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How conservatives misunderstand grooming Twitter sleuths aren't interested in the truth

Drag Queen Story Hour is not representative (VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

Drag Queen Story Hour is not representative (VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)


December 16, 2022   5 mins

Philosophers sometimes like to talk about “technological affordances” — basically, the possibilities of action that a new technology affords. Twitter’s affordances include the capacity to destroy one’s enemies without leaving the platform or otherwise breaking a sweat. This is the phenomenon of “offence archaeology” — digging around in old tweets or other social media presences for outrageous-seeming snippets in order to quote them out of context and so wreak havoc upon their owner.

The most recent prominent victim of his own employer’s search function is Twitter’s former Head of Trust and Safety, Yoel Roth, a man with the sort of hubristic job title that almost guarantees its owner’s involvement in a scandal sooner or later. Apparently settling old scores, this week new boss Elon Musk picked up on a tweet of Roth’s from 12 years ago as well as an extract from his PhD thesis, and used both to try to insinuate a sinister connection with Twitter’s prior failure to eliminate child sexual exploitation from the site.

Generally speaking, the revelation of supposed malfeasance by some internet sleuth has an archetypal drama that never gets old. There’s a shiver of pleasure at the spectacle of an unmasking, as well as a feeling of suppressed gratitude that it’s happening to someone else and not you. The age of the quoted text doesn’t matter, nor what its author was trying to say to whom, nor when, nor why. As an observer, you get the social world’s permission not to care about these things in the slightest because nobody else seems to care about them either.

Most often, such acts of excavation are the domain of vengeful Madame Defarge-types on the Left, seeking to do away with enemies and rivals by launching accusations of sexism, ableism, transphobia, and so on. But social conservatives are now also in on the game, and their current weapons of choice are accusations of “grooming”, paedophilia, and other conspiracies of the sexually deviant, mostly aimed at those in the LGBT world, loosely construed. Roth is a gay man, and this is the discourse into which his tweets and PhD extracts have been assimilated by some on the Right. He is now reported as having been forced to flee his home due to threats.

But to a sober eye, the extracts highlighted by Musk establish nothing like what has been implied. The first was a tweet of Roth’s asking a question — “Can high school students ever meaningfully consent to sex with their teachers?” — and linking to a Salon article discussing a teacher being charged for having sex with an 18-year-old student, despite the legal age of consent in the US state concerned being 16. Asking spicy-sounding ethical questions like this, and then giving anticlimactically vague answers — as does the article in question — is a staple of moral and legal philosophical prose, and hardly a reliable guide to nefarious authorial intentions.

Roth’s thesis extract looks even more boring. After acknowledging that the gay social media platform Grindr “may well be too lewd and too hook-up-oriented to be a safe and age-appropriate resource for teenagers”, he apparently tries to deal responsibly with the fact that teenagers are on there anyway by insisting that the platform continue to be held legally liable, and that it “craft safety strategies” with which to “safely connect queer young adults”. In other words, this is a perfectly standard approach to real-world problems, acknowledging that a social duty to protect the vulnerable persists even where individuals cannot be stopped from doing things that put them in harm’s way.

The real story is that conservatives were already angry with Roth for something else entirely. Earlier this month, he pinged Republican radars via his appearance in the so-called Twitter Files. The emerging picture seems to confirm what many disaffected users have long suspected — that, in the pre-Musk regime, senior employees such as Roth controlled which bits of information and which people could or could not be visible on the platform, in relatively arbitrary ways, though mostly skewed towards Democrat interests. For those already frustrated with what they see as excessively ideological moderation practices used covertly to support questionable politics, previous partisan tweets of Roth’s quickly established him as a promising candidate for this month’s two-minute hate, and the search function did the rest.

Whether or not Twitter moderation has been biased and censorious in the past (it has), establishing the raiding of PhD theses and other juvenilia as a precedent in the sexual culture wars spells trouble for LGBT people in general. For what conservatives caught up in the ecstasy of denunciation may be missing is that these days, entire academic disciplines are structured to produce people who look to the untutored eye like sexual deviants but in fact are not. In some academic fields, it’s practically mandatory to argue that traditional sexual norms are problematic in some way and probably should be dismantled.

That isn’t indicative of Pasolini-style levels of rampant debauchery in the academy, so much as of the fact that many academics are socially awkward geeks, hoping that by pontificating edgily about sex they might look cool. In writing incomprehensible paragraphs about non-standard sexual practices, they get to pose simultaneously as political dissidents, freedom fighters, social justice activists, and deep philosophical thinkers, bravely dismantling the status quo, one mention of an orgy or fetish at a time. Others are simply doing it because, over time, disciplinary norms in this direction have mindlessly developed, and now it’s as good a way as any to attract attention in the jobs market. We should read most taboo-busting academic arguments not as confessions but as performances — often carried out by relatively junior and pedestrian strivers, trying to play the career game in a highly competitive market, and who have no time for sex, even assuming they could get any. Read against relevant comparators, Roth’s thesis extracts about Grindr seem unusually responsible and moderate.

Conservatives are also wrong that the impetus towards sexual taboo-busting within institutions is coming from LGBT people in particular, let alone that it’s mostly coming from LGBT people intent on corrupting minors. It’s true that social experiments like Drag Queen Story Hour in libraries or extremely graphic sex education in schools are often initiated in the name of the mythical “LGBT community”, but that’s not to say that most of them like it. In practice, it’s just as often heterosexual missionary-types doing the organising, enthusiastically seeking out what they consider to be progressive causes for the purposes of guilt expiation and social media likes.

The fact is that most of the material fuelling so-called groomer discourse is coming not from appetites for illicit sex, but for social approval, and from straight people as much as anyone else. Though it’s true that most instigators would describe themselves as queer, it should also be remembered that this is a category that anyone at all can access, as long as they say the magic words “I’m queer”.

This is not to say that there is nothing to see here — quite the opposite. As radical feminists point out, the ravages of the extremes of male sexuality upon women and children become invisible once filed under positive-sounding headings such as “sexual dissidence” and “freedom to be yourself”. There doesn’t have to be any conspiracy here for it to be true that queer culture puts women and children at risk, albeit mostly inadvertently rather than on purpose. There are plenty of examples already in the public domain of bad male actors profiting from the dismantling of traditional ways of separating the sexes, for instance. And there will be many more in future, unless responsible progressives stop believing in fairy tales about male sexuality — or even just admit that, as in Red Riding Hood, wolves can sometimes dress up in grandmother’s clothing.

I see no real sign of any dawning realism, though. Instead, both sides seem locked in a terrible dynamic: the more lurid the accusations from the Right about grooming and the moral corruption of children, the more the Left splutter about how such accusations could only be motivated by racism, homophobia, or transphobia. Meanwhile, the latter’s myopic refusal to acknowledge a more complicated picture than “all criticism is bigotry” further empowers predators to take advantage of weakened safeguarding structures — whereupon their cases will be seamlessly recycled into the Right’s rhetoric, as further evidence that LGBT people are basically a problem for a sane society. And if they can’t get real cases of predation? Well, as the Roth case demonstrates, many are prepared to just make them up.

***

Order your copy of UnHerd’s first print edition here


Kathleen Stock is an UnHerd columnist and a co-director of The Lesbian Project.
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Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago

“For what conservatives caught up in the ecstasy of denunciation may be missing is that these days, entire academic disciplines are structured to produce people who look to the untutored eye like sexual deviants but in fact are not. In some academic fields, it’s practically mandatory to argue that traditional sexual norms are problematic in some way and probably should be dismantled.”
I think this has to be my first time disagreeing with good Professor Stock. I reckon we conservatives are often well apprised of the academy’s ongoing project of “problematizing” traditional sexual norms. Of course, we see such blatantly sociopathic behaviour merely as depravity apologism.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

I have given you a thumbs up for your comment as I agree that philosophical questioning of the validity of social taboos can indeed all to easily be seen as apology or worse for socially deviant practices that eat away at the social structure. If such intellectual exercises take place in obscure philosophical journals that is one thing, what is undesirable to a conservative is the philosopher seeking to make waves in the public sphere. Philosophers should stick to ensuring their intellectual experimentation takes place “pas devant les enfants” otherwise they risk coming across as promoters of deviance whatever their intention.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeremy Bray
Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

“pas deviant les enfants”. Is your Freudian slip showing?

