Bari Weiss slammed by censorious NYT colleagues for an innocuous tweet

I’ve long maintained that liberal media like the New York Times and the New Yorker are increasingly tilting toward the Regressive Left. The strongest proof of this is what just happened to New York Times columnist Bari Weiss. Weiss is a Left-wing progressive who’s repeatedly criticized the Authoritarian Left. She’s committed the ideological sins of criticizing cultural appropriation, of arguing that Aziz Ansari was sexually clueless but not a criminal, of calling out the Chicago Dyke March for banning the Jewish Pride flag, and of going after the entitled students of The Evergreen State College. (See my posts about her work here.)  Weiss is a Leftist but refuses to kowtow to the increasingly rigorous standards of purity demanded by the Intersectionalist Left.

And for that she just got excoriated. Apparently Weiss’s sins have been rankling her colleagues for some time, but they had no good reason to go after her. Then Weiss committed a really unpardonable sin. She tweeted this after American figure skater Mirai Nagasu landed a triple axel in the Olympics: the first American woman (and third woman in the world) to do so. Weiss immediately issued a tweet celebrating this achievement, paraphrasing a quote from the play Hamilton:

Well, Nagasu was born in America; it was her parents who were immigrants, and they’re not U.S citizens. Weiss was immediately corrected on this point, and agreed:

But that wasn’t good enough! She had engaged in sin of “othering”: of seeming to imply that Nagasu was herself an immigrant, and therefore somehow inferior. Weiss, of course, meant nothing of the sort. You really have to be poisoned by authoritarianism to read any malicious or bigoted intent into Weiss’s tweet.

Nevertheless, the Twitter Storm began, for social media likes nothing more than publicly shaming people who are make “errors” like this. To me, this was an innocuous tweet, meant to praise Nagasu and not to “other her.”

Indeed, the Women’s March tweeted something similar, but said that Nagasu was the “daughter of immigrants” instead of implying she was an immigrant. Huge difference, right? And look at their tweet. It says, “Immigrants make America great!” But Nagasu was NOT an immigrant! How is this materially different from what Weiss said? It goes without saying that nobody went after the Women’s March.

Since most New York Times writers aren’t allowed to use Twitter to express dissatisfaction with their colleagues, they took to a forum called “Slack”, a group chat site used by in-house media organizations. Then, of course, a NYT employee leaked the conversation to HuffPo (I’m just guessing here, but it’s pretty obvious). HuffPo would, of course, put the right spin on it: that Weiss had screwed up. The conversation calling out Weiss on Slack can be seen in the article below (click on screenshot), and it’s scary how authoritarian and censorious the Times writers were. Weiss’s failure to issue an immediate and abject apology made things worse. (Of course I don’t think she should have.) At least 13 NYT employees were involved in the conversation.

I’ve also archived the article here in case HuffPo takes it down out of the NYT’s concerns.

Just a few excerpts:

Person B: i guess it’s too much to even expect a “we’re sorry you’re offended” apology since asians don’t matter

Person C: (and she’s being untruthful about having misquoted the song)

Person B: i guess you get full twitter privileges at the nyt when you are consistently factually wrong

. . . Person B: here at the times, some people are allowed to make mistakes and offend. others are not ever afforded one chance.

i will no longer remain silent about our hostile work environment just so that it will be pleasant for others

if “interesting” could be used to describe flashbacks of internment of japanese americans

sorry, but I felt that tweet denied Mirai her full citizenship just as the internment did. and nothing will be done because no one was offended! (since we don’t count)

. . . Person J: thank you for bringing up this issue here! I had thought about posting about it yesterday but opted instead to vent privately to other AAPI/Asian-American colleagues because I didn’t know if I had the energy to address micro aggressions and /or defend my right to feel frustrated at something other people might look at as not a big deal. I’m glad you had the courage to mention this!

on a related note, given the heightened political discourse around “free speech” where many people on the receiving end of criticism complain about being silenced, I don’t think there’s enough thought given to the way institutions/organizations/communities

It goes on like this, and the impression it gives is that NYT writers and employees are like a bunch of spoiled and whiny—yet vicious!—Evergreen State brats, bent on forcing Weiss to apologize, on humiliating her, and perhaps even on getting her fired. All over an innocuous tweet! They were clearly spoiling for a fight,waiting to chew up someone who had violated their standards of “right thought”.

HuffPo asked the NYT for a response, and it gave this boilerplate, which is okay, I guess:

The Times is deeply committed to a workplace that is reflective of the audience we serve. We view diversity – of gender, ethnicity, origin, thought and opinion, as critical to our work. And, we want The Times to be a safe and comfortable place to work for all. For that reason, we’ve prioritized training programs and forums to facilitate a constructive conversation around this very important issue.

Here’s Grania’s take, quoted with permission:

My thought is that Bari has set herself up as a major enemy because of her appearance on Bill Maher’s show the other night, as that elevated her voice above what a newspaper journalist typically is able to reach.

Her ideological opponents now must silence her or be forced to address her points; and as we all know, they don’t like to argue their points. They prefer to declare their opponents are toxic/evil/wrong/bad so that people will stop listening to them.

Grania on Weiss’s Offensive Tweet:

Anyone who isn’t seriously mentally incapacitated should understand that Bari’s tweet was one that endorsed immigration in a positive way as well as praised the skater. The attempt to pretend that it is in fact anti-immigrant and racist is blatantly dishonest, and anyone dogpiling on in agreement is basicially acknowledging that they are prepared to lie openly to achieve their goal: slurring Bari so badly that she becomes persona non grata both at her place of employment and as a talking head at large.

