Blogs are dead! Long live the blogs!

I’m beginning to wonder if I’m doing PR wrong (no, I know am). This article by Aaron Rabinowitz on the scourge of anti-“Woke” activism had me wondering if I’ve really missed an angle.

Our story begins on January 24th of 2021, with the formal launch of the UK based Counterweight website, billed as “the home of scholarship and advice on Critical Social Justice ideology”, and committed to “individualism, universalism, viewpoint diversity and the free exchange of ideas”. Counterweight is one of many anti-woke activist organisations that has popped up in the past year to provide resources for organising against wokeness. Despite providing scant evidence that there was a substantive problem their organisation would address, Counterweight’s debut was uncritically covered by several news outlets, including The Daily Mail, Russia Today, The Daily Telegraph, and The Times – the latter two of whom felt Counterweight’s launch warranted front-page coverage. Counterweight’s founder, Helen Pluckrose, was invited to give numerous interviews in the mainstream media.

So I took a look at this Counterweight bullshit, looking at it for content and structure. Content: it has a small stable of contributors who write essays on an irregular schedule. It looks like they get a new post every few days. It’s basically nothing but a multi-author blog — it’s not even as active as Freethoughtblogs, and is kind of the inverse of our goals. Structure: here’s a big difference, with the front end loaded with all kinds of explicit material defending their anti-“Woke” agenda — basically, their ideology is made primary and loud. The Freethoughtblogs entry page is just a table of our authors and their most recent articles. One other content difference is that they must have some minimal essay length, while we don’t, so often here you’ll get a short blurb, while there you can reliably get a solid couple of paragraphs of hatred and ignorance.

And yet, somehow, Helen Pluckrose starting a gussied-up blog site gets write-ups from various well-known, if conservative, newspapers? We didn’t do good PR, I guess, because here you’ll find more and better essays written by genuinely individualistic people who are not hog-tied by the status quo. We also don’t have to struggle to hide our hideous opinions.

That’s what Aaron’s article is mostly about: the Counterweight started up with James Lindsay on board, and then Lindsay tweeted out a bunch of grossly anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, like this.

Oops! Quick! Get his name off the masthead! But let’s keep all the links to his New Discourses website, and continue to encourage people to read Lindsay, just with a little implausible denial. They don’t mind a little anti-Semitism and racism at the Counterweight, they just want it slightly less prominently labeled. While Freethoughtblogs would explode with anger if someone here favored anti-Semitism, and they wouldn’t be quietly tucked away, we’d do a lot of brutal self-examination, and carry out a public execution, so I guess that’s another difference.

OK, if we had a lot of money (we don’t, we dribble on month to month), I guess I’d do a major makeover, call this place Freethought Magazine or some such (“The Journal of Social Justice Studies”?), and turn the main page into a menu-driven summary of freethought and social justice, but keep all the same writers and list their contributions even more prominently, and catch the eye of the NY and LA Times, maybe a few other major liberal publications. It’s kind of obvious that calling it a blog network made it more easily dismissable.


  1. raven says

    James Lindsay:

    If you didn’t know, “the plan” involves reducing the world population to under 2B, perhaps by the end of the decade…

    This is far out there lunatic fringe stuff. It is Alex Jones terrritory.

    “The plan” is the plan of the Globablists. You know, the Illuminati and the Shapeshifting Space Reptiles. Oddly enough, the Shapeshifting Space Reptiles are Jewish.

    The lunatic fringers have been talking about the Globalists and the UN population reduction plan for decades now. In that time, the earth’s population has added another 2 billion people.
    Lindsay, who I never really heard of before, is not in contact with reality.

  2. says

    Never heard of him but that selected tweet is absolutely nuts. Lindsey and MTG need to start a club. Oh wait! That’s how the NAZI party started.

  3. raven says

    Alex Jones 2009

    The eugenicists are back with their latest program to kill an untold number of people under the cover of the “swine flu pandemic.” If you line up for a vaccination contaminated with mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde and other toxins — and a possible agent for future cancers designed to decimate world population — you need to have your head examined.

    However, as Ron Paul indicates, you may not have a choice — the government may force you to choose between a toxic vaccine and a FEMA camp.

    This is the UN population reduction program of 2009.
    Nothing has changed since then. It still doesn’t even exist.

    And nothing they said would happen in 2009 happened. The earth added another billion people.
    The Swine Flu vaccine was not forced on anyone, and no one went to the nonexistent FEMA camps. The Swine Flu vaccine was successful and saved many thousands of lives.