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew D

More autocorrect’s Freudian slip that I didn’t spot had been altered. Now corrected.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeremy Bray
bill blax
bill blax
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

On a somewhat different note, is the “autocorrect” function a form of “autocracy”?

bill blax
bill blax
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

On a somewhat different note, is the “autocorrect” function a form of “autocracy”?

Ludwig van Earwig
Ludwig van Earwig
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew D

One of the funniest typos I’ve seen.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew D

More autocorrect’s Freudian slip that I didn’t spot had been altered. Now corrected.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeremy Bray
Ludwig van Earwig
Ludwig van Earwig
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew D

One of the funniest typos I’ve seen.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

“pas deviant les enfants”. Is your Freudian slip showing?

AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

As someone who currently studies within the exact disciplines that Stock references, I think that there is a point to be made about the naive enthusiasm of academics in taking tenets of queer theory and applying them with zeal without considering the implications of framing heterosexuality, monogamy, and vanilla sexual norms as problematic. Each individual piece of research when taken in isolation isn’t for the most part contributing anything to enablement of sexual deviants or predators, it is no different to any other kinds of theoretical research in that sense. The issues are arising due to a combination of the sheer volume of such research being produced and the corporatist obsession with amplifying such research and applying it to the real world via diversity and inclusion strategies.

However, I do agree with your point about Stock’s seeming underestimation of the knowledge and thought processes of conservatives on this subject.

Last edited 1 year ago by AL Crowe
Tom Watson
Tom Watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

“Stupid conservatives don’t realise that ackshually, universities just train people to act like that.” No, we know. Not sure how pointing it out is inherently harmful to LGBT folx either, unless she’s subtly hinting something that from anyone else would elicit outrage…

Stock’s only objection to the ruling zeitgeist is that one day it decided it didn’t like her.

Dr. G Marzanna
Dr. G Marzanna
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Watson

Well if conservatives know, why is your response so weak? Denouncing the arts and humanities for being useless and woke is hardly the answer. No energy for an intellectual counter-attack? No appetite to rescue intellectual life frome the woke goons? In any case getting rid of the arts would make a pretty boring life: no TV, no movies, no books, no Unherd, even
Step up, why don’t you?

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Dr. G Marzanna

There was an attempt. It was labelled McCarthyism. The institutions were captured a century ago.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

No, that was very different. I’m no Marxist, but you occasionally meet an old fashioned one who prioritises economic issues and loathes the identitarian Left. In fact, you COULD see the whole thing as a capitalist plot if you were so minded, given the woke’s almost total capture of the largest corporations in society.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

No, that was very different. I’m no Marxist, but you occasionally meet an old fashioned one who prioritises economic issues and loathes the identitarian Left. In fact, you COULD see the whole thing as a capitalist plot if you were so minded, given the woke’s almost total capture of the largest corporations in society.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Dr. G Marzanna

There was an attempt. It was labelled McCarthyism. The institutions were captured a century ago.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Watson

I don’t agree. Feminists had a point, and still do since among other things the vast majority of violence is meted out by men (not most men!). This is all reasonably arguable in a free society, but the mantra ‘transwomen are women’ is simply ludicrous unless hugely qualified, as is the notion that we are ‘assigned gender at birth’ or that we can be ‘born in the wrong body’ which is a particularly inane manifestation of naive mind-body dualism.

Dr. G Marzanna
Dr. G Marzanna
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Watson

Well if conservatives know, why is your response so weak? Denouncing the arts and humanities for being useless and woke is hardly the answer. No energy for an intellectual counter-attack? No appetite to rescue intellectual life frome the woke goons? In any case getting rid of the arts would make a pretty boring life: no TV, no movies, no books, no Unherd, even
Step up, why don’t you?

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Watson

I don’t agree. Feminists had a point, and still do since among other things the vast majority of violence is meted out by men (not most men!). This is all reasonably arguable in a free society, but the mantra ‘transwomen are women’ is simply ludicrous unless hugely qualified, as is the notion that we are ‘assigned gender at birth’ or that we can be ‘born in the wrong body’ which is a particularly inane manifestation of naive mind-body dualism.

Simon Diggins
Simon Diggins
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Interesting comment but I tend to agree with Professor Stock; any undergraduate essay that doesn’t make obeisance to mantras of ‘problematic discourses’ around ‘white, cis, toxic, male heterosexuality’ is likely to be marked down. Counter with the insights of ‘Critical thinking’ or, better still, ‘Queer Theory’ and the ‘approved’ marking scheme will reward.

We are in the middle of a Reformation, which was a deeply uncomfortable event and not always (ever?) right. Take a walk around any English Parish Church, with records that go back to the 16th and 17th century, and see the parade of rectors and vicars that either did, or didn’t, survive the Henrician, Edwardian, Elizabethan and Cromwellian Reformations, and Marian Counter-Reformation, and just imagine what our ancestors actually thought. What is clear is that most people just kept their head down; only brave souls spoke out.

Jim R
Jim R
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Diggins

I remember in my undergrad (late 80s) studying bits of Aristotle in three different classes at the same time. Ancient Philosophy, Political Theory (taught by a Straussian) and Critical Theory. You would never know it was the same Aristotle – and if you failed to adopt the correct ideological view for the professor, you would indeed be marked down. Critical Theory was the worst because the objective was to comb through Aristotle’s writing to find evidence of misogyny and general backwardness relative to modern sensibilities, never mind his contributions to our intellectual traditions. (Early premonitions of cancel culture). It was, however, still possible to get a B if you disagreed with the agenda. Fast forward to today and the ideological diversity of the faculty is almost gone – hence the opportunity for students to develop critical thinking and still get a decent grade are also gone.Nothing good will come of this.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim R
Dr. G Marzanna
Dr. G Marzanna
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim R

Oh thats awful. I was lucky, I only had one professor who made us vomit back his hobby horses.
The rest were super open minded and I learnt a lot.

Dr. G Marzanna
Dr. G Marzanna
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim R

Oh thats awful. I was lucky, I only had one professor who made us vomit back his hobby horses.
The rest were super open minded and I learnt a lot.

Dr. G Marzanna
Dr. G Marzanna
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Diggins

Not by me, that’s for sure. I expect much more from my students. But maybe that’s because I only do it part time and have no interest in academia per se.

Jim R
Jim R
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Diggins

I remember in my undergrad (late 80s) studying bits of Aristotle in three different classes at the same time. Ancient Philosophy, Political Theory (taught by a Straussian) and Critical Theory. You would never know it was the same Aristotle – and if you failed to adopt the correct ideological view for the professor, you would indeed be marked down. Critical Theory was the worst because the objective was to comb through Aristotle’s writing to find evidence of misogyny and general backwardness relative to modern sensibilities, never mind his contributions to our intellectual traditions. (Early premonitions of cancel culture). It was, however, still possible to get a B if you disagreed with the agenda. Fast forward to today and the ideological diversity of the faculty is almost gone – hence the opportunity for students to develop critical thinking and still get a decent grade are also gone.Nothing good will come of this.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim R
Dr. G Marzanna
Dr. G Marzanna
1 year ago
Reply to  Simon Diggins

Not by me, that’s for sure. I expect much more from my students. But maybe that’s because I only do it part time and have no interest in academia per se.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Speaking of isms, I’m confused: is “ableism” for or against the able-bodied? Fascism is bad, but socialism is good? Sexism bad, feminism good? What about autism? Pro or con? Baptism could go either way, I guess, depending upon one’s religious outlook. Anyway, not a great article from Kathleen. A drag queen was invited to the White House two days ago, purportedly to celebrate the “protection of marriage”. We can see that sexualizing children is the stated goal, not buried in obscure social media underworld. As for “depravity apologism”, that needs no further explanation. May it enter the lexicon until the need for it ceases to exist.

Last edited 1 year ago by Allison Barrows
Peter Dawson
Peter Dawson
1 year ago

And then of course we have the drive to acknowledge “child attracted adults” as nothing worse than an avuncular person.

Peter Dawson
Peter Dawson
1 year ago

And then of course we have the drive to acknowledge “child attracted adults” as nothing worse than an avuncular person.

