-9527-11ea-899a-f62a20d54625

          • bill
            Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
            3 weeks ago

            The Cotton thing, the Bari thing... these things will keep happening and they’re small skirmishes in a larger culture war we’re in: Establishment v Futurists.

            Our nationwide failure to address this virus is a collective failure. It’s true that we have piss poor leadership (which is worse than having no leadership at all) but regardless, it’s on us, the people, to (1) contain the spread of the virus and (2) live the way we want to live: Free.

            Those things aren’t happening. Stalemate everywhere, lives crumbling, and the virus is on the rise again. Yet if you glance at Twitter, everyone seems to be right and know all the answers. How is that possible?

            The USA is fucking up the Corona response and it has something to do with our stalwart insistence on freedom. Ok. Got it. That’s understandable, forgivable, and maybe even laudable. Let’s embrace it and move on. This thing really doesn’t have to be the end of the world, but it really might be, and we need better ways to work through the noise of social media so that we can remember the most important thing of all: mostly, we agree. People are good. Every human is magical, perfect and trying.

            I just spent few hours writing the beginning of a sci fi short story that takes place in a 6th grade history classroom in 2040. I didn’t want to imagine a horror scene (everyone in masks and gloves) so I just kept the whole thing to dialogue. In the opening, the teacher asks, “Who wants to tell me about Fake News?” There is collective awkwardness. Nobody did the reading. It’s a hard question. Some of the kids have heard their parents still fighting or confused about this, even though it’s been considered a settled topic for over a decade. But one of the real nerdy kids in the front row raises his hand because he did all of the reading — on the 2020 Election, the Trump presidency, how the web destroyed journalism for a while, etc — and he very confidently answers, “Fake News was a term that people in the late twenty tens and early twenties to refer to the phenomenon that —,” and the answer he gives is right on the money. What is that answer?

            Back to the main point: The USA should be able to prove to the world that we’re capable of a sublime reversal here, but it won’t happen on the current social platforms we’re using. We also really need to have a real election. Why haven’t any third party candidates emerged? My ear is to the ground and I hear nothing. That scares me.

            Do we want to fling into a future where we’re tagged and tracked everywhere we go? If not, we should probably all be ready to die to make sure that doesn’t happen, but I’m not sure too many people are ready. This will be the next big human war. It won’t be country versus country. It will be Establishment versus People. Some people want to get owned. Some people are crying out to be masked. Others will fight. Most of us, currently, are lost and trying to figure out where to land.

            I mostly agree with “irreparably broken” but there are some big things that can be done to make the breakdown smoother, and so we can emerge to a brighter future. Abolish the federal government. Every state is now a country. Bingo bango bongo. Lots of things will get more fucked up, but more things will get fixed, quickly. It’s a very very very big idea, but that’s what we need right now.

            • sjwoo
              Scribe
              3 weeks ago

              I want to read this scifi story, Bill! Finish it pronto!

              In the era of Hamilton the musical, it's brave of you to stand with Jeffersonian state power. :) I still wish Mayor Pete was gonna be president...of all the candidates, his future seemed the toughest but also the brightest.

              • bill
                Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
                3 weeks ago

                I’ll publish something soon!

                Mayor Pete whatever lol. Our first gay president needs to be more awesomely gay the way that Obama and Michelle weren't just black they were awesomely black.

                My heart left the race when Marianne Williamson dropped out. I was actually in Iowa right before the caucus, talking her up wherever I could.

                I’m lucky to be quarantined with a book of essays she edited called Imagine: What America Could Be In The 21st Century, published in 2000. It’s insanely good. She’s basically a full on fortune-telling witch.

                I’d vote for Joe w Marianne Williamson as his running mate, and then just hope that Joe dies ASAP. This is actually the most optimistic I’ve been about things recently.

                • sjwoo
                  Scribe
                  3 weeks ago

                  I can't tell you the number of people I know who've said, "...and I hope that Joe dies right after he gets elected." I've said it myself! Poor guy.

          • SEnkey
            Top reader this weekScoutScribe
            3 weeks ago

            That a fair point and I agree it is a tough one to figure out. Trade offs will abound.

        • bill
          Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
          3 weeks ago

          Now I wonder, what ideas are growing and are commonly held that I'm going to be blown away by because the Times won't run those opinions?

          Fascinating question. I think the answer might be less than we realize. So many of these "debates" are circular. Once you do the reading, you get the point. After reading two or three articles by trans people about trans issues I feel like: OK. Got it. Both sides are right. Both arguments are solid, dignified, deserving respect. JK Rowling is right. So are the trans people who feel hurt by her words. She shouldn't stop. Neither should they. Again: We. Are. All. Trying.

          It's always the case that these pseudo-disagreements manifest in situations where policy collides with some kind of higher, principled belief. A matter of the soul. Abortion is another example. There is widespread agreement on this, but most people think that they fall on one side of an "argument" when really there isn't an argument, there's just a complicated, challenging situation that will never have an answer.

