May 15, 2024

"She acknowledges being the beneficiary of a previous generation’s progressivism... It’s the crazy activism she’s against — you know, the 'fringe' stuff."

"By fringe, she means trans. She’s peeved that some trans women are trying to redefine feminism in ways that seem to her to be anti-woman, resents that lesbians risk being erased by trendy all-purpose queerness and fears that as a married lesbian mother she will have her own rights swept away by anti-trans backlash.... I was, of course, eager to read good gossip about The Times. The best nugget: After Bowles started dating... Bari Weiss... she says an editor [exclaimed]... 'She’s a Nazi.'... Her most serious charge is that the editor thought her story ideas weren’t as good after that. The obvious question is whether her heterodox turn has conferred much benefit when it comes to ideas. The ones on display here seem pretty shopworn. I recall admiring a sharp-elbowed profile of the psychologist and anti-identity politics commentator Jordan Peterson that Bowles wrote early in her Times tenure. Nothing in this book hits that level.... [T]he book’s central fallacy is that idiocy on the left requires moving to the right. It doesn’t...."

Writes Laura Kipnis, in The New York Times. She's reviewing the new book by Nellie Bowles, "Morning After the Revolution: Dispatches From the Wrong Side of History" (commission earned).

Should I read this book? It's 7 hours by audiobook. I'll try. Kipnis warns me that Bowles is trying to be the new Tom Wolfe, but she's not as good as Wolfe (and neither is Kipnis): "where Wolfe was a precision-guided stiletto, Bowles is more of a dull blade, ridiculing her former colleagues by saddling them with laughably vacuous thoughts and dreams — their 'beautiful vision of the role of journalism for such a beautiful time,' for instance."

What about in that "sharp-elbowed profile" of Peterson? Was she closer to Wolfe back then? I blogged it at the time — here, in 2018. Bowles wrote:
Wherever he goes, he speaks in sermons about the inevitability of who we must be. “You know you can say, ‘Well isn’t it unfortunate that chaos is represented by the feminine’ — well, it might be unfortunate, but it doesn’t matter because that is how it’s represented. It’s been represented like that forever. And there are reasons for it. You can’t change it. It’s not possible. This is underneath everything. If you change those basic categories, people wouldn’t be human anymore. They’d be something else. They’d be transhuman or something. We wouldn’t be able to talk to these new creatures.”...

Enforced monogamy is, to him, simply a rational solution. Otherwise women will all only go for the most high-status men, he explains, and that couldn’t make either gender happy in the end. 
“Half the men fail,” he says, meaning that they don’t procreate. “And no one cares about the men who fail.”

I laugh, because it is absurd.

“You’re laughing about them,” he says, giving me a disappointed look. “That’s because you’re female.”...

Seems like the "sharp elbows" were Peterson's. I bought the book, so I can tell you, there's no mention of Jordan Peterson. 

40 comments:

God of the Sea People said...

Megyn Kelly interviewed Knowles and Barry Weis at length on her show last week. You might consider listening to that interview on her podcast before deciding. It certainly piqued my interest in the book, but I probably won't read it as it isn't particularly relevant to me.

Michael said...

Kellie Bowles is just a perfect representative of the nihilism that infected journalism this past decade. The orgiastic desire for scalps, the joy in destroying the reputation of all who crossed her path, the dopamine hit that came with bullying from her NYT pulpit.

Now she's doing one of those non-apology apology tours. Bowles 2.0 is just a shallow as the original. I'm not buying it.

Kate said...

I used to read Bowles' weekly column at the Free Press. She'll dig for truth, but only with a trowel. Maybe a shovel every now and then. Peterson brings a backhoe.

WWIII Joe Biden, Husk-Puppet + America's Putin said...

Reading the amazon link and reviews...
Good think the author is a "Hillary voter". she must feel that readers of the delicate kind might assume something else. Reminds me of Bill Maher. Whenever he launches into a critique of the left, he prefaces it with "Don't worry - I hate Trump... I hate all Republicans"

I liked this review:

"Ms. Bowles is a real talent and a real person, buy her book and read it quick before all the censorious, tantrum-throwing, Ivy League children get hold of it and burn it (or forcibly have it removed from your Kinndle)."

imTay said...

