From The Objective, a counter letter explaining why people who get canceled deserve it.
On Tuesday, 153 of the most prominent journalists, authors, and writers, including J. K. Rowling, Malcolm Gladwell, and David Brooks, published an open call for civility in Harper’s Magazine. They write, in the pages of a prominent magazine that’s infamous for being anti-union, not paying its interns, and firing editors over editorial disagreements with the publisher: “The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted.”
The signatories, many of them white, wealthy, and endowed with massive platforms, argue that they are afraid of being silenced, that so-called cancel culture is out of control, and that they fear for their jobs and free exchange of ideas, even as they speak from one of the most prestigious magazines in the country.
The letter was spearheaded by Thomas Chatterton Williams, a Black writer who believes “that racism at once persists and is also capable of being transcended—especially at the interpersonal level.” Since the letter was published, some commentators have used Williams’s presence and the presence of other non-white writers to argue that the letter presents a selection of diverse voices. But they miss the point: the irony of the piece is that nowhere in it do the signatories mention how marginalized voices have been silenced for generations in journalism, academia, and publishing.
… Rowling, one of the signers, has spouted transphobic and transmisogynist rhetoric, mocking the idea that trans men could exist, and likening transition-related medical care such as hormone replacement therapy to conversion therapy. She directly interacts with fans on Twitter, publishes letters littered with transphobic rhetoric, and gets away with platforming violent anti-trans speakers to her 14 million followers.
Jesse Singal, another signer, is a cis man infamous for advancing his career by writing derogatorily about trans issues. In 2018, Singal had a cover story in The Atlantic expressing skepticism about the benefits of gender-affirming care for trans youth. No trans writer has been afforded the same space. Singal often faces and dismisses criticism from trans people, but he has a much larger platform than any trans journalist. In fact, a 2018 Jezebel report found that Singal was part of a closed Google listserv of more than 400 left-leaning media elites who praised his work, with not a single out trans person in the group. He also has an antagonistic history with trans journalists, academics, and other writers, dedicating many Medium posts to attempting to refute or discredit their claims and reputations.
It’s also clear that the organizers of the letter did not communicate clearly and honestly with all the signatories. One invited professor, who did not sign the Harper’s letter, said that he was asked to sign a letter “arguing for bolder, more meaningful efforts at racial and gender inclusion in journalism, academia, and the arts.” The letter in its final form fails to make this argument at all. Another of the signers, author and professor Jennifer Finney Boylan, who is also a trans woman, said on Twitter that she did not know who else had signed it until it was published. Another signatory, Lucia Martinez Valdivia, said in a Medium post: “When I asked to know who the other signatories were, the names I was shown were those of people of color from all over the political spectrum, and not those of people who have taken gender-critical or trans-exclusionary positions.”
The Force is strong in the Tranissaries. Whatever SJW movement these rightwing ubermensches get into, they take over.
… About this letter
This letter was a group effort, started by journalists of color with contributions from the larger journalism, academic, and publishing community. While a few of us organized the writing process, our role was to facilitate the group’s voice, not set the content or direction. Contributions were seen by all the collaborators and accepted through consensus. There is no particular order to this list of signatories, nor did any one person do the bulk of the work in writing the letter.
Many signatories on our list noted their institutional affiliation but not their name, fearful of professional retaliation. It is a sad fact, and in part why we wrote the letter.
