Tuesday, September 08, 2020

The lowdown …

… Inside an Elite Cancel Culture Session, Where Leftists Met the Enemy and It Was ... One of Them | RealClearInvestigations.

The funny thing about the affair, but also telling, is that the 66-year-old Romano has for his long professional life been a quintessential liberal intellectual. He's critic-at-large for the Chronicle of Higher Education and teaches at the University of Pennsylvania. He was book critic at the Philadelphia Inquirer for 28 years and wrote “America the Philosophical,” a maverick interpretation of American thought noted for its breadth and inclusiveness – the Wall Street Journal called it “a roll call for identity politics.”
Carlin was still The Inquirer’s book critic when I was the paper’s book editor. He is not remotely racist and anyone suggesting otherwise would seem to lack the faculties necessary to be a member of an organization of book critics — You know, things like  skill in gathering and evaluating evidence, logical thinking, etc. The more of his accusers who resign the better off the NBCC will be.


  1. Looks like a cluster flock. There's the issue of gross misrepresentation of people of color, when we realize, "only 5% of the staff in the publishing industry to be black." So, what should they have done? Looks like, not what they did or 62% tried to do.

    From this article, the issue seems to be that Carlin Romano had insights that too many others on the National Book Critics Circle did not want to consider, and he offered these unwanted insights. It became my-way-or-the-highway, which means the highway for anyone smarter than me.

    This becomes a key paragraph:

    "Many of the statements made at the meeting were convoluted and hard to follow, but there seemed to be among some members an assumption that the Twitter vitriol about Romano's alleged racism was based in truth, or even if it wasn't true, keeping him on the board would tarnish both the Critics Circle's reputation and the reputations of its members. One speaker, Letitia Montgomery-Rodgers, who does book reviews to several publications, said that Romano's 'position as director to deliver personal remarks about political and cultural issues ... directly threatens my ability to do my work and be part of that cultural conversation as a book critic.' The poet Rebecca Morgan Frank said, 'How can I convince my diverse young people to come to this organization when we have leadership like this?'

    That first quotation, from Montgomery-Rodgers, seems to be a critic wanting all other critics to agree with anything she says. That latter quotation from Morgan Frank seems too telling. My response back to her would be, to tell them how there's only 5% representation of blacks, that their diverse experiences are badly needed, or we continue with de facto racism. At this point, I begin questioning the selection of quotations by the article's author. Why is Richard Bernstein not quoting the tough quotes, maybe that led so many of the 62% who voted against Romano. It's almost like he is begging the left to gird their loins and fight back for crissakes.

    Anyway, as portrayed by Bernstien, it seems to be a case of non-social scientists trying to be more socially smart than they are, like in an episode of The Twilight Zone, The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street, Quick to Kill, where neighbors want to point the finger at other neighbors for being aliens.

    Another takeaway is how hard the "right" comes down on the "left". One step out of line and someone like Bernstein will skewer you publicly, even pushing it up to an unfair line. This is something that the right does to the right all the time, skewer the screw up. Heavens to Betsy.

    In the end, however, the issue remains, only 5% representation. That so sucks. That's so so bad, a serious problem for criticism. This is not about the left or the right. It is about at least de facto racism to an enormous degree. It is right where the "right" drops the ball and becomes all-tough-talk impotent. Criticize all you want, all you Bernsteins, but if really want to skewer the left, offer some solution other than the failed system you so like to find soft spots to skewer.

  2. Please note: “ the anti-racism pledge cited a survey showing only 5% of the staff in the publishing industry to be black, but it ignores the fact that an additional 19% of jobs are held by Asians, Latinos and other people of color.“ That adds up to 24 percent.

  3. Blacks make up 13.4% of the population. They make up an egregiously low 5% in the publishing industry. That's stupid low, no excuse. That's de facto racism, just for starters. And if mothing is done about it, now that at least we two are talking about it, it's blatantly white-supremacist low. Let's not try to make it okay.

    People broke it. People can fix it. Let's get a plan on the table. Leaving racism aside for a moment, what we have is a seriously warped publishing industry. It has a daily failing sputtering engine and a steering wheel that turns only one way, around the same block only. It's not going to work itself out. The system will not self-repair. We know the critique of what they did. What's the plan, man?

  4. I don’t quotas is the answer.

  5. No one mentioned quotas. You came up with quotas as a possible solution, and then said, Nah. So, what's the answer, then, if not quotas? Come up with something else, and it needs to be real soon, because the racism is festering and the publishing industry is faultering. The deal is, if we say stet to the 5%, then we are white supremacists. No way around that. If the publishing industry can come up with no better idea than quotas, then we'll have to go with that.