According to George Soros, he made his billions based on a single idea, that trends start out as useful, get co-opted by the powerful, and are exploited by them and become entrenched, and due to the fact that they are so entrenched, they outlive their useful lives, and indeed they don't die until they become so, not just useless, but ridiculous, and not just ridiculous, but harmful to the interests of the powerful, that the powerful are forced to reverse them. Unfortunately, this cycle can take longer than a human lifespan to play out.

Here is a great interview of a futurist (my eyes rolled too) by Rick Beato, that starts out as a critique of AI in the music industry, which is a fascinating topic in itself, since the interviewee voices a suspicion, with some circumstantial evidence, that Spotify creates "curated" playlists of music that they have used AI to compose, in order to avoid paying artists, but it covers a lot of topics. The interview is over an hour, but it really doesn't peter out for 50 minutes or so.

https://youtu.be/ibMd_Jx9daw?si=1KSHcuFbKzqiRtZu

CJinPA said...

[T]he book’s central fallacy is that idiocy on the left requires moving to the right. It doesn’t....

Thinking people are never required to move to the right. Never. It's just not done.

Christopher B said...

Sorry to see you spent money on the book already. I'd have told you to skip it.

I subscribe to Bari Weiss's SubStack, which now regularly features posts from various other authors of a similar ideological bent including Bowles (Bari's partner for those who don't know the connection). Bowles has regularly done a Friday news review which attempts a "humorous" look at both serious current events as well a selection of weird and often obscure "viral" stories. I'd say 'shopworn' is a pretty good descriptor of her writing. To use a common metaphor, the review usually tries to prove that Bowles (and Weiss) should still be on the A-list in all their old haunts because they really still dislike (and make fun of) all the right people even if they think that maybe their old friends have gone just a little too far in maybe one or two areas. Nobody should really think they are actually supportive of all those crazy conservative Xtians who also think male and female are distinct groups of humans. Bowles' reasoning is so much more sophisticated, naturally.

Dave Begley said...

There will never be another Tom Wolfe. Like there will never be another Jack Nicklaus. Or Ty Cobb. Or Warren Buffett. Foolish to even make the comparison.

Bob Boyd said...

I saw a drunk biker chick once in the parking lot of country bar. She fell down and when she got up she had stuff on her fringe.

MadisonMan said...

Should I read this book? It's 7 hours by audiobook. I'll try.
I think I read faster than an audiobook. But I'm not sure if that's true for everyone. Am looking forward to when I have time to read for leisure. That time is coming.

MrEdd said...

[T]he book’s central fallacy is that idiocy on the left requires moving to the right. It doesn’t...."

How about if Bowles just wanted to stay where she was? Maybe center left or even traditional liberal. The "left" of five years ago is not the "left" now. Everytime someone criticizes a further progressive lurch to the woke left, they are attacked as somehow becoming a right-wing MAGA proto-fascist. The principles of the Left should not change along with what a coterie of coastal wokists suddenly find fashionable.

Tina Trent said...

Bowles is trying on a new outfit: iconoclast. You know: the previously silent iconoclast who doesn't get her J Crew in a bustle until she's the stalked, instead of the stalker.

She doesn't have much else: a hip girlfriend, a limp writing style, and no consistent ethic to rise above her latest flavor of sniping.

Soon she'll be on to the next thing. I'll pass on this one. The next one will probably be worse.

Sebastian said...

"[T]he book’s central fallacy is that idiocy on the left requires moving to the right. It doesn’t."

True. You can just wallow in it, or move farther left. Or you can kid yourself you're a not-like-those-idiots-lefty, but still a prog in good standing who uses the right pronouns, drives an EV, and denounces "zionists" every once in a while.

narciso said...

as kipnis is one the ones that bowles skewers, I suspect it's like the Fox saying the grapes are sour,

Temujin said...

