It exposes Quillette as unprofessional and biased, revelations nobody needed — but it provides no political response to the criticisms of the conference, especially not those who have never really heard of Quillette but are looking for answers to the horror-show DSA convention clips they had just seen on Youtube.
This is bad satire, bad hoaxing. None of it really adds up. Surely the point of a hoax like this is to show the target will accept obvious fakes that are mad and outlandish like the Sokal affair? Instead this was a set of pre-existing criticisms of the DSA and the wider modern left that many leftists would accept are valid to some extent. Almost exactly the same criticisms have been made by Class Unity, a genuine activist grouping in the DSA, in their article “Let Them Clap.” This was real content — just a fake writer.
Sending up the white working class is a safe choice for the author, but a dangerous game for the left. “Ha ha, you thought a builder from Queens who likes beer and sports was in the DSA and hated it, you fools?” Forgive us for being optimistic that he had at least been in the DSA. You would never see this with sex or race. Suppose to undermine controversy over accessibility for black people someone wrote in as Darnell Andre from Harlem?
Imagine if you will, a kid in school in the US that gets bullied for wearing clothes his mother picks out to school. One day he comes in in a new set of ridiculous, unfashionable clothes. As usual the majority of the class mock him; someone even posts a photo online the clothes are so silly. By lunchtime most of the school have seen it.
“Ha!” he cries in the lunch hall, “You think my mom picked these out, but actually I picked them out and I bought them with my own money — the joke’s on YOU!” While the exact culprit of the issue has been slightly extended to include both the boy and their mother, nothing else has changed: he is still standing there, in clothes that provoke mockery, and his peers are laughing at him.
It would be such an easy step to making friends and becoming more popular, simply changing his clothes – but he doesn’t want to potentially upset his mother and is unsure whether being popular is as important as being an individual.
This is the situation for the hoaxer and elements in the DSA that think the hoax has eclipsed the problems it described. This is also a decision for all of the modern left. Until practices like clapping bans, mandatory pronoun announcement, the ability to interrupt any speaker at any time with a “point of personal privilege” are themselves banned, trying to cheaply deflect the scorn of the general public to right-wing popinjays like Quillette is pissing in the wind.
The hoaxer and their supporters should instead be brave, grasp the nettle, and start clearing out the campus liberalism that has embarrassed and derailed the otherwise exciting work of their organisation. They have nothing to lose but constant mutual recrimination and hug rooms — they have an effective working-class left to win.
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