May 26, 2019

The NYT is very gentle with Naomi Wolf — the "prominent author" who was humiliated in an on-air interview.

I'm reading "After an On-Air Correction, Naomi Wolf Addresses Errors in Her New Book" in the NYT. During a BBC interview, Wolf got the humiliating news that the term "death recorded" did not mean what she assumed, that a death penalty was carried out, but the complete opposite, that the judge determined that the person should not be executed.

I see that a spokeswoman for the U.S. publisher of the book — “Outrages: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalization of Love" — is saying there was an "unfortunate error" but "we believe the overall thesis of the book ‘Outrages’ still holds."

How can the publisher say "the overall thesis of the book ‘Outrages’ still holds"? Or, to be precise, they still "believe" it holds? The only way I can make sense of that is to perceive Houghton Mifflin Harcourt not a publisher of works of history, but in the business of ideology and propaganda, where the believing is all that really matters. Of course, the "overall thesis" survives. In ideology and propaganda, your overall thesis is the foundation and you're going to continue to build upon it, no matter how many efforts collapse. Just throw out those bad materials and go get some different materials and rebuild on the same foundation. Could something be wrong with the foundation? The question isn't even comprehensible in the business of propaganda.

Though readers want to rely on the publisher's imprint, the publisher's spokeswoman says — in so many words — don't rely on us. She says it "employs professional editors, copyeditors and proofreaders for each book project," but "we rely ultimately on authors for the integrity of their research and fact-checking."

But enough about the publisher's mealy mouthpiece. The NYT headline says Naomi Wolf responded. During the interview, Wolf said “Well, that’s a really important thing to investigate.” But the headline says after the interview. I see that Wolf wouldn't respond to the NYT's request for comment. So what is the Times talking about?
On Twitter, however, she said she is correcting parts of her book as a result of the discussion. And she and Mr. Sweet inadvertently offered a lesson on how to gracefully handle these sorts of situations on social media. Mr. Sweet explained the errors in Ms. Wolf’s book in a lengthy Twitter thread, while Ms. Wolf thanked him for calling her attention to the misunderstanding.
The NYT is being as kind to her as possible, I think. Here's how it describes her:
A prominent author who has written several works of feminist and cultural criticism, Ms. Wolf is known for books such as “The Beauty Myth” and “Vagina: A New Biography.”
She's "prominent." She gets on the talk shows. But why? Were any of the books that made her "prominent" based on good scholarship? Where are the serious scholars — the principled, devoted historians and philosophers — who didn't get on the shows because Naomi Wolf made books that had an attention-getting, stimulating "overall thesis"? It's an unresearched thesis of mine that such people exist. And now, I'm seeing...

Here's how Wolf presents herself on Twitter:
Dr? What is her doctorate? I looked it up on Wikipedia:

From 1985 to 1987, she was a Rhodes Scholar at New College, Oxford, but did not complete her original doctoral thesis.... Wolf returned to Oxford to complete her PhD in 2015, supervised by Dr Stefano-Maria Evangelista. The PhD thesis that she wrote was the basis for her 2019 book Outrages: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalisation of Love.
Oh! So this book was an Oxford PhD thesis?! Wow. Oxford needs to account for itself. There's a brand that ought to mean something. Do the thesis advisers there rely ultimately on authors for the integrity of their research and fact-checking? Did the NYT attempt to talk with Stefano-Maria Evangelista? Can we get him on the air at BBC?

ADDED: The Guardian has a report on Wolf's appearance at the Hay Festival of Literature & Arts yesterday in Wales:
“Some of you may have seen that there has been a healthy debate about two errors I did make in this book, and they’re on page 71 and 72. Hang on to your copies because it will be a collectors’ item because it will not [be] in the next printing.”...

The journalist Matthew D’Ancona, who was chairing the event, claimed there was a “gendered dimension” to the criticism of Wolf; she distanced herself from that position....

After Thursday’s BBC Radio interview, [the BBC interviewer, historian Matthew] Sweet said he felt the error did call Wolf’s central argument into question. “I think her assumptions about ‘death recorded’ have led her to the view … that ‘dozens and dozens’ of Victorian men were executed … I have yet to see evidence that one man in Victorian Britain was executed for sodomy,” he said, while the historian Richard Ward said it was a “pretty basic error”.
I'd say there's a "gendered dimension" to the gentle treatment of Wolf. Oh, her little mistakes, how tiny and delicate, and how gracefully she's handling the situation!

148 comments:

Original Mike said...

"Oh! So this book was an Oxford PhD thesis?! "

Ouch.

Curious George said...

"The NYT is very gentle with Naomi Wolf...."

Maybe she blew Carlos Slim.

Charlie said...

Didn't she once recommend earth-tones for Al Gore's wardrobe? That alone should get her shunned!

Michael K said...

She might be eligible fo the Michael Bellesiles award.

His book “1877: America’s Year of Living Violently,” which will be published next week, is an attempted comeback for Mr. Bellesiles, who has languished in a kind of academic no-man’s land for the past decade after a scandal surrounding his previous book cut short what looked to be a promising career. “I’d like to think that anyone reading it would give it a fair chance,” he said of his latest work.

Haven't heard of it.

J. Farmer said...

People have been calling Wolf out for her shoddy research for years. This was only the most extreme example. She wrote a book more than 10 years ago saying we were on the same trajectory as Germany, Italy, and Russia of the 1930s was. Search Naomi Wolf on Google Images and remind yourself that this is the woman who wrote The Beauty Myth. She is the poster child for the clueless credentialed class. Yale undergraduate. Rhodes Scholar.

J. Farmer said...

p.s. And never mind that Wolf has chosen to publish a book about homosexual oppression at a time when homosexual power is ascendant.

Diogenes of Sinope said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diogenes of Sinope said...

As a member of the ruling oligarchy presenting a favored opinion Naomi Wolf's research, data and conclusions were fully accepted. Now, even after her research and data are known to be bogus there won't be any serious repercussions for Wolf. I am sure, in a short time, Wolf's bogus theories will be accepted as fact even though the data on which they are based, is false.

wwww said...