Basically, this is the liberal equivalent of lying for Jesus.

I hope Weiss doesn’t get into trouble. There were plenty of people defending her, and of course some were from the Right, as much of the Left simply wants to ruin Weiss’s reputation. That’s what you do these days when someone offends you.

Here are some supportive tweets:

It’s this kind of Left-Wing Sturm und Drang about nothing that both amuses and motivates the Right, and I’m starting to think that this Outrage Culture really does drive people into the arms of Trump. If this keeps up, the Official Moron could be re-elected in three years. And nobody with brains wants that.

h/t: Eli, Grania

98 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Oh Lordy.

    Grania is right, of course.

  2. Posted February 15, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    All according to plan; soon the feasting on itself in earnest will begin.

  3. glen1davidson
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Someone’s got to make the right look better.

    Glen Davidson

  4. Harrison
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    It used to be said that high school wasn’t the real world, but the rampant cliquishness that social media has exposed in the past decade proves otherwise.

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    American figure skater Mirai Nagasu landed a triple axel in the Olympics: the first American woman (and third woman in the world) to do so.

    I take that to mean, first American woman to do so in the Olympics.

    I saw I, Tonya last weekend, and, as it makes plain, Tonya Harding was the first American woman to land the triple, although not in Olympic competition. (I don’t give a shit about Tonya Harding either, but it’s a really good movie.)

    • Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I meant she landed it in the Olympic competition. As you said, others have done it in non-Olympic competitions.

  6. Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    If it makes you feel better, some of my left wing friends, who I considered to be “the politically correct among the politically correct” have had enough of all of this “attacking other allies over making statements that aren’t pure enough”.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      Chrissake, even the Second International broke up when the purity tests of the Zimmerwald Left got to be too stringent. 🙂

  7. Randall Schenck
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Would these lefty’s at the Times have more important Immigration items on their list, such as the Trump mafia grabbing people off the streets and deporting them after many years of living here in the U.S. What the hell is the matter with these journalists who seem to need a real job.

  8. Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    As usual, in Woke “social justice” (so-called), there are always multiple contradictory demands. For example, (1) in defense of immigrants, what Bari Weiss meant; (2) not treating minorities as foreign or strangers; (3) but at once also avoiding the melting pot, which is a microaggression. Good luck navigating that.

    The key is, as you observe, whether a person appears to be critical of The Woke. If so, anything they say will be interpreted on the negative side, and then, of course turned up to eleven, as is merry routine by now.

    I don’t know how often we go through the script before a few journalists restore a bit of their former reputation and actually begin to discuss this Woke madness. But I guess they don’t do this because of what happens to those who dare to criticize, or even attempt to name and describe it.

    • Harrison
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      If there’s one thing that actually viscerally offends me, it’s when someone obtusely suggests that such a kerfuffle could have been avoided if only they’d said something different. When you know full well that there is no statement that can’t be twisted to fulfill a narrative.

      It’s like watching someone say “if only you’d sailed closer to Scylla then you wouldn’t have been swallowed by Charybdis.”

      • Ken Phelps
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        A reference from the Classical Dead White Guy Curriculum? Triggered!!!

    • chris moffatt
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      Well I’m an immigrant, from Canada, been here nearly 40 years now; I am still a foreign stranger and have successfully avoided the melting pot, thank goodness! I don’t consider it a microagression when people here in Virginia ask about my accent. As for the “woke” numpties, they’re just as prevalent in my native Ontario as they are here; perhaps more so, around the lake and up in Ottawa – they’re the only reason I haven’t gone home for good. I’d go back to Labrador but at my age the climate would kill me in a few days.

  9. Mark Reaume
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Christina Sommers had some other gems in that thread.

    • steve
      Posted February 16, 2018 at 5:54 am | Permalink

      You know that Christina Sommers is being ironic right?

      • Mark Reaume
        Posted February 16, 2018 at 6:46 am | Permalink

        Yes, I do know that.

  10. Charlie Jones
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    I prefer to avoid using terms that might offend people, but the whole elevation of microaggresions to a hanging offense helps no one. It is impossible to keep up with the latest, most correct terms, especially when it involves things like gender for which English has just two sets of historically used pronouns, and getting excoriated for a microtransgression has two results:

    1. The complete avoidance in the future of any discussion of race, gender etc. Thus, the Regressive Left acts to raise barriers between races and other groups by raising anxiety about committing inadvertent micro-sins.

    2. Anger against all things left. Who wants to associate with such incredibly intolerant people?

    It is as if the regressive left and the white supremacists have the same goal: Every group should exclusively associate within their own kind and no one else.

    • John Yarzagaray
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

      This is not a question of using the latest and most correct terms. “Immigrant” was simply inaccurate. But when called on it, she doubled down. It was weird. Also consider this, would she have said the same of a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th generation Asian-American? How about a 4th generation Irish-American? It’s just not as cut and dried as many of you are making it out to be. This “outrage at the outrage” is curious. I get that everyone is fed up with offense culture, but before piling on, it might be a useful exercise to analyze what Weiss got wrong and what she could have done differently.

  11. jorgensen28ryan
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I do think that this sort of behavior drives certain people to vote for Trump, but I also think people who vote for Trump because of this are using terrible reasoning for their vote.

    • Kirbmarc
      Posted February 16, 2018 at 2:16 am | Permalink

      There are no good reasons to vote for Trump.

      I don’t even think that this kind of behavior drives people to vote for Trump as much as it alienates people from participating in, or sympathizing with, left-wing movements.

      The result of perpetual outrage is a shift towards political apathy rather a shift towards the right. Apathy is dangerous for the causes you’re sympathetic to, though, especially if you live in a country with a two-party system.

