a star is born

Well, the sad saga I was so exercised about last week has come to a somewhat satisfying, somewhat not conclusion. Satisfying, because the Chronicle has fired the blogger who wrote such an empty, cruel attack on three unsuspecting grad students, and through them, their entire discipline. Better, the apology from the editor is sincere and real– no “sorry people got offended” BS, but an actual “I screwed up and I’m sorry” apology. That’s rare, and I was very happy to read it.

The conclusion is only somewhat satisfying because, if I know conservatism, Naomi Schaefer Riley’s career is about to take off. After all, no one is more popular in conservatism than the conservative that can claim a victimhood narrative. Never mind the fact that Schaefer Riley’s post was worthy of dismissal not because of its conclusions but because of its paucity of evidence, shoddy reasoning, and proud ignorance of the work she criticized. To the conservative media, she will be seen as a victim of the lefties in media and the university, and all the better, her story is the perfect vessel for the kind of race trolling they love so dearly. When you have convinced yourself that all of your problems are the result of bias, there is no such thing as a genuine failure or appropriate punishment. It’s a perfectly closed loop. I do believe a star is born.

57 replies
  1. 1

    And the saga of Freddie marches on, like sands through the hour glass.

  2. 2
    Jebediah says:

    IMO, she was going to successfully milk the conservative victim thing anyway, so I am seeing it as just a positive. Although I do concede that getting fired will give her a bit more juice, it wasn’t necessary. They often get amazingly worked up over amazingly small slights/insults/injuries.

  3. 3

    I’ve got no problem with making them all victims. If the whole civilized world is out to get you, the problem might not be the civilized world.

  4. 4
    Baud says:

    Liberals need to make “Let’s make him/her a star” a rallying cry for going after evil people.

  5. 5
    Steve says:

    The crime was not racism so much as anti-intellectualism. Not a great fit for the Chronicle of Higher Education.

  6. 6

    ….if I know conservatism, Naomi Schaefer Riley’s career is about to take off….

    Ed at Gin And Tacos did a great post on that very thing today. I’m sure she’ll get hired to be the newest Fox News correspondent, and will be offered a book deal, which will enable her to peddle her crackpot ideas on the obligatory “book tour.” If she’s halfway attractive, Bill Maher will book her, because he books all of the GOP Fembots. She’ll get a column in the Wall Street Journal and of course, CNN will be afraid of looking liberal so they’ll hire her too.

    I think it’s pretty predictable how this one plays out.

  7. 7
    Linnaeus says:

    The Chronicle had to do this and I’m glad they did.

  8. 8
    geg6 says:

    Fuck her. I’m sick of our side worrying about “creating martyrs” on the right. As far as I can tell, they all think they are martyrs. That’s the very definition of today’s GOP. Fuck it. I say we go all out on giving them the martyrdom they crave. Their whining only makes them even more unattractive than their policy already does.

  9. 9
    aimai says:

    Here is the letter I wrote them, the day the blog post appeared. I take full credit for her firing:

    I am writing directly to you to express my extreme disgust at the publication of Naomi Schaefer Riley’s essay attacking Black Studies Departments on the strength of her reading of three synopses of three dissertations. If you read the essay and then read the comment thread below you will see that Ms. Schaefer Riley’s essay is understood by its fans to be a direct attack not only on the entire field of Black Studies but on the African American community writ large. They are not entitled, as far as Ms.Schaefer Riley and her followers are concerned, to examine their own political or social history. Does she say the same to people writing dissertations at Catholic Universities on Catholic Topics? Or people in Jewish Studies studying the Talmud? What about the many proponents of Italian American Studies?

    Look, I’m a white woman, I have a degree from [Name Redacted] and one from Name Redacted] I’ve taught at both Amherst College and Yale University. I’ve got no racial axe to grind here–unlike Ms. Schaefer Riley. I don’t assume that every person in a Black Studies program is Black and that they research and write what they do as a kind of special pleading for their race. But even if they did who is Ms. Schaefer Riley to pretend that this is at all unusual–every ethnic and religious community in the US has taken a crack at having programs, chairs, and dissertations on their community’s specific history and needs. Why single out Black Studies as some kind of bizarre vanity field?

