I'm reluctant to beat what is (on Twitter) already a very dead horse, but today's newest literary feces from Bari Weiss on the once-not-totally embarrassing New York Times opinion page is just astonishingly bad. If you ever wondered what it was like to grade a paper written by a really conceited (Everyone tells me I'm so smart!) 19 year old journalism major, here's your chance.
I decided it is too long, tedious, and stupid to give a full FJM treatment, since that actually requires effort on my part. And I realize (as they anticipate when publishing shit like this) the recourse to "Respect opinions you don't agree with" is strong. But this isn't about opinions and differences surrounding them. This is about the Newspaper of Record, in a misplaced stab at "intellectual diversity", giving regular column space to someone who literally sounds like a teenager. A not insightful, sickeningly proud of herself teenager.
Read as much of this as you can. This is simply awful. It is written at a college level, and not a high college level. "There be dragons" and "That which cannot be named" appear before the end of the fourth paragraph. The cliches and thesaurus-thumbing verbiage are so thick that you can see them coming two sentences in advance. If this were an article about luxury automated socialism for Arizona Cardinals fans, I would still loathe it because it is fucking unreadable.
Why does this person have this platform when equivalent writing can be found in the campus newspaper of any university in the country? Whose cousin is she? Who do mom and dad know? This is either a case of nepotism or Bari Weiss is the goddamn luckiest person on Earth, plucked out of the sea of millions of other people who can sort-of write in sentences but do it with the tone and cadence of a high school senior trying too hard.
And on its merits, even if this weren't juvenile and hard to read, this argument is just fucking ludicrous. "Intellectual Dark Web" is a bunch of people with massive, highly visible platforms. Hack comedian and former gross-out TV host Joe Rogan has the second most listened to podcast. On Earth! Like, out of all podcasts! He was on a sitcom so even your mom and dad know who he is! Literally nobody is silencing Joe Rogan. Or Ben Shapiro. Or Jordan Peterson – you can't go five fucking minutes without seeing his cadaverous mug these days.
Here is a set of supposedly taboo ideas so subversive that one cannot avoid seeing them everywhere, every day. Major media outlets. The high-traffic internet. On university campuses. On talk shows. On podcasts. From the Republican majority in both chambers of Congress as well as the White House and 3/5 of state capitols. And the ideas are SO taboo that…you can name every single thing she is going to bring up by the time you've gotten six sentences into the piece.
Oh let me guess. Feminism is out of control. College kids are snowflakes. Identity politics something something. Immigration is bad. Muslims are terrorists. "Western culture" something something. There, did I get them all?
How does an editor let this happen? Do these people have no self-respect at all? Some overgrown sorority girl sends you a pitch like, "I'm gonna write about how all my friends and all the people who agree with me are REBELS!" and what do you say in response? Maybe the writing is on the wall for the Times to the extent that everyone just shrugs and says "OK, whatever" at this point. I can't tell if that is more or less sad than the idea of an editor reading this and thinking, "Great, this is exactly what I wanted."