      • Conelrad
        Posted February 16, 2018 at 3:58 am | Permalink

        Ding Ding Ding! Absolutely right.

  12. eric
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    I’ll offer Chloe Kim’s response and interviews after winning her gold to anyone who wants an uplifting moment. No intersectional bullflop. No outrageously stupid far leftism. Just a down to earth and heartfelt acknowledgement of both her Korean family background and American-ness.

  13. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    This incident provides yet another object lesson in the pernicious effects of social media.

    Internet comment sections are bad enough (and I confess to being a recidivist offender myself), but from what I’ve seen of social media, and most especially Twitter, everyone wants to be a one-line wisenheimer.

    Why I don’t do Twitter (and still have yet to encounter a Tweet in situ).

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      You asked me that a year ago and I laid it out for you, chapter and verse, right here.

      Since that time, although Robert Mueller runs a very tight leak-free ship, the public evidence has continued to pile up. There’s a knock-down case of obstruction of justice against Trump right now. And the Occam’s razor explanation for all of Trumpworld’s contacts, and entanglements, and lying about Russia — and for Trump’s utter inability to criticize Putin or Russia, and for his refusal to enforce the Russian sanctions congress passed by a vote of 517-5 — is that Trump has been compromised by Russians.

      If you have another explanation that accounts for all the known evidence, I’d love to hear it. You’ve passed on your earlier opportunities to do so.

      • Diane G.
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        Ken, looks like this is in the wrong thread. Just so you know…

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

          Yeah, it got misplaced. I re-posted below where it belongs.

    • Diane G.
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      “… but from what I’ve seen of social media, and most especially Twitter, everyone wants to be a one-line wisenheimer.”

      Exactly! Which has basically devolved into just using currently with-it tropes and the latest in-crowd-only jargon.

      Borrrrrrrrrrrrrring!

  14. Larry Smith
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    It was the “kosher” reference that offended me. How dare she?

    Oh, she’s Jewish? Ok, then, that’s OK, she can use that term. Glad she didn’t appropriate the British term “that’s cricket.”

    FFS!

  15. Posted February 15, 2018 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Crikey, the Ctrl-L are unstable! This is why I worry about you, sometimes, PCC(E).

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      I think they prefer their meat a little less tough.

      • chris moffatt
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think they actually want to eat what they hunt. It’s more like “the Wickerman”.

    • Kratoklastes
      Posted March 14, 2018 at 12:03 am | Permalink

      Did you make up the “Ctrl-L” reference? If not, where did you get it from?

      I only ask because I’ve never seen it before – it’s one of those things where you see it and think “Damn! I wish I had thought of that!”

      So, in true ‘Roger’ (from “American Dad”) fashion, I am going to steal it and pretend I invented it.

      It’s just so absolutely spot-on: “Ctrl-Left” being the ‘keyboard opposite’ of “Alt-Right”, and also the SJW obsession with CONTROL.

      • Diane G.
        Posted March 14, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

        In case Mark doesn’t see this…

        I don’t remember who first used “Ctrl-left” here–could have been Mark–but many of us glommed onto it like you have for exactly the reasons you give. 🙂

  16. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    If this keeps up, the Official Moron could be re-elected in three years. And nobody with brains wants that.

    Ain’t gonna happen, boss. Donald Trump’s election was a singular fluke in the history of the nation’s 57 presidential elections. And the concatenation of weird circumstance that led to his being elected is unlikely to recur.

    Anyway, once the Mueller probe is done,

    All Vladimir’s trolls
    And all Vladimir’s bot-men
    Won’t be able to put
    Trumpty-Dumpty in office again.

    • Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      I think he will win more easily than the 1st time.

      • Diane G.
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

        I do too, alas.

    • chris moffatt
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      got that evidence yet?

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        You asked me that a year ago and I laid it out for you, chapter and verse, right here.

        Since that time, although Robert Mueller runs a very tight leak-free ship, the public evidence has continued to pile up. There’s a knock-down case of obstruction of justice against Trump right now. And the Occam’s razor explanation for all of Trumpworld’s contacts, and entanglements, and lying about Russia — and for Trump’s utter inability to criticize Putin or Russia, and for his refusal to enforce the Russian sanctions congress passed by a vote of 517-5 — is that Trump has been compromised by Russians.

        If you have another explanation that accounts for all the known evidence, I’d love to hear it. You’ve passed on your earlier opportunities to do so.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

          I set out, on this site, additional evidence regarding the Russian collusion case here and on the obstruction-of-justice case here.

          Please feel free to refute it, Mr. moffat, if you can.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

            And as if on cue, deus ex machina, news has just broken that Rick Gates — Paul Manafort’s codefendant, who remained part of the Trump team throughout the transition, into the early months of the administration — has been in for a proffer session with Mueller, under so-called “Queen for a Day” immunity. A plea agreement is expected soon.

            He will bury Trump further.

            • Diane G.
              Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

              Sadly, I hardly see any evidence that the American public as a whole gives much of a damn as to how the Mueller probe turns out.

              Additionally, I could see Trump & his handlers managing to delay all proceedings long enough for him to be voted in a second time.

              I defer to your far superior knowledge, though!

              Can you tell us just why the investigation seems to be taking so long?

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

                I think there’s a ton of stuff concerning Trump’s finances, particularly with regard Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank and his money-laundering activities with Russian oligarchs and tax fraud, that Mueller’s crack financial team is poring over. I also think Mueller, knowing he’ll eventually be fired by Trump, made his first move to nail down the obstruction-of-justice case since, even though it logically and temporally follows the collusion case, it’s discrete and well-corroborated by solid witnesses.