    Let’s be honest here: the essay is a disgrace–a disgrace to logic, history, and scholarship. Take her attack on the student who is writing the dissertation on African American women and their experience of natural childbirth. Ms. Schaefer Riley pillories this as some kind of specialized, ghettoized, unnecessary, frivolous and pointless exercise in useless knowledge. Who would ever care, or need to know about this arcane piece of knowledge? Well, off the top of my head I can think of several categories of people who would be fascinated by this study. Women, Mothers, Doctors, Nurses, Health Care Administrators, Hospitals, Birthing Center Staff, Morticians (dealing with Stillbirths), Grief Counselors, Historians of Cities, Historians of Health Care, Historians of Race Relations, Sociologists, People interested in Social Movements, Students of Ethnic differences in Health Care utilization. Is that relevant enough for the Chronicle of Higher Education? Because its relevant enough to me.

    You should be ashamed of publishing something so spectacularly meanspirited, as well as uninformed. But you get what you pay for–the comment section is full of knuckle dragging, mouth breathing, racists and anti-education buffs. If that is your target market perhaps you might want to rename your publication “The Chronicle of Higher Misinformation.”

  10. 10
    Bruce S says:

    Good riddance from the respectable world, but your sense that this is a brilliant career move for her is absolutely right on. My guess is she’s breaking out the champagne with her friends, assuming such people have any.

  11. 11
    The prophet Nostradumbass says:

    @General Stuck:

    like sands through the hour glass.

    These are the Days of the Week

  12. 12

    @Bruce S: I have no problem with assisting Riley’s career move. She’s free to live large in the wingnutosphere, as long as she knows she’s not welcome in actually polite company anymore.

    You think Juan Williams really enjoys knowing that Fox News is the only outfit that will have him? His every word drips sad sad bitterness.

  13. 13

    @The prophet Nostradumbass:

    LOL, hadn’t seen that before.

  14. 14
    Alex says:

    She’ll be the most celebrated young Conservative female writer since Annie Jacobsen wrote her taut thriller, “Mussulmanns on a Plane!”

  15. 15
    Jebediah says:

    @aimai:
    A beauty of a letter! I’m glad you took the time to fire it off. I wonder how many similar they got?

  16. 16
    Marc says:

    She was already on the wingnut welfare circus. Her writing was weak enough that it probably will hurt her rather than help. The main danger is different – they’ll probably be looking to generate some false outrage about something that a liberal writes there to look for revenge.

  17. 17
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @aimai:

    Well done, aimai!

  18. 18

    @Jebediah: I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that The Chronicle of Higher Education tends to get letters to the editor that are more erudite and well-composed than average ;)

  19. 19
    Peregrinus says:

    @Bruce S:

    For a number of them – especially those who comment on “academia” or “higher education” – I get the sense that, unless they’re Horowitz types who have gone off to create their own sinecures, their entire careers are spent figuring out how to best become victims of the leftist media.

  20. 20
    aimai says:

    The “I’m shocked that gambling was going on” letter from the editor, I think referenced about 6000 letters attacking NRS. That number seemed low, to me, but Mr. Aimai pointed out it was probably twice the actual circulation figures for the entire thing. I know look upon her blog post as basically the same ploy as sticking a five dollar bill (or a squashed cockroach) in the back pages of your dissertation to make sure that your professors are reading all the way through.

    aimai

  21. 21
    Richard says:

    I’m actually quite surprised that they did the right thing.

  22. 22
    hells littlest angel says:

    @geg6: Hear hear!

  23. 23
    Richard says:

    @Steve:

    The crime was not racism so much as anti-intellectualism.

    My guess is that she might have cooked her own goose with her “you don’t expect me to actually read what I’m attacking, do you?” comment in her “rebuttal” to her critics.

  24. 24
    TheMightyTrowel says:

    @aimai: Righteous Rant, Aimai. Also, I did the $5 bill trick (though with a 5 pound note). My supervisor never found it, but I knew he wouldn’t.

  25. 25
    eemom says:

    shorter Freddie:

    While I’m on the subject of how awesome I am, I just want to remind y’all that if I know conservatives — “if”, nudge nudge, like there could ever be any question of such an “if” — I’ll be back with more total extreme awesomeness on this exact same topic.

  26. 26

    I’m with Geg6 on this one. They are the ultimate in faux victimhood – which is all the more ironic because for the longest time all they were good for was acting like a bunch of tough hardcases. I say GIVE ’em something to whine about.

