Recently (although it feels like it’s been an eternity), a figure has entered into our public sphere and has shaken many of us with a demonstrable lack of competence, circumspection, honesty, and seemingly without any sense of personal responsibility. This figure claims to be a champion of free speech, advocates spontaneity, refuses to be cowed by political correctness, and is not afraid of “locker room” talk. Some who feel their livelihoods under threat take this figure as a champion of their values—values that they feel are disappearing from under their feet. These people are not in great positions of power, but they also are not the most exploited and exploitable. Rather, these people, along with their champion, are at worst eager and at best unconcerned to throw the most exploited and exploitable under the bus. This figure has repeatedly demeaned, disregarded, mocked, and insulted the most vulnerable of us. Some people nevertheless go along with it, because they feel that their livelihoods are threatened by the very institutions and bureaucracies that have been designed to protect the most vulnerable. These people take as their champion someone whose book—or the excerpts that I’ve seen, anyway—demonstrates deep-rooted ineptitude, insincerity, and lack of integrity. You will recognize this con artist by their bright red cap, which reads: “Make Academia Great Again.”
So if you see her, tell Laura Kipnis we have enough of this already.