Suzanne Chiasson
Suzanne Chiasson
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

I know it’s frightfully dull to say both points of view are true…but while I agree that many conservatives do have a clear eye on this, others are looking for a fight 24-7. The academy has done irreparable harm to normalcy, and even youthful academic posturing is intentional. Despite falling academic standards a man who has attained the position of PhD candidate must have some grasp of the implications of his writing, excusing it as juvenila doesn’t quite ring true, though the quoted parts seem innocuous by today’s standards.
I think the article highlights important points, on witch-hunts in general, but most importantly the need for sane LGBT activists (Dear God, how I hate the word activist) to distance themselves from sexualized primary education and the hideous drag queen story hour. Or other events in which kiddies are invited to pet drag queens as if they were so many comfort dogs. I wouldn’t believe it on Fox News if it hadn’t come to my grandchildren’s local library.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago

‘As a gay man’ (!) I’d say, I hope ‘LGB activists’ ‘Trans’ is a much more problematic category, if any sense can be made of it at all (the question of whether someone intends actually to ‘transition’ or not, for a start). In any case it poses a very different set of questions.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago

‘As a gay man’ (!) I’d say, I hope ‘LGB activists’ ‘Trans’ is a much more problematic category, if any sense can be made of it at all (the question of whether someone intends actually to ‘transition’ or not, for a start). In any case it poses a very different set of questions.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
John Hilton
John Hilton
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

I doubt Stock would disagree with you. I read her point to be that the people doing the depravity apologism are not depraved themselves: they are merely pathetic.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Hilton
Russell Sharpe
Russell Sharpe
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

”In some academic fields, it’s practically mandatory to argue that traditional sexual norms are problematic in some way and probably should be dismantled.”
An approach much more likely to lead to those academic fields being dismantled.

philip kern
philip kern
1 year ago
Reply to  Russell Sharpe

Say more. I’m aware of classics and biblical studies departments getting the axe, but don’t know of any critical theory (or for that matter literary theory) programmes being dismantled. Are you asking us to take the long view?

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Russell Sharpe

Sure under normal circumstances however the adults left the room long ago.

philip kern
philip kern
1 year ago
Reply to  Russell Sharpe

Say more. I’m aware of classics and biblical studies departments getting the axe, but don’t know of any critical theory (or for that matter literary theory) programmes being dismantled. Are you asking us to take the long view?

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Russell Sharpe

Sure under normal circumstances however the adults left the room long ago.

John Ramsden
John Ramsden
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

The main problem seems to be that academics have to produce something novel, to avoid charges of plagiarism and make their names. But almost by definition, anything new in the topic of sexual “studies” or practices is undesirable and perverse! 🙂

Last edited 1 year ago by John Ramsden
Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

I have given you a thumbs up for your comment as I agree that philosophical questioning of the validity of social taboos can indeed all to easily be seen as apology or worse for socially deviant practices that eat away at the social structure. If such intellectual exercises take place in obscure philosophical journals that is one thing, what is undesirable to a conservative is the philosopher seeking to make waves in the public sphere. Philosophers should stick to ensuring their intellectual experimentation takes place “pas devant les enfants” otherwise they risk coming across as promoters of deviance whatever their intention.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeremy Bray
AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

As someone who currently studies within the exact disciplines that Stock references, I think that there is a point to be made about the naive enthusiasm of academics in taking tenets of queer theory and applying them with zeal without considering the implications of framing heterosexuality, monogamy, and vanilla sexual norms as problematic. Each individual piece of research when taken in isolation isn’t for the most part contributing anything to enablement of sexual deviants or predators, it is no different to any other kinds of theoretical research in that sense. The issues are arising due to a combination of the sheer volume of such research being produced and the corporatist obsession with amplifying such research and applying it to the real world via diversity and inclusion strategies.

However, I do agree with your point about Stock’s seeming underestimation of the knowledge and thought processes of conservatives on this subject.

Last edited 1 year ago by AL Crowe
Tom Watson
Tom Watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

“Stupid conservatives don’t realise that ackshually, universities just train people to act like that.” No, we know. Not sure how pointing it out is inherently harmful to LGBT folx either, unless she’s subtly hinting something that from anyone else would elicit outrage…

Stock’s only objection to the ruling zeitgeist is that one day it decided it didn’t like her.

Simon Diggins
Simon Diggins
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Interesting comment but I tend to agree with Professor Stock; any undergraduate essay that doesn’t make obeisance to mantras of ‘problematic discourses’ around ‘white, cis, toxic, male heterosexuality’ is likely to be marked down. Counter with the insights of ‘Critical thinking’ or, better still, ‘Queer Theory’ and the ‘approved’ marking scheme will reward.

We are in the middle of a Reformation, which was a deeply uncomfortable event and not always (ever?) right. Take a walk around any English Parish Church, with records that go back to the 16th and 17th century, and see the parade of rectors and vicars that either did, or didn’t, survive the Henrician, Edwardian, Elizabethan and Cromwellian Reformations, and Marian Counter-Reformation, and just imagine what our ancestors actually thought. What is clear is that most people just kept their head down; only brave souls spoke out.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Speaking of isms, I’m confused: is “ableism” for or against the able-bodied? Fascism is bad, but socialism is good? Sexism bad, feminism good? What about autism? Pro or con? Baptism could go either way, I guess, depending upon one’s religious outlook. Anyway, not a great article from Kathleen. A drag queen was invited to the White House two days ago, purportedly to celebrate the “protection of marriage”. We can see that sexualizing children is the stated goal, not buried in obscure social media underworld. As for “depravity apologism”, that needs no further explanation. May it enter the lexicon until the need for it ceases to exist.

Last edited 1 year ago by Allison Barrows
Suzanne Chiasson
Suzanne Chiasson
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

I know it’s frightfully dull to say both points of view are true…but while I agree that many conservatives do have a clear eye on this, others are looking for a fight 24-7. The academy has done irreparable harm to normalcy, and even youthful academic posturing is intentional. Despite falling academic standards a man who has attained the position of PhD candidate must have some grasp of the implications of his writing, excusing it as juvenila doesn’t quite ring true, though the quoted parts seem innocuous by today’s standards.
I think the article highlights important points, on witch-hunts in general, but most importantly the need for sane LGBT activists (Dear God, how I hate the word activist) to distance themselves from sexualized primary education and the hideous drag queen story hour. Or other events in which kiddies are invited to pet drag queens as if they were so many comfort dogs. I wouldn’t believe it on Fox News if it hadn’t come to my grandchildren’s local library.

John Hilton
John Hilton
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

I doubt Stock would disagree with you. I read her point to be that the people doing the depravity apologism are not depraved themselves: they are merely pathetic.

Last edited 1 year ago by John Hilton
Russell Sharpe
Russell Sharpe
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

”In some academic fields, it’s practically mandatory to argue that traditional sexual norms are problematic in some way and probably should be dismantled.”
An approach much more likely to lead to those academic fields being dismantled.

John Ramsden
John Ramsden
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

The main problem seems to be that academics have to produce something novel, to avoid charges of plagiarism and make their names. But almost by definition, anything new in the topic of sexual “studies” or practices is undesirable and perverse! 🙂

Last edited 1 year ago by John Ramsden
Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago

“For what conservatives caught up in the ecstasy of denunciation may be missing is that these days, entire academic disciplines are structured to produce people who look to the untutored eye like sexual deviants but in fact are not. In some academic fields, it’s practically mandatory to argue that traditional sexual norms are problematic in some way and probably should be dismantled.”
I think this has to be my first time disagreeing with good Professor Stock. I reckon we conservatives are often well apprised of the academy’s ongoing project of “problematizing” traditional sexual norms. Of course, we see such blatantly sociopathic behaviour merely as depravity apologism.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

Speaking as a racist-sexist-homophobe of the worst kind I would say that the recommendation of Mrs. Patrick Campbell still applies: “My dear, I don’t care what they do, so long as they don’t do it in the street and frighten the horses.”
But, of course, the whole point of lefty activism, from the jolly old Reign of Terror in gay Paree down to the present moment, is not just to frighten the horses but stampede them into trampling some nice little old lady going to the Post Office.

