IDSG 95 James Lindsay and the Grievance Studies Hoax, Part 2
Yes, we’re back with Jimmy Concepts, reliable source of dishonest idiocy. This time, as a kind of ‘bonus feature’ to our last episode, Daniel reads out a representative selection of reviewer comments on some of the fake papers submitted to academic journals by Lindsay, Pluckrose and Boghossian during the so-called ‘Sokal Squared’ prank. It’s very revealing… albeit of something we already knew: namely that Lindsay and his cohorts are absolutely full of shit.
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Oh, and here’s Part 1 (ep94) again: https://idontspeakgerman.libsyn.com/94-james-lindsay-and-the-grievance-studies-hoax
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Show Notes for 95:
Areo Magazine, Academic Grievance Studies and the Corruption of Scholarship ( https://areomagazine.com/2018/10/02/academic-grievance-studies-and-the-corruption-of-scholarship/ )
Full listing of Grievance Studies Papers and Reviews ( https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/19tBy_fVlYIHTxxjuVMFxh4pqLHM_en18 ).
“BJ-Gay” reviewer’s comment:
– This paper claims to apply a combination of psychoanalysis and feminism to examine and critique
styles of masculinity evident within grappling-based martial arts subcultures. Overall, I found the
paper very difficult to read and cannot recommend it for publication. This is due to a combination of factors, namely:
– A densely theoretical, often confusing style of prose in many parts of the paper;
– An inconsistent application of theoretical concepts, most of which were not defined with any
clarity for the reader;
– Overuse of certain source material, as well as a fairly consistent tendency to misuse sources in
support of claims that the papers/books in question do not actually support;
– Many sweeping generalizations about (all) men involved in (all) grappling-based martial arts;
– A tokenistic inclusion of discussions of women in these spaces, which was not reconciled with the analysis in any meaningful way;
– A central thesis which is not, to my knowledge, supported by any of the empirical research in this area (despite the fact that several such studies were cited in the paper);
– Bizarre, even farcical concluding recommendations which indicate a lack of knowledge about the martial arts in question, as well as a tenuous and selective grasp of feminism as applied to sport.
– There is simply too much wrong with the paper to offer a more robust criticism as a reviewer. I recommend that the author spends far more time acquainting themselves with both the theoretical and empirical literature at the intersection of sport, martial arts and masculinity studies before attempting a re-write. The current offering sits far short of the standards of scholarship expected of academic publication, particularly in a journal such as Men and Masculinities.
“The Joke’s On You” reviewer comment:
– Another sign of lack of integration is that there is not clear definition of the comedic. The very first paragraph offers one too narrow for the essay. Northrup Frye provides some useful definitions of irony, parody, and satire in his classic work, Anatomy of Criticism. Note, too, that Cynthia Willett, in Irony in the Age of Empire, shares a similar thesis with this essay, namely that irony works against arrogance and ignorance. That source should be acknowledged even as the author discusses her own different approach, and might help the author clarify definitions of the comedic and integrate argument.
– Yet another sign of lack of integration are the mixed references from Oliver to Dotson, Bailey, et al.– Oliver would support a strong postmodern or poststructuralist stance that would render claims to speak “truth” to power finally ironic or that would yield to a very serious act of witnessing alterity. The latter group of epistemologists (including Dotson and Bailey) seem to affirm a pluralism but also a truth that allows for objective claims. Humor that makes use of the latter approach would typically tend toward satire, not irony. Satire and irony just do not function the same way, and the author would want to decide which direction or use of them would most assist the argument.
“Fat Body Builders” reviewer comment:
– For instance, statements like these, “In order for fat to be seen as ordinary and familiar, we need to insert ourselves in the extraordinary and unfamiliar. Competitive bodybuilding venues may be unfamiliar, even intrinsically fat-exclusionary, but this can change” and “Though it goes beyond the scope of this paper to provide more specific methods for institutionalizing fat bodybuilding” illustrate the issue with the paper. The author has highlighted the negative implication of fat stigma, but with a lack of connection to implementation, it negates the reason for why fat bodybuilding is a solution over other means or methods.
