Author: Quillette Magazine

Podcast 142: Nancy Rommelmann and Michael Totten on Portland’s Descent Into Violence—And Why They Finally Decided to Flee

Quillette‘s Jonathan Kay talks to two ex-Portlanders—Nancy Rommelmann and Michael Totten—about how the COVID-19 pandemic and a year of violent protests turned their once beloved city into a fractured, downwardly mobile arena for America’s culture war. Sources discussed in this podcast include: Leaving Portland, by Michael Totten The Internet Locusts Descend on Ristretto Roasters, by Nancy Rommelmann ‘You’re Not Allowed To Film’: The Fight To Control Who Reports From Portland, by Nancy Rommelmann American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America, by Colin Woodward

Podcast 138: Literary Critic Leon Wieseltier on His New Magazine, the Meaning of Forgiveness, and His Favorite Car-Chase Movies

Quillette‘s Jonathan Kay talks to long-time New Republic literary editor Leon Wieseltier about Liberties, the ambitious literary journal he founded after getting Me-Too’d—and many other subjects besides, including the future of journalism, the innocence of Woody Allen, the allure of jazz music, and Nicolas Cage’s underrated cinematic masterpiece, Gone In 60 Seconds.

Podcast 137: Sociologist Nathalie Heinich on French Academics’ Opposition to America’s Race-Based Ideologies

Jonathan Kay speaks to eminent French sociologist Nathalie Heinich, founder of a new organization that opposes the spread of America’s race-fixated academic movements into French campuses. While conservatives have traditionally complained about the excesses of “French theory,” Prof. Heinich argues, many harmful ideas are now crossing the Atlantic in the opposite direction.

Accommodating Trans Athletes Without Rejecting the Reality of Human Biology

“As a social psychologist, I understand why using women’s sports to argue against transgender rights works,” tweeted behavioral scientist Matt Wallaert this week. “But it is tough to imagine a more morally bankrupt position: ‘I’m going to make you sit in a gender that doesn’t fit you so my daughter can win her soccer game.’” And when that tweet predictably attracted scathing criticism, he doubled down on his claim that women need to do their part in accommodating trans rights by becoming more graceful losers: “This really is it: I’d rather teach my kid how to lose well than how to win through oppression.” Walleart, best known for a Malcolm-Gladwellian 2019 business book called Start at the End: How to Build Products That Create Change, describes his approach as “a science-based process to create behavior change.” And so he offers a fitting stand-in for all the many other grandiloquent progressives who posture as rigorous scientists, even as they demand that sports leagues cast aside the plain biological reality of sexual dimorphism. The condescending, more-disappointed-than-angry tone …

With a Star Science Reporter’s Purging, Mob Culture at The New York Times Enters a Strange New Phase

Speaking recently at a Quillette Free Thought Lives event, Columbia University professor John McWhorter expounded on his thesis that social justice comprises an ersatz religion, complete with rites of confession and penance. It’s a compelling metaphor, especially in the way it helps explain adherents’ overwrought professions of faith and demands for the persecution of heretics. But when it comes to the New York Times’ recent firing of reporter Donald G. McNeil Jr., the metaphor falters. The Times management dismissed McNeil because he was caught instructing a student about racism in 2019; and, in so doing, said the N-word as an example of a gravely racist term. The Times management had initially concluded that McNeil showed “poor judgment” by uttering these two forbidden syllables, but also that he hadn’t harbored any “hateful or malicious” intent. That last part certainly seems sensible, given that McNeil wasn’t actually directing the N-word at another human being or using it to describe a third party. But since these same Times managers had already shown staff they can be bullied by …