" So this book was an Oxford PhD thesis?! Wow. Oxford needs to account for itself. There's a brand that ought to mean something."

It is outrageous. Oxford pushes grad students quickly through their programs, but her tutors or supervisor should have caught her obvious misreading of nineteenth-century legal practice. I suspect the thesis was approved by English professors with no Historian or legal scholar in sight. Anyone with a passing interest in Victorian history would have suspected a misreading and checked the facts with a legal scholar. Either her supervisor and tutors are shockingly ignorant, or they did not read the thesis.

Caitlin Flanagan wrote a amusing twitter thread about "a short history of Naomi Wolf."

Diogenes of Sinope said...

The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life is a 1994 book by psychologist Richard J. Herrnstein and political scientist Charles Murray has been vilified and it's authors denounced as racists in spite of the fact their research and data are valid. Our elites don't like their conclusions, it doesn't fit the political narrative.

Tommy Duncan said...

Is this kind treatment of Ms. Wolf an example of white privilege?

The Drill SGT said...

Maybe, given the research area they supervise, Stefano-Maria doesn't see theyself as binary. :)

As for Oxford, one could forgive some department at a US liberal arts school. but one ought to expect that Oxford get English history correct

Quaestor said...

There's something fundamentally unscholarly about big hair. Furthermore, I suspect there's some cosmic surgery in her CV as well as an unmerited doctorate.

Naomi Wolf takes every cliché quintessential Jewish princess and turns it up to 11.

TJM said...

NYT - where the Village Idiot, Maureen Dowd resides

Rumpletweezer said...

But she's a Rhodes Scholar. Kris Kristofferson is the only Rhodes Scholar who's ever been worth a damn.

BADuBois said...

She's also a conspiracy loon, believing --- among other things --- that the Bush Administration was reading her mail (including her kids' report cards), that various real historical events never happened, and chem trails.

Diogenes of Sinope said...

Our elite take care of their own. In time BBC presenter, Matthew Sweet, will be punished for embarrassing one of the left clique.

Quaestor said...

wwww wrote: Either her supervisor and tutors are shockingly ignorant, or they did not read the thesis.

I doubt this a matter is so neatly dichotomic. I also doubt that corruption in the university of the sort that has been recently exposed in this country is confined to this country.

Robt C said...

Serious question: Shouldn't Oxford revoke her PhD? If her thesis was grounded in totally bogus research, her degree is equally bogus.

Big Mike said...

Oh! So this book was an Oxford PhD thesis?! Wow. Oxford needs to account for itself. There's a brand that ought to mean something.

Wow!!! indeed. Scratch “Oxford Ph.D.” off the list of degrees to respect.

Bay Area Guy said...

"Ms. Wolf is known for books such as “The Beauty Myth” and “Vagina: A New Biography.”"

If I were a prominent scholar, and I wrote a book called "Schlong: A Memoir," most people would think I was a jokester or comedian or asshole. I would not become Rhodes Scholar.

So, "Dr" Wolf writes a biography of her "love triangle" and is feted by our elite academic class!?

The Left is wacked out and deserve protracted mocking.

Big Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SDaly said...

I said this in the earlier Wolf thread, but the concept of a "thesis" outside of the hard sciences, is destructive. In the humanities and social sciences, it is merely a gussied-up word for "opinion".

J. Farmer said...

Bill Clinton, Wesley Clark, Cory Booker, Bobby Jindal, Rachel Maddow...

The Rhodes Scholarship is pretty much shorthand for Establishment mediocrity.

Quaestor said...

Vagina: A New Biography

When men talk about the penis as a separate personality it is entirely in the context of extremely jejune locker room humor. But it looks like there are allegedly serious-minded women who grant their genitalia a separate existence. Quaestor is thoroughly bemused.

cubanbob said...

A new genre for our hostess to read: unintended fiction based on unreality.

Quaestor said...

The Rhodes Scholarship is pretty much shorthand for Establishment mediocrity.

One would think anyone who so proudly wears her anti-fascist, anti-racist, anti-colonialist heart on her sleeve as Rachael Maddow would reject a Rhodes scholarship out of hand.

Fen said...

No worries, we can find a place for Naomi in the Climate Studies Department, where they are wise enough to "adjust" their historical sources before they publish.

The NYT is very gentle with Naomi Wolf

You don't say? Here's an idea - the NYTs is a propaganda rag, let's keep sending it traffic?

Fen said...

"They always knew the local Fish Wife was a gossip, but they never expected to hear this!"

FIDO said...

She seems pretty standard for a Feminist Historian.

rhhardin said...

Scholarship always has an agenda.

SDaly said...

Do you suppose that Wolf intentionally, or unintentionally, conflated prosecution for homosexuality with prosecution for molesting a 6-year-old boy?

cubanbob said...

Quaestor said...
The Rhodes Scholarship is pretty much shorthand for Establishment mediocrity.

One would think anyone who so proudly wears her anti-fascist, anti-racist, anti-colonialist heart on her sleeve as Rachael Maddow would reject a Rhodes scholarship out of hand. "

Didn't know you were a Rhodesian. Shhh. Don't wake up the woke. It could result in their heads exploding.

Amadeus 48 said...

Forget it, Ann. It’s Vaginatown.

Diogenes of Sinope said...

"Do you suppose that Wolf intentionally, or unintentionally, conflated prosecution for homosexuality with prosecution for molesting a 6-year-old boy?" YES.

I think Wolf purposely conflated prosecution for molestation with prosecution for consensual adult homosexuality. I suspect Wolf didn't find much evidence of prosecution for consensual adult homosexuality.

buwaya said...

Diogenes is correct in every respect.
The hegemony is a shield as well as a sword.

She has done a lot for them. She helped make female resentment sexy.
"Beauty Myth" ended up on a lot of reading lists.

Amadeus 48 said...