                Keep in mind that the Watergate case — which began as an even smaller investigation into a single, discrete burglary — took two years from inauspicious start to ignominious finish.

              • Diane G.
                Posted February 16, 2018 at 12:24 am | Permalink

                Thanks! It does look far more rosy with all the details you have at hand. Just a case of the mill of justice grinding “slowly but exceeding fine,” eh?. Really fascinating stuff.

  17. Posted February 15, 2018 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    I can´t see anything wrong with that tweet. Having said the obvious, I don´t think that the New York Times is increasingly tilting toward the Regressive Left. Maureen Dowd, Bret Stephens (climate change denier), Ross Douthat, David Brooks, etc.; they´re all conservative -and mostly useless- and more important in the Times than Weiss´s critics. If anything, the paper is also contributing to the normalization of Trump. They like (a lot) to publish stories “cleaning” Trump´s voters.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, the NYT gives guest opinion pieces to regressives fairly often (too often, if you ask me), but the regular op-ed contributors haven’t moved in that direction (if anything, they’ve drifted a bit in the other).

      And you’re right about cleaning up Trump voters; it takes the form of the so-called “Cletus Safari,” in which a bien pensant ventures out into the hinterlands to sample the views of the unwashed masses.

    • Filippo
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      I hadn’t perceived Dowd as conservative; she periodically writes about her differences with what I perceive to be her conservative brother. What always slaps me up the side of the head is her monumental snarkiness. (“Snark,” which has been around a while, is apparently not recognized by the spell-check website computer.)

  18. ladyatheist
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    What happened to America being the land of second chances? You know… a forgiving kind of place?

    • Filippo
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      “A kinder, gentler nation.” – George H.W. Bush, who also is reported to have responded to a question to-the-effect, “No, I don’t know that an atheist can fully be an American citizen.”

  19. Charles Sawicki
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Jesus! This sort of petty stupidity on the Left is a boat anchor retarding real progress.

  20. Kiwi Dave
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    And nobody with brains wants that.

    Agreed, sort of. It rather depends on whether Trump’s opponent is even worse. I’m one of your relatively few centre-conservative-libertarian readers, according to the questionnaire to which this website recently linked, and would have voted very reluctantly for Trump (more accurately, against Clinton)in the last election, had I been a US citizen.

    Since then, not only has Trump performed better than my very low expectations, but the investigations into Russian collusion and other shenanigans increasingly look as if Clinton and her allies will be revealed as even worse than I thought.

    Obviously, you and the majority of Weit’s readership will disagree with this assessment and, yes, Trump deserves plenty of criticism; but let’s not assume that potential Trump voters are brainless.

    • GBJames
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      I have to wonder where you get your news.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      I know lots of Trump voters, and would not generalize them as being brainless. Nor are they racist, homophobic, or xenophobic.
      Though granted the racist / homophobe /xenophobes who voted certainly did not vote for Hillary.
      The Trump voters I know were voting against Hillary, and voting for the hope of bringing more manufacturing jobs back to the US. They were voting against establishment politics, and for putting the US first. Border protection was not on their radar (but I am far from the Southern border).

      I don’t get how the investigations into Russian collusion will reveal more Shenanigans by Clinton or her allies.

      • Adam M.
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

        I don’t get how the investigations into Russian collusion will reveal more Shenanigans by Clinton or her allies.

        I think he’s referring to how the anti-Trump dossier that came out before the election was funded at least in part by the Clinton campaign and/or the DNC. (See, for example, here.)

  21. John Yarzagaray
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    The regressive left frustrates me as well but as a first generation American (I was born here but my parents are from South America), being called an immigrant really is a little annoying. If someone was trying to compliment me and said “that’s why I love immigrants!” I honestly would be a little annoyed. I doubt that I’m alone in feeling that way. That being said, I would politely thank her for the compliment and correct her misconception. Also, her explanation that ”yes, yes” she knew all along that Nagasu was born in the states and it was just “poetic license” didn’t ring true to me. I think a simple “oops, I shouldn’t have just assumed. Sorry about that” would have been far better. The regressive leftists have gone too far but beware of a backlash in trying to go too far the other direction. At least consider that maybe you don’t quite know how it feels to be labeled an immigrant based on your appearance. It’s happened to me many times. But I will agree that the response to her faux pas has been over the top. Also remember that “s/he meant well” is rarely a very good excuse.

    • glen1davidson
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Yes, she might have been trying a bit too hard herself to say something that might sound “sensitive” or whatever. Seems that way to me, anyway. Oh, she had immigrant parents–yes, well, she’s not an immigrant, which one could certainly gather from what she tweeted.

      So she probably should have handled it better. The overreaction by her political opponents tend to make one forget that part.

      Glen Davidson

    • Dick Veldkamp
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      I agree.

      We can talk endlessly about how the situation should have been handled, but it seems to me the point is that it shouldn’t matter.

      A tweet like this is just too unimportant to get worked up about. Grown-ups should have a fair bit of tolerance against people saying annoying things.

      And as a matter of fact, I thought the “Immigrants get the job done” line rather funny, in a nice, positive way. Especially in the age of the Orange One.

      • chris moffatt
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

        “Grown-ups should have a fair bit of tolerance against people saying annoying things.”

        Exactly the point. These kids aren’t grown-ups.

    • Filippo
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      “I was born here but my parents are from South America.”

      Just congenially curious, excepting of course situations where refugees are fleeing war and gangs and the like, etc., do you hold that someone seeking to immigrate to another country ought to legally apply? Or should it be totally open borders as with the European Union? Does a country have a right to control its borders? Do those who immigrate illegally think those who follow procedure are chumps for having done so?

