It is extraordinary how brittle are the sensibilities of people who have major media platforms. I recently highlighted the absurd over-reaction of New York Times columnist Bret Stephens to a tweet by an until-then obscure professor who called him a bedbug. This turned out to be a beautiful example of the Streisand Effect because Stephens’ ridiculous response went viral and was used as an example by many (including me) about how these who often use their platforms to denounce those whom they accuse of silencing the speech of others, have feelings that are hurt so easily that they denounce any critics of themselves, however innocuous. It reveals what sheltered lives they live, in a cocoon of like-minded people who pat each other on the back at their social gatherings.
Ashley Feinberg writes that the Stephens’ column was not unique in its pathetic whininess and has done us all a favor by creating a hilarious compilation of all the times when NYT columnists, not just Stephens, have similarly over-reacted. I have said many times that when it comes to these people, we should ignore the labels they give themselves such as liberal and conservative. They are all members of the pro-war, pro-business party and so their similar reactions to what they see as the barbarians at the gate laughing at them should come as no surprise.
Feinberg says that many times, like in the recent Stephens case, a single comment or a tweet by a powerless person is enough to set them off. Here are some examples.
Frank Bruni went online, saw a column from a college student that was rude to white people, generally speaking, and decided to feel personally victimized and attacked. So personally victimized and attacked that this column—a column from, again, a single college student—warranted a rebuttal in a major national publication.
Bari Weiss was inspired to report and write a giant declarative trend piece, in which she portrayed a group of wildly popular conservative media figures as the silenced and downtrodden great thinkers of our day, because she wrote a bad tweet and people got mad.
[About Stephens and bedbugs] Also, speaking of people getting very mad, did you know Nazi Germany made a concerted effort to get lots of people very mad at entire groups of people, like the Jews? One of the ways they did this was by using dehumanizing language, such as referring to Jews as insects or even “bedbugs.”
All of which is to say, this particular column is about Bret Stephens desperately trying to validate his preposterously thin skin by using the pages of the New York Times to compare a formerly unknown Jewish professor to Joseph Goebbels. God bless him.
It is a pretty funny piece.
These columnists should be mocked incessantly until they realize that when they enter the public sphere, and they have very big megaphones to give vent to their views, they have to take their lumps just like the rest of us.