Sarah Jeong redux

I won’t reprise the posts I’ve written about Sarah Jeong, who was hired by the New York Times as its tech editor despite a long history of racism, misandry, and other bizarre behavior on social media (go here for a list). Despite a different hire being fired immediately by the Times for similar transgressions, Jeong was apparently considered a member of an oppressed minority—despite having gone to Berkeley and Harvard Law School—because she was of Korean descent.

The hypocrisy of this is exacerbated when you realize that not only did her paper defend her racist tweets as the result of other people’s attacks on her for being an Asian woman (that defense is not credible), but also that other venues, like Fortune, The New Yorker, and Vox, also excused her racism and bigotry. (For a critique you’ll have to read Andrew Sullivan in New York Magazine.) Suffice it to say that if Brett Kavanaugh had written tweets against women and white people with the same degree of venom, even the Republicans wouldn’t have been able to stomach him.

I’m not going to write much today, but—and talk about Professor Ceiling Cat (Emeritus)’s convergence with the Right—I’ll direct you to an article by the demonized Heather Mac Donald at, of all places, the conservative National Review (click on screenshot to read it).

Mac Donald’s thesis is that Jeong’s extremism and Leftist bigotry is not an extremist ideology, but in fact is typical of students and young people on the Left. The media have bought into it because they want to cater to young folk, but also because regressive young folk are becoming writers and editors, and are taking over venues like The New York Times.

Many of Mac Donald’s stories will be familiar to readers here, but one that was new to me was Jeong’s longish post, on her own website, defending Jackie Coakley, the woman who made up the University of Virginia rape story that was reported (and then retracted) in Rolling Stone (go here for the exposé in the Washington Post that revealed Coakley’s story as a hoax). Despite the story being discredited, and the University and local police department both finding that there was no evidence for Coakley’s allegations, Jeong nevertheless refused to accept the evidence—or lack of it—and defended Coakley’s story vehemently. Jeong has now deep-sixed her article “Something Terrible Happened to Jackie”, but it’s been archived here on the Internet. It was written three days after the Post’s exposé, and is clearly a reaction to it.

There you’ll read an unhinged rant in which evidence is simply dismissed by Jeong with palaver like this:

I [Jeong] keep getting bogged down in the details of Jackie’s “unraveled” story. The party that wasn’t on the fraternity calendar. The date that wasn’t a fraternity brother. The wrong time of year for pledging. The more I see these “inconsistencies” and “discrepancies” touted as evidence of falsehood, the more convinced I am that Jackie is not lying.

Facts are falsehoods! Shades of 1984! (There are now even more discrepancies and inconsistencies.)

And there’s this:

I believe Jackie. It’s a different kind of believe from believing that her story is a historical, factual account. But she’s not lying. Her story is one she’s pieced together through a haze of agony, even as every neuron in her brain worked to forget what had happened. She didn’t know her date’s actual affiliation with the fraternity. She didn’t even know which fraternity it was. (She says herself that she later pointed the building out to a friend, and the friend identified it for her).

Here we have “a different way of believing” to correspond to “a different way of knowing.” Unfortunately, Jeong was wrong: Coakley was lying. What we have in this screed (and remember again that this was after Coakley’s tale had been discredited) is someone who ignores the facts in favor of her preconceptions and biases. Yes, this is the New York Times‘s new tech editor, someone who sits on the paper’s editorial board.

I’ll just give two quotes from Mac Donald and move on:

There is no sign that the Times will rethink its decision to stand by Jeong, despite the continuing excavation of her contemptuous social-media trail. And indeed, it would be hypocritical to do so, since there is no distance between Jeong’s worldview and the Times’. The Times sees every disparity in gender and racial representation, whether in education or the economy, as proof of white-male discrimination. Tallying those disparities is an evergreen front-page topic. “Hollywood Is as White, Straight and Male as Ever” was the headline of its most recent Gender Letter. “Sexism is a male invention. White supremacy is a white invention. Transphobia is a cisgender invention,” concluded a column by one of its contributing editors in January. The Times treats every acquittal of a male student accused of campus rape as a miscarriage of justice.

Before you object that this is an unfair characterization of the Times, go read the Times over the last few months.

A final quote from Mac Donald about the banality and ubiquity of Jeong’s bigotry:

As products of the victimology university enter the workplace, they are bringing their ideology with them. A lawsuit against Google by fired computer engineer James Damore reveals an employee culture that mimics academic social-justice principles. (Damore was fired for questioning Google’s feminist orthodoxies.) The “rule of law has been killing blackfolks for generations . . . Trump was elected so that law would be harder on blackfolk,” reads one post on an internal discussion website, echoing Jeong’s critical-race-theory musings.

. . . To focus on Sarah Jeong’s “racism” is too comforting, since it personalizes the issue and suggests that she is an outlier. Instead, she is all too common.

Sarah Jeong

h/t: Coel, Diane G.

26 Comments

  1. Ken Phelps
    Posted October 7, 2018 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Sadly the article appears on a page touting the wisdom of Susan Collins, et al.

    A pox on both their houses.

  2. max blancke
    Posted October 7, 2018 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    I have no use for a philosophy where Idi Amin is an oppressed person, and Anne Frank is an oppressor.