      • John Yarzagaray
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

        Hmmmm. A little off topic but I guess I’ll bite. I’m not sure that being the son of immigrants gives my uninformed opinion on immigration policy any more weight than any other native born American but I think immigrants ought to legally apply for residence. As far as what illegal immigrants think of legal immigrants who go through the proper channels, I honestly have no idea. My folks came here legally in the 60s. I don’t personally know many undocumented immigrants but if I had to guess, I wouldn’t think they would consider the legal residents “chumps”.

    • Gabrielle
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for your perspective on this. I suspect that Bari Weiss assumed that the skater was an immigrant from Japan based on her Japanese first name. But, a reporter should have her facts straight, in my estimation. I also agree with you that she should just have acknowledged her mistake and moved on from there.

  22. KP
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    I thought she could have handled it better. but at this point, I don’t know what “better” is: beg forgiveness and promise to never ever offend again and you’re wrong; fight back and you’re still wrong. Either way you’re branded as a sinner.

    Social justice Twitter (I refuse to surrender the word “left” to a group of people unrecognizable to me as the left) was just waiting for something tangible that they could get her with, and it’s much easier to attack a clumsily worded tweet than engage with her actual work. I think her appearance on Bill Maher was the last straw; apostates stick together.

  23. DiscoveredJoys
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    If this keeps up, the Official Moron could be re-elected in three years. And nobody with brains wants that.

    Unless, of course, the Democratic candidate is even worse. Couldn’t happen? Hillary Clinton managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

  24. Chris Swart
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    What a waste of time and energy on the left.

  25. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    In 2007, I got in trouble with my boss over a patently anti-racist (and true) anecdote that was construed into a racist one by some fairly Mad Hatter Tea Party stretches of logic.
    This episode is very similar!!

    I guess the left wing counterpart to “lying for Jesus” is “lying for Big Sister”. (I saw a great stage version of 1984 last Saturday, so that’s what suggests itself.)

  26. rickflick
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Totally ridiculous. I have to think this regression business will soon begin to fad away. There have got to be many elevator and hallway conversations setting this all straight.

    • chris moffatt
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      It won’t fade away – they’re winning

      • rickflick
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

        Winning? Please! I’m becoming offended. *readhes for ear plugs*. Where’s my safe space?

  27. Jake Sevins
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    Honestly, I think the fault lies with her critics who believe that calling someone an “immigrant” is degrading. I think there’s nothing wrong with being an immigrant and would be proud to be called one (even though I am not…).

    • John Yarzagaray
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      I knew someone would eventually take this angle. Do you honestly believe that her critics think that calling someone an immigrant is degrading? I’m genuinely surprised that more people don’t see how cringy her tweet was. Bottom line: she made an incorrect assumption based on looks alone. Granted, it’s not as though she assumed something terrible (like uncleanliness or criminality) but it’s annoying. If someone praised my job and then gleefully told “that’s why I love immigrants”. I would thank and politely correct her. I wouldn’t be outraged though. You can tell me I’m wrong to be annoyed by that but I’m guessing it’s never happened to you. It’s hard to explain. Despite what you may think, I certainly don’t consider “immigrant” an insult. Isn’t there no one else here who is first generation? Anyone? This surprises me.

      • Kirbmarc
        Posted February 16, 2018 at 3:27 am | Permalink

        I’m a first generation Swiss, son of two Turkish immigrants to Switzerland, born in Switzerland, and a Swiss citizen.

        Perhaps it’s a difference between the US and Switzerland, but I’m not annoyed at when people assume I’m an immigrant or compliment me for speaking good Italian (I live in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, and I’ve spoken Italian since I was in kindergarten).

        Then again Switzerland doesn’t have the same history or social structure or political issues of the United States.

        • Kirbmarc
          Posted February 16, 2018 at 3:35 am | Permalink

          “Bottom line: she made an incorrect assumption based on looks alone.”

          Are you sure that the incorrect assumption was based “on looks alone”? The name “Mirai Nagasu” might have been part of the assumption.

          Maybe it’s just me, but if a white American or British athlete was named, say, “Svetlana Kuznetsova”, it wouldn’t be so terrible to assume that she was an immigrant from Russia.

          Then again maybe this is another difference between Europe and the US, and the socio-cultural or historic context makes the assumption worse.

          • Kirbmarc
            Posted February 16, 2018 at 3:42 am | Permalink

            For example when I heard the name “Bari Weiss” I instinctively assumed that Bari Weiss was Jewish (she is).

            If I had found out later that she wasn’t, I would have corrected my assumption, but I don’t think it would have been so horrible or anti-semitic of me to make that assumption.

            • Posted February 16, 2018 at 5:17 am | Permalink

              The issue isn’t being able to identify someone as likely to be a member of a specific ethnic community due to their name or appearance. The issue is assuming that having such ethnicity means they are an immigrant. If Bari Weiss was representing the USA at the Olympics and she won a gold medal, I suspect you wouldn’t be tweeting Jewish immigrants are great for the US! And then claiming you were referring to her parents/grandparents.

              • Kirbmarc
                Posted February 16, 2018 at 5:37 am | Permalink

                “The issue isn’t being able to identify someone as likely to be a member of a specific ethnic community due to their name or appearance. The issue is assuming that having such ethnicity means they are an immigrant.”

                Perhaps the issue here is the difference between European nations and the US. The US have a different history about immigration and ethnicity.