I've become a fan of Nellie Bowles's writing through The Free Press. She's actually very good. No, she's no Thomas Wolfe. Who is? He was singular. But there is a need for the Nellie Bowles's of this world. She's a humorist commentary writer to me. I'm sure she's more than that and has an entire work history as a reporter. But...the huge gap I see in our 'news' columns today are the great humorists who can look at America and shine a light here or there at some of the absurdity of our daily lives. We used to have some great ones. Seems like humor is out of fashion these days. She skewers both sides, all sides. She has her favorites, and those she cares little for, but there's no gushing on one side or cries to kill the mf'er on the other side, or at the very least not let them speak.

She's the opposite of that. She's all about free speech. In the old-fashioned way many of us used to be. You know- where you actually have some. Laura Kipnis' review seems (based on your clip) to be a simpleton's attack. Not willing to consider what Nellie is saying in the big picture, only that Nellie went 'over the wall', and that is truly unforgivable.

I bought Nellie's book. I'm just getting into it. To be honest, the story of her journey from factory-produced progressive clone to clearer thinking individual is really not the reason I bought this book. There are other such journeys in book form out there. I bought it because I like her writing for what it is. That, plus the journey makes me curious to at least start it. Plus- my wife was also interested in reading it.

gspencer said...

Time to re-read Bonfire of the Vanities.

Always on point at the left.

gspencer said...

Hot Air's initial thought on the book,

https://hotair.com/david-strom/2024/05/15/nellie-bowles-spills-the-beans-on-the-new-york-times-n3788402

n.n said...

Political congruence ("=") as a liberal ideology and progressive process under the Pro-Choice religion.

The homosexual orientation is a band in the transgender spectrum. Transgender conversion therapy is Levine's dreams of herr Mengele, with a great majority of failures in surgical, medical, and psycho-atric experiments with forward-looking costs for individuals and society.

Feminism is a class-disordered ideology.

Ann Althouse said...

“ I think I read faster than an audiobook. But I'm not sure if that's true for everyone. …”

Reading is faster if you are absorbed and paying attention but an audiobook enforces linear attention paying and you can get other things done at the same time — walking, laundry, driving, cooking….

I just wouldn’t sit and read something like this. I’d be off and into the internet within 10 minutes. I need to cue it up and go for a walk.

Achilles said...

"[T]he book’s central fallacy is that idiocy on the left requires moving to the right. It doesn’t...."

The book's central fallacy is that "right" and "left" are actually meaningful terms.

Achilles said...

"I think I read faster than an audiobook. But I'm not sure if that's true for everyone. …”

I can turn the audio book up to 3.5 speed on audible. They upgraded it from 3.0 speed. That allows me to listen while driving and not get put to sleep.

Joe Smith said...

Why are gay people obsessed with telling us ad nauseam who they fuck and how they do it?

The men are far worse than the women, but it is tiresome.

Fuck who you want and how you want, but the rest of the world doesn't need to know about it, and there need be no parades for having accomplished said fucking.

n.n said...

Repeal the "Respect For Marriage Act". Civil unions for all consenting adults: couples, couplets, etc. Lose your politically congruent ("=") Pro-Choice ethical religion.

RCOCEAN II said...

Its always nice when someone supports free speech and attacks the hard left. However, I'm not particularly interested in someone who thinks Jordan Petersen is "rightwing" and that attacking him is "iconoclasm".

Reasonable leftists are still leftists. Its like communists in the 30s - it was good the Trotskyites attacked Stalinism and showed how evil it was. But they were still Communists.

n.n said...

Progressivism is a philosophy of the three-step: one step forward, two steps backward.

holdfast said...

NYT “team player” can’t refute or debunk, so she needs to convince everyone that the book is boring.

I’ve read a few excepts, and they are NOT boring. Occasionally kinda blind - like, lady, the editor who called your Jewish lesbian girlfriend “a fucking Nazi” is not at all a decent person. He’s a total fucking asshole. WAKE UP.

But the part I want to read is how NYT employees were brigaded on Twitter to go out and cancel one of their own colleagues.