Unsigned/NDA, Journalism, NBC News; Brooke Binkowski, Journalism; Jonathan Dresner, Ph.D., Academia, Pittsburg State University, Kansas; Aída Chávez, Journalism, The Intercept; Joseph Hernandez, Journalism, Bon Appétit; Ev Crunden, Journalism; Stacia Ryder, Academia; Holly Piepenburg, Journalism; Shannon Clark, Academia, American University; Unsigned/NDA, Journalism, NBC News; Alan Henry, Journalism; Michael Waters, Journalism, Freelance; Dawn Rhodes, Journalism, Block Club Chicago; Sydette Harry, Research/Freelance, USC; Arionne Nettles, Academia, Northwestern University; Andrea González-Ramírez, Journalism, GEN; Solomon Gustavo, Journalism, MinnPost; Tommy Christopher, Journalism, Mediaite; Unsigned, Journalism; Alex Zaragoza, Journalism, VICE Media; Adriana Heldiz, Journalism, Voice of San Diego; Wil Williams, Journalism, Podcast Problems LLC; Rosalie Chan, Journalism; Janelle Salanga, Journalism; Gabe Schneider, Journalism, MinnPost; Joseph Hankins, Academia, University of California, San Diego; Unsigned/NDA, Journalism, Verizon Media; Jasmine Snow, Journalism, Minnesota Daily; Karen Attiah, Journalism; Shoshana Wodinsky, Journalism, Gizmodo; Joan Summers, Journalism, Jezebel; Marina Fang, Journalism, HuffPost; Tauhid Chappell, Journalism, Free Press; Mel Plaut, Author; Nicholas Trevino, Government Oversight; Naoko Shibusawa, Academia, Brown University; Jack Herrera, Journalism, Freelance Reporter; Carlos Maza, Journalism, Freelance; Azucena Rasilla, Journalism; Malaika Jabali, Journalism; Marzena Zukowska, Nonprofit, Radical Communicators Network / freelance writer; Mutale Nkonde, Journalism; Melissa Martin, Filmmaker/Academic, Freelance/Carnegie Mellon University; Mahsa Alimardani, Academia; Chia-Yi Hou, Journalism, The Hill; Joshua Eaton, Journalism, Freelance Investigative Reporter; Unsigned/NDA, Journalism, E.W. Scripps; Sarah Weinman, Author; Jessica Schulberg, Journalism, HuffPost; Sarah J. Jackson, Academia, University of Pennsylvania; Tim Barribeau, Journalism, Wirecutter; Vasuki Nesiah, Academia, NYU; Kimber Streams, Journalism; Unsigned/NDA, Journalism, Public Radio; Sarah Jones, Journalism, New York Magazine; Alyza Enriquez, Journalism, VICE; Unsigned, Journalism, The Hill; Siobhán McGuirk, Journalism, Red Pepper magazine (UK); Elon Green, Journalism, Freelance; Razzan Nakhlawi, Journalism; Brandy N. Carie, Theatre & Film, Freelance Writer & Director; Pravin Wilkins, Playwright, City Books Writer-in-Residence; Unsigned/NDA, Journalism, Wirecutter; Laura Wagner, Journalism, VICE; Joseph Hefner, Writer/Filmmaker/Stage Director, Freelance; Chelsea Cirruzzo, Journalism; Janet Towle, Author; Jaz Twersky, Podcaster; Cassius Adair, Academia and Journalism, NYU Media Culture and Communication + Freelance; Kimu Elolia, Publishing, Spotify; Princess Ojiaku, Journalism / Civic Tech; Unsigned/NDA, NPR; Nick Guy, Journalism; Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, Academia, University of New Hampshire; Unsigned/NDA, Journalism, New York Times; Sasha Costanza-Chock, Academia, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Wendy Lu, Journalism, HuffPost; Unsigned, Academia, NYU; Ryan Mac, Journalism; Lucy Diavolo, Journalism, Teen Vogue; Lyz Lenz, Author, The Cedar Rapids Gazette; Unsigned/NDA, Colorado Public Radio News; Lisa Nakamura, Academia; Lizz Huerta, Author; Smitha Khorana, Publishing; Miho Watabe, Archivism; Ben Schaefer, Academia, University of Illinois at Chicago; Callie Wright, Journalism; Tris