  4. Artor says

    So what is “anti-woke” anyway? Standing up for the status quo and complaining any time someone criticizes the bad ways things were handled in the past? How is that different from every other conservative outlet? (Good one, PZ: “the NY and LA Times, maybe a few other major liberal publications.” LOL!)

  5. acroyear says

    I always love the constant rage against the “asset holding class”, after which they turn around and vote for politicians who are part of that very class and do all those things that benefit that class like tax cuts and deregulation.

    This entire populism has been a manipulative front solely to benefit the rich, and these people are so brain dead stupid they just can’t see it.

  6. hemidactylus says

    Egads, not the CRT bogey again. Are they pinning blame on Marcuse or Foucault? I lost the plot.

  7. raven says

    I always love the constant rage against the “asset holding class”, …

    Yeah, I saw that too.

    Lindsay is a Fascist hater, who is working for the asset holding class.
    The GOP is now led by a shady billionaire, Trump, and their big accomplishment while he was in office was abolishing the US corporate income tax and cutting taxes for the ultra-rich.
    They also made cuts to the US social safety net for low income people.

  8. says

    Regarding the first Tweet of Lindsay’s show above victim blaming is such a clever and original intellectual argument. Sounds like a real mind to watch there.

  9. fishy says

    Sounds like a lot of work.
    I want to hate, but with less effort.

  10. Akira MacKenzie says

    Raven @ 9

    As some who keeps track of Jones vis-à-vis the Knowledge Fight podcast, I can tell you that his tune hasn’t changed today.

    At the beginning of the pandemic, Jones and frequent guest (and old advisory of this blog) Mike “The Health Ranger” Adams were declaring COVID-19 to be a Globalist/ChiCom/Satanic bio-weapon designed to fulfill their insidious population control scheme. (Adams is famously declared that “It’s over for humanity!” and that species would be reduced to small tribes or “lone survivors.”) That was before Donald Trump decided to downplay the severity of the virus and dismiss any serious effort to contain or fight the disease. Then the rhetoric changed to COVID being a “fake” bioweapon and the public health measures, masks, lockdowns, social distancing along and, of course, any prospective vaccine to be the means the cow and then exterminate the surplus population. Those who remain will be made slaves by the “scientific tyranny” and “post-human” New World order which are controlled by AI (which is really Satan) who eventually use “transhumanist” technologies to suck their souls into Hell.

    It be silly if he didn’t have the ear of thousands of well-armed and dedicated fascist rednecks who showed us on Jan 6 that they are willing to fight and kill for their insanity.

  11. JoeBuddha says

    “Anti-woke”, huh? Just how many synonyms for “Nazi” do we need, anyway?

  12. Akira MacKenzie says

    acroyear @ 5

    I always love the constant rage against the “asset holding class”, after which they turn around and vote for politicians who are part of that very class and do all those things that benefit that class like tax cuts and deregulation.

    That’s because they don’t see right-wing “asset holders” to be the problem. It’s those smug, effete, edu-ma-cated, urban, atheist, sometimes Jewish, socially-liberal-in-public billionaires like Gates, Bezos, Soros, etc. who are draining the good, hard-working, white, Christian farmer, miner, oil worker, small business tyrant owners of their money and freedom. Billionaires like Koch, Musk, Trump, et al earned their billions by the sweat of their balls, their intelligence and business cunning, and believing in America, the Free Market, and JEEZ-us. It’s them who need tax cuts and unregulated business to make America go. They deserve to hold their assets.

  13. Akira MacKenzie says

    Whoops! Quick edit for 11:

    …and old advisory adversary of this blog…

  14. lochaber says

    My first thought reading that was how everything is projection with these bigots, I wonder if the total number of “white” people in the world is about ~2B

    Kinda hard to find stats like that on a quick google, and boy does that bring up some disturbing web pages…

    Best guess I found is 1.2B “white” people in the world.

  15. says

    @3 Raven
    Good pull! I knew some of that shit comes up because half my fam is JW and they keep wishing for the end of the world. The only thing I took away is an interest in end of the world scenarios with a serious skepticism toward any of it.

  16. nomdeplume says

    “woke” and “cancel culture” are pure projection from the right and an attempt to ensure that only right wing thought is valid. The mainstream media fell into the trap happily.

  17. Frederic Bourgault-Christie says

    The PR of FTB shouldn’t matter. When someone wants to write a thinkpiece about atheism and skepticism, they can mysteriously always find the Richard Carrier stuff and Elevatorgate and Atheism Plus and everything else. This blog network is trivial to find. The problem is that media outlets take people like Pluckrose seriously and keep promoting the “intellectual dark web” version X.0.