This being a PhD dissertation puts this whole incident into a new universe of incompetence/institutional rot. She had to defend this sucker, and a BBC 3 interviewer did a better job of vetting her ideas than the academy.

Hahahahahahahahaha!

whitney said...

100 years from now the history books will list the biggest enemy of the LGBT crowd as a chicken restaurant as an explanation of how crazy everything got

wwww said...

I doubt this a matter is so neatly dichotomic.

Aside from laziness (not reading the thesis) or shocking ignorance -- I cannot think of another explanation. It's not uncommon for Oxford scholarship to be published. The supervisors and tutors will be humiliated for putting their name on a published work that can be so easily debunked. They know they should not put their name on any work that can be debunked through glaring factual error. This was not an error of interpretation.

It's an obvious, stupid error. I would have known to check her legal assumption and I'm a casual, infrequent reader of Victorian history.

bagoh20 said...

I don't really know, but I assume academia used to be better, but today it is so unreliable it's embarrassing. The left ruins everything it touches. Tell me something it has touched and not made it worse.

Temujin said...

"How can the publisher say "the overall thesis of the book ‘Outrages’ still holds"? Or, to be precise, they still "believe" it holds? The only way I can make sense of that is to perceive Houghton Mifflin Harcourt not a publisher of works of history, but in the business of ideology and propaganda, where the believing is all that really matters."

Global Warming/Climate Change: The emails from East Anglia which came to light years ago, showing the manipulation of data and facts to arrive at their desired conclusions (by the originator of the 'hockey stick') did nothing do dampen the believing. Today the believers want to impose the New Green Screw.

Russia! Russia! Russia!. When shown this was entirely based on a fictional dossier by a British agent, paid for by the Clinton campaign, leaked in timely bits to the media by officers in our national security establishment, then parroted and vocalized by our media in every conceivable fashion, what happened. The believers continue to believe and pursue the ends justifies the means approach to 'getting Trump. True believers keep believing.

Abortion. I won't even dive into this one. It's the height of the Securlar Religion. True Believers? Hell...these are Sparrows.

Naomi Wolf has been shown to be a lightweight popular social 'scientst' for years. She's a product of today's education system, which is to say, she's degreed yet less then intellectual.

Darrell said...

We all recall that Wolf gave Butch lessons to Al Gore during his Presidential run. Perhaps Biden should give her a call this time around.

Francisco D said...

Do the thesis advisers there rely ultimately on authors for the integrity of their research and fact-checking?

That is not how a dissertation committee is supposed to operate. My five person committee challenged everything from statistical analyses to proper placement of commas.

Colleagues from very prestigious doctoral programs, such as Stanford and Yale, said that it is a lot harder to get accepted into the programs than it is to get out of them. There is a certain confirmation bias working in those schools that assume the scholar must be brilliant because she was admitted into their program.

Narr said...

Oh my brothers! Micheal K has already made the obvious connection to Bellesisles, confused thinker, sloppy liar, and ideological hack. One of my duties at work was oversight of the masters' and doctoral theses, that is until it all went electronic (and I waved goodbye without regret let me tell you). Even my little offering is there.

I had opportunity to examine many, in fields I had some notion of, and the overall level was -- I'm having trouble coming up with the right term-- OK good, they were troubling, most of them.

Now, all my experience (student, staff, grad student, adjunct fac, faculty and grad student some more) was at a near-E SU created almost whole cloth from a podunk normal school--but whose faculty mostly came from schools many notches above us in the rankings, as is meet; but the bloom of prestige fadeth in time.

Narr
There're some world-class scholars there, don't get me wrong

CWJ said...

"Our elite take care of their own. In time BBC presenter, Matthew Sweet, will be punished for embarrassing one of the left clique."

I've thought this as well. He certainly would have to watch his back in the US.

Keith said...

This is the same as global warming. A hypothesis is made, experiments are made to test the hypothesis, and the experiments fail to support the hypothesis. Instead of declaring the hypothesis to be false, the hypothesis is declared to be true, and the data changed to fit the hypothesis. As you said, this is propaganda, not science. Or alternatively, that is religious faith, not science. As you mentioned also the book is an advertisement saying "do not trust anything we publish."

MBunge said...

And we have a new leader for "No, seriously, THIS is how we got Trump."

It's one thing to make this kind of mistake. It's another thing for the mistake to get past all the people paid to catch it. But to be coddled like this when the mistake is finally recognized? This is almost the literary equivalent of making a horse a Roman senator.

Mike

Amadeus 48 said...

Rhodes scholarships are dished out to bright gunners with the gift of gab, recently favoring females and people from minority groups.

As to the list of winners, don’t forget Robert Reich and Susan Rice.

I doubt this is what Cecil Rhodes had in mind. He was interested in building ties between the US and Great Britain and understanding between the Anglosphere and Germany.

wwww said...

Advisor is a English prof. Would advise English profs to not supervise legal history projects making bold assertions about 19-century criminal law.

buwaya said...

To be fair, other agenda-directed academics have done much worse damage.
That is, to the extent that their works initiated something, rather than just going with the flow of the great march.

Margaret Mead for instance.

gilbar said...

So what is the Times talking about?

Wait a minute?
Are people starting to think that the Times needs to know what it's talking about now?

buwaya said...

wwww,

That is looking at the leaves, not the forest.
This is just one silly case.
The modern intellectual zeitgeist has been created by generations of agenda driven academics, almost all more clever and more careful, but no less pernicious.

Diogenes of Sinope said...

Facts don't matter in the worship of government power, the Liberal religion. In fact, faith in Liberalism in spite of the facts is an article of piety in today's Liberal religion.....

Lost My Cookies said...

It's not just the death recorded thing that's the problem. She also didn't seem to notice that several of the "victims" were child rapists. So she's equating pedophilia with homosexuality. Which is a no no.

Oso Negro said...

I love to read history, but I don't trust the majority of history books written after about 1970. Paul Johnson and T.R. Fehrenbach are exceptions

Crimso said...