Last edited 1 year ago by Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

Speaking as a racist-sexist-homophobe of the worst kind I would say that the recommendation of Mrs. Patrick Campbell still applies: “My dear, I don’t care what they do, so long as they don’t do it in the street and frighten the horses.”
But, of course, the whole point of lefty activism, from the jolly old Reign of Terror in gay Paree down to the present moment, is not just to frighten the horses but stampede them into trampling some nice little old lady going to the Post Office.

Last edited 1 year ago by Christopher Chantrill
Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 year ago

”senior employees such as Roth controlled which bits of information and which people could or could not be visible on the platform, in relatively arbitrary ways, though mostly skewed towards Democrat interests.”

Arbitrary? Mostly?? Really?

Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 year ago

”senior employees such as Roth controlled which bits of information and which people could or could not be visible on the platform, in relatively arbitrary ways, though mostly skewed towards Democrat interests.”

Arbitrary? Mostly?? Really?

Buena Vista
Buena Vista
1 year ago

This essay is steeped in the “both sides” dogma, trying to strike a balance between leftist behavior and conservative criticism of it. These two things aren’t close to equal in the harm they do.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Buena Vista

Just because in terms of social media usage the left is more powerful, that doesn’t mean the antics of some of those on the right aren’t equally as pathetic and childish

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Buena Vista

You’ve fallen into the trap of taking a moral rather than a philosophical stance. The task of philosophy (apart from specific tracts on Ethics) is to elucidate, to enlighten, not to judge.

This article, written by a philosopher, may not meet your particular moral outlook but it simply can’t be criticised for doing what the purpose of philosophy is intended to do.

I’ll go further. It’s precisely in being critical of balanced arguments that much public debate has become so irritatingly banal, seeking to shut down the opposing view rather than outwitting it.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I think you put things a little too strongly, although your defence of the author and her profession is on the right track.
Where you and I differ is that I think it’s perfectly in order for philosophers to make normative judgements, sustained by valid argument from true premises.
What we agree on is that elucidation is integral to philosophy. Philosophers are perfectly entitled to undertake pure elucidation if that is their wont (otherwise, they should certainly aim for plainness in the arguments they construct towards any judgements they make). They must not be coerced into the adoption of particular ideologies.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

“They must not be coerced into the adoption of particular ideologies.”
Thats an interesting point, because philosophy could quite easily lead you to a point where the next step is to take action, that your conclusions point to that action. I have in mind Sartre’s ideas about action. Of course you might think he was wrong to do that.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

I can appreciate that perspective, but would warn of the dangers of didacticism; Marxism being, in my opinion, a prime example.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

“They must not be coerced into the adoption of particular ideologies.”
Thats an interesting point, because philosophy could quite easily lead you to a point where the next step is to take action, that your conclusions point to that action. I have in mind Sartre’s ideas about action. Of course you might think he was wrong to do that.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

I can appreciate that perspective, but would warn of the dangers of didacticism; Marxism being, in my opinion, a prime example.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Emmanuel MARTIN
Emmanuel MARTIN
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

As citizens, we are primarily concerned by the public life of the city more than philosophy and the fine nuanced appreciation of byzantine ethic rules that groomers do not have the slightest intention to respect anyways.
Burn the pedo apologist may not be philosphically robust or completely demonstrable. But fairness is also about treating a man the way he treats otheer people. Burn the pedo apologist.on the Twittter bonfire !
.

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
1 year ago

Bloomin eck !

How is a simple soul like me supposed to keep up.
Several reply’s, different authors, and so many longgggggggg words.

I would like to say I understand, but truthfully, that would be a lie.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

Much of it can be translated as: ‘how very dare she criticse the right’, or, ‘the subject matter scares me, so I’m going hide amongst a thicket of academese’.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

“If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.” ― W.C. Fields

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

“If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.” ― W.C. Fields

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

Much of it can be translated as: ‘how very dare she criticse the right’, or, ‘the subject matter scares me, so I’m going hide amongst a thicket of academese’.

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
1 year ago

Bloomin eck !

How is a simple soul like me supposed to keep up.
Several reply’s, different authors, and so many longgggggggg words.

I would like to say I understand, but truthfully, that would be a lie.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I think you put things a little too strongly, although your defence of the author and her profession is on the right track.
Where you and I differ is that I think it’s perfectly in order for philosophers to make normative judgements, sustained by valid argument from true premises.
What we agree on is that elucidation is integral to philosophy. Philosophers are perfectly entitled to undertake pure elucidation if that is their wont (otherwise, they should certainly aim for plainness in the arguments they construct towards any judgements they make). They must not be coerced into the adoption of particular ideologies.

Emmanuel MARTIN
Emmanuel MARTIN
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

As citizens, we are primarily concerned by the public life of the city more than philosophy and the fine nuanced appreciation of byzantine ethic rules that groomers do not have the slightest intention to respect anyways.
Burn the pedo apologist may not be philosphically robust or completely demonstrable. But fairness is also about treating a man the way he treats otheer people. Burn the pedo apologist.on the Twittter bonfire !
.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Buena Vista

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Buena Vista

I disagree. I think it’s motivated by the wish to avoid LGBT people generally taking the blame for the woke left’s ridiculousness and depravity.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Do you mean she’s upset that the broad brush that paints anyone one of the right, isn’t welcome when painting anyone who is LBGT?

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

Do you mean she’s upset that the broad brush that paints anyone one of the right, isn’t welcome when painting anyone who is LBGT?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Buena Vista

Just because in terms of social media usage the left is more powerful, that doesn’t mean the antics of some of those on the right aren’t equally as pathetic and childish

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Buena Vista

You’ve fallen into the trap of taking a moral rather than a philosophical stance. The task of philosophy (apart from specific tracts on Ethics) is to elucidate, to enlighten, not to judge.

This article, written by a philosopher, may not meet your particular moral outlook but it simply can’t be criticised for doing what the purpose of philosophy is intended to do.

I’ll go further. It’s precisely in being critical of balanced arguments that much public debate has become so irritatingly banal, seeking to shut down the opposing view rather than outwitting it.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Buena Vista

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Buena Vista

I disagree. I think it’s motivated by the wish to avoid LGBT people generally taking the blame for the woke left’s ridiculousness and depravity.

Buena Vista
Buena Vista
1 year ago

This essay is steeped in the “both sides” dogma, trying to strike a balance between leftist behavior and conservative criticism of it. These two things aren’t close to equal in the harm they do.

Greg Morrison
Greg Morrison
1 year ago

This is an interesting article, as is the comments section.
However, if the gist of the article (and some comments) is that “the Right are now doing what the Left have been doing for ages but I’m basically a philosopher so I don’t take sides” then I think my main reaction is “ok, well so what?”
This maelstrom is long past the point where conservatives behaving ‘honourably’ scores them any points, whether your philosophy likes that or not. This is now a fairly squalid battle for power, and should be seen as such.
If conservatives want a moral victory then they should act and behave morally. If they just want power then they should use every trick in the book to get it. If you don’t like that – and I don’t – then get out of the ring and leave them to it. It’s a nasty game and always has been: barely anyone involved will ever fully represent your moral views, they will just appeal to them occasionally to get your vote, or your retweet, or whatever diminished value we still represent to them.

Lastly, although I quite take your point that _”In some academic fields, it’s practically mandatory to argue that traditional sexual norms are problematic in some way and probably should be dismantled.”_ that’s really not a defence at all for doing so: if you want to act morally then get out of the academic field that requires you to act immorally. If you don’t and you’re happy to fight dirty, don’t whinge when someone hits you back beneath the belt. You asked for it.

IMO, at this point the culture war in the West is just a proxy for civil war. If you think you ought to be struggling for power for ‘your side’ then crack on, but I think we can all appreciate that being cancelled on Twitter simply isn’t as bad as being shot at.

Personally, I think real war is probably on the way: the dirty fighting has only been getting worse. Why waste your energy cancelling the other side on Twitter? At worst it brings us that tiny bit closer to war, at best it feels like delaying the inevitable without remotely trying to mitigate the chance of it happening.

So Elon Musk hit someone beneath the belt after they landed a headbutt?
So what?
If you think you’re still watching a civilized boxing match with rules then you’re deluded.

Ali W
Ali W
1 year ago
Reply to  Greg Morrison

You have perfectly articulated how I feel about what’s going on in the West. We’ve been at war for awhile now and now that the conservatives finally realized it and started fighting it has to boil over before we can stabilize.

