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August 19, 2014

Comments

Craig Mc

How can you replace an intellect like Laurie's? We could do it with a doorstop of course, but The Grauniad will feel compelled to opt for something dumber.

If only Alene Composta were still around.

rjmadden

We must pray for her safe return from the bosom of academia.

I'm glad to see standards haven't fallen at Harvard.

David

No, don’t mock. We should encourage learning. After all, Laurie believes – indeed insists – that, like marriage, earning a living is a “small, ugly ambition,” something “we should have abandoned.” She also insists that high wages are easy to pay because it doesn’t matter whether your business is competitive.

David

“The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard educates leaders in journalism and elevates the standards of the profession… Laurie Penny… will study the economic history and theory of social movements, with an emphasis on digital culture and linguistics.”

I’d have thought that economics 101 and a class in rudimentary logic might be more beneficial to someone who makes emphatic pronouncements on economic matters, but there you go.

Anna

Tell me she'll still be tweeting. Please.

Henry

In the comments, one Pete Mowat opines:

Congratulations. An honour indeed, but one earned with relentless hard work and sacrifice that has and should continue to produce great results

This bloke, if he's real, is surely upholding the patriarchical notion of a damsel in distress, by assuming LP is this delicate snowflake who constantly requires approval?

Someone's bound to tell him so in a stern voice. I expect he'll hang his head at a guilty angle. The stupid git.

John D

I feel your pain, David. ;-)

David

I feel we ought to be writing pre-emptive letters of apology to every single person living in the United States.

First Piers Morgan, now this.

Joan

leaders in journalism…

elevates the standards of the profession…

Laurie Penny


That can't be right.

Stuck-Record

So, in short, "SMASH THE SYSTEM!, SMASH AUTHORITY!, SMASH… Er… what's that?, you want to offer me a position at Harvard?"

(One year later)

"SMASH THE SYSTEM!, SMASH AUTHORITY!, BLAH BLAH BLAH"

Smudger

All right for some, innit.

David

“SMASH THE SYSTEM!, SMASH AUTHORITY!”

Well, Laurie gets much of her economic, um, insight from the ludicrous narcissist and former Swuppie Richard Seymour. Mr Seymour, who longs for violent “revolution” while loitering safely in academia, sees his writing as an alternative to the “inconsequential shit” that people otherwise read. He says he’s “challenging middlebrow sensibilities” with his “unapologetic intellectual swagger.” Like Laurie, he will lead us to the light, modestly and with no thought for himself.

Rob

A year working in subsistence agriculture or in a factory would be more useful.

The original Mr. X

"leaders in journalism…

elevates the standards of the profession…

Laurie Penny


That can't be right."

To be fair, I'm hard-pressed to think of a journalist whose professional standards need elevating more than Laurie Penny's.

Jimmy

Professional standards and adherence to facts and logic are patriarchal constructs designed to oppress wrong-thinking people.

R. Sherman

I note she desires to take her writing "to the next level." Which circle of Prog-journalism hell would that be?

David

Tell me she’ll still be tweeting. Please.

Fear not, Anna. “I’ll continue to use Twitter and to update my own blog.” So the laughter won’t die just yet.

David Davis

Effing hell...I've just regarded her blogmasthead for the first time (why'd a normal human want to go there willingly in the course of business?) and what an insufferable, narcissistic and self-regarding twat that little girl is.

If I was the Master of Wadham when she was up, I'd have had her Sent Down.

sk60

So the laughter won’t die just yet.

Must. Fret. Harder.

Dr Cromarty

Private school - check.
Middle class parents- check.
Oxbridge - check.
Whitey - check.
Ivy League University - check.
Working environment populated by white, privately +/- Oxbridge educated journalists - check.

So when does Laurie get to check her privilege? Come to think of it how much privilege can one person have?

DH

The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard educates leaders in journalism and elevates the standards of the profession

I dread to think what sort of self-righteous nonsense is drummed into students on this course.

Having worked in this trade for a decade and more, I have seen dozens of bright-eyed young journalism graduates bounce into newsrooms in the belief that they are going to change the world, only to find that the job entails being sent out to knock doors on god-forsaken sink estates, sitting through interminably dull council meetings and dealing with a procession of crazies who walk in off the street. The romantic notion of journalism drummed into them at Liverpool John Moore's or Edinburgh Napier usually fades into distant memory as they are screamed at by a sociopathic news editor for failing to talk their way into the home of a bereaved family and the reality sinks in.

I expect the landing is even harder if you've been on an incredibly expensive Harvard journalism course.

David

self-righteous nonsense

In that respect, Laurie is ahead of the curve. Having generated so much of it in such extraordinary concentrations.

Must. Fret. Harder.