Perhaps this will spur Oxford to create a new award for certain deserving dissertations. "The Emily Litella Award."

William said...

I can understand how "death recorded" could be mistaken for a death sentence. But, if the BBC interviewer was able to catch it, why not the doctoral advisers at Oxford. It has the appearance that they were awarding her a doctorate not for her thesis but for her past history of being on the right side. She was credentialed on the basis of her credentials. A cascade of credentials. Famous for being famous. Credentialed for being credentialed.

Hagar said...

Isn't Naomi Wolf the woman who charged the Al Gore for President campaign $15,000 a month for advising the great pretender to dress in earth tones?

gilbar said...

Went through a list of Rhodes Scholars, to see what trends showed up. Here's the famous folk i found:

Wesley Clark, Robert Reich, Bill Clinton, Strobe Talbott, Ira Magaziner, Michael Kinsley, E. J. Dionne, Russ Feingold, George Stephanopoulos, Susan Rice, Rachel Maddow, Pete Buttigieg, Ronan Farrow

oh, and
Bobby Jindal

Seems like (other than possibly Jindal), all these names have something in common:
They're ALL part of the American Elite... and they ALL hate america, and everything it stands for

gspencer said...

"Famous for being famous"

Arlene Francis

Drago said...

Amadeus: "She had to defend this sucker, and a BBC 3 interviewer did a better job of vetting her ideas than the academy."

Nonsense.

The role of the Academy is to produce phalanxes of marxist-leninist credentialed activists to advance the cause of Leftism/LLR-Leftism.

In the case of Wolf, Oxford fulfilled its Mission perfectly.

Narayanan said...

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2684541-the-mountains-of-mourning

SciFi version of The British Legalism .

A Goodread for memorial day weekend Honor the child of the story.

madAsHell said...

Stefano-Maria Evangelista

A hyphenated first name?? I'll betcha this guy never wears out his loafers.

gspencer said...

"Seems like (other than possibly Jindal), all these names have something in common:
They're ALL part of the American Elite... and they ALL hate america, and everything it stands for"

Most are members of the CFR and participate in such things as the World Government Summit where they plan out how our lives are to be ordered.

They've become so bold as to publicly endow themselves as the World's Governors.

Narayanan said...

I'm curious ...

Does the Oxford Debate still deserve its historic reputation?

William said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wwww said...

Buwaya:

The case is blindingly obviously wrong to anyone with a passing acquaintance with Victorian history. The English Prof. supervisor could have e-mailed any number of Professor acquaintances in law or history at Oxford and avoided this humiliation.

Automatic_Wing said...

She's prominent for being the world's most coquettish radical feminist.

Narr said...

For those complaining about PC history books, I hope you can find something interesting among the works of

Niall Ferguson (Empire, Pity of War)

Tom Holland (Persian Fire, Rubicon)

For AmHist--

Hampton Sides (Blood and Thunder)

L. Ferreiro (Brothers at Arms, N.B. frogbashers should avert their eyes)

P. Lockhart (Drillmaster of Valley Forge, N.B. people gossip, who knows?)

These are just from the last-two-or-three-years pile, there are others.

Narr
Fiction, I got fiction too

Michael K said...


Blogger buwaya said...
To be fair, other agenda-directed academics have done much worse damage.
That is, to the extent that their works initiated something, rather than just going with the flow of the great march.

Margaret Mead for instance.


And Rachel Carson has done far worse. Millions died of malaria.

Does Blogger allow any comment to be posted first try ?

Yancey Ward said...

I am willing to believe that Wolf wasn't deliberately misusing that data, but it really is her responsibility to try to demonstrate this was a mistake. I remember well the Michael Bellesiles scandal, and there Bellesiles was depending on no one actually looking closely at his claims about old documentation. I can't quite discount the possibility that Wolf was doing exactly the same thing here- depending on no one looking beyond the words of the records themselves.

Narayanan said...

I'm amazed at the Professora's outr-age ... Surely this level of incompetence is visibly present in liberal faculty lounges.

tcrosse said...

And Rachel Carson has done far worse. Millions died of malaria.

Margaret Atwood will have plenty to answer for The Handmaid's Tale, or for the uses to which it is being put.


Narayanan said...

I mean not at all outre for liberal faculty lounges.

Howard said...

Yancey: It's much more condemning from an intellectual standpoint if Wolf didn't deliberately miss-use the data.

William said...

Just now I'm reading G.M. Trevelyan's "British History in the 19th Century". He writes about how Parliament was controlled by the aristocrats and large landowners. Draconian laws were passed against poaching and petty thefts. Those charged were tried before juries. The juries did not wish to sentence poachers and petty thieves to death and nearly always returned verdicts of acquittal until the laws were changed....I'm sure that 19th Century Britons disapproved of sodomy but I doubt tbat dozens of juries could be found who would be willing to sentence men to death for such practices. There were some red flags that Ms.Wolf willfully drove through.

Narayanan said...

...The English Prof. supervisor could have e-mailed any number of Professor acquaintances in law or history at Oxford...

Maybe we'll learn rest of the story about this Don of Oxford.

Vaguely recall thesis defense being public.

Narayanan said...

In the past.

Yancey Ward said...

Sure, Howard. Like killing someone in a traffic accident is worse than executing them because you like killing. Maybe you should go get a doctorate from Oxford, too.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

wwww said...

Caitlin Flanagan wrote a amusing twitter thread about "a short history of Naomi Wolf."

That is rather amusing and deserves a link.

RichardJohnson said...

Wikipedia is on it- at least after Naomi Wolf was called out.
Wiki's Death recorded page was created on May 24- obviously in response to Naomi Wolf's mishap.

The Wiki article cites two digital sources for the meaning of "death recorded,"
Footnotes 1 and 3.


Footnote: 1)Richard Ward. "Sentencing". The Digital Panopticon.
Footnote: 3) Brewer, Ebenezer Cobham (2014). Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1st (1870), reissued ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 740.
Brewster's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable has been around for a long time. Oxford would certainly have had multiple print editions of it , had Naomi Wolf taken the effort when she was writing her "dissertation" - better described as "screed."