I too think more serious civil conflict is going to occur. So far we’ve only seen the antifa shenanigans, but as soon as the right, which has most of the country’s trained combatants, starts shooting there’s no turning back.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 year ago
Reply to  Ali W

With luck it will be over quickly then.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Ali W

And the moment a conservative fights back, they proclaim it a “threat to democracy”!

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
1 year ago
Reply to  Ali W

With luck it will be over quickly then.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Ali W

And the moment a conservative fights back, they proclaim it a “threat to democracy”!

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Greg Morrison

Hooray for you, sir! Nailed it.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Greg Morrison

Best comment I’ve read about our situation. Most conservative opinion I read spends valuable space handwringing about the hypocrisy but the left doesn’t care about hypocrisy when they do it so there’s no point going on about it imo. We need strategy and solutions not complaining.

Ali W
Ali W
1 year ago
Reply to  Greg Morrison

You have perfectly articulated how I feel about what’s going on in the West. We’ve been at war for awhile now and now that the conservatives finally realized it and started fighting it has to boil over before we can stabilize.

I too think more serious civil conflict is going to occur. So far we’ve only seen the antifa shenanigans, but as soon as the right, which has most of the country’s trained combatants, starts shooting there’s no turning back.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Greg Morrison

Hooray for you, sir! Nailed it.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Greg Morrison

Best comment I’ve read about our situation. Most conservative opinion I read spends valuable space handwringing about the hypocrisy but the left doesn’t care about hypocrisy when they do it so there’s no point going on about it imo. We need strategy and solutions not complaining.

Greg Morrison
Greg Morrison
1 year ago

This is an interesting article, as is the comments section.
However, if the gist of the article (and some comments) is that “the Right are now doing what the Left have been doing for ages but I’m basically a philosopher so I don’t take sides” then I think my main reaction is “ok, well so what?”
This maelstrom is long past the point where conservatives behaving ‘honourably’ scores them any points, whether your philosophy likes that or not. This is now a fairly squalid battle for power, and should be seen as such.
If conservatives want a moral victory then they should act and behave morally. If they just want power then they should use every trick in the book to get it. If you don’t like that – and I don’t – then get out of the ring and leave them to it. It’s a nasty game and always has been: barely anyone involved will ever fully represent your moral views, they will just appeal to them occasionally to get your vote, or your retweet, or whatever diminished value we still represent to them.

Lastly, although I quite take your point that _”In some academic fields, it’s practically mandatory to argue that traditional sexual norms are problematic in some way and probably should be dismantled.”_ that’s really not a defence at all for doing so: if you want to act morally then get out of the academic field that requires you to act immorally. If you don’t and you’re happy to fight dirty, don’t whinge when someone hits you back beneath the belt. You asked for it.

IMO, at this point the culture war in the West is just a proxy for civil war. If you think you ought to be struggling for power for ‘your side’ then crack on, but I think we can all appreciate that being cancelled on Twitter simply isn’t as bad as being shot at.

Personally, I think real war is probably on the way: the dirty fighting has only been getting worse. Why waste your energy cancelling the other side on Twitter? At worst it brings us that tiny bit closer to war, at best it feels like delaying the inevitable without remotely trying to mitigate the chance of it happening.

So Elon Musk hit someone beneath the belt after they landed a headbutt?
So what?
If you think you’re still watching a civilized boxing match with rules then you’re deluded.

Toby B
Toby B
1 year ago

“The fact is that most of the material fuelling so-called groomer discourse is coming not from appetites for illicit sex, but for social approval.”

We now have ‘kink’ on public display at Pride parades, Drag Queen Story Hour, concerted efforts to get paedophilia normalised, and the revelation that Twitter has had child porn on its site for years (whilst people like Yoel Roth did nothing about it).

And Kathleen Stock is telling us that this has basically nothing to do with LGBT people and queer theory academics? Or if it is anything to do with them, it’s “mostly inadvertent”. Give me a break.

Why do LGBs turn up at Pride in kink outfits? Why did the Ts get Drag Queen Story Hour going? Where did all the language about dismantling sexual norms come from? If your self-defined group constantly talks about breaking sexual norms and labels any aversion to this as ‘phobia’, then don’t be surprised when people conclude that you’re actually responsible – or at least complicit – in opening the door to every kind of sexual perversion, including paedophilia.

I usually think Stock’s articles are good. This one seems deluded and defensive. Sounds like she’s nervous that there will be a massive backlash at some point, and doesn’t want her LGBT & academic friends implicated.

Last edited 1 year ago by Toby B
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago
Reply to  Toby B

There is a significant break between large sections of LGB and the TQ part. It was always going to happen and I support them.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
1 year ago

Oh no there isn’t! What is “significant” is the attempt by LGB to drive a wedge between themselves(who once supported T on the back of Stonewall) and T.
They are obviously afraid of association because of the negative public reaction.
ONE STEP TOO FAR……hopefully
Actually LGB are much more of a threat to health and society in general than the silly deluded T’s

Last edited 1 year ago by Alex Tickell
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

Hmmm.. what have we here. So tempted to use a word but won’t. There was no problem with trans, until self ID and universities on the back of post modernism took things too far. As far as I am concerned people should live their lives as they please as long as they have respect, don’t break the law and as long as they don’t impinge on the human rights of others. Many LGB (and some Ts) recognised this and distanced themselves from lunacy.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
1 year ago

Please don’t hold back, use the word, I suspect it will convey more about you than me.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
1 year ago

Please don’t hold back, use the word, I suspect it will convey more about you than me.

Guglielmo Marinaro
Guglielmo Marinaro
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

Stonewall as a body never supported T until Ruth Hunt became its CEO in the middle of the last decade.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

Hmmm.. what have we here. So tempted to use a word but won’t. There was no problem with trans, until self ID and universities on the back of post modernism took things too far. As far as I am concerned people should live their lives as they please as long as they have respect, don’t break the law and as long as they don’t impinge on the human rights of others. Many LGB (and some Ts) recognised this and distanced themselves from lunacy.

Guglielmo Marinaro
Guglielmo Marinaro
1 year ago
Reply to  Alex Tickell

Stonewall as a body never supported T until Ruth Hunt became its CEO in the middle of the last decade.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
1 year ago

Oh no there isn’t! What is “significant” is the attempt by LGB to drive a wedge between themselves(who once supported T on the back of Stonewall) and T.
They are obviously afraid of association because of the negative public reaction.
ONE STEP TOO FAR……hopefully
Actually LGB are much more of a threat to health and society in general than the silly deluded T’s

Last edited 1 year ago by Alex Tickell
Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Toby B

It is certainly interesting to see how many folks don’t realize how hypocritical they sound when the gun of moral relativity is pointed directly at them.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago
Reply to  Toby B

There is a significant break between large sections of LGB and the TQ part. It was always going to happen and I support them.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Toby B

It is certainly interesting to see how many folks don’t realize how hypocritical they sound when the gun of moral relativity is pointed directly at them.

Toby B
Toby B
1 year ago

“The fact is that most of the material fuelling so-called groomer discourse is coming not from appetites for illicit sex, but for social approval.”

We now have ‘kink’ on public display at Pride parades, Drag Queen Story Hour, concerted efforts to get paedophilia normalised, and the revelation that Twitter has had child porn on its site for years (whilst people like Yoel Roth did nothing about it).

And Kathleen Stock is telling us that this has basically nothing to do with LGBT people and queer theory academics? Or if it is anything to do with them, it’s “mostly inadvertent”. Give me a break.

Why do LGBs turn up at Pride in kink outfits? Why did the Ts get Drag Queen Story Hour going? Where did all the language about dismantling sexual norms come from? If your self-defined group constantly talks about breaking sexual norms and labels any aversion to this as ‘phobia’, then don’t be surprised when people conclude that you’re actually responsible – or at least complicit – in opening the door to every kind of sexual perversion, including paedophilia.

I usually think Stock’s articles are good. This one seems deluded and defensive. Sounds like she’s nervous that there will be a massive backlash at some point, and doesn’t want her LGBT & academic friends implicated.

