Quillette published an article titled “DSA is Doomed”, written by someone named Archie Carter who claimed to have attended meetings of the Democratic Socialists of America and found them pointless, riven by dissent, full of hipsters, and counterproductive. This was exactly what Quillette wanted to hear, and they fast-tracked it for publication.
One problem: the author lived in Illinois, had never attended a New York meeting, and was making it all up.
“Tell them I live in the area of [Jacobin managing editor] Micah Uetricht,” said the playful voice on the other line. Carter — this twenty-four-year-old Illinoian’s pseudonym — had reason to be happy. He had successfully baited Quillette — the self-described “platform for free thought,” though more widely known as a platform for phrenology — with a “little Sokal experiment.”
That little aside is a good snipe, but I must correct them. They are best known as a platform for craniometry, not phrenology, although both are equally bogus.
What’s most amazing, though, is not that someone got a fake article published in a magazine, but that the original copy wasn’t juicy enough for Quillette, as disparaging as it was, so the editors of that rag jazzed it up a bit, adding new details that they invented to the story.
Comparing the original draft Carter had written (verified through a Google Doc link included in his email correspondence with Quillette), it’s clear that the publication made an extra effort to add embellishing details to the story — separate from Carter’s original fabrication — in order to advance a right-wing narrative of DSA as hopeless, dithering, anti-working class snowflakes.
For example, it was Quillette, not Carter, that included the line, “My union friends were horrified. While these people spend hours reproaching themselves and each other, real people in America are suffering.”
Quillette also suggested that DSA meetings “would drag on forever in order to accommodate the neuroses of the participants and to ensure that the proceedings observed the norms of ‘inclusivity.’”
Wow. The article has been taken down now that it was revealed that it was a hoax, but it’s revealing that not only were they soundly trolled, but they assisted in amplifying their own trolling.
Quillette is just the worst.