Footnote 2, an article in New York Magazine, adds some interesting information. Elena Dzhanova (24 May 2019). "Here's an Actual Nightmare: Naomi Wolf Learning On-Air That Her Book Is Wrong". New York (magazine).

From the link at Footnote 2:
Wolf cited on Twitter historical findings from a peer-reviewed article written by A.D. Harvey, a historian who’s been labeled a hoaxer. (He deceived the public into thinking that Charles Dickens and Fyodor Dostoyevsky met once and created several online personas and an entire fake community of academics.)

Which is a rather good indication of what kind of "scholar" Naomi Wolf is. Doesn't say much about Yale- where she got her Bachelor's degree- and Oxford ( doctorate) as gatekeepers of academic competence.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

"the overall thesis of the book ‘Outrages’ still holds"

in general, "Fake But Accurate" is the left's M O

wild chicken said...

What infuriates me is that the thesis was all about showing Western Civilization - us - in the worst possible light...yeah thanks Naomi.

MayBee said...

Life has a way of coming back at you.

A few weeks ago she was lamenting the fact that a young female mathematician at her moment of success was told she was so cute. I'm guessing Wolf now wishes the Radio 3 interviewer would simply have called her cute and not looked into her research.

MayBee said...

wild chicken said...
What infuriates me is that the thesis was all about showing Western Civilization - us - in the worst possible light...yeah thanks Naomi.


Agreed. Although I think the only thing that brought about the correction is a Brit not appreciating an American trying to show the UK in the worst possible light.

AndyN said...

Any respect I might have had for how graciously Wolf seemed to take the on-air embarrassment vanished when I saw that she was in Sweet's twitter feed trying to use examples from other eras to justify her ignorance.

RichardJohnson said...

Michael K compared Naomi Wolf's fake research to another creator of fake research, Michael Bellesiles. The Here’s an Actual Nightmare: Naomi Wolf Learning On-Air That Her Book Is Wrong.
Wolf cited on Twitter historical findings from a peer-reviewed article written by A.D. Harvey, a historian who’s been labeled a hoaxer. (He deceived the public into thinking that Charles Dickens and Fyodor Dostoyevsky met once and created several online personas and an entire fake community of academics.)

Fake researcher Naomi Wolfe cites a hoaxer, a creator of fake research, to support her "research."

One would have thought this came from the Babylon Bee, a well-known parody site, but this was straight news. You can't parody liberals- their reality is already ridiculous enough.

Bay Area Guy said...

Between "Vagina Monologues", "Vagina: A Biography," and Pussy Hats, it's no wonder Trump wants to grab 'em by the pussy.

It's everywhere!

Yancey Ward said...

"Any respect I might have had for how graciously Wolf seemed to take the on-air embarrassment vanished when I saw that she was in Sweet's twitter feed trying to use examples from other eras to justify her ignorance."

Yeah, I was reading those, too.

Josephbleau said...

"the overall thesis of the book ‘Outrages’ still holds"

So we assign a 1 or a 0 to each record and our analysis rejects the null hypothesis. Then we change all the 1’s to 0’s and 0’s to 1’s, and remarkably, we still reject the null hypothesis! Amazing statistical result! The researcher is exonerated!

~ Gordon Pasha said...

She should have had Clayton Cramer on her thesis committee. He's an actual historian who put paid to Michael A. Bellesiles's career by actually reading primary sources.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arming_America

John henry said...

Blogger Narr said...

For those complaining about PC history books, I hope you can find something interesting:

Thanks, I always love hearing book recommendations.

Currently I am about 1/3 of the way through "The General's War by David Zabecki

It is about WWI focusing on the primary generals including Pershing, Ludendorff, Haig, Foch, Joffre and others at the very top echelons.

Very good.

Just finished rereading "The General" by CS Forster. A fictional account of a WWI general. Perhaps the best novel I've ever read on WWI.

Queued up "The White War" by Mark Thompson about the Italian campaign in the Alps in WWI. I had started reading it a year or two back and set it down. These 2 books reminded me I needed to get back to it.

All available via the Portal.

John Henry

Zach said...

On the one hand, thinking that a sentence of "death recorded" means "death sentence" is a slip up that anyone could make.

BUT (remember, nothing counts before the "but")

Someone doing research for a PhD or a full length book should have enough engagement with their subject to where they should be able to correct slip ups like this.

The particular case where she got caught was a 14 year old who received a sentence of "death recorded" for raping a 6 year old. That's a pretty dramatic story! A good researcher should try and track down the rest of the story -- what happened to the victim, what happened to the criminal. What prison did he go to? Was he treated poorly in prison as a known homosexual? If he was executed, when did that happen?
Did he have any last words reflecting on his crime? Was there any ongoing legal process trying to avoid the death sentence? Was there any contemporary debate about whether sentences of "death recorded" (remember, she thinks these people are being executed!) for sodomy were too severe?

You might not answer all of those questions, but real historians are surprisingly good at tracking down things like that. And the process of tracking those details down will tend to expose inconvenient facts like the supposedly executed criminal being released 2 1/2 years later. Or the precise legal meanings of terms like "death recorded," which the interviewer found very easily on the Old Bailey website.

The problem isn't that Klein slipped up reading a technical legal term. It's that she's doing shoddy research that isn't good enough to catch that kind of minor error before it sees publication.

madAsHell said...

Does Blogger allow any comment to be posted first try ?

Yeah, I've seen that as well. "Ooopps", press the refresh button, and most of the time that doesn't provide any relief either.

FullMoon said...

Average poorly educated deplorable person might make same assumption as genius PHD scholar. Lots of government sponsored death going around at the time.

During that period 222 crimes were punishable by death and more than 10,000 men, women and children heard the judge order that they be taken to a place of execution and 'be hanged by the neck until dead'. The records, launched online by family history website ancestry-co.uk, document trials and sentences for crimes ranging from the use of bad language and scrumping (stealing fruit from orchards) to mass murder

FullMoon said...