Last edited 1 year ago by Toby B
Lennon Ó Náraigh
Lennon Ó Náraigh
1 year ago

A couple of years ago in Ireland, there was a candidate for the Irish Presidency, David Norris, whose presidential campaign tanked after an old interview was uncovered in which the distinguished Senator expressed views that could be interpreted as being in favour of pederastry. He went on national radio to try to defend himself, but the defense was muddled. The presenter’s put-down was something along the lines of “Senator, with all due respect, this is not an academic seminar, we are not in ancient Greece, we are talking about Ireland in the 21st Century”. His campaign never recovered.

Public figures like Yoel Roth and Senator Norris need to understand, they need to be absolutely free from the taint of such allegations. Their academic disquisitions do not help in this regard. We are not in ancient Greece, the real world is not an academic seminar, and real child safeguarding issues are at stake.

Lennon Ó Náraigh
Lennon Ó Náraigh
1 year ago

A couple of years ago in Ireland, there was a candidate for the Irish Presidency, David Norris, whose presidential campaign tanked after an old interview was uncovered in which the distinguished Senator expressed views that could be interpreted as being in favour of pederastry. He went on national radio to try to defend himself, but the defense was muddled. The presenter’s put-down was something along the lines of “Senator, with all due respect, this is not an academic seminar, we are not in ancient Greece, we are talking about Ireland in the 21st Century”. His campaign never recovered.

Public figures like Yoel Roth and Senator Norris need to understand, they need to be absolutely free from the taint of such allegations. Their academic disquisitions do not help in this regard. We are not in ancient Greece, the real world is not an academic seminar, and real child safeguarding issues are at stake.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

Sorry Kathleen, you’re delusional. “Sexual debauchery” IS coming from academics and LGBT practitioners. I can no longer give the benefit of the doubt. As an LGBT former academic I could not expect you to understand.

AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

I don’t think saying that Stock is delusional is a particularly helpful way of dealing with disagreement on this. I have a great deal of respect for Kathleen Stock, yet I do disagree with her on multiple subjects including this one.

I think that what should be considered is how hard it actually is to be a left wing individual who has spent a good part of her life living in one of the most left leaning and LGBT orientated cities in the UK, working in a very left leaning university, and having benefitted from some of the social and legislative advances in how gay individuals are treated that came about in no small part to the ongoing work of academics and activists, and to suddenly be ostracised by a large part of that left leaning community for simply doing the same kind of research that she had previously been praised for producing.

When such an ostracism occurs, it isn’t a quick process for anyone to go about handling that betrayal or re-assessing all of the ideas and assumptions that become normal within such a context. Stock is still clearly left leaning, and is still very much a feminist, so hasn’t had anything like the level of ideological shift that would lead to a full abandonment of the entire discipline she dedicated her academic career to studying.

Stock has asserted her current position, the way to deal with disagreeing with this is not to insult her, but to debate her and question some of the assertions she is making on the same basis by which she makes her own arguments. That is how compromise and concessions happen. She’s already had plenty of experience with insults from those who ostracised her.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

Those are all very well made points. I should have used a better choice of wording.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

Those are all very well made points. I should have used a better choice of wording.

AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

I don’t think saying that Stock is delusional is a particularly helpful way of dealing with disagreement on this. I have a great deal of respect for Kathleen Stock, yet I do disagree with her on multiple subjects including this one.

I think that what should be considered is how hard it actually is to be a left wing individual who has spent a good part of her life living in one of the most left leaning and LGBT orientated cities in the UK, working in a very left leaning university, and having benefitted from some of the social and legislative advances in how gay individuals are treated that came about in no small part to the ongoing work of academics and activists, and to suddenly be ostracised by a large part of that left leaning community for simply doing the same kind of research that she had previously been praised for producing.

When such an ostracism occurs, it isn’t a quick process for anyone to go about handling that betrayal or re-assessing all of the ideas and assumptions that become normal within such a context. Stock is still clearly left leaning, and is still very much a feminist, so hasn’t had anything like the level of ideological shift that would lead to a full abandonment of the entire discipline she dedicated her academic career to studying.

Stock has asserted her current position, the way to deal with disagreeing with this is not to insult her, but to debate her and question some of the assertions she is making on the same basis by which she makes her own arguments. That is how compromise and concessions happen. She’s already had plenty of experience with insults from those who ostracised her.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

Sorry Kathleen, you’re delusional. “Sexual debauchery” IS coming from academics and LGBT practitioners. I can no longer give the benefit of the doubt. As an LGBT former academic I could not expect you to understand.

Francis Turner
Francis Turner
1 year ago

One thing to remember is that Roth’s team got very upset with phrases like “OK Groomer”. Combine that with the documented slackness is CSAM removal under Roth and you do have to wonder whether there were links. The fact that he appeared to favour children (or at least young teens anyway) hooking up on apps like Grindr is, in that case, suggestive. As is the fact that the university removed his thesis from public view after all the noise.
He may be totally innocent. He may be incompetent. But the rush to hide and blame others suggests there may be a worse explanation

Francis Turner
Francis Turner
1 year ago

One thing to remember is that Roth’s team got very upset with phrases like “OK Groomer”. Combine that with the documented slackness is CSAM removal under Roth and you do have to wonder whether there were links. The fact that he appeared to favour children (or at least young teens anyway) hooking up on apps like Grindr is, in that case, suggestive. As is the fact that the university removed his thesis from public view after all the noise.
He may be totally innocent. He may be incompetent. But the rush to hide and blame others suggests there may be a worse explanation

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
1 year ago

Ok, what we have here is another apologist for Roth et all who CHOSE to allow content that sexually exploited children as well as ALLOWING communications via twitter of people and groups involved in peadophillia. In 5 years Roth et all did nothing to remove, ban or otherwise any of this content that was freely available to anyone who wanted to find it.
In contrast, in just 2-days Musk eliminated 95% of this material.

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

Well if this assessment is correct, I commend Mr. Musk for his rearrangement of the primary–but also most superficial–opinion platform on the Web. . .
And it is, indeed, a web. There are arachnids inhabiting every nook and cranny, for amusement, but also for other purposes, not, perhaps, so innocent.
But, as for the entire discussion above, and the entity that evoked/provoked it, I revert to childhood wisdom–although that same profundity actually originated with our parentals. . . Sticks and stones may break my bones, but tweets will never will never hurt me. . . or anybody else.

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
1 year ago
Reply to  LCarey Rowland

Are you a bit of a ponce then?

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
1 year ago
Reply to  LCarey Rowland

Are you a bit of a ponce then?

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Clarke

Well if this assessment is correct, I commend Mr. Musk for his rearrangement of the primary–but also most superficial–opinion platform on the Web. . .
And it is, indeed, a web. There are arachnids inhabiting every nook and cranny, for amusement, but also for other purposes, not, perhaps, so innocent.
But, as for the entire discussion above, and the entity that evoked/provoked it, I revert to childhood wisdom–although that same profundity actually originated with our parentals. . . Sticks and stones may break my bones, but tweets will never will never hurt me. . . or anybody else.

Nigel Clarke
Nigel Clarke
1 year ago

Ok, what we have here is another apologist for Roth et all who CHOSE to allow content that sexually exploited children as well as ALLOWING communications via twitter of people and groups involved in peadophillia. In 5 years Roth et all did nothing to remove, ban or otherwise any of this content that was freely available to anyone who wanted to find it.
In contrast, in just 2-days Musk eliminated 95% of this material.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago

What happened: Loads of Roth’s tweets were pulled up…. by members of the public. Were some leaps of logic taken, yes, but many of the tweets were really, really louche and borderline. What was he thinking? Why did he not scrub some of his records? Given what has been exposed about what Roth did and how he acted fast and loose at Twitter and completely manipulated the narrative for years, he was always going to be targeted. A small part of me felt sorry for him, but then…..

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago

Edit…. I was too kind. I just dipped back into things that he tweeted and many were way more than borderline. If not for Unherd’s moderation, I would share.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago

I dunno there’s something so satisfying when the worst people get their comeuppance by the same system they were so devoted to.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago

Edit…. I was too kind. I just dipped back into things that he tweeted and many were way more than borderline. If not for Unherd’s moderation, I would share.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago

I dunno there’s something so satisfying when the worst people get their comeuppance by the same system they were so devoted to.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
1 year ago

What happened: Loads of Roth’s tweets were pulled up…. by members of the public. Were some leaps of logic taken, yes, but many of the tweets were really, really louche and borderline. What was he thinking? Why did he not scrub some of his records? Given what has been exposed about what Roth did and how he acted fast and loose at Twitter and completely manipulated the narrative for years, he was always going to be targeted. A small part of me felt sorry for him, but then…..

