Philosopher Kelly Oliver gives us some more information about the postmodernist witch hunt of Rebecca Tuvel. Oliver makes various observations that support my contention that the postmodern mindset draws from the Id:
The feeding frenzy in response to Tuvel’s article couldn’t have happened without social media. The viciousness of the attacks was fueled by the mob mentality of Facebook. Dissenters, even those who just wanted a civil discussion of the issue, were shut down immediately or afraid to voice their opinions in public. Some who in private were sympathetic to Tuvel, felt compelled to join in the attacking mob. The thought police were in full force. Both Tuvel and the journal were under pressure to retract the article and apologize. In a private message to me, one of my academic friends said one editor’s Facebook apology for publishing such an “offensive” article, “sounded like something ISIS makes its captors read in a hostage video before beheading them.” Joking aside, there was (and still is) tremendous pressure to condemn Tuvel and her article. Some who joined in the protests later admitted in private that they hadn’t even read the article. And at least one person who signed a petition demanding that Hypatia retract the text in question, later, when the media tides were turning, wanted to remove her signature from the damning letter. I wonder how many of those who signed that letter had actually read the article. Just this morning, I received a text from someone I respect, lamenting the cruelty on social media, but telling me she was sure she would disagree with the article and find it offensive, even though she hadn’t yet read it.
Two interesting themes emerge:
- Group think among the academic postmodernists is so intense that even those who were sympathetic to Tuvel felt the need join in with the mob and go on the attack. This shows the primitive urge to signal you are part of the Proper Tribe among the various “scholars.”
- The Id-based urge to properly position oneself in this academic world entails criticizing something you did not read. When some scholar (I presume) told Oliver “she was sure she would disagree with the article and find it offensive,” apparently she is oblivious to the fact her mind is primed to rely on confirmation bias which is contrary to scholarly thinking.
Oliver also notes:
I felt the need to defend Rebecca Tuvel not only because she is a friend and former Ph.D. student of mine, but also because I respect her work, which is always well argued—whether or not you agree with it—and I found her arguments compelling. I summoned up the courage and entered the fray suggesting only that Hypatia invite critical responses to the article. This suggestion was met with ridicule and derision. I then asked critics to respond with philosophical arguments rather than lobbing insults, which was met with claims that I was doing “violence” to marginalized scholars.
Here we can see the infantile aspect of the postmodernists. The whole idea of using reason to assess an argument is labeled as “violence,” meaning they have retreated fully into the realm of self-serving emotion. It’s no wonder….
The most vocal figures on social media claimed they were harmed, even traumatized, by Tuvel’s article, and by my defense of its right to exist. Some said that Tuvel’s article harmed them, and I was doing violence to them, even triggering PTSD, just by calling for an open discussion of, and debate over, the arguments in the article.
In their “world revolves me” approach, the postmodernists use infant-like complaints about being “harmed” to shut down any criticism of their views.
And then comes the Id’s aggressive drive:
Through every medium imaginable, senior feminist scholars were pressuring, even threatening, Tuvel that she wouldn’t get tenure and her career would be ruined if she didn’t retract her article. When I called out the worst insulters for threatening an untenured junior feminist, they claimed they were the victims here not her.
A senior feminist philosopher called to warn Tuvel that she should be appealing to the “right people” if she wanted to get tenure and warned her not to publish her book on this topic or it would ruin her career and mark her as “all that is wrong with white feminism.”
Of course. Toddlers who don’t get their way by crying will often switch over to having rage-fueled tantrums. So this Id-based approach translates as follows in the academic world: If you won’t shut up because of our tears, we will have no choice but to lash out at you.
And finally, Oliver seems to get the whole tribalistic nature of postmodernism:
Part of the problem with the response to Tuvel’s article is that some seem to feel that they are the only ones who have the legitimate right to talk about certain topics….. Indeed, it leads to a kind of academic Selfie culture where all we can do is take pictures of ourselves and never consider the lives of others.
I have already spoken about this primitive aspect of the postmodernists, which further supports my hypothesis of the Id-based nature of postmodern “scholarship.”
It’s important to realize I am not mocking the postmodernists here. The evidence does suggest the core of postmodernism is Id-based and such a primitive approach to reality has entrenched itself within academia. This is quite serious.