Mamone, Journalism, Freelance Writer; Dawn Ennis, Journalism, Outsports; Akela Lacy, Journalism, The Intercept; Alexander Lee, Publishing, W.W. Norton & Company; Unsigned, Screenwriter; Angela Misri, Journalism; Minnah Zaheer, Journalism; Cordelia Yu, Civic tech, Corgi & Bun; Maya Srikrishnan, Journalism, Voice of San Diego; Unsigned/NDA, Journalism, The New York Times; Kameron Burns, Journalism, WIRED; Adrienne Shih, Journalism; Carrie Gillon, Alt-ac, Freelance; Daniel Varghese, Journalism, GQ; Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani, Journalism; Shelby Weldon, Journalism, Outsports; Sarah Ruiz-Grossman, Journalism, HuffPost; Gaby Del Valle, Journalism, Freelance Writer; Kristine White, Journalism, Freelance Writer; Marlee Baldridge, Academia, University of Missouri; Unsigned/NDA, Journalism, Slate Magazine; Michael Izquierdo, Journalism, Freelancer; Izz LaMagdeleine, Journalism, Freelance; Ella Chen, Journalism , The Triton/UCSD; Talia Lavin, Journalism, Freelancer; Ethan Edward Coston, Journalism; Unsigned/NDA, Journalism, POLITICO; Kelsey D. Atherton, Journalism, Freelance writer; Unsigned, Journalism, Public Media; Amal Ahmed, Journalism, Texas Observer; Siri Chilukuri, Journalism, Block Club Chicago; Dylan Miettinen, Journalism, The Minnesota Daily; Unsigned/NDA, Journalism, The New York Times; Ashley Feinberg, Journalism; Julia Llinas Goodman, Journalism; Jacob Sutherland, Journalism, Catalyst.cm; Lilly Irani, Academia, UC San Diego; NDA, Journalism, The Hill; Unsigned/NDA, Journalism, McClatchy; Paula Chakravartty, Academia, NYU; Robert Mejia, Academia, North Dakota State University; Unassigned/NDA, Journalism, Wirecutter; Thom Dunn, Journalism, BoingBoing; Anna Merlan, Journalism; Hunter Boone, Journalism, Wirecutter/NYT; Tanvi Misra, Journalism; Zachary Clein, Entertainment (Theatre/Film/TV), Freelance writer; Maxwell Strachan, Journalism; Julie Owono, NGO; Unsigned/NDA, Journalism, NPR; Marie Cruz Soto, Academia, NYU; Unsigned/NDA, Journalism, NPR; Ariana Wilson, Journalism, Freelance; Myra Washington, Academia, University of Utah; Sameena Mustafa, Journalism, Hand Her the Mic LLC; Edward Ongweso JR, Journalism Motherboard, VICE Media; Nicole Cooke, Academia, University of South Carolina; Kerri Greenidge, Academia; Noah Berlatsky, Journalism, Freelance writer; Peter Odell Campbell, Academia, University of Pittsburgh; Thomas Wilburn, Journalism, NPR; Minh-Ha T. Pham, Academia, Graduate Program in Media Studies, Pratt Institute; Ritty Lukose, Academia, New York University; Unsigned, Journalism, Condé Nast; P. Claire Dodson, Journalism, Teen Vogue; Khemani Gibson, Academia, New York University; Bridget Read, Journalism, New York Magazine; Shamira Ibrahim, Journalism, Freelance Writer; Tiffany Bui, Journalism, The Minnesota Daily; Aria Velasquez, Journalism; Unsigned, Academia, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Naseem Jamnia, Academia/Freelance Writer, University of Nevada; Anjali Vats, Academia, Boston College; Jordan Coley, Journalism; Joshua Lyon, Author; Kerry Jo Green, Academia, Brandeis University
I can remember ever hearing of only 4 of these folks: Karen Attiah, Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, Noah Berlatsky, and Ashley Feinberg, and only in comic circumstances. This is not a list of talented people.
By the way, shouldn’t signatories of open letters list their Intersectionality Pokemon Points? Then they could add up which letter has the most Diversity credits and determine who wins.