Surprise, surprise! Naomi Wolf has been caught out lying yet again. I’m sure in a moment there will be monkeys leaping to the defense of the indefensible and that is fine.
Until then, the non-simian among you can enjoy reading this from the BBC (with a link to her side-splitting twitter defense) and listening to this this the interview during which she momentarily realized that she was a lying, disingenuous, ignorant bitch and then scuttled away from it. The good part starts at about the 18 minute mark.
Didn’t understand a term upon which she based a major argument, championned the super sympathetic case of a 14 year old who was executed (he wasn’t) for being gay (or for raping a 6 year old boy, easy to confuse since Naomi seems to think they are equivalent.)
At least this is the first… second… third(?) time she’s been caught out spewing demonstrable horseshit under the auspice of authority in order to promote her agenda and line her pockets.
As for the book, she seems to have put as much effort into her research as she did her thinking.
Yeah, I literally just the read the SF Chronicle review an hour ago and though it had a couple of nice things to say, overall it was not very complimentary. The little dumbass things in it( like typhus, cholera and tuberculosis being cited as mosquito-born illnesses )I think would annoy me as much as the profound research fuck-up.
That’s odd. I confess, I would probably have interpreted “death recorded” as “Death sentence handed down and recorded” rather than “judge didn’t issue death sentence, so noted” but I also hope I would have looked into it rather than making that assumption.
I have only the most superficial knowledge of Naomi Wolf but I’ve read some of her essays before and she’s been a useful advocate of progressive causes while also being deliberately controversial and, apparently, with about the same disregard for careful factual vetting as someone like Michael Moore – who manages to get a valid story out even if he mangles or obscures the details. Or in the words of Bill Maher’s coffee mug, “But I’m Not Wrong!”. Even if some of the details are.
What I get from the OP (the post) is that he (the poster) apparently hates Naomi Wolf, but regardless of his personal hate, she didn’t lie – she apparently made mistakes in the book. She’s not a liar here so much as she is a sloppy journalist. So in the end, it turns out that it’s the OP who’s actually a liar in misrepresenting the whole situation. You want liars? I give you Fox News, Breitbart, Newsmax, and the inimitable John Lott on gun violence statistics, just for starters. Or how about Anthony Watts on climate change, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner on climate change – oh, fuck it, just about any conservative asshole including the president of the USA and half of Congress on climate change. Deliberate, calculating liars – not makers of mistakes, but LIARS – each and every one. That’s what a liar is, OP. Fuck you, you ignorant douchebag.
In this case she is probably not a liar: I don’t know enough about her other stuff to say one way or another. But that doesn’t make her overall point true: in this particular outrage, it makes it false. Homosexuals were not so oppressed in 19th century England that they were still widely executed, so she was wrong about the level of oppression.
Whether she was wrong or not depends on precisely what claims one is questioning. Again, I’m no expert on the subject, I haven’t read the book, and I have no particular interest in defending Wolf, but to my understanding her basic narrative is correct even if some of the specific facts were mistaken, and certainly the claim that she is an intentional “liar” seems absurd and only confirms my prior impressions of the OP as an imbecile. For example, the cited article claims that “Dr Wolf alleged she had discovered that ‘several dozen’ men were executed for having homosexual sex during the 19th century” and that the BBC interviewer Matthew Sweet claimed this was incorrect. No, maybe her interpretation of certain court records was incorrect, but that statement in fact is perfectly accurate according to this historical timeline. The last executions for homosexuality in England were in 1835, and by the time the death penalty for being gay was abolished in 1861, 8921 men had been prosecuted during the 19th century with 404 sentenced to death and 56 executed. Which certainly counts as “several dozen” by my math.
And the oppression continued for more than another century. Nearly 100 years later, Alan Turing, one of the world’s greatest computer science pioneers and a war hero whose brilliant codebreaking skills helped save Britain from the Nazis and saved thousands of lives by shortening the war, was also persecuted in a similarly shameful way. He was given the option of being chemically castrated as an alternative to imprisonment for being a homosexual, and as a result of the subsequent depression he committed suicide in 1954. This was a travesty for which the Prime Minister issued a formal apology 55 years after Turing’s death, and eventually in 2013 Queen Elizabeth herself further formalized the proceedings by granting him a Royal Pardon.
I’ll never defend sloppy journalism because facts are important, but I will say this: Wolf’s new book is apparently called “Outrage” and there’s certainly factual stuff here to be outraged about. It’s a shame if she messed up some of the details.
Wolf is not so much a liar as simply not really a researcher or historian. She stampedes towards her conclusions without bothering to do real research, like a person repeating Internet memes. This is, remember, the same person who famously claimed that tens of thousands of young women were dropping dead every year from anorexia and the reason you didn’t hear about it is that all the rest of them were too hungry to say anything. I think she sort of beleives that she’s saying and certainly in this one instance she was CLEARLY NOT LYING. I don’t know how the OP could possibly have listened to the interview and come to such a weird conclusion. She was unquestionably horribly surprised she had gotten it wrong. “Mistaken” is not “lying.”
She wasn’t, no. The idea that men continued to be executed for sodomy in the UK is a critical part of the book, not a trivial side issue. The fact it was totally wrong is a serious flaw.
Britain’s sexually segregated institutions, particularly the British Navy and the entire boys’ public school system, were notorious hothouses of buggery. Generations of upper-class twits enjoyed their first sexual experiences at school, and later had to be cajoled into viewing women as the “correct” semen depository of the mature upper-class twit. Got to make the heir and the spare, you know.
You don’t know the difference between being a credulous doofus and lying?
I am one hundred percent convinced Wolf really thought “Death recorded” meant “executed.” I find that appallingly stupid; the term “Death recorded” is so weird, used in no other context and so strange-sounding, that even I would think “man, I should probably independently figure out what that means.” But it is plainly obvious Wolf really, honestly thought it meant executed. That is not “lying.”
I had never heard of Naomi Wolf, but this gives me pause…
If she’s truly like Bill Maher, that would mean she spews and repeats absolutebullshit and doubles down on idiocy when called on it, which in Bill’s case is indistinguishable from lying (unless you grant a minute possibility of severe mental defect).