Of course, she could have researched the records, though..

Yancey Ward said...

On the posting. I almost always get the Oops message if I have tried to click "Publish" before the Capcha box has fully appeared (I no longer deal with the Capcha, except to click the "Prove you aren't a robot box). If I just wait for the box to fully appear, then click "Publish", wait for the box to disappear, then click "Publish" one last time, it works far more often than not.

Yancey Ward said...

Now, at times, I can just click "Publish" without checking the "Prove You Aren't a Robot" box, but at times I get nothing but "Oops". It is very hit and miss.

John henry said...

In defense of Naomi Wolfe, at least she is not as egregious as Jon Hendrik Schoen

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sch%C3%B6n_scandal

John Henry

MayBee said...

"Yeah, but still."

----- Dr. Naomi Wolf

John henry said...

Re WWI, one of the things I always forget is how short US involvement was.

We did not have any troops doing major fighting until spring of 1918. The war ended Nov 11, 1918.

In about 6 months we lost over 100,000 dead.

Nothing to compare to the other countries involved, of course. OTOH, those countries had reasons to be in the war.

We had none.

Thanks Woodrow.

John Henry

wholelottasplainin' said...

Keith said...
This is the same as global warming. A hypothesis is made, experiments are made to test the hypothesis, and the experiments fail to support the hypothesis. Instead of declaring the hypothesis to be false, the hypothesis is declared to be true, and the data changed to fit the hypothesis.
**************

Except that no experiments have ever been made to test the Global Warming hypothesis. And none can be done: there's absolutely no way to actually test it in the real world.

Yes, people have observed how CO2 in a sealed chamber absorbs and emits infra-red, but that observation has no bearing on how the Earth's atmosphere deals with the relatively tiny amounts of CO2 it contains, esp. versus water vapor, also a "greenhouse gas" but present in much larger concentrations. NOne of the models can deal realistically with water vapor's behavior.

Instead the warmistas rely on computer models, based on assumptions that have never been proven. Those models are thus not "experiments", and their results are not real-world data, only outputs based on untested assumptions. IOW garbage in, garbage out.

https://www.bing.com/th?id=OIP.XrxuNCQJFswxnIn1ULigSQHaGF&pid=Api&rs=1&p=0

Of over 100 published models, only one (done in Russia) achieve results close to real-world data. And that model doesn't support the AGW hypothesis---it actually predicts future cooling!!

https://notrickszone.com/2013/04/05/russian-scientist-warns-global-temperatures-to-fall-1-5c-by-2050-and-global-cooling-refuges/

It's been 20 years since satellites and balloons have recorded any warming, despite CO2 concentrations rising by more than 30%.

The hypothesis is thus FALSIFIED.

Zach said...

Second issue: how was this thesis accepted for a PhD in English Literature when it's clearly about the treatment of gays in the Victorian legal system?

Oxford really should have insisted on a subject matter expert being part of her committee. A law professor, or someone specializing in the history of the Victorian era, or someone specializing in gay history. There's nothing wrong with interdisciplinary work, but you have to make sure you're meeting professional standards in both disciplines.

Academic turf wars can be pretty bad, but the English department really shouldn't be letting people write a thesis on legal history and pretending it's about literature.

John henry said...

Blogger Bay Area Guy said...

Between "Vagina Monologues", "Vagina: A Biography," and Pussy Hats, it's no wonder Trump wants to grab 'em by the pussy.

I don't know anything to suggest he wanted to. He just pointed out that women LET celebreties grab them and more.

More to the point, there seem to be lots of women, not a majority probably, but millions and millions who seem to define themselves as nothing more than a cunt.

They don't define themselves by ability, intelligence, accomplishments or anything else. Just "I have a cunt. That is the most (only?) important thing anyone needs to know about me."

Not even what they can use the cunt for. Not because they can create babies, give pleasure to a romantic partner. Just that they have one. Legs, brain, hands, mouth etc all exist only to maintain the cunt and give it mobility. The mouth also to complain about it, of course.

Then they get all pissed off because men think of them as sexual objects.

John Henry

John henry said...

Blogger Yancey Ward said...

Now, at times, I can just click "Publish" without checking the "Prove You Aren't a Robot" box, but at times I get nothing

I've never checked the Prove you are not a robot box in the 4-5 years it has been there. Doesn't seem to make a difference.

I seem to get the oops message more often in active threads. My current thinking is that it happens when 2 comments are published simultaneously.

I just click refresh and that usually works, including publishing the comment. It sometimes takes several tries.

Always use CTRL+A then CRTL+C

John Henry

rcocean said...

Anybody with any knowledge of 19th century USA or England, would've been very skeptical of them hanging men for nothing more than sodomy or other homosexual acts. My reaction at seeing "Death recorded" would've been, "That can't be right" and I would've done further research. Certainly the USA never hanged anyone for being Gay, and if England was doing it, someone would've noticed it in the USA, and discussed it.

And given the number of books shows how Gays have been mistreated in the past, would Wolfe be the FIRST to discover England was hanging Gays in 1832?

BTW, in the USA Rapists were hanged and considered the lowest of the low. Which is why anyone talking rape and Sherman's March to the Sea is making crap up.

rcocean said...

"Second issue: how was this thesis accepted for a PhD in English Literature when it's clearly about the treatment of gays in the Victorian legal system?"

Today in Colleges, English Literature has little to do with England or Literature. Its mostly just an excuse to talk about racism, feminism, marxism, antisemitism, and Gays.
History is going down the same path.

Zach said...

Third issue: even if you're an expert in English Literature, shouldn't the case of Oscar Wilde raise a red flag here? He was convicted of sodomy toward the end of the Victorian era and was sentenced to two years of hard labor -- the maximum sentence. The story is well known and quite involved.