                “If Bari Weiss was representing the USA at the Olympics and she won a gold medal, I suspect you wouldn’t be tweeting Jewish immigrants are great for the US! And then claiming you were referring to her parents/grandparents.”

                If I was trying to make a point against someone who claimed that Jewish immigration is a net negative for the United States I could use that argument.

          • John Yarzagaray
            Posted February 16, 2018 at 10:02 am | Permalink

            Yes, good point. The name likely contributed greatly. As to your second point, no it wouldn’t be terrible at all. I never said that it was “terrible”, just “a little annoying” and “incorrect”. But if Svetlana corrected the person making the assumption and that person became strangely defensive, then what started out as an innocent assumption with good intentions gets elevated to….I don’t know….something a bit more annoying? Why not just say sorry, clarify what you meant, and move on?

      • Arie
        Posted February 16, 2018 at 7:20 am | Permalink

        ‘she made an incorrect assumption based on looks alone’

        And that is entirely your assumption.

        I do not have any reason to assume she made an assumption at all.
        Her response demonstates that.

        But of course for the ones who have decided beforehand that she is on the wrong side it becomes ‘incorrect assumption’, ‘on looks alone’ and an honest response is labeled as ‘doubling down on it’

        Have you ever heard of ‘the benefit of the doubt’?

        • John Yarzagaray
          Posted February 16, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

          Arie: Yes good points. Also, as someone pointed out above, the skater’s name likely contributed as well. It is quite possible that she actually did know of the skater’s immigration status beforehand but was just taking “poetic license” to show support for immigration. That’s nice. I, too, support immigration. We’ll just have to take her word on that. But even so, consider this. If I were to tell you that taking “poetic license” with my immigration status is a little annoying, would you continue to do so? If you were a colleague of mine and I overheard you defending immigrants by using me as an example of how awesome immigrants can be because, well, I’m clearly awesome, I would not be outraged. But I would correct you. I might say “Thanks,dude but you know I was born here, right?”. What happens next is where the rubber meets the road. Do you a) say you knew that already but were just making a point? (whether true or not)or b) say, “oh, sorry man. I just think this country has benefited greatly from immigration since our founding and forms the very foundation of who we are. Would you continue to use me as an example of an awesome immigrant? Surely there are awesome actual immigrants you could point to to better and more accurately make your point without having to take poetic license. Look, I thought I would give my perspective as a first generation American on why the tweet was a little off target. I’m frankly surprised at the backlash. I really thought it would be appreciated since many of you have not experienced this phenomenon. I don’t know what else to say. Just because Weiss was attacked by people many of you consider irrational authoritarian leftist loons doesn’t mean she is completely without fault. I have not seen many of you even try to thoughtfully examine that question. Many just rushed to her defense based on the attackers and the disproportionality of the attack. All I said was “in case you don’t know, some of us do find that a little annoying” Did I defend the regressive leftists? No. It was the opposite in fact. Did I attack Wiess or anyone here? Again, no. It was just my perspective. Look, I’m just one guy (which is becoming increasingly obvious) so perhaps I overestimated the value of my input. If anyone wants to take “poetic license” or assume that non-caucasian people with complicated surnames are immigrants, then have at it. But maybe, just maybe, someone here will now hesitate for a second and ask first. That is all.

          • Posted February 16, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

            Well said. I wish more people took the time to actually critically engage with the issue rather than immediately jumping into black/white thinking and tribal bandwagons. It is possible, as you mention, to criticise Bari Weiss and yet not be signed on to some far left agenda of policing perceived microaggressions.

            • John Yarzagaray
              Posted February 16, 2018 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

              Thanks Chris. It’s strange what’s happening here. The fervency of her defense surprises me. I don’t feel I’ve said anything particularly controversial. I’ve admitted error when confronted. I’ve tried to understand each side and have conceded points when necessary. Yet all I ever said was that her original tweet and her follow up were a bit off target from my perspective as a child of immigrants. I’m sure some others like me don’t see a problem while others would agree with me. Just like I don’t mind in the least when people ask me about my ethnicity or the origin of my last name while some can’t stand it. We all have different things that irk us for whatever reason. I just pointed out one of mine. Her tweet wasn’t perfect. I pointed out what I see as an imperfection. Some folks vehemently disagree. I guess it’s just human nature to not give an inch in a “debate” (if that’s what this is), especially in the atheist/skeptic community. Oh well. Thanks again.

        • Posted February 16, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

          If this hadn’t been being framed by JC as a regressive left vs. sensible people issue I suspect few here would have any such problems acknowledging that posting a caption about ‘immigrants getting the job done’ on top of a photo of an Asian-American Olympic competitor carries the connotation that you think the competitor in the image is an immigrant. Such an image does not as readily imply that you think the competitor is NOT an immigrant, and are instead talking about their parents.

          It really shouldn’t be such a big deal to admit something so obvious, nor would doing so mean that you have signed up to a regressive left agenda.

          Sometimes people make mistakes, including making assumptions based on ethnicity, etc. Bari Weiss likely made a minor error, labelling a 2nd Gen. US born Asian American an immigrant, as illustrated by her deletion of the tweet- something she typically doesn’t do even when offering controversial hot takes.

          So she took some flack for a well-intentioned mistake, especially from far-left folks, but it was really just a storm in a teacup, until…

          She started tweeting defensively justifying her original post and framing all criticism as hysterical overreactions, adding the flourish: “Do you need another sign of civilization’s end?”

          Her appeal to victimization, complete with reference to receiving threatening comments/insults, etc. is the kind of thing that opponents of the regressive left would quickly call out when they are invoked by far left folk but here they pass without remark.

