The sexual revolution didn't fail. The mainstream media has.
You sure hit the nail on the head. I actually ruined a dinner party last month by mentioning how good The Witch Trials of JK Rowling were. None of the women had listened to the podcast but said they wouldn't listen to or read anything that Bari has a hand in, even though it was done by Megan Phelps-Roper who they assumed was just as evil. Bari's very existence elicits viceral reactions from people (mostly women) who use no logic or facts. It makes zero sense to me, she's talented and admirable and works hard and the one time I met her she was lovely. It is probably just jealousy and progressive left group think.
Your piece is exhilarating, lucid and eloquent. It made me share your anger. Great job. And thanks for giving me a little bit of flavor about the event.
While I did not attend the event, I cannot believe the weird article (read by Moynihan, Sarah, and Nancy on their podcast) that was published in the NY Times (that you reference). The further degradation of news/journalism to ideology camps. I can't stand it! Nor can I understand how people keep going with it. Bari Weiss derangement syndrome is real. I think she is one of the best interviewers I have ever come across and a journalist, thought leader, creator I can respect. Thank the good lord for all of you intelligent, nuanced, reasonable, non-deranged, opinionated, "problematic" journalists! Thank you for doing what you do!
Excellent commentary. You have elicited a couple of thoughts:
-The mainstream media still has value, primarily for telling us the basic facts of major stories. As much as I love you, and Sarah, and say, Jesse Singal and Freddie deBoer, I'm not waiting for any of you to tell me how 11,000 people died in Libya. I will rely on CNN for that function.
Perfect recent example: by now the whole country has heard about the manhunt for the escaped convict in Pennsylvania. He was caught 15 minutes (via car) from my house. The entire two weeks I relied heavily on the "mainstream media" for details, including road closures. Maybe a month from now Taibbi or Greenwald can give us a meta-analysis on the implications for criminal justice reform and immigration law. But that's not what I needed when I needed to know if I could get to the grocery store.
-As for Bari Weiss, I think the Derangement Syndrome is pretty easy to explain: the social justice hates nothing more than a traitor. Look at her personal demographic - Ivy League, Jewish, New York Times millennial who is openly in a same-sex marriage. By virtue of these traits, she is supposed to have certain political/social views, yet she betrays her tribe.
I can only imagine the consternation she caused in the halls of the NYT. Contrast her with those middle-aged straight white males like Bret Stephens or David Brooks - those guys are the known enemy and can easily be dismissed as such. Stephens or Brooks takes a "conservative" stance on an issue? He elicits a shoulder shrug because he is only doing what the Left expects from him. Weiss takes the exact same stance on the exact same issue? She elicits gnashing of teeth and rending of garments because she is a traitor to the cause. (I would also note that the social justice Left has more vitriol for Weiss than the peroxided, flyover "bimbos" from Fox News, Newsmax, OAN, as they are also clearly the enemy).
Aside from all that, I shared your disdain for the two "reviews" of the Free Press event. They appear to have been written by snarky college freshman auditioning for some edgy alt-weekly. (Is the alt-weekly still a thing?
“Bari Weiss Antidefamation Syndrome” 😂 you are brilliant, Meghan Daum! ❤️ thank you.
Possibly my favorite Meghan Daum is deeply pissed off Meghan Daum.
I'm extremely grateful to Bari Weiss for opening my eyes to how nuts everyone was becoming, by being the only person on TV talking sense about that awful Aziz Ansari hit job that nuked a TV show I loved (so rare for me). I began to pay attention to anything she was doing, and now I'm so grateful to her for creating The Free Press. I'm convinced she's despised because she's smart, successful, and refuses both to be cowed, and--this is the UNFORGIVABLE part--unreasonable or uncivil, ever. She appears to be terminally unprovoked. MADDENING. UNACCEPTABLE.
Thank you for the bit of mellowing outrage this morning, Meghan. You do it very well. Cheers.
Whenever I see examples of people tear down other people like Bari Weiss, or any number of others who are actually doing and creating something new, I think of the Kierkegaard idea about leveling. Unfortunately I can’t remember the details of the idea because, you know, it’s Kierkegaard.
I just singed the tip of my finger after holding it to this Substack entry on my phone. Smoking! This is an excellent piece that steered clear of remarking on females cutting females to the quick oddly in relation to empowerment. Will we ever break that cycle? What Bari has created and helped put out into the world in so short a time is nothing short of impressive. And every person working in media knows it, even if they don’t agree with her positions. (And the TM on Mainstream Media is a nice touch!)
Earlier today I read both the LA Times and New York Magazine piece, and like you, Meghan, was floored and outraged by the obvious disdain both writers had for the debate. Though I wasn’t in attendance as you were, I was certain that their snarky commentaries did not reflect what had actually taken place. Bari was the trigger and somehow the permission to dismiss the entire event. Very disturbing. Thank you for writing this. It’s more important than ever that we continue to call out such knee jerk reactions
It’s almost as if the MSM walked into this event with preconceived notions of the players and how it would play out and then proceeded to report on it based on how it fit their existing narratives. Shocking-not-shocking, alas.
I think the core of Bari Weiss Derangement Syndrome is rage over her influence and financial success. Not only had she achieved financial independence (and even wealth) through the platform she started, she turned her back on a sweet gig at the NYT. Ninety-nine percent of journalists would not be willing to turn away from that type of prestige and they know it. As far as I can tell, many journalists have deep anger that other people make more money and great shame that they haven’t figured out how to do it themselves. So Bari is basically an apostate to them because she has stepped out of the confines of their system with more balls than they could ever muster.
I love you, Meghan. I share your fascination with exploring ideas, and it is so befuddling when people would rather bury their heads in the sand than work together to form a greater understanding.
Why not have Louise on the pod? You three could discuss the concept together, and Sarah could deploy all those arguments she spent so long working on.
All I can say is I’m grateful Bari Weiss exists. You too, Meghan. Keep doing what you are doing. 😊
This was at a backyard dinner party, St Paul, probably around 2022. Within minutes of my mentioning Bari and after a couple of beers, a middle aged professor, generally charming and European mannered, shouted "Fuck Bari Weiss!"
How come @HelenLewis remains so quiet in all of this? I have a feeling she would have something very clever and useful to add here. Is The Atlantic squelching her vocals?
Thanks Meghan for critique-ing the critics! Also thanks for linking to the definition of e-girls. I almost came here to ask what that means.