– This reader would encourage the author to improve the connection between fat bodybuilding and its role as a means of fat activism. The author certainly has a wealth of information about the field of bodybuilding and the author should use that experience to strengthen the connections mentioned previously.
“Hooters” reviewer comment:
– This then takes me to a core challenge in moving forward with your paper at Sex Roles: trustworthiness. All three reviewers share my concern about the lack of demonstrated methodological integrity in the present paper. This is where Reviewer 3 comes in. I recruited Reviewer 3 after the other reviewers, and because she is a member of our in-house staff, I shared both reviewers’ (masked) comments with her. I asked her first if she felt there was enough evidence of rigor to pursue a revision. Because we (at this point) have incomplete methodological information, I cannot commit to making a positive judgment here, but I am committing to giving it a try.
– Thus my second challenge to Reviewer 3 was to outline what next steps you will need to take (in addition to addressing the other reviewers’ comments) to fill in these methodological gaps. As you can see from Reviewer 3’s comments, this starts by laying out your procedural details and analytic strategy. My guess is that you will need to focus more specifically on theme development and justification (e.g., thematic analysis) rather than taking this aspect from grounded theory (in that your goal is not to develop theory). I have attached a recently published paper in Sex Roles by Sheryl Chatfield that lays out various approaches to qualitative methodologies and outlines our standards here at Sex Roles. My expectation is that Reviewer 3’s comments and this paper will help you address this critical point, as well as to move one from there to fully flesh out your methods, analyses, and findings.
“Dildos” reviewer comment:
– In the opening sections, the author notes that “though Allan lays out psychoanalytic theoretical considerations that are strongly suggestive of the co-constitutive relationship between masculinity, thevariables listed above, and anality, currently there is no scholarly literature that engages the topic of straight male penetrative sex toy directly and substantively” (3). The author here is referring to Allan’s article, “Phallic Affect,” however, Allan’s book, Reading from Behind: A Cultural Analysis of the Anus (2016) might prove to be more useful in the context of this study.
– The author writes that “there exists a far more extensive and applicable treatment in the book, The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure, but unfortunately this insightful volumes falls considerably outside of the scholarly academic canon” (3). I’m not certain that this is a problem, perhaps this is a difference of approach, but it seems to me that sex manuals are highly valuable resources in scholarly work and if there is a problem that the problem rests not with The Ultimate Guide but the Academy’s inability to imagine value outside of itself. Indeed, the author might consider expanding this to include books like, The Adventurous Couple’s Guide to Strap-On Sex by Violet Blue.
Sci-Hub link: https://sci-hub.se/10.1353/tech.2007.0066
‘So You Wanna Be a Hooters Girl’ at The Smoking Gun: https://www.thesmokinggun.com/file/so-you-wanna-be-hooters-girl
Show Notes from 94 Again:
James Lindsay, New Discourses, “Why You Can Be Transgender But Not Transracial.”” https://newdiscourses.com/2021/06/why-you-can-be-transgender-but-not-transracial/
James Lindsay has a day job, apparently. “Maryville man walks path of healing and combat.” https://www.thedailytimes.com/news/maryville-man-walks-path-of-healing-and-combat/article_5ea3c0ca-2e98-5283-9e59-06861b8588cb.html
Areo Magazine, Academic Grievance Studies and the Corruption of Scholarship. https://areomagazine.com/2018/10/02/academic-grievance-studies-and-the-corruption-of-scholarship/
Full listing of Grievance Studies Papers and Reviews. https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/19tBy_fVlYIHTxxjuVMFxh4pqLHM_en18
‘Mein Kampf’ and the ‘Feminazis’: What Three Academics’ Hitler Hoax Really Reveals About ‘Wokeness’. https://web.archive.org/web/20210328112901/https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-hitler-hoax-academic-wokeness-culture-war-1.9629759
“First and foremost, the source material. The chapter the hoaxers chose, not by coincidence, one of the least ideological and racist parts of Hitler’s book. Chapter 12, probably written in April/May 1925, deals with how the newly refounded NSDAP should rebuild as a party and amplify its program.
