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May 29 2019

People Are Talking about Quillette, a High-Brow Publication for Academics. No, Really--It's Hot

by Charlotte Hays

Quote of the Day:

Quillette attracts more eyeballs than plenty of venerable publications with lengthier histories (according to the analytics service Alexa, the site gets more page views than Washington Monthly, Commentary, or Harper’s). It’s been praised by the likes of Sam Harris, Cass Sunstein, and Christina Hoff Sommers, who celebrated it as "an island of sanity in a sea of madness."

--Chronicle of Higher Education

Have you like me been seeing more and more intriguing quotes from and references to a journal called Quillette and wanting to know more about this publication?

Well, you’re in luck.

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a fascinating article on Quillette that lays it all out—the Chronicle takes a gimlet-eyed view of the journal—you might say it praises with faint damns. But it definitely convinced me that Quillette belongs on my daily rota.

Quillette was founded in 2015 by Australian writer and student of psychology Claire Lehmann. Chronicle says that it had a “more straightforwardly scientific focus but later morphed into a vehicle for a distinctive brand of cultural critique.” But it has evolved. Chronicle’s Tom Bartlett explains:

Quillette has also become the house journal of sorts for the Intellectual Dark Web, that highbrow variety pack of academics, journalists, and miscellaneous pundits who pride themselves on a clear-eyed commitment to evidence over emotion. It published multiple pieces by and about James Damore, author of the infamous "Google memo" that questioned the company’s diversity policies, and came down squarely on the side of the so-called grievance-studies hoax, in which three scholars punked humanities journals by submitting creative nonsense cloaked in social-justice buzzwords.

Merely writing for Quillette is like hoisting a flag and declaring your allegiance in the culture wars — as a tweet from Katja Thieme, an instructor in English at the University of British Columbia, made plain not long ago: YES. If you are an academic and you publish in Quillette, we see you. We f-cking see you. And we are looking right at you.

The thousand or more replies to that thrown gauntlet included cheeky requests to be included on the professor’s hypothetical blacklist.

Bartlett is also distressed that “transgender activists are rarely smiled upon” and finds the defenses of Western civilization predictable. The Daily Beast and Slate have taken potshots at Quillette. How could a publication come more interestingly recommended?

As I said, Bartlett takes a dim view of Quillette and yet manages to make it sound like great fun and a must-read. I could not help but noticing the contrast with the treatment of this magazine and the glowing profile of “The View” that appeared in last Sunday’s New York Times magazine.

While Bartlett presents Quillette as a conservative niche publication (and quite rightly), New York Times scribe Amanda FitzSimons seems to think the “The View,” with its hatred of the president and denigration of his supporters, coupled with a depressing vulgarity, as utterly representative of the mainstream. The headline says it all: “How ‘The View’ Became the Most Important Political TV Show in America.”

More accurately, “The View” could have been described as a show that has influence with liberals. Ms. FitzSimons admits:

The actual breakdown of the show’s audience suggests that it’s liberal. According to the consumer-intelligence company MRI-Simmons, almost 65 percent of its viewers who are registered to vote are Democrats, and only 12.6 percent are Republicans.

Suggests?

“The View” is a liberal show. Why can’t the New York Times just say that?

 





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