So even a literature professor should be asking: what happened between the 1850s and 1890s that turned an aggressively administered death sentence (Klein's thesis) into a reluctantly prosecuted two year sentence (the Oscar Wilde case)? That's a legal shakeup akin to the Warren or Burger Courts.

Amadeus 48 said...

Oxford wanted to give her a PhD so they went through the motions and swallowed whatever swill she served up. This “doctorate” goes into the institutional rot file.

Does anyone, including Obama, believe that Obama deserved the Nobel Peace Prize? More evidence of institutional rot.

The rot runs deep these days. Who did the National Review want me to vote for in 2016? I think it was Evan McMullin. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!
How are they ever going to recover from that? They could have had an intelligent discussion of Trump’s program and personality, and then compared him to Hillary. Their writers could have expressed both praise and concern about Trump’s various ideas and behaviors Instead they trotted out someone of whom I had never heard and said he should be POTUS.

There is a thing called good judgment that used to be universally praised. Good judgment has become scarce. Wolfe, Oxford, and many on the left and right have walked away from it. It is time to return to the basics of western civilization. How can we lead good lives?

Ken B said...

Increasingly I think non STEM degrees are complete bullshit. I don’t think they were 50 years ago, but now they seem to be.

Excellent analysis by AA.

Howard said...

Blogger Yancey Ward said...

Sure, Howard. Like killing someone in a traffic accident is worse than executing them because you like killing. Maybe you should go get a doctorate from Oxford, too.

Sorry, I didn't realize it was that time of the month.

Bob Boyd said...

In the immortal words of Miss Emily Litella

Bill Peschel said...

"And given the number of books shows how Gays have been mistreated in the past, would Wolfe be the FIRST to discover England was hanging Gays in 1832?"

rcocean, that was my first thought. When you have gay historians digging to make every male historical figure gay, how would they miss this?

The better trained writers and reporters lived by the rule of the Chicago News Agency: "If your mother says she loves you, check it out."

Considering this was the central thesis of her Ph.D., she should have nailed this firmly, if only because she should have known she was challenged.

This demonstrates the level of her incompetence, her obtuseness, her lack of self-reflection (pick one).

wwww said...

"Did he have any last words reflecting on his crime? Was there any ongoing legal process trying to avoid the death sentence? Was there any contemporary debate about whether sentences of "death recorded""

Yes. She could have cross-referenced the case in one of the many local newspapers. Crime stories were extensively covered by the news, much like today. Shoddy research.

Sebastian said...

"But why?

She says stuff that confirms prog prejudice. Gays were horribly mistreated! Cisheteronormative men killed almost-innocent homosexuals! Western civ stinks!

"Were any of the books that made her "prominent" based on good scholarship?"

Now that's funny.

"Where are the serious scholars"

Doing scholarly work. Not hanging out at the BBC. Occasionally a prog happens to be a serious scholar, in which case media attention pays off. But the real media market is for progs catering to the self-regard and confirmation bias of lefty women.

Michael K said...

Who did the National Review want me to vote for in 2016? I think it was Evan McMullin.

There is still a little colony of NeverTrumpers at Ricochet. I thought all had given up but no, there are a few although I can't find the podcast and comments from this morning. They were headed over to The Bulwark.

Tina Trent said...

My husband was Michael Bellesiles' research assistant while he was writing the gun book. He is a true scholar and knew Bellesiles' research was garbage, but he also knew that nobody -- not just Bellesiles -- would hear that from a lowly graduate student.

He kept his head down, got out, and went to law school, where at least the students are planning to operate in the real world. He was even treated shabbily by some Emory History faculty when he was called to testify to the scandal years later. Several were merely angry Bellesiles had been caught. They wanted him to be right, and if they could have gotten away with it, they would have done nothing.

All the most cowardly people I have ever met are academicians. The toxic brew of tenure and leftist politics has perverted higher education in the humanities beyond repair. Infantilization is not too harsh a term. Naomi Wolf and her hair are not outliers.

Zach said...

He was convicted of sodomy toward the end of the Victorian era and was sentenced to two years of hard labor -- the maximum sentence. The story is well known and quite involved.

I don't want to imply that Wilde should have been sentenced to hard labor. My point is that there are many steps between a law on the books and a criminal sentence, and they aren't always in complete harmony.

De jure, homosexuality was illegal in the 1890s. De facto, the legal system took no interest until Wilde forced the issue by sueing the Marquess of Queensbury for libel.

Tina Trent said...

Re. penal history -- in Britain and the U.S. it was ordinary up to the first decades of the 20th century to sentence substantial percentages of people convicted of many crimes to death, then imprison them briefly, then let them go. Anyone writing about legal history would know this. There's no way not to, unless of course you're a pure ideologue, which is everyone writing and publishing about crime, or the history of sexuality, or feminism these days.

rehajm said...

In ideology and propaganda, your overall thesis is the foundation and you're going to continue to build upon it, no matter how many efforts collapse.

Now let's do this for the pay gap myth. Again.

Narr said...

CS Forester was called out: oh yeah! Hornblower! The General. And P. O'Brien, whose wooden world is deeper and more firmly placed in the society of the time. Somebody said his Aubrey/Maturin series are like Hornblower tales written by Austen--and to me that's a good thing. YMMV.

USA and WWI: In war probably above all things, timing is everything. The Allies had been dependent on our finance since mid-1915, and our huge and readily diversifiable economy for almost as long; the original overall idea when the US came in was that there would be a buildup and maybe in mid-18 but more likely 1919 the whole Allied force--much bigger, with far better weaponry and overall technology superiority, would start attacking.

Instead, before our first year was up, the Allied goal had become to get as many Doughboys into the line as quickly as possible by any means possible. Shipping and training targets were thrown out the window, and hulls devoted to getting raw and often unequipped Amis into France, where the huge British and especially French arms production industry could easily equip them. The French also had the largest car and truck industry in Europe (true for a long time, look it up) so in the emergency forced by the German offensives in 1918, the Allies had to get Americans to France or LOSE THE WAR RIGHT THERE.