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
1 year ago

What Kathleen Stock gets wrong about ‘Grooming’.
‘Sticks and stones might break my bones, but names will never hurt me’, as a hackneyed phrase, used by parents, from time immemorial, has, in the age of social media, met it’s match, and is now nothing more than ‘gaslighting’.
That ‘social conservatives’ have also descended to the level of playground bullying, is evidence of just how effective name calling can be in the age of the internet. We might, as social conservatives, decry, and shake our heads, at this reversion to childish, playground, behaviour, but it doesn’t mean that it is any less effective as a weapon for all that, as anyone, who has ever modified their behaviour, or been called a race-ist / TERF / ‘phob will attest. It should really not come as a surprise, that as social ‘sniper rifles’ have been developed, and become more effective, they, like in all warfare, have been used to increasingly focus in on and take out the most prominent targets. Social conservatives (I’m not entirely sure that this is the correct term, but it seems, to me, right) have long considered themselves above, aloof, from this type of social sniping / bullying, especially, as in the past, it was more akin to a blunderbuss, but, as targets have fallen, morals, and civility, has fallen away too, leading to, by both sides, a race to the bottom as they attempt to outflank each other.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
1 year ago

What Kathleen Stock gets wrong about ‘Grooming’.
‘Sticks and stones might break my bones, but names will never hurt me’, as a hackneyed phrase, used by parents, from time immemorial, has, in the age of social media, met it’s match, and is now nothing more than ‘gaslighting’.
That ‘social conservatives’ have also descended to the level of playground bullying, is evidence of just how effective name calling can be in the age of the internet. We might, as social conservatives, decry, and shake our heads, at this reversion to childish, playground, behaviour, but it doesn’t mean that it is any less effective as a weapon for all that, as anyone, who has ever modified their behaviour, or been called a race-ist / TERF / ‘phob will attest. It should really not come as a surprise, that as social ‘sniper rifles’ have been developed, and become more effective, they, like in all warfare, have been used to increasingly focus in on and take out the most prominent targets. Social conservatives (I’m not entirely sure that this is the correct term, but it seems, to me, right) have long considered themselves above, aloof, from this type of social sniping / bullying, especially, as in the past, it was more akin to a blunderbuss, but, as targets have fallen, morals, and civility, has fallen away too, leading to, by both sides, a race to the bottom as they attempt to outflank each other.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tom Lewis
jonathan carter-meggs
jonathan carter-meggs
1 year ago

Being conservative is not evil but attempting to sexualise children definitely is. The number of gender bending cross age group theories expounded in numerous learned papers indicates a very unhealthy interest.

Last edited 1 year ago by jonathan carter-meggs
jonathan carter-meggs
jonathan carter-meggs
1 year ago

Being conservative is not evil but attempting to sexualise children definitely is. The number of gender bending cross age group theories expounded in numerous learned papers indicates a very unhealthy interest.

Last edited 1 year ago by jonathan carter-meggs
Arkadian X
Arkadian X
1 year ago

A question for Kathleen, what do you mean by the acronym “LGBT” and why is it employed here?

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
1 year ago

A question for Kathleen, what do you mean by the acronym “LGBT” and why is it employed here?

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
1 year ago

Careerism May explain bad behavior but it does not excuse it. I agree that each situation should be looked at in its own terms and often we find people condemned for things that were ambiguous or when contextualized were reasonable—but to paraphrase Freud, sometimes a cigar really is a cigar.

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
1 year ago

Careerism May explain bad behavior but it does not excuse it. I agree that each situation should be looked at in its own terms and often we find people condemned for things that were ambiguous or when contextualized were reasonable—but to paraphrase Freud, sometimes a cigar really is a cigar.

Rachel Taylor
Rachel Taylor
1 year ago

Why on earth are there “academics” and “research” in this matter at all? It has no purpose except to disrupt social norms. Who pays, who benefits? Why would any taxpayer voluntarily pay for it? What advance in knowledge has this “research” ever achieved? It is utter b**ll masquerading as an academic discipline, subsidised by the State.

Rachel Taylor
Rachel Taylor
1 year ago

Why on earth are there “academics” and “research” in this matter at all? It has no purpose except to disrupt social norms. Who pays, who benefits? Why would any taxpayer voluntarily pay for it? What advance in knowledge has this “research” ever achieved? It is utter b**ll masquerading as an academic discipline, subsidised by the State.

Margaret TC
Margaret TC
1 year ago

In the revenge she takes on her former universe of academics, which she clearly relishes (and who wouldn’t?) Stock fails to make the simple point that the new norm in the academy is to be anti-norms and, preferably, queer.

Margaret TC
Margaret TC
1 year ago

In the revenge she takes on her former universe of academics, which she clearly relishes (and who wouldn’t?) Stock fails to make the simple point that the new norm in the academy is to be anti-norms and, preferably, queer.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago

I think that Kathleen Stock is probably accurate in suggesting that most of the identitarian left promoters of sexual and gender issues to young children are not themselves engaging in in sexual acts with them. This needs to be proven in any case and not only asserted.

However the endless promotion of sexuality and ‘gender’ issues to very young children is itself extremely problematic (as the woke left would no doubt put it) and most parents instinctually and correctly simply do not like it. Young children are non-sexual beings, and possibly later ‘pre sexual’ when they may play with other children of the same age without interference from adults. I can remember from my childhood the difference between these groups, based on age.

However it is deeply creepy that these tendentious ideas are promoted by adults to young children on ideological grounds, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with conservatives pointing this out. In the context of an ideological war with the woke set, who aim fundamentally at destroying western civilisation – Douglas Murray is quite right here, perhaps opposing the word ‘groomers’ is a little pious. The woke extremists fight dirty and I must admit I am ambivalent about whether we should as well. However I completely understand that this word provides a very strong verbal weapon in the hands of Conservatives and they will be very tempted to use it. Stop calling us ‘racists’ and we might not call you ‘groomers’!

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago

I think that Kathleen Stock is probably accurate in suggesting that most of the identitarian left promoters of sexual and gender issues to young children are not themselves engaging in in sexual acts with them. This needs to be proven in any case and not only asserted.

However the endless promotion of sexuality and ‘gender’ issues to very young children is itself extremely problematic (as the woke left would no doubt put it) and most parents instinctually and correctly simply do not like it. Young children are non-sexual beings, and possibly later ‘pre sexual’ when they may play with other children of the same age without interference from adults. I can remember from my childhood the difference between these groups, based on age.

However it is deeply creepy that these tendentious ideas are promoted by adults to young children on ideological grounds, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with conservatives pointing this out. In the context of an ideological war with the woke set, who aim fundamentally at destroying western civilisation – Douglas Murray is quite right here, perhaps opposing the word ‘groomers’ is a little pious. The woke extremists fight dirty and I must admit I am ambivalent about whether we should as well. However I completely understand that this word provides a very strong verbal weapon in the hands of Conservatives and they will be very tempted to use it. Stop calling us ‘racists’ and we might not call you ‘groomers’!

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
George Scipio
George Scipio
1 year ago

Stock writes with her usual irresistible fluency, performing her lovely olympian detachment. The academy of the humanities is corrupt and trahison is the order of the day. The snarling wolves of the right besiege the campfire in the forest. The right is what it always is – ready to burn a witch any time of day. But in our time the greatest betrayal of common humanity arises in the jabbering left, so determined to separate people from what they know and love. It reminds me of a 1970 graffiti in Notting Hill: “BURN IT ALL DOWN”. I used to think it was cool. And here we are.

George Scipio
George Scipio
1 year ago

Stock writes with her usual irresistible fluency, performing her lovely olympian detachment. The academy of the humanities is corrupt and trahison is the order of the day. The snarling wolves of the right besiege the campfire in the forest. The right is what it always is – ready to burn a witch any time of day. But in our time the greatest betrayal of common humanity arises in the jabbering left, so determined to separate people from what they know and love. It reminds me of a 1970 graffiti in Notting Hill: “BURN IT ALL DOWN”. I used to think it was cool. And here we are.