  27. 27
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Richard: Yes. Especially since the whole argument was that if we read black studies dissertations, we’d be dead set against it, too. (She didn’t need to read any dissertations mind you, let alone compare those dissertation topics she pilloried to other established departments such as history or English, since her mind was already made up. Beyond “Well this’ll get hits”, I don’t know what the Chronicle was thinking?

  28. 28
    BGinCHI says:

    She’s just lazy enough that National Review might hire her, though having worked for a pub with “higher education” in the title is going to get a lot of doors slammed in her face. My guess is she goes to work for Liberty or Regent or Regnery or one of those university or press entities that spew shit.

    Good riddance, mean-spirited dumbass.

  29. 29
    Steve Earle Bruce Springsteen says:

    I give it a month before she’s offer a highly-compensated lifetime position at Newsbusters or Breitbart Industries.

  30. 30
    honus says:

    Speaking of wingnut welfare stars, I’m getting an “Ann Coulter Free” banner at the top of my page. It makes me think of one of my favorite passages from Huckleberry Finn: “…he never charged nothin’ for it, and it was worth it, too.”

  31. 31
    Keith G says:

    The conclusion is only somewhat satisfying because..

    So an outcome you wanted to happen did indeed happen, and you are whining. Are you a character on “Girls”?

    Edited

  32. 32
    Baron Elmo says:

    If we equate the conservative universe with the mob, then what Schaefer Riley just went through is their version of “getting made.” I’ve got a feeling we’ll be hearing her name with far greater frequency in the future.

    Anyone for starting a pool to guess who’ll be first in the gooper blogosphere to trumpet her butthurt?

  33. 33
    asiangrrlMN says:

    I call this a win. Grifters gotta grift, but at least we can get them out off out of respectable publications. Way to go, The Chronicle!

    @aimai: Excellent letter, aimai. Well done!

  34. 34
    RSA says:

    @aimai:

    The “I’m shocked that gambling was going on” letter from the editor, I think referenced about 6000 letters attacking NRS. That number seemed low, to me, but Mr. Aimai pointed out it was probably twice the actual circulation figures for the entire thing.

    Actually, the circulation is in the tens of thousands; it’s read by a lot of academics and can be found in pretty much any college library. The uproar doesn’t surprise me.

  35. 35
    KS in MA says:

    @aimai: You said a mouthful in that letter. Thank you!

  36. 36
    BrianM says:

    @eemom: I’ve liked Freddie’s posts on this topic. The way people have been piling on him makes me think maybe Makoto has shown us all that any group can be shaped by endless repetition.

  37. 37
    eemom says:

    @BrianM:

    That’s funny. The way obscure idiots like you show up on this blog for the sole purpose of defending lil Freddie makes me think he’s got a precious cache of flying monkeys from whatever teenage clubhouse blog he otherwise posts at that swoop in here just to peck their little beaks at anyone who’s a big meanie to him.

    Or, as one wiser than I once said, “A fool will always find a greater fool to admire him.”

  38. 38
    bargal20 says:

    I’ve been trying to visite the chronicle website since this erupted, but i just get timed out. Do they block access to non-american isp’s?

  39. 39
    Cantrip says:

    @eemom: Excuse me, please, eemom… I’ve been reading this blog for quite a while and don’t recall any substantive contributions you’ve made here. Would you please be kind enough to point me to such contributions? Thanks very much, Cantrip.

  40. 40
    eemom says:

    @Cantrip:

    Sure you don’t mean “Amtripping”?

  41. 41
    Baron Elmo says:

    @eemom:

    Well, SOMEbody’s got a case of the crankies today…

    I’m not getting it, eemom. What is there in this story that so rouses your ire? Do you always call people “idiots” for politely disagreeing with you?

  42. 42
    Joey Maloney says:

    @eemom:

    Sure you don’t mean “Sorry, I can point to no such contributions”?

  43. 43
    Bob2 says:

    You’ve been trolling a hell of a lot more than usual lately over nothing eemom. Maybe you should take a break to enjoy life for a couple days and not be mad at the internet. I have issues with Freddie’s past non-BJ posts as well, but this particular Chronicle story blew up in the last week on quite a few liberal blogs.

    Also, where’s Samara/Matoko-chan been lately? Banned again?

