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November 5, 2017



Hi Justin,

As always, you offer a perspective that is both important and extremely well thought-out. Thanks for this essay.

If I had one criticism to offer (and clearly I do, or I wouldn't be typing this) it is that you might allow yourself to get caught up in the very dumbed-down political mudslinging that you correctly believe led to to Trump's election.

The manspreading "arrests" (of which there is only one report) are actually very difficult to verify, and the details are super hazy, there. Moreover, it turns out that the Police officer you mention at the end was not "sent out" by any UK agency and was, contrary to your suggestion, actually online himself, tweeting at grocery stores to change their language. He was also roundly castigated for doing so, if not by everyone. So it seems that in this piece you've succumbed to the temptation to take a couple of jabs at the left, the very temptation that the Russian Trolls tried to encourage in us.

In any case, I agree wholeheartedly with your general cultural diagnosis. I just think the essential point can be made without any use of terms like "left wing" or "conservative" whatsoever. Everyone is getting caught up in this stuff, and that is very bad.


Thanks Nick, these are, as always, helpful comments. I'll make the necessary emendations. On the face of it it seems to reinforce my point, though in an unexpected way, that the UK police officer made his recommendations/threats known via Twitter. But otherwise your point is well taken. In truth I don't know how to say anything critical about the current state of discourse without getting sucked into the very thing one is trying to criticise. We believe we are moving up to a higher level, and offering an unsoiled metacritique, but many of the people we are criticising believe this of themselves in turn, and when they read us they take us to be at least as down in the muck as they are. Что делать? I don't know, but I think I have something of an answer to the related question: Кто виноват?

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