June 30, 2020

STOLEN VALOR: The NYT glorifies the woman who shot Andy Warhol.

The question of whether or not speech incites dangerous behavior has prompted many cultural battles (and First Amendment lawsuits) over the years. Violent language sometimes does lead to actual acts of violence. When it does, the media should report it as such, as it has done in the past, such as in its coverage of the manifesto written by Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski.

Which is why it was odd for editors at the New York Times to choose feminist writer Valerie Solanas as a featured person in the paper’s “Overlooked” series. (For those not in the know, the Overlooked section “is a series of obituaries about remarkable people whose deaths, beginning in 1851, went unreported in the Times.”)

What makes Ms. Solanas “remarkable” in the assessment of the Times? “She made daring arguments in ‘SCUM Manifesto,’ her case for a world without men,” the obituary notes, “But it was her attack on [Andy] Warhol that came to define her life.”

The “SCUM Manifesto” did far more than make the case for “a world without men.” It advocated killing them, or at the very least castrating them all. And “her attack” was, in fact, attempted murder, although Bonnie Wertheim, who wrote the piece for the Times, is too squeamish to say so outright (“soon, there were gunshots” is how she describes Solanas’ effort to kill Warhol.)

Solanas didn’t just shoot Warhol, who barely survived the attack that no doubt shortened his life and drove him into semi-reclusiveness. She also shot art critic Mario Amaya, whom the Times neglects to mention, but who was with Warhol at the time. She would have killed a third person, Warhol’s manager Fred Hughes, whom she attempted to shoot at point-blank range, but her gun jammed. She was a cold-blooded murderer.

The Times’ treatment of Solanas would likely not have been so flattering if she had been a mentally disturbed male loner who had written a misogynist screed and targeted a famous female artist. Is Solanas’ call for gendercide only worth resurrecting because we are now living through a time where anger—even irrational, violent rage—is valorized as long as it is in service to the right ideological cause?

Beginning their 2017 pieces praising the glories of capital-C Communism on the anniversary of the founding of the Soviet Union, the “1619 Project” last year, and more recently, meltdowns over Tom Cotton and Bari Weiss, endorsement of statue toppling, attempted doxxing of the Slate Star Codex blogger and now the glorification of Andy Warhol’s would-be assassin, the New York Times has descended into something resembling the student newspaper at Oberlin. (Or as one wag quipped on Facebook at the start of the month, “We are coming ever closer to the singularity where the New York Times and Teen Vogue are indistinguishable.”)  I’m worried that their young staffers are reading Rob Long’s “New York Times Autonomous Zone” article as a how-to guide, rather than satire.

Speaking of satire, all is happening in accordance with the prophecy:

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