          Social media takes this problem and puts it on crack. And basically forces the crack pipe on us. The result is that none of us - even those of us who are off the pipe - can escape The Dialogue.

          Good lord, I'm doing that thing where I think out loud again.

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
        3 weeks ago

        Indeed, Bari will be just fine. I guess this is just what you do if you're a celebrity-journalist - you start and end your jobs with a flourish.

        I read this about 4 hours ago and I already forgot almost everything except that unnecessarily harsh dig on Alice Walker about some lizard illuminati shit which really just made me like Alice Walker even more.

        All New York Times employees need to Get. Off. Twitter. That would help things so much.

        @sjwoo, this is so right on:

        If a newspaper is a reflection of the world, then the Times is accurately reflecting the times. This is the state we live in now, and it'll most likely take some sort of a revolution to stop it.

    • marius3 weeks ago

      Great to read from an "insider" what I always criticized at the NYT and countless larger papers.

    • jbuchana
      Scout
      3 weeks ago

      Disingenuous

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
        3 weeks ago

        mic drop

    • sylvieo3 weeks ago

      I wish everyone who left a job would share more about why they did, as Bari does here. Although she may be getting backlash from the left, I applaud her choosing to speak up. More voices should be heard.

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
        3 weeks ago

        Yup. This is so right on:

        I wish everyone who left a job would share more about why they did

    • Florian
      Reading streak
      3 weeks ago

      I didn’t expect The Times to be quite so toxic.

      This also stood out for me:

      a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.

      • sjwoo
        Scribe
        3 weeks ago

        I don't know. This seems very much like a veiled way of her saying "Elite media controls the narrative."

        Trump has done a lot of awful things, but his most damaging thing -- the one that will stand the test of time, I'm afraid -- is his attack on objective truth. It's gonna be ugly here for a long while, folks. Long after he's gone.

    • Plum3 weeks ago

      Who is this? Just wondering how to understand his very public letter.

    • chronotope
      ScoutScribe
      3 weeks ago

      I am Jewish & that tends to make me particularly angry about Weiss, more so than others of in the same vein of discourse, b/c she uses critical responses to her choice to discuss Israel and Jewishness as an excuse to dismiss her critics, an avoidance of engaging in discussion

      TBC, I think that Israel is both a worthwhile project and also has done a lot that deserves to be criticized (same with the US actually). I have spent years moving across spectrums of debate & discussion. Along w/a great deal of time working to engage and educate on the topic.

      As someone who has put tons of time, & work, & research into the topic it is extremely troubling when she conflates criticism with antisemitism on that topic & then on other unrelated occasions. It is no mistake that she brings it up above the fold here.

      The irony of calling Twitter an orthodoxy but the history of the NYT masthead was apparently not in her eyes proves to be extremely ahistorical, especially considering NYT's engagement with Jewish people as a topic pre-2001. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buried_by_the_Times

      Not all criticism of Israel is antisemitic (though there are indeed some who use it as a cover for just that). Just like criticisms of America are appropriate and part of our culture. Indeed making those criticisms is arguably what op-ed pages are for. There are no perfect people, cultures or countries.

      But beyond that ludicrous supposition--that Twitter is somehow imposing an orthodoxy on NYT--is how selfish it is to arbitrarily cover herself in Judaism in a response to critics when there are actual Nazis marching in our streets.

      While I'm sure there are many shitty internet Nazis who attack Weiss on Twitter, they are not the ones who are impacting decision making or conversations at NYT that have put her in the midst of controversy. There is so much to criticize Weiss on that has nothing to do with that.

      But it is no accident that she uses Jewishness in her letter in the way she does, along with a number of subtle pushes to the reader to imply that the criticism of her stems from antisemitism. It is there. I see it. Other Jewish people who are sensitive to this see it. I see her implication. It would be difficult to call it subtle. She's claiming my heritage and beliefs as a shield for her to hide behind while simultaneously trying to make room for the type of talk that the entire ethical system of modern Judaism opposes.

      To say that the NYT, which has made huge strides in bringing forth the type of projects that would never have made it to the front page in the past and which less than a year ago did The 1619 Project, doesn't challenge its readers is beyond ludicrous.

      To claim non-specific anonymous critics and also non-specific anonymous supporters of her claim towards some 'new McCarthyism' is such a perfect example of her own capability to rip language from its context in the real, historical and present world.

      But to do all that while hiding behind a barely audible claim that her critics are all somehow antisemitic by dint of them daring to criticize her is just so incredibly gross that it puts her over the top for me, beyond her peers.

      If there is one thing that Jews of all stripes can agree on it is our responsibility to make the world a better place.

      How does this performance piece accomplish that?

      1. Update (7/14/2020):

        Edit: How does editing work on Read Up?

      2. Update (7/14/2020):

        lol ok, just adds to the existing post. On re-reading I realized it wasn't clear that the irony is calling Twitter's influence on the NYT orthodoxy while considering the historical masthead of the NYT some bastion of free thought, especially in regards to Jewishness.