Original Mike said...

"Am looking forward to when I have time to read for leisure. That time is coming."

Reading and sleeping. Two of the supreme joys of retirement.

Tina Trent said...

OK, Temujin. I trust your judgment. And any woman who would take on the challenge of marrying you. Good on her. I'll give it a shot. I'm just getting used to Substack. I only read Martin Prieb there. Interesting fellow for those in the Chicago area.

n.n said...

Albinophobia is a diverse, equivocal, and inclusive spectrum. Why would trans/homosexuals think that they alone and in couplets would receive sustainable exclusive treatment? #NoJudgment? #NoLabels?

Progressives think that they can have a Planned baby, cannibalize her profitable parts, sequester her carbon pollutants, and have her, too. #HateLovesAbortion and other wicked solutions.

mikee said...

I caution Althouse against going so meta with her reading/listening. Time is fleeting, and going down literary rabbit holes that do nothing but circle around themselves without end is a bit of a cop out. Tie yourself in knots, if you must, over something more real.

Howard said...

It's nice to see people willing to evolve. Or maybe I should say slow down devolving.

Riley Mason said...


The NYT review by Laura Kipnis is a true takedown by a Commissar.of the People's Justice!
It's worth a treatment by Yuri in his struggle session parody.


As another commenter observed:

"I liked this review:

'"Ms. Bowles is a real talent and a real person, buy her book and read it quick before all the censorious, tantrum-throwing, Ivy League children get hold of it and burn it (or forcibly have it removed from your Kindle).''


Leora said...

I read her Friday newsletter "TGIF" distributed by The Free Press (Bari Weiss's publication) and find it informative and amusing. If she had a blog site like this one I would read it every day like I do this one. I pre-ordered the book.

Leora said...

I read Nellie Bowle's Friday newsletter "TGIF" distributed by The Free Press (Bari Weiss's publication) and find it informative and amusing. If she had a blog site like this one I would read it every day like I do this one. Just bought the book.

RCOCEAN II said...

Just looked Bowles up. She "married" Bari Weiss and converted to Judaism. Maybe she can get an interview with the The Dog killing South Dakota Governor, who thinks Jews are "The chosen people" and "prays Israel every night".

After all, how could she refuse?

Temujin said...

Tina Trent- you have no idea how right you are. We just hit 21 years together. I don't know how she does it. I couldn't.

Ampersand said...

I subscribe to The Free Press to support the notion that journalists can transition from a pack mentality to a point of view that is willing to listen to both sides. Nellie Bowles' weekly TGIF column is entertaining, and most of the rest of the site's content is worthwhile.

FWIW, I happened to meet Nellie in a social setting a few weeks ago, and she came across as a regular human being.

I plan to buy the book. I also plan to read Glenn Loury's new book, Late Admissions. The way the reviews depict it, it's a confessional memoir that describes his weird trajectory as a diappointing human being (drug abuse, infidelities, cowardice of a certain sort) who went from conservative to liberal, and back to conservative.

rehajm said...

Should I read this book? It's 7 hours by audiobook. I'll try.

Is it your contention counselor that listening to an audiobook is reading?!?

n.n said...

from conservative to liberal, and back to conservative

An evolution (i.e. chaotic order that approaches a fitness function) from classical liberal (i.e. principled divergence) to progressive liberal (i.e. monotonic divergence) and back... one step forward, two steps backward, and one step forward to a moderate state.

Tina Trent said...

Temujin. My husband and I met around the 1996 Atlanta Olympic bombing. We didn't even know each other, though we attended the same small grad program. We both cooked in restaurants to pay for our educations and couldn't stand all the pissy French students Emory bought from other schools. He dogsat for me the day after we met, and I drove to Florida and told my professor/dearest friend I had just met my husband. I came home with bad bronchitis or worse from swimming in an emerging red tide in Tampa Bay and chainsawing pepper trees for my frail professor. My future husband sat by my bed for days, reading me Bleak House.

I don't deserve the ground he walks on, but for some reason, he is still here. We are lucky assholes, eh?