Malcolm Knott
Malcolm Knott
1 year ago

Reading this reinforces my view that we have too many academics working in this field. They seem to be paid simply for writing papers for other academics to criticise in a ghastly merry-go-round which serves no useful purpose.
These people would be more usefully employed as bin men so down to the Labour Exchange with the lot of them (but not you, Kathleen, ‘cos you’re special).

Malcolm Knott
Malcolm Knott
1 year ago

Reading this reinforces my view that we have too many academics working in this field. They seem to be paid simply for writing papers for other academics to criticise in a ghastly merry-go-round which serves no useful purpose.
These people would be more usefully employed as bin men so down to the Labour Exchange with the lot of them (but not you, Kathleen, ‘cos you’re special).

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
1 year ago

The only real information on the subject emerged during the “Priest abuse scandal” in the US in which it was revealed that 20 to 30 percent of the priesthood were male homosexuals and the vast majority of victims were post pubescent youths between the ages of 12 and 17.
This is not paedophilia, but minor abuse by adult males. This information was never made available to the general public through the mainstream media for obvious reasons, but these statistics are part of the John Jay investigation which seems to have been hidden away for the last couple of decades.

Alex Tickell
Alex Tickell
1 year ago

The only real information on the subject emerged during the “Priest abuse scandal” in the US in which it was revealed that 20 to 30 percent of the priesthood were male homosexuals and the vast majority of victims were post pubescent youths between the ages of 12 and 17.
This is not paedophilia, but minor abuse by adult males. This information was never made available to the general public through the mainstream media for obvious reasons, but these statistics are part of the John Jay investigation which seems to have been hidden away for the last couple of decades.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

If what Stock says about academia is correct, we’re even more b*ggered than I thought.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

If what Stock says about academia is correct, we’re even more b*ggered than I thought.

Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 year ago

Sorry, but this also caught me off guard – for the reason I happen to have been around a lot of Christian Missionaries in my times, and from rather extensive experience I have not found the below likely to be the case at all. Maybe he uses Missionary in a way other than Christian missionaries, but really, that is how it is usually meant. Or maybe he is thinking of Welby – but even then I still have doubts.

”. It’s true that social experiments like Drag Queen Story Hour in libraries or extremely graphic sex education in schools are often initiated in the name of the mythical “LGBT community”, but that’s not to say that most of them like it. In practice, it’s just as often heterosexual missionary-types doing the organising, enthusiastically seeking out what they consider to be progressive causes”

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

She surely means people zealously preaching woke-ism to the un-woke, not people preaching Christianity to the heathen. For those of us with little contact to Christian missionaries that is anyway the obvious meaning.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

I think that you will find that the term “missionary” is used in many contexts, not just Christian. The word has been adopted, in a metaphorical way, for use about anyone who is determined to change a person’s mind on any subject, especially if they are commited to that particular creed. The same is true of the word “evangelical”; this is now used outside its original context. You may deplore these uses, but this is now a fact, the English language changes and terms are used metaphorically.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

The most obvious context, and the one i assumed she meant by “missionary”, was that of vanilla-flavoured sex!

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

The most obvious context, and the one i assumed she meant by “missionary”, was that of vanilla-flavoured sex!

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

She surely means people zealously preaching woke-ism to the un-woke, not people preaching Christianity to the heathen. For those of us with little contact to Christian missionaries that is anyway the obvious meaning.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonas Moze

I think that you will find that the term “missionary” is used in many contexts, not just Christian. The word has been adopted, in a metaphorical way, for use about anyone who is determined to change a person’s mind on any subject, especially if they are commited to that particular creed. The same is true of the word “evangelical”; this is now used outside its original context. You may deplore these uses, but this is now a fact, the English language changes and terms are used metaphorically.

Jonas Moze
Jonas Moze
1 year ago

Sorry, but this also caught me off guard – for the reason I happen to have been around a lot of Christian Missionaries in my times, and from rather extensive experience I have not found the below likely to be the case at all. Maybe he uses Missionary in a way other than Christian missionaries, but really, that is how it is usually meant. Or maybe he is thinking of Welby – but even then I still have doubts.

”. It’s true that social experiments like Drag Queen Story Hour in libraries or extremely graphic sex education in schools are often initiated in the name of the mythical “LGBT community”, but that’s not to say that most of them like it. In practice, it’s just as often heterosexual missionary-types doing the organising, enthusiastically seeking out what they consider to be progressive causes”

Olivier Clarinval
Olivier Clarinval
1 year ago

As an old-style leftist (not sure how to call myself these days, being as always against corporate-state corruption and propaganda, being attuned to the military-industrial complex ever-expanding tentacles, thereby being from day one against the insanity of the covid corporate coup, being for dialogue and cultural exchanges, etc.), I find many of the comments by self-identified “conservatives” as close-minded, petty and judgmental as the unbearably elitist comments by many leftists, which is not a compliment since most of the left is now characterized by its censuring, cancelling, cliquish and otherwise reactionary attitude.
I find this article interesting, trying to show both sides of an ugly culture war that is as senseless as it is toxic. One does not have to agree with the central argument but why not see it as an opening to dialogue, trying to understand where people come from, instead of this so very unpleasant reflex most people seem to have to rely on groupthink and denounce the first sign of the “other side” being given space.
Thank you UnHerd for consistently giving divergent views from different sides – much appreciated!

Olivier Clarinval
Olivier Clarinval
1 year ago

As an old-style leftist (not sure how to call myself these days, being as always against corporate-state corruption and propaganda, being attuned to the military-industrial complex ever-expanding tentacles, thereby being from day one against the insanity of the covid corporate coup, being for dialogue and cultural exchanges, etc.), I find many of the comments by self-identified “conservatives” as close-minded, petty and judgmental as the unbearably elitist comments by many leftists, which is not a compliment since most of the left is now characterized by its censuring, cancelling, cliquish and otherwise reactionary attitude.
I find this article interesting, trying to show both sides of an ugly culture war that is as senseless as it is toxic. One does not have to agree with the central argument but why not see it as an opening to dialogue, trying to understand where people come from, instead of this so very unpleasant reflex most people seem to have to rely on groupthink and denounce the first sign of the “other side” being given space.
Thank you UnHerd for consistently giving divergent views from different sides – much appreciated!

Leejon 0
Leejon 0
1 year ago

I agree, doesn’t matter, we know how this will go.

Leejon 0
Leejon 0
1 year ago

I agree, doesn’t matter, we know how this will go.

Dr. G Marzanna
Dr. G Marzanna
1 year ago

I can’t really deny that the violent rhetoric of the “progressive” has swung me to the right, socially at any rate. The antics of the SNP are particularly vile.
But I very much appreciate your accurate description of
“many academics are socially awkward geeks, hoping that by pontificating edgily about sex they might look cool. In writing incomprehensible paragraphs about non-standard sexual practices, they get to pose simultaneously as political dissidents, freedom fighters, social justice activists, and deep philosophical thinkers, bravely dismantling the status quo, one mention of an orgy or fetish at a time. Others are simply doing it because, over time, disciplinary norms in this direction have mindlessly developed, and now it’s as good a way as any to attract attention in the jobs market.”
Too right. You can’t go to an academic conference or event without fully 2/3 being about “queering” (yes, as a verb!) something or the other. Bleagh!

Dr. G Marzanna
Dr. G Marzanna
1 year ago

I can’t really deny that the violent rhetoric of the “progressive” has swung me to the right, socially at any rate. The antics of the SNP are particularly vile.
But I very much appreciate your accurate description of
“many academics are socially awkward geeks, hoping that by pontificating edgily about sex they might look cool. In writing incomprehensible paragraphs about non-standard sexual practices, they get to pose simultaneously as political dissidents, freedom fighters, social justice activists, and deep philosophical thinkers, bravely dismantling the status quo, one mention of an orgy or fetish at a time. Others are simply doing it because, over time, disciplinary norms in this direction have mindlessly developed, and now it’s as good a way as any to attract attention in the jobs market.”
Too right. You can’t go to an academic conference or event without fully 2/3 being about “queering” (yes, as a verb!) something or the other. Bleagh!