          Applying the principle of charity works both ways. Look at the replies to Bari Weiss tweets, they aren’t all ideologues freaking out, there are lots of people just calmly explaining why they disagree with her and her original post. Not everything has to be presented in tribal black/white lines.

          Bari Weiss can be wrong/have made a mistake, and be right on other things.

      • Jake Sevins
        Posted February 16, 2018 at 9:50 am | Permalink

        “Bottom line: she made an incorrect assumption based on looks alone.”

        Bottom line: you just claimed to be a mind-reader. How do you know this with certainty? Maybe Weiss made an assumption based on her name (Mirai Nagasu). Or maybe Weiss had read about her parents being immigrants and then confused that with their daughter’s story. Declaring you know what happened in Weiss’s mind allows you to then impute the worst possible character to her. John, I’m sure you’re a kind and reasonable person, but isn’t this a little unfair?

        • John Yarzagaray
          Posted February 16, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

          see above

  28. Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    “Weiss is a Left-wing progressive”

    Weiss was explicitly hired as part of the NYT efforts to diversify the political viewpoints of its staff. She was previously a writer for the right-leaning Wall Street Times. Almost all of her output involves presenting the case for conservative positions.

    I don’t agree with the censorious reaction of people on the far left, but it’s also disheartening to see people immediately jump to her defence because it suits their anti-regressive-left narrative.

    Her tweet wasn’t a big deal, but it was careless. It seems pretty obvious that Weiss would not have immediately labelled a white athlete, who was the child of immigrants, as an immigrant. But still… not a big deal and she deleted it.

    What made it a ‘big deal’ and not just a storm in the regressive left teacup is that she then tripled down hard. She didn’t simply say, oh yeah made a mistake, sorry but my intention was good. Nope, she instead claimed she was being victimized, that she knew Nagasu was not an immigrant and that she had been referring to her parents and that she was receiving death threats and abuse. She then started retweeting other articles which made the point about Nagasu’s parents explicitly which was a false equivalence because all of the other articles she pointed out did not label Nagasu as an immigrant but her parents. This attempted deflection annoyed many followers.

    If you read her twitter feed you can cherry pick some regressive-left statements but there are many more reasonable critical voices that just point out the problems with her argument and criticise her for tripling down instead of just admitting her error.
    I think it is a mistake to conflate all criticisms of Weiss with support for a regressive left agenda. There is room for nuance.

    Similarly, I don’t know that some journalists expressing their opinions in Slack is that much of a big deal. I don’t agree with most of what the NYT journalists say in the quoted extract, but it feels pretty oppressive for people to be unable to privately discuss their views with colleagues.

    • John Yarzagaray
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      Well said. This knee-jerk anti-regressive leftist response is disheartening. As I said earlier, she just should have admitted the careless error and apologized. Instead, she dug in. It was embarrassing. She even misquoted her own tweet. It’s genuinely surprising to me that more people don’t see that.

      • Arie
        Posted February 16, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        “she just should have admitted the careless error and apologized”.

        Your view is entirely based on the assumption that an error was made.
        Do you realize you might be wrong about that?

        “she dug in”
        Once you are able to see that you might be wrong with your assumption, ‘digging in’ becomes just ‘explaining’ or ‘clarifying’.

        In principle there is not much difference between your approach and the “anti-regressive leftist” one.

        • Posted February 16, 2018 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

          Even if you fully accept Weiss’ explanation for her motives then her original tweet is still problematic since it invites misinterpretation, given that it attaches the caption to someone you recognise as a non-immigrant as an ‘immigrant’.

          The fact she deleted the tweet, suggests she recognised it was problematic. The fact that she has repeatedly deflects to other articles, but all those articles make it clear she is not an immigrant but her parents are, is problematic.

          The difference between John’s response and the automatic ‘anti-regressive leftist’ responses is that one is based on an ideological commitment and perceived group identities, e.g. Bari Weiss annoys the far left ergo she must be in the right, and the other actually addresses why she might be wrong, despite sharing her critical view of the regressive left.

          • Arie
            Posted February 16, 2018 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

            “and the other actually addresses why she might be wrong”

            You write “might be” here. Why not “is wrong” or “was wrong”?

            • John Yarzagaray
              Posted February 16, 2018 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

              Arie: Yes good points. Also, as someone pointed out above, the skater’s name likely contributed as well. It is quite possible that she actually did know of the skater’s immigration status beforehand but was just taking “poetic license” to show support for immigration. That’s nice. I, too, support immigration. We’ll just have to take her word on that. But even so, consider this. If I were to tell you that taking “poetic license” with my immigration status is a little annoying, would you continue to do so? If you were a colleague of mine and I overheard you defending immigrants by using me as an example of how awesome immigrants can be because, well, I’m clearly awesome, I would not be outraged. But I would correct you. I might say “Thanks,dude but you know I was born here, right?”. What happens next is where the rubber meets the road. Do you a) say you knew that already but were just making a point? (whether true or not)or b) say, “oh, sorry man. I just think this country has benefited greatly from immigration since our founding and forms the very foundation of who we are. Would you continue to use me as an example of an awesome immigrant? Surely there are awesome actual immigrants you could point to to better and more accurately make your point without having to take poetic license. Look, I thought I would give my perspective as a first generation American on why the tweet was a little off target. I’m frankly surprised at the backlash. I really thought it would be appreciated since many of you have not experienced this phenomenon. I don’t know what else to say. Just because Weiss was attacked by people many of you consider irrational authoritarian leftist loons doesn’t mean she is completely without fault. I have not seen many of you even try to thoughtfully examine that question. Many just rushed to her defense based on the attackers and the disproportionality of the attack. All I said was “in case you don’t know, some of us do find that a little annoying” Did I defend the regressive leftists? No. It was the opposite in fact. Did I attack Wiess or anyone here? Again, no. It was just my perspective. Look, I’m just one guy (which is becoming increasingly obvious) so perhaps I overestimated the value of my input. If anyone wants to take “poetic license” or assume that non-caucasian people with complicated surnames are immigrants, then have at it. But maybe, just maybe, someone here will now hesitate for a second and ask first. That is all.

