In today’s (4/21/18) WSJ Kevin Williamson gives his view of his very short tenure at Atlantic Magazine in When the Twitter Mob Came for Me.
Which brings us back to that event at South by Southwest, where the Atlantic was sponsoring a panel about marginalized points of view and diversity in journalism. The panelists, all Atlantic writers and editors, argued that the cultural and economic decks are stacked against feminists and advocates of minority interests. They made this argument under the prestigious, high-profile auspices of South by Southwest and their own magazine, hosted by a feminist group called the Female Quotient, which enjoys the patronage of Google, PepsiCo, AT&T, NBCUniversal, Facebook, UBS, JPMorgan Chase and Deloitte. We should all be so marginalized. If you want to know who actually has the power in our society and who is actually marginalized, ask which ideas get you sponsorships from Google and Pepsi and which get you fired.
Jonah Goldberg mirrors Kevin’s view in The National Review in Rebel Without a Cause:
For some reason, I’ve been thinking about this ever since I had a conversation with Charlie Cooke — always a pleasant experience because he sounds so charming, like a nature-documentary narrator or a Nazi general in World War II movie. We were talking about Kevin Williamson, and Charlie made a point about what happens when you engage out-of-the-box writers — and by “out-of-the-box,” I mean the terrible cliché about unconventional thinking, not a creepy reference to exhuming, say, Gore Vidal, and removing him from his coffin (“Just don’t pull out the stake!”).
Charlie observed that the same thing that gives a great writer — or, really, anybody — the ability to see things from a different perspective also probably implies that they have some unconventional views on all sorts of things.
On the other hand, I’m kind of proving Britney’s point, though not in the way she thinks — because non-conformity is one of the most conformist values we have today. Everyone is special, which as Dash famously pointed out, means no one is. In Bobos in Paradise, David Brooks observes that everything “transgressive” gets “digested by the mainstream bourgeois order, and all the cultural weapons that once were used to undermine middle-class morality . . . are drained of their subversive content.”
There’s still room in our culture to be different, though the irony is that wearing a gray flannel suit today is more rebellious than wearing, well, almost anything. Being an atheist on a college campus isn’t rebellious; it’s one of the most tedious forms of conformity. A real rebel talks out loud in an Ivy League classroom about how Jesus Christ is his or her personal savior. For today’s kids, it’s okay to have weird, eccentric, or oddball ideas, so long as they don’t rub against the grain of what Everyone Is Supposed to Believe. I mean, we live in an age where Satanists don the mantle of rebellion but are quick to clarify they’re not crazy like — you know — those whacky Christians.
The politically correct nonsense is worse than illiberal. If they got their wish we would be bored into submission. The diversity they claim to cherish would disappear from American thinking.