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Saturday, April 13, 2019

Jerry Coyne and the "generally left-wing" articles in Quillette

Jerry Coyne is not named as a member of the IDW by Bari Weiss, but is nevertheless what I like to think of as a second string member of the IDW.

So I was really surprised to see Coyne criticizing an article in Quillette. The IDW tend to watch each others backs, even the possibly least-popular IDW, Candace Owens.

Coyne: The worst article ever to appear in Quillette...

The author, John Staddon, is identified as “James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Professor of Biology, Emeritus, at Duke University”. His answer to the title question, by the way, is “yes”.
This may in fact be the worst piece that Quillette has ever published...
However, Coyne begins the article like this:
In general I like the articles in Quillette: they’re generally left-wing but also critical of the Left’s excesses—a theme that has led some misguided ideologues to call the site “alt-right.”
How is it possible that anyone could claim that Quillette articles are "generally left-wing"? Is this part of the standard right-wing through-the-looking glass, like the way they claim that professional misogynists Camille Paglia and Christina Hoff Sommers are feminists? I thought Mari Uyehara, in her immortal article for GQ, The Free Speech Grifters, perfectly captured this right-wing mind-fuckery:
Weiss's column titled "We're All Fascists Now" highlighted the protest of a Christina Hoff Sommers talk at Lewis & Clark Law School, the latest example in an overexposed series of well-meaning college students acting like morons. It was riddled with misrepresentations. To frame the debate as another instance of the liberals attacking fellow liberals, Weiss described Ms. Sommers as a "self-identified" feminist and a "registered" Democrat. To that end, she withheld from readers Sommers's more relevant professional affiliation: resident scholar at American Enterprise Institute, the neoconservative think tank, which counts feminist Democrat heroes Dick Cheney and Dinesh D'Souza among its past fellows.
Among the Free Speech Grifters, Sommers has perfected the art. She likes to call herself a feminist, specifically a "factual" one. But if there has been one feminist cause worth addressing in the past 30 years, you wouldn't know it by reading her work. She has had plenty to say on how biological preferences may account for gender distribution in STEM fields, while she's been silent on harassment of women in techand finance. And she's been outspoken about the due-process rights of men accused of rape on college campuses, but apparently has no interest in addressing the complexity of a crime that is notoriously difficult to prove.
In fact, I think Quillette articles have begun leaning further right lately. I haven't done a systematic analysis of all Quillette articles, which I suppose I will be obliged to do someday *siiiigh*. So far I've only done occasional spot checks of its bylines - spoiler alert, Quillette authorship skews very heavily male, in spite of the fact, as Quillette's fans will endlessly tell you, it was founded by Claire Lehmann, actual woman.

Quillette has, since the beginning, reflected many of the values of Lehmann's former boss, rightwing extremist Rebel Media's Ezra Levant, in that it is anti-trans, anti-Muslim, anti-feminist, anti-left, anti-socialist, pro evolutionary psychology and pro race science. Although at least Quillette hasn't replicated Levant's obsession with Justin Trudeau, probably because Lehmann is Australian, not Canadian.

Fun side-note - in spite of the fact that Claire Lehmann's boss was Levant, Jonathan Kay's boss is now Claire Lehmann but there has been some antagonism between Kay and Levant, per the National Post:
Levant has long focused enormous attention on the Trudeau family. He called Pierre Trudeau a “slut” and Margaret Trudeau “(not) much better,” in 2014. Justin Trudeau, meanwhile, “is everything Ezra hates,” said Jonathan Kay, who worked with Levant at the National Post.
(Levant denies any fixation with Trudeau. He also believes Kay, who ghostwrote Justin Trudeau’s memoirs, holds a grudge against him for publicizing that fact.)
Lately I've noticed additional rightwing party platforms on Quillette: anti-immigration and pro-nuclear/anti-green energy. I think this is likely the result of an increasing Koch influence, either indirectly through Quillette authors supported by the Kochs (Cathy Young, Charles Murray, Pamela Paresky, probably others - I will definitely be doing an article on the IDW-Koch connections ASAP) or directly through Koch Foundation money - but I haven't found evidence for the latter... yet.

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