              Sorry to double post but it seems as though my earlier reply to you has gotten lost in the mix.

        • John Yarzagaray
          Posted February 16, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

          You obviously haven’t seen my reply above. I won’t rehash it but read it if you wish. It directly addresses your accusations. I also ask that you read Chris Kavanagh’s posts as they are clearer than mine.

    • BJ
      Posted February 16, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      “I don’t agree with the censorious reaction of people on the far left, but it’s also disheartening to see people immediately jump to her defence because it suits their anti-regressive-left narrative.”

      But…it does fit that narrative. Unless she’s a hateful, odious person who most people think shouldn’t be writing in a newspaper, the reaction of her colleagues — running to a private chatroom to excoriate her and talk about how she said something so very horribly offensive and needs to be shut down — fits that narrative exactly. It’s just what happened. You don’t have to defend what she said to defend her from what is happening in response.

      “What made it a ‘big deal’ and not just a storm in the regressive left teacup is that she then tripled down hard.”

      To “double down” means to stick to your original statement and then compound it. She didn’t do that. She admitted that her statement was interpreted incorrectly. Talking about what is now happening to her has no relevance to the idea of doubling down, nor does not admitting fault but saying that her words were misinterpreted.

      “If you read her twitter feed you can cherry pick some regressive-left statements but there are many more reasonable critical voices that just point out the problems with her argument and criticise her for tripling down instead of just admitting her error.”

      That’s nice, but Jerry was talking about her fellow employees at the Times, which you left to the last paragraph of your post. People are allowed to privately discuss their views about colleagues, and, if those views end up finding their way to the public, others should be allowed to criticize them, especially when they show a bunch of children fighting over who should be ostracized for a single, inoffensive statement.

      • Diane G.
        Posted February 16, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        + 1

      • Posted February 16, 2018 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        “…the reaction of her colleagues — running to a private chatroom to excoriate her and talk about how she said something so very horribly offensive and needs to be shut down — fits that narrative exactly.”

        The reaction of *some* of her colleagues. Voicing an opinion on a slack channel doesn’t exactly require some massive effort, and so far such reactions have led to… well nothing. I don’t have any desire to defend their censorious opinions but I do want them to be understood in context. There are obviously also people at the NYT who are more sympathetic to Weiss otherwise she wouldn’t be an editor there.

        Being critical of Weiss’ original tweet is being repeatedly conflated with being some hand wringing ultra-leftist. But it is perfectly possible to criticize Weiss’ post without agreeing with the ‘regressive left’.

        “To “double down” means to stick to your original statement and then compound it. She didn’t do that. She admitted that her statement was interpreted incorrectly.”

        lol, yeah she admitted others made a mistake. That’s a nice tactic. I must try that next time I get in a debate: ‘Look I already apologised, I told you I was sorry about how stupid you were!’

        She doubled/tripled down in that she justified why her original tweet wasn’t really problematic, conflated criticisms of her position with insults and went on a retweeting spree sharing articles that she felt vindicated her (despite all of them specifically mentioning that the athlete’s parents were the immigrants- including the Women’s March tweet Jerry shares).

        I agree with you that we are able to criticize the views expressed by the NYT staff and the censorious nature of *some* of them. I just disagree with the prevalent conflation of all criticism of Weiss with the censorious views or the notion that her original tweet was perfectly fine.

    • BJ
      Posted February 16, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      “She was previously a writer for the right-leaning Wall Street Times.”

      This is also an interesting statement. There are plenty of writers at the Wall Street Journal who aren’t conservative, and she was a book reviewer, rather than some conservative writer. Further, I can find no evidence online that she is a true conservative beyond the fact that she often disagrees with the regressive left (as Jerry said) and has been excoriated by a few left-wing sites for doing so.

      • Posted February 16, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        Is it? I would have considered it a banal observation. Her output is what I’m basing my judgment on, and from what I’ve seen it is pretty clear that she is a socially liberal writer who offers relatively mainstream conservative perspectives (including being critical of Trump). One of her self-defining features is a hawkish devotion to Israel and a defence of its foreign policy. That’s not typically a stance associated with liberals.

        Identifying her as falling on the conservative end of the spectrum isn’t an issue for me though. It doesn’t make her bad, or wrong. Indeed, I agree with a lot of points she raises in her articles. But ;abelling her as a progressive left winger seems pretty inaccurate to me and also seems to be associated with a desire to paint the regressive left as eating up genuine liberal voices. This does happen, but just because it would be rhetorically useful for Weiss to be a progressive lefty, doesn’t make it so.

  29. Kirbmarc
    Posted February 16, 2018 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    “It seems pretty obvious that Weiss would not have immediately labelled a white athlete, who was the child of immigrants, as an immigrant.”

    I’m not so sure about this. If the white athlete had a Russian or Serbian name and surname, maybe it would have happened.

    • Posted February 16, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      If so it would reflect an equally problematic tendency. Assuming Americans with foreign sounding surnames are not natural born citizens is part of the logic behind views like ‘someone called Obama can’t be a real American’.

      I remain skeptical that Weiss’ would be equally as likely to attach such a caption to a white athlete. But I guess we will never know…


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