Another April Fools Post: Why Does Niall Ferguson Do This to Himself?

Preview of Another April Fools Post Why Does Niall Ferguson Do This to Himself

I swear, when this showed up in my inbox—sent by somebody who wishes me ill—I really did think it was an April Fools Day parody...

Back up. As the eminent and intelligent John Scalzi says: to play the video game of life—"a massive role playing game, like World of Warcraft except appallingly mundane, where most quests involve the acquisition of money, cell phones and donuts, although not always at the same time"—as a straight white male in America is to play it on the lowest difficulty setting: on level one, so to speak.

Everybody else faces bigger obstacles and more distractions. Thus one should not be proud of one's “score“, however one likes to keep score. One should not pat oneself on the back as being in any way "superior" for what one has accomplished. And one should not whinge about how hard one's life is, and about how many obstacles one faces.

And if one starts whingeing—especially if start whingeing when people point out that one has been playing on level one—if one says one is being oppressed by sexist anti-sexists and racist anti-racists because somebody points out that one's score is at the top primarily because one was playing on level one, and that one is actively assisting others of one's ilk in playing on level one...

Well, one should be embarrassed: Such a fragile ego! Such an unwillingness to contemplate the reality in which one is cushioned! Such a sensitive snowflake!

Why, it is positively unmanly...


And so we get to Niall Ferguson.

He is upset that people are taking screenshots of the Hoover Institution's—public—official conference webpages, which webpages apparently contain "mugshots" of conference speakers, and which screenshots are apparently "the kind of thing anti-Semites once did to condemn the 'over-representation' of Jewish people in academia":

Niall Ferguson: "It's not very fashionable to be a man these days, especially a white one. My latest in @BostonGlobe against the sexism of the anti-sexists and the racism of the anti-racists:

Niall Ferguson: White men are bad?: "Five of the people I invited to give papers were women, but none was able to attend...

...I should have tried harder to find other female speakers, no doubt. But my failure to do so elicited a disproportionately vitriolic response.... The New York Times published photographs of all the speakers, as if to shame them for having participated. Around a dozen academics—male as well as female—took to social media to call the conference a “StanfordSausageFest.” So outraged were Stanford historians Allyson Hobbs and Priya Satia that they demanded “greater university oversight” of the Hoover Institution, where I work, as it was “an ivory tower in the most literal sense.”... Publishing the names and mugshots of conference speakers is the kind of thing anti-Semites once did to condemn the “over-representation” of Jewish people in academia. Terms such as “SausageFest” belong not in civil academic discourse but on urinal walls. What we see here is the sexism of the anti-sexists; the racism of the anti-racists.... This is America in 2018...

I do think that Stanford should do something in the way of better oversight of the Hoover Institution, BTW: whatever Hoover envisioned, it is not, I think, what we have. I do not think he would be pleased with the average quality.

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