    FWIW, calling people out for blatant racism and lying has been working better lately given that even NRO has finally decided it’s out of bounds. Welfare for wingnuts will only go so far at some point, especially when their rich supporters start losing money and decide it’s worth cutting. As of now, the Daily Caller and Fox commentary are pretty sad and where conservatives go to die.

  44. 44
    BrianM says:

    @eemom:

    Newbie, eh? Let me google that for you. While I don’t contribute nearly the value that you do, I’ve been here at Balloon Juice since Katrina or before.

    So: “sole purpose”? You’re wrong. Perhaps you’ve been wrong about other things, too, eh?

  45. 45
    Mark S. says:

    K-Lo chimes in, quoting somebody she doesn’t bother to link:

    Riley was condemned as a racist for coherently and politely expressing the view that the quality of black studies dissertations was so low as to be irrelevant. None of her critics denied her assertion. None even bothered to attack her for the examples she chose to site as perhaps not representative of the field (though she was attacked for not having read all the dissertations from beginning to end, which was unnecessary for the purposes of her piece). No, Riley was denounced as a bigot solely on the basis of her criticism.

    A lot of her critics denied her assertion that these were irrelevant or trivial topics for dissertations.

  46. 46

    Along with K-Lo, Rod Dreher is on the case, with the tasteful, understated post, “White Lady Can’t Say That”.

  47. 47
    Mark S. says:

    @reflectionephemeral:

    At least Rod gets hammered in the comments.

  48. 48
    eemom says:

    @BrianM:

    Perhaps you’ve been wrong about other things, too, eh?

    Perhaps. But the constant, self-adoring pomposity that screeches like nails on a blackboard from every one of lil Freddie’s musings, regardless of topic, ain’t one of them.

    I have kind of a thing against arrogant little twerps besotted with the sound of their own voice, and an even bigger thing against any asshole who comes onto this blog trumpeting his glorious righteousness in not voting for Obama. This is one toko-loko got dead-on right.

    So, while I appreciate y’all’s kind concern, I won’t be shutting up about this clown anytime soon. kthxbai.

  49. 49

    But the constant, self-adoring pomposity that screeches like nails on a blackboard from every one of lil Freddie’s musings, regardless of topic, ain’t one of them. I have kind of a thing against arrogant little twerps besotted with the sound of their own voice, and an even bigger thing against any asshole who comes onto this blog trumpeting his glorious righteousness in not voting for Obama.

    Have you seen this post?

  50. 50

    […] is an indefensible way to defend a plausible point; she lost her spot on a group blog as a result. Freddie’s conclusion: if I know conservatism, Naomi Schaefer Riley’s career is about to take off. After all, no one is […]

  51. 51
    Brian says:

    Well ad another DEM to the ash heap. I find it amazing that when a LIB tows the line, everything is fine, but much like George Zimmerman (Democrat) has found out when the MOB doesn’t agree with you you’re, done, no trial, no jury, no discussion. Such MOB think from a group that believes they’re the smartest, most rational people that have ever graced the planet. The post by “aimai” pretty much typifies all the group think on here.

  52. 52
    Mark S. says:

    @Brian:

    Awesome comment!

  53. 53
    Patricia Kayden says:

    If she becomes a conservative celebrity/martyr, good for her. I don’t read conservative blogs or watch their media, so I guess I won’t hear about her again. Unless lefty blogs decide that whatever nonsense she’s pushing deserves a response.

  54. 54
    El Cid says:

    @Brian: I honestly don’t know what any of that paragraph means.

  55. 55
    Jebediah says:

    @El Cid:
    I think it is called “typing with a fresh concussion.” Because there is clearly some kind of brain damage at work there.

  56. 56
    dadanarchist says:

    I said it from the beginning: the whole thing was a deliberate provocation so she could hop on the sweet, sweet Wingnut Welfare gravy train.

    There are already 3 articles defending her up at the Wall Street Journal and a half-dozen more in the usual places (NRO, Weekly Standard, American Thinker).

    That’s the one, and only, reason I opposed her being fired. It was a con from the get go, and the people who circulated the petition and the Chronicle editors were the useful idiots.

  57. 57
    Proud Conservative says:

    @geg6:

    Yeah – How DARE she have her own opinion? The Horror! Take her out back and string her up by the neck. Or better yet, tie her to a post and whip the skin right off her back. That will teach her to be “Uppity”.

    You people are so sad…..

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