  3. BJ
    Posted October 7, 2018 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    I can’t think of any better way to further entrench sexism, racism, etc. in normal people in the population than to constantly berate them for their immutable characteristics of race and sex, foment an us-versus-them conflict based on these characteristics, and tell them that they are lesser beings who deserve to be punished for these characteristics. Continuing the trend of increasing output of this crap in the media will only help this cause, and help further the case of (what is now a thankfully small number of) genuine white supremacists and genuine sexists (by which I mean those who believe white people are better in all ways than others, and men are better in all ways than women, and the reverse of these as well which is now becoming just as popular).

    Hell, I think the media and people like Jeong, her fellow activists/travelers, and those who listen to them give credence to what used to be pure right-wing conspiracy theories about white genocide and the destruction of masculinity by the Left. Pointing to all of this crap really does make a lot of people think, “hmmm, maybe there is something to those conspiracy theories. Maybe they’re right.”

    The again, the Left has never been very good at strategy or long-term thinking, and the general populace is bad at those things as well. Outrage, on its own, is not a strategy, and relying solely on it almost never ends well.

    • a-non
      Posted October 8, 2018 at 2:14 am | Permalink

      Seeing all this hatred the open now, I increasingly wonder how much I didn’t see, earlier, when it was less blatant.

      Ten years before “deplorables” I was unhappy about the monoculture of respectable thought in the US, but nothing more. But I wonder whether others heard a bit more — I wonder how much of what we wrote off as right-wing conspiracy theories then was already in part a response to this hatred?

      Maybe this is as hopeless a question as asking who stopped loving first at a divorce. But it’s certainly a sad state of affairs, and not getting better.

      • Posted October 8, 2018 at 10:11 am | Permalink

        Good questions. I have thoughts but not that will fit in a blog comment.
        I will say I don’t see how abandoning the demand for evidence rather than just belief in order to claim you know something can possibly help.

  4. nwalsh
    Posted October 7, 2018 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Well there’s always the WaPo.

  5. Posted October 7, 2018 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Surely that pink hair is some sort of exploitative cultural appropriation.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted October 7, 2018 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      Yes it is. That’s a type of adornment developed by punk wipipo, so it’s cultural appropriation for someone from another group to dye their hair that way, just as it’s cultural appropriation for the Kardashians to wear box braids.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted October 7, 2018 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        I am being facetious.

        • Posted October 7, 2018 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

          Is facetiousness part of your heritage, or are you appropriating?

          • Jenny Haniver
            Posted October 8, 2018 at 9:46 am | Permalink

            Facetiousness is definitely a feature of my genetic and cultural heritage. Cynicism, too, though I’m not Greek.

      • Posted October 7, 2018 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

        I think the pink hair is cool. But she’s appropriating Anime.

    • BJ
      Posted October 7, 2018 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      It’s appropriating from other animals, mostly from non-white regions: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aposematism

  6. Caldwell
    Posted October 7, 2018 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    NYT’s “White Women, Come Get Your People” nicely deconstructed here, by Althouse:

    “Awful. She should fear that her histrionics and stark illiberalism will drive voters, female and male, into voting against Democrats. I don’t like rivers-of-blood melodrama and race jammed in anywhere you can think of anything to say about it and contempt for the intelligence and independence of women. What an awful opinion piece! And I still don’t know what ‘come get your people” means!'”

    • Cate Plys
      Posted October 7, 2018 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for this link, a great post and what looks like a very interesting blog.

  7. BJ
    Posted October 7, 2018 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    You know, I would like to say I was surprised when NYT hired Jeong and thought it was some kind of watershed moment signalling their complete editorial turn toward authoritarian/regressive leftism, but I didn’t feel any of that. The had already been printing articles like Can My Children Be Friends With White People?

  8. Diane G
    Posted October 8, 2018 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    sub

  9. Posted October 8, 2018 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on jtveg's Blog.

  10. andrewnwest
    Posted October 8, 2018 at 3:49 am | Permalink

    The link is wrong – it goes to the Sullivan piece again. https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/08/sarah-jeong-boring-typical-product-higher-education/ is the right link.

  11. Zaphod
    Posted October 8, 2018 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    My response to people like Jeong is simply that I can understand that their personality disorders are painful to live with, but the pain isn’t my fault.

  12. Davide Spinello
    Posted October 8, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    This is not nice New York Times, but let’s not forget that the real threat comes form the increasing influence of the far right that has clearly become dominant in the media, academia and culture at large. That is why I am not taking lessons of identity politics from Quillette, that is clearly empowering the far right by selectively ranting against the left in a anti SJW echo chamber. And thanks New York Times for keeping things fair and balanced with articles like this: White women, come get your people.

    P.S.: I may not have said it exactly like this.

    • Posted October 8, 2018 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      Let me get this straight. You are linking the pile of crap article Jerry linked to decry the NYT’s decline — as a counterexample to show what great stuff they print?

      • Davide Spinello
        Posted October 9, 2018 at 6:54 am | Permalink

        I was ironic

  13. Posted October 8, 2018 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    No comment is needed


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