And once there, the AEF bore its share and more. The casualty rates in 1918 were about as bad as these things got, in WWI or WWII (annualized). It was enough. Forgive me, I was in that area in late 2017. A land fertile in graves.

Good memory: driving north into Chateau-Thierry on a warm November afternoon, circling the square, where there was a Merkin-style hayride and line-dance going on, everyone happy to be there.

Narr
A few days later, in Montmartre, I was selected as a victim of two thoroughly incompetent pickpockets, so France is a mixed bag

rcocean said...

The rot runs deep these days. Who did the National Review want me to vote for in 2016? I think it was Evan McMullin. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

"National Review" has doubled down on the Trump hatred and their move to the Left. Other than supporting Tax cuts, and a few muffled peeps about Abortion, they're indistinguishable from "The New Republic". Attacking Frank Graham, the Covington Boys, and supporting the Google/Facebooks de-platforming doesn't bode well.

I'm awaiting their National Review "conservative" endorsement of Amash, Weld or Biden in 2020.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

I suspect I've found her primary source here.

rcocean said...

"De jure, homosexuality was illegal in the 1890s. De facto, the legal system took no interest until Wilde forced the issue by sueing the Marquess of Queensbury for libel."

There were plenty of "Confirmed bachelors" and no one cared, unless they scared the horses.

Narr said...

BTW, on posting here, it's a crapshoot. I get different results and often will be sure it won't show, but it does. Click around, I think my long one just now dodged every attempt at defense.

A serious scholar (historian, art historian) that I really admire is Prof. Simon Schama. Then I saw him in a team-match (Munk Debates/CBN?) with some notorious righties and they ate Mr. Schama, concerned liberal citizen of the world, for lunch. I still admire Prof. Schama, but he should only talk about things he understands.

Narr
Not like me

JAORE said...

"... history, but in the business of ideology and propaganda,..."

History IS the business of ideology and propaganda.

Amadeus 48 said...

“I th I have found her primary source.’

Heavens, I hope not. Silver’s parole documents in 1862 are right there. If she saw this file, major questions were right there.

Narayanan said...

She was advisor to Bill Clinton.
Remarkable resemblance to Monica.

Someone mentioned coquettish!?

Orinoco said...

People who get PhDs in disciplines like sex, birdcalls, anything with the word 'studies' in it, etc. are not worth reading or reading about.

Narayanan said...

Speaking of National Review
- who can confirm?

Ayn Rand stymied Buckley by telling him " you are too intelligent to believe in God "

walter said...

Her doc appears to be in Philosophy.
I suppose...

n.n said...

Transgender is trendy. This is at least the second major failure in service of normalization and creation of useful leverage through vilification and fraud. #HateLovesAbortion

Michael K said...

All the most cowardly people I have ever met are academicians. The toxic brew of tenure and leftist politics has perverted higher education in the humanities beyond repair. Infantilization is not too harsh a term. Naomi Wolf and her hair are not outliers.<

Yes. My daughter was half way into a PhD program on Spain during the Muslim era. She learned Arabic to read manuscripts. Her sister tried to recruit her for the FBI. She lived in Spain for a year but gave up on the PhD. She did not like academics. She is now in the art world, married and pregnant.

walter said...

I think a doc in birdcalls would likely have more merit.

Yancey Ward said...

Well, Howard, what you wrote is just fucking stupid. A mistake is far less an intellectual fault than lying- that I have to point this out is baffling, but then it was you who wrote otherwise.

narciso said...

well citizens was a great work of research, that winik's great upheaval relied upon for a fuller view of the French revolution,

Mattman26 said...

She should have just plagiarized and avoided this embarrassment.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

"Ms. Wolf is known for books such as “The Beauty Myth” and “Vagina: A New Biography.”"

Next Up: Moby Vagina

Howard said...

Sorry Yancy, but making a mistake around a central pillar of a thesis, especially one where the data is obviously "too good to be true", is more damning of the intellect than making a moral mistake by lying. Lying is more damning of ones character, not the intellect. It's really quite a simple logical concept. I love your anger, it really highlights your lack of math skilz, if you know what I mean

Michael K said...

I love your anger, it really highlights your lack of math skilz, if you know what I mean

Howard the mathematician. Are you as good at math a Freder the Economist ?

I'll bet you are just as good.

wildswan said...

"NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...
I suspect I've found her primary source here.

Amadeus 48 said...
“I th I have found her primary source.’

Heavens, I hope not. Silver’s parole documents in 1862 are right there. If she saw this file, major questions were right there."

I guess the question is whether this digital resource found by NorthOfTheOneOhOne was available when Wolf wrote her thesis and whether she used it. It's very probable that she did because this is the digital resource for Old Bailey. This resource gathers together in one place all the different records on individuals sentenced at Old Bailey and so makes it clear that Timothy Silver was not executed. In another part this resource explains the meaning of "death recorded." If Wolf used the resource, it would be impossible to avoid seeing that people she was studying were not being executed. But only by reading her thesis - or her acknowledgments - could we find whether she used that resource. Someone should follow up on this because if she used it she could not have been confused by alien terminology. It would be more serious.

Big Mike said...

Lost in all this discussion about Wolf is that Muslims hang gays today in Iran.

Slip said...

She's quite a looker.

ruprecht said...

I suspect a celebrity at Oxford doesn't get the same scrutiny of their thesis as the regular students. They were probably fawning over it and amazed nobody had noticed this or that previously and she's so brilliant.

MB said...

I'm sure they'll find something to get her critics with. There will be a price to pay. And next time she makes an incorrect statement nobody will dare criticize her.

MB said...

It's quite simple, really. All she has to claim is that this is what she has meant all along. Recording a death sentence is just as bad as the death sentence itself. Change the wording in her book slightly, to appease the intellectually limited critics who didn't understand what she actually meant. Racism, misogyny, homophobia, the white patriarchy.
Come on, this is not rocket science.

zefal said...

What do you think the future holds for the guy who pointed out these "errors"?

Mike said...

Naomi Whoops