Thursday, March 7, 2019

Once again, the press whitewashes Pinker

This time it's Tom Bartlett at the Chronicle Review: Why Do People Love to Hate Steven Pinker?

This piece doesn't quite match the low point of Andrew Anthony in the Guardian, but it does align with the press's usual indulgent, ill-informed and gullible takes on Steven Pinker:
Last year Pinker briefly found himself on the defensive after saying that the alt-right is made up of "often highly literate, highly intelligent people." On its face, it seemed from that quote that Pinker was throwing his lot in with incels, white nationalists, and assorted bigots. Pinker, however, went on to say that those drawn to the alt-right, intelligent though they may be, are then led to embrace "repellent conclusions," in part because they’re encountering politically incorrect ideas for the first time and those ideas are like "a bacillus to which they have no immunity." Pinker thinks more robust and honest discussion can help inoculate students against being drawn into that radical fringe.

As I demonstrated in great detail culminating in this post, what Pinker is doing is promoting the claims of race scientists - especially "biosocial criminologists" who argue for the very things that Pinker claims to consider repellent.

But right in the middle of the article, the author contrasted my description of Quillette with Pinker's:
Quillette is either "unique and indispensable," as Pinker puts it, or a "center for white male grievance," as one critic described it.
How do I know I'm the "one critic"? Because if you Google "Quillette" and "center for white male grievance" these are the two hits.

Heavens to Mergatroyd is my personal blog. Since then I have posted most of my Pinker/Race Science/IDW content to this site. Naturally I never heard from Bartlett for this article.

This isn't the first time I've been quoted on Quillette without being named. The same thing happened when Politico linked to me calling Quillette a bunch of clowns on Twitter. I didn't hear from Politico either.

What's especially odd is that there are prominent people who have criticized Quillette. Daniel Engber may not be a household name, but just this past January he was published in Slate calling Quillette "a soap-box for self-pity."

It's quite a strange dynamic set up by the article: Steven Pinker, famous, wealthy, frequently lionized in the press, constantly asked for his opinion including by CNN vs anonymous "one critic."