Roxane Gay vs. Christina Hoff Sommers
April 23, 2019, 11:28 PM
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From New York magazine:

Inside the Near Meltdown of Roxane Gay and Christina Hoff Sommers’s Australian Mini-Tour:

The conversation series didn’t turn out as planned.

By Jesse Singal

… Desh reached out to them both. Sommers was excited by the idea but didn’t think Gay would agree; Gay’s management team was receptive but similarly skeptical.

Roxane Gay has a “management team?”


She gets Intersectional Wokemon Points for being black, a woman, and fat, so it’s a living. I don’t know if she’s a lesbian too, but her last name probably gets her half a point for that.

Usually, being fat is not a career boost. I’ve been skinny and I’ve been fat, and skinny is better.

But Gay is so fat that she’s made it part of her identity politics shtick. It helps to be a fat black woman of course. Nobody would pay extra to be lectured by a fat Latino woman.

Did people in the past side with writers by body shape? For example, did fat people turn out to root for fat G.K. Chesterton in his debates with skinny George Bernard Shaw? Perhaps, but I dunno …

As so often, TV Tropes has more content on this subject than anywhere else:

Chesterton: To look at you, one would think there was a famine in the land!

Shaw: To look at you, one would think you caused it!

But even that doesn’t quite answer the question whether fat people in 1919 looked to Chesterton as their champion.

One odd thing is that Shaw was much more famous than Chesterton when I was a kid in the 1970s, but now GKC is better known than GBS. Maybe it’s Catholic identity politics?

… In June of last year, Desh says, he sent Gay an email laying out his vision and citing the famous Buckley-Vidal debate, itself the subject of a documentary, as his inspiration. “This is how conversation used to be,” he explained. Eventually, Gay agreed. …

This event became the subject of controversy a full six months ahead of its scheduled dates, when, in a September 2018 interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Gay called Sommers a “white supremacist,” a claim for which there doesn’t appear to be any evidence (Sommers is Jewish and says she is a registered Democrat, for what it’s worth). “Personally, I was a bit surprised that she used those words because if you look into Christina’s work, it’s far from that,” says Desh. “I was taken aback by that statement.” Gay had been asked about her decision to share a stage with a “white supremacist,” given that she had pulled a New Yorker article in response to that magazine having invited Steve Bannon to a New Yorker Festival (after the outcry, he was disinvited) and had also pulled a book she’d been contracted to write for Simon & Schuster after the publisher inked Milo Yiannopoulos to a (since canceled) deal. In response, Gay told the Morning Herald that she’d never heard of Sommers before but that after she’d mentioned the mini-tour on Twitter, the Southern Poverty Law Center, an anti-hate group, sent her information about Sommers that she found “disturbing.” (The SPLC has accused Sommers of making arguments that “overlap” with those of hard-line “male supremacist” groups, but the overlapping in question appears not to be about any radical male-supremacist claims but rather on issues where there is mainstream expert disagreement, such as the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses and the magnitude and origins of the gender wage gap.)

God bless the Southern Poverty Law Center. What would we do without them?

By the way, has the SPLC been in the news lately? I haven’t seen anything new. But it would seem about time for another shoe or two to drop.

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