Yes, quite. Or appear to fret, at least. Presumably, the idea is that one should pointedly avoid any gendered acknowledgement of the person asking you a question, even when that person’s gender is rather obvious, in case you accidentally oppress them. Such are the dramas of Laurie’s speaking events, which tend to resemble inadvertent stand-up comedy. Though I’m still not sure how much of this ostentatious fretting is self-inflicted neurosis, or just another affectation in order to position herself among her peers.

Either way, it must be exhausting.

Tim Newman

First Piers Morgan, now this.

Prior to that, the Grauniad sent Gary Younge!

Tim Newman

Having worked in this trade for a decade and more, I have seen dozens of bright-eyed young journalism graduates bounce into newsrooms in the belief that they are going to change the world, only to find that the job entails being sent out to knock doors on god-forsaken sink estates, sitting through interminably dull council meetings and dealing with a procession of crazies who walk in off the street.

Too right, and that's how it should work. Some serious foot-soldiering on a local rag in your twenties, make a name for yourself with a scoop or two, and work your way up the chain to the nationals.

Nowadays, a relative or a friend of Daddy's gets you shoehorned into a slot on a national column, while proper journalists are fired in favour of republishing press releases.

Chris N

If there's one thing U.S. journalism needs, it's more third-rate Marxist chatterbox twits, writing from inside their own navels about the light they find there and the endlessly arriving dawn of progress and social change.

Severian

I must confess, I'm actually happy about this. One of the joys of reading your site, Mr. Thompson, is seeing the snippets from the UK press (you read the Guardian so I don't have to!). Over here, our Marxoid journotwits still like to pretend to objectivity, and I have to link to the British press (or, most often, to your site) to show my uninformed acquaintances, "look, this is what they really think of you!"

The faster the American public realizes the open, sneering contempt in which they're held by the chattering classes, the faster we'll see some real reform.

David Gillies

Look at the tendentious, question-begging aspect of all this: that the US, which has the most stultifyingly monotone journalism of any of the Anglosphere countries, is the place to hone one's craft. The big dailies read like a cross between corporate PR flannel and White House press briefings, and the TV networks have the same adherence to the party line in the face of evidence as Baghdad Bob.

Hmm, come to think of it, Penny Dreadful will take to it like a duck to water. If we regard her function as propagandist rather than journalist then many things become clearer.

DH

Some of Laurie's counterparts in the 77th Nieman Foundation class sound like a real laugh a minute.

Alicia Stewart, an editor at CNN.com, will study entrepreneurial and editorial models for accurate, nuanced reporting on under-covered communities, with a focus on women and people of color.

Farnaz Fassihi, a senior Middle East correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, is based in Beirut. She will study the rise of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, focusing on how they and other Islamic militants on both sides of the sectarian Sunni-Shiite divide are utilizing modern technology to organize, recruit, spread their influence and crush opponents.

I'm sure they are all full of really useful advice to impart to a junior reporter faced with the prospect of doorstepping the owner of a deranged Akita accused of tearing a chunk out of a local kid's arm.

David

If we regard her function as propagandist rather than journalist then many things become clearer.

Actually, I think that’s how she sees her function. Hence, presumably, her readiness to embellish, distort and Make Shit Up™. I doubt Laurie would use the word propagandist, which is much too explicit, but “activist” certainly.

[ Added: ]

She’s said, many times, that she “[holds] no truck with the notion of ‘objective’ reporting.” In which, traditionally, one might at least make a token effort to acknowledge a plurality of views on whatever the issue is, even views at odds with one’s own, and areas of uncertainty, disputed details, etc. But this is much too messy, and difficult, and takes the spotlight away from Laurie and her pretentious attitudinising. Instead, she wants to assert, and assert some more. Piles of assertion held together by nothing much – that’s what she does.

Laurie says people are “sick of being lied to.” And her solution to the fact that reporters and editors have angles and biases is to indulge in question-begging, hyperbolical emotionalism and outright fabrication, and then still present it as if it were a credible account of whatever it is she’s banging on about this week. And so she will “speak truth to power.” And set the people free.

Hal

Hmmm. The impression I get is; She's stating that she's now to be going on sabbatical from journalism?

Connor

I didn't realize what she did *was* journalism.

dicentra

Mr Seymour, who longs for violent “revolution” while loitering safely in academia

Perhaps he could spend a night in Ferguson, MO.

Wearing a cop uniform.

Hal

We must pray for her safe return from the bosom of academia.

Well, if you are indeed inspired to prayer, Harvard is indeed in Boston.

And Shepherds we shall be For thee, my Lord, for thee. . . . . .

dicentra

A year working in subsistence agriculture or in a factory would be more useful.

I'm of the firm belief that a year (six months would do) spent in an African village, hauling water for the women to free up their time for other things, would do wonders for overprivileged, professional fretters like Penny.