“According to their own account, the writers took parts of the chapter and inserted feminist “buzzwords”; they “significantly changed” the “original wording and intent” of the text to make the paper “publishable and about feminism.” An observant reader might ask: what could possibly remain of any Nazi content after that? But no one in the media, apparently, did.”
New Discourses, “There Is No Good Part of Hitler’s Mein Kampf” https://newdiscourses.com/2021/03/there-is-no-good-part-of-hitlers-mein-kampf/
On this episode of the New Discourses Podcast, James Lindsay, who helped to write the paper and perpetrate the Grievance Studies Affair, talks about the project and the creation of this particular paper at unprecedented length and in unprecedented detail, revealing Nilssen not to know what he’s talking about. If you have ever wondered about what the backstory of the creation of the “Feminist Mein Kampf” paper really was, including why its authors did it, you won’t want to miss this long-form discussion and rare response to yet another underinformed critic of Lindsay, Boghossian, and Pluckrose’s work.
The Grieveance Studies Affair Revealed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVk9a5Jcd1k
Reviewer 1 Comments on Dog Park Paper
“page 9 – the human subjects are afforded anonymity and not asked about income, etc for ethical reasons. yet, the author as researcher intruded into the dogs’ spaces to examine and record genitalia. I realize this was necessary to the project, but could the author acknowledge/explain/justify this (arguably, anthropocentric) difference? Indicating that it was necessary to the research would suffice but at least the difference should be acknowledged.”
Nestor de Buen, Anti-Science Humping in the Dog Park. https://conceptualdisinformation.substack.com/p/anti-science-humping-in-the-dog-park
“What is even more striking is that if the research had actually been conducted and the results showed what the paper says they show, there is absolutely no reason why it should not have been published. And moreover, what it proves is the opposite of what its intention is. It shows that one can make scientifically testable claims based on the conceptual framework of gender studies, and that the field has all the markings of a perfectly functional research programme.”
“Yes, the dog park paper is based on false data and, like Sokal’s, contains a lot of unnecessary jargon, but it is not nonsense, and the distinction is far from trivial. Nonsense implies one cannot even obtain a truth value from a proposition. In fact, the paper being false, if anything, proves that it is not nonsense, yet the grievance hoaxers try to pass falsity as nonsense. Nonsense is something like Chomsky’s famous sentence “colorless green ideas sleep furiously.” It is nonsense because it is impossible to decide how one might evaluate whether it is true. A false sentence would be “the moon is cubical.” It has a definite meaning, it just happens not to be true.
“So, if the original Sokal Hoax is like Chomsky’s sentence, the dog park paper is much more like “the moon is cubical.” And in fact, a more accurate analogy would be “the moon is cubical and here is a picture that proves it,” and an attached doctored picture of the cubical moon.”
Reviewer 2 Comments on the Dog-Park Paper
“I am a bit curious about your methodology. Can you say more? You describe your methods here (procedures for collecting data), but not really your overall approach to methodology. Did you just show up, observe, write copious notes, talk to people when necessary, and then leave? If so, it might be helpful to explicitly state this. It sounds to me like you did a kind of ethnography (methodology — maybe multispecies ethnography?) but that’s not entirely clear here. Or are you drawing on qualitative methods in social behaviorism/symbolic interactionism? In either case, the methodology chosen should be a bit more clearly articulated.”
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Inside Higher Ed, “Blowback Against a Hoax.” https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2019/01/08/author-recent-academic-hoax-faces-disciplinary-action-portland-state
Peter Boghossian Resignation Latter from PSU. https://bariweiss.substack.com/p/my-university-sacrificed-ideas-for