The Once and Future Khan

Razib Khan managed to get himself hired and fired by the New York Times over the course of a single day, an enviable record.  Having the Times look upon you with favor is a dubious honor in the first place, something like having a leper ask you out on a date – so a quick hire-and-fire is optimal. Something for the CV, but you never had to actually hang out with the slimebags.  Not as cool as ‘refused the Fields Medal’,  but pretty cool.

I am not Razib, and I disagree with him on some things of importance: but I look forward to the day, a few years hence, when Razib is still cursing the ignorant commenters, while the New York Times is one with the dust of Nineveh and Tyre.

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70 Responses to The Once and Future Khan

  1. JayMan says:

    “I look forward to the day, a few years hence, when Razib is still cursing the ignorant commenters, while the New York Times is one with the dust of Nineveh and Tyre.”

    We all live in hope.

  2. pyrrhus says:

    NYT is already reduced to renting out space in its own building…but I’m sure another billionaire with a few axes to grind will sugar daddy them again…for awhile

    • Polynices says:

      Damn, the comments on that post just hurt my brain they’re so stupid.

      • Jay1 says:

        “In short, perceived differences in intelligence and educational testing are the result of a vast swath of socioeconomic, cultural, and material inequalities between racial groups, which artificially depress the results of some of those groups and inflate those of others. This arguments are typically disputed by claiming that these factors have been controlled for statistically, but these statistical controls are inadequate to the task of leveling the playing field due to the incredibly multivariate and complex realities of racism. For example, black children have significantly higher level of lead exposures than white children even in the same income strata. Black children receive less of an advantage in self-esteem and corresponding positive outcomes from being a member of a higher socioeconomic class when compared to white children. Implicit bias against black students produces phenomena like the Matthew Effect, where teachers expect less of black children and thus subconsciously devote less time and effort to educating them. Etc. My argument is the presence of massive, uncontrolled, construct-irrelevant variance.”

        Silly scientific racists forgot to control for higher lead exposure among blacks! Even the lead exposure for rich blacks must be higher too, since they get outscored by poor whites. Do poor whites, and as mentioned in The 10,000 Year Explosion, Jews in poor areas of London who outscored their classmates, they have higher self esteem and no implicit biases against them?

        • amac78 says:

          The scientific racists are aware of other confounders besides lead exposure. You would think that they would have routinely assayed the well-known blood biomarkers for self-esteem and the Matthew Effect. But you would be wrong. It’s hard to say whether these omissions are due to incompetence or to bias.

          • thiscannotbethefuture says:

            Deep down these people are not serious about their own arguments. I once asked a blank slatist psychologist on Twitter “Ok, what would convince you that you’re wrong?” She wouldn’t answer.

        • Steve Sailer says:

          I went to high school in Sherman Oaks, CA, which probably had the highest automotive lead emissions in the country in 1972-1976 because it’s home to the 405-101 freeway interchange, which was the busiest in the country at the time.

          • Margaret Falkenberg says:

            I grew up less than 400 feet from Interstate 95, blasted through my (leaded gas era) refinery town in SE Pennsylvania when I was an elementary school student. I can remember tasting a sweet-bitter taste that I only much later–when I became enamored of firearms (at that time shot only in urban indoor ranges with no real exhaust systems)–identified as lead.

            Somehow my IQ tested within the same few point range at three-plus-sigmas, repeatedly, in my childhood, teens, twenties, thirties, and forties.

            Must have been white privilege, there in my 65% black city.

            Also, all those culturally biased questions about which weird shape was next in a sequence or didn’t fit in a set of of weird shapes.

    • Ma'am Lurker says:

      lol @ them thinking he’s Indian and then talking about the bloody caste system, etc. That’s not racist or stupid at all, huh?

      And of course like always, any non-White minority or woman who doesn’t toe the line with them is self-hating, deluded, don’t know what they’re saying, anti-Black, and/or have internalized racism/sexism! Talk about denying agency and silencing minority/female voices now, you hypocritical fools.

  3. Yudi says:

    My god. This is absolutely pathetic on the Times’ part. Razib Khan links to his articles on Taki’s etc. on his own website. If that’s what scared them, they should have been smart enough to do the obvious and actually visit his webpage before hiring him instead of delivering this cowardly slap in the face.

    • Yudi says:

      I say we start a Race Deniers’ Privilege Checklist. After all, if all of Razib’s posts toed the line on that point, he wouldn’t have gotten abruptly fired for no apparently reason.

      • CBurd says:

        I think whoever hired him knew all about his articles at VDare etc., but figured guilt-by-association wasn’t a valid reason not to hire an intelligent, interesting writer. I don’t think his firing was a reassessment of the original hiring decision, but an understandable (if cowardly) desire to avoid a social-media shitstorm. Or possibly some higher-up wrenched the wheel away from the original decision-maker after the Gawker article came out.

  4. Justin says:

    I saw a comment on Sailer’s blog about Khan getting a gig with them, thought it was weird, given his thought crime associations.

  5. MawBTS says:


    Has Razib written anything about this, or does the NYT have him gagged by some means?

  6. harpend says:

    I grew up with the New York Times as my daily diet: it was an American triumph. As I recall about 1990, i.e when The Bell Curve was published, the whole paper went corrupt. They published a high quality reasonable review of The Bell Curve, then the next day published another review from some moralistic posturing whiner. Nicholas Wade, somehow, persisted, but most of the rest of it became cat litter.

    The other pillar of scientific literacy, Scientific American, went south at about the same time and has never recovered. It is today on a par with National Enquirer. That is, I suppose, the market.

    • Very interesting. I’m too green to know that NYT was ever anything but cat litter.

      You mentioned Wade staying on as a bastion of the pre-litter era. But who flagshipped the ruination? Willing to name names?

    • gcochran9 says:

      The Times was messed-up way before then.

      Scientific America was always pink, but now they’re way worse. Compare Philip Morrison to John Horgan. God, I miss Commies.

    • L says:

      It was a paper that every intelligent person enjoyed reading once [whether you agreed with it’s views or not].. I started reading it on almost daily basis in highschool and college in the late 90s early 2000s.. After Jill Abramson, what was a slow and steady slide became an avalanche of mediocrity.

      I use twitter now to get all my news..directly from the people and organizations I care about.. NPR is still worth listening to and full of intellectually engaging talks.

      the NYT will simply fade into irrelevance..

    • Patrick Boyle says:

      Scientific American simply went un-American. It had been an American publication for more than a century but then was bought by a German company which had a leftist agenda. It used to be a relatively apolitical magazine that focused on many of the scientific questions of the day. Then suddenly there purpose became an instrument to attack any person who they judged ‘politically incorrect’. Bjorn Lomborg was an early victim.

      I used to say that I had learned more from my Scientific American subscription than any of my college degrees. No more.

    • Patrick Boyle says:

      I watched ‘Three Days of the Condor’ on Netflix the other evening. For those who have forgotten the plot – Robert Redford is pursued by some rogue CIA unit that assassinates everyone in sight. Redford (Condor) is alone and up against this shadowy and potent menace. He is in an impossible position – everyone wants him dead.

      Then in the last five minutes he finds a means through to victory and goodness – The New York Times. The ‘Deus ex machina’ are their news presses.

      It’s a taut little thriller but these days those last five minutes where ‘The Times’ is invoked as an impartial and potent force for good