One of the most amusing and revealing disasters in the book publishing business was the Naomi Wolf blunder of 2019. She was doing the rounds to promote her forthcoming book on the treatment of homosexuals in 19th century England. Given the topic, she expected to be given a hero’s welcome at every stop on her promotion tour, but instead she found out the premise of her book was nonsense. Here is a summary of the radio interview that made her famous for the wrong reasons.
Ms. Wolf is a good reminder that the establishment is loaded with grifters on both sides of the political spectrum. From this side of the great divide, the grifters of Conservative Inc. are most obvious, but they are pikers compared to the Left. Since the Left feeds on an array of identity groups, the opportunities to peddle nonsense are greater and more necessary, so they have a wide range of hucksters, conmen and so on. The mass media is just a platform for the left-wing grift-o-sphere.
What makes the Wolf story interesting is that it not only reveals the fraud of the political Left, but the bankruptcy of academia. This nonsense book Wolf wrote is based on her doctoral thesis at Oxford. In other words, the basic errors she made in reading the historical documents were not caught by her advisor or the thesis review committee that eventually granted her a title based on this pile of nonsense. They just rubber stamped the work, because the subject matter fit their agenda.
The real tell here is that Oxford not only did not rescind her doctorate or demand she revise her work, they never acknowledged it. They did not punish her thesis advisor, a person calling himself Stefano-Maria Evangelista. According to his website at the university he is still in good standing as an academic. Taken together, this says that the academy has no standards whatsoever. Ms. Wolf could have written her thesis with finger paint and it would have been approved as long as it had the right title.
Another amusing and revealing aspect to this is the early reviews of the book that are still up on Amazon. Note that Amazon deletes books and pages when the topic vexes the bigots over at the SPLC, but they leave up a complete fraud like the Wolf book. To their credit, the publisher pulped the book, but that did not stop reviewers from slobbering over it as if it is a lost work of Rousseau. One reviewer called it a “moving work of creative scholarship” which is a nice touch.
Like the academy, the book publishing business is packed to the gills with grifters and conmen, operating in a system that has no ethics. From this side of the great divide, the planks of wood pumping out books for Conservative Inc. are the most obvious, but the book publishing world mostly serves the Left. It is every bit as corrupt and value free as every other aspect of official society these days. The only thing that matters is that the fashionable opinions of the moment are echoed by the writers.
Of course, what makes the grift-o-sphere run so well is the total lack of shame on the part of the people running the various grifts. This is an under-appreciated aspect of what is happening in the West. One reason the people in charge are unmoved by public outrage is they have no conscience. Ms. Wolf’s Twitter profile, for example, features her discredited and unpublished book. Harold Bloom described her as Dracula’s daughter for good reason.
Again, this is something that is familiar on this side of the great divide. Mike Cernovich has become the universal example of the sort of sociopathic liar that inhabits the right side of the political spectrum. No matter how many times he is caught posting a whopper on-line, he keeps promoting himself. Normal people are embarrassed when they are caught in an error, much less an outright lie. The grifter, on the other hand, sees no difference between the truth and lie.
The truth is, this sort of behavior is far more common on the Left than on the Right or on this side of the great divide. Naomi Wolf is just one amusing example. There are thousands of people like her working a grift on left-wing audiences. Blacks, gays, Jews, trannies, socialists, you name the group on the Left and there is an army of grifters making a good living peddling nonsense to these people. It is fair to say that the Left is just a carnival of nonsense sold by carnies to the true believers looking for grace.
Grifters are a part of human society, but we seem to have entered into a unique phase in which the grifter is ubiquitous. Not so long ago, the book business had standards and the media did fire people for getting things wrong. Politicians went to jail for crimes and even rich people feared the law. The collapse of standards, combined with material excess seems to have resulted in a blossoming of grifters, like the sudden appearance of mold on an old piece of food. It is springtime for grifters.
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