All her frivolous abstraction would necessarily be torn down by the cold hard realities of subsistence-level farming and high infant mortality. She'd be in the real service of people in need instead of the faux service rendered by Peace Corps and other agencies that swoop in and perform service that's meant to flatter themselves more than actually help people.

The Africans would also teach her plenty of lessons on humility, humanity, and What Really Matters.

Because they're not narcissistic harpies with too much time on their hands.

They also know how to avoid deadly snakes. You can't get better lessons than that.

David

Perhaps he could spend a night in Ferguson, MO. Wearing a cop uniform.

Amen, sister.

Henry

Reading the "About" section of her site. It begins

Laurie Penny was born in London in 1986 and is not dead yet

Which is almost funny. It is also very slightly reminiscent of the blurb on the back of Terry Pratchett's books (before he sadly fell ill) which I'm pretty sure used to say:

Terry Pratchett was born 1948 and is not still dead

I'm not going to accuse her of anything naughty, of course. Any other similarities?

------------

(similarly, one of Pratchett's characters, a witch named Granny Weatherwax, used to have a sign saying "I aten't dead" for when she was in a trance and mentally hijacking an eagle's body - as you do. He really is a wonderful writer)

Shiggz

I have read a fair amount of Pratchett myself. Sounds like Harry Potter crap has all but suffocated the Discworld. Actually just named my Son "Mort."

mojo

"...no, Penny, HAH-vahd. HAH-vahd. Try it again..."

Hal

"...no, Penny, HAH-vahd. HAH-vahd. Try it again..."

Lessee . . . . Drop the aitches, do the glottal stop, now also drop the Rs.

So, that should turn Harvard into 'A!va'd . . .

Hal

Oh, no, apparently that pronunciation would actually be more 'A?va?d . . . .

I think.

There is an advantage to not dropping aitches, Rs, and adding glottal stops . . .

jones

I am dark, as if bereft of light.

Shiggz

Hey Laurie, congratulations on going to the same college as Mitt Romney and George Bush. Its not privilege when your at Harvard right?

dicentra

I know they've been hinting around at this, but it's the first I've seen it declared in so many words: Stace won't quit poking the hornet's nest:

Women are groomed into heterosexuality, through culture. Because we live in a rape culture.
That's right: the natural state of the human female is NOT heterosexuality, but those pervs with the Y chromosome "groom" us into it like pedophiles groom children. Essentially forcing us into something awful and unnatural.

As for the standard "Uh, reproduction?" objection:

Anyways one or two acts is all thats needed to get a kid, not a lifetime of service.
That's right, boys and girls, I mean, girls and girls, the world isn't right until we're all Amazons.

I'm actually not sure what to make of that kind of irrational anger: either she was sexually molested as a child or young teen (and was groomed herself) or the anger is 100% pose.

In the first case her situation is tragic and painful; in the second it's just pathetic.

David

Morning. [ Rubs eyes, sips coffee. ]

Stace won’t quit poking the hornet’s nest.

He does have a flair for enraging the bedlamites. Generally by quoting their own words to a larger, less credulous audience.

jones

I do find it rather interesting how these milli-tants (I hope that isn't offensive) will pointedly NOT look at the issue of women's rights in, say, the islamic world...

All the fault of white men I guess....

Jonathan

"They also know how to avoid deadly snakes"

And the Hippos, don't forget the Hippos. I actually did work in Africa for about 6 months in 19%^ (i.e too long ago for me to decently recall). It definitely does give one a perspective on Western Civilisation and how simply bloody marvelous it all is.

dicentra

It definitely does give one a perspective on Western Civilisation

Every Spoiled Westerner (and we're all spoiled) should spend at least 6 months in a developing country, but not as a tourist.

The default state of humanity is pretty grim. It makes it that much more galling that we have barbarians among us (the Intelligentsia, I mean) who want to tear it all down.

Franklin

I'm in Boston and I await instructions from the Guild of Evil.

David

Franklin,

Tune your amulet to 77 MHz. Instructions will follow.

Mark of Tasmania

"...in order to take my writing to the next level, I needed to stop careering around chasing stories, go back to school and sit my bum down for some serious reading and nerding out. "

Because social commentators can never be too far removed from the hoi polloi.

Custard Cream

She writes like a slightly overheated teenager at the moment, so what's the 'next level'? A first year student?

Jonathan

@ Franklin, David
Re: Guild of Evil.
Our Tokyo Agent sent this message, frankly I think the job is getting to him:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gr9_uLlH3yk

David

I’m heartened by the news that “if elected” he will “freak out.”

Nikw211

Radical feminists are used to talking to themselves inside the academic echo chamber, where no one will dare talk back to them

Heh.

(From Dicentra's McCain link)

sackcloth and ashes

Penny is taking a 'break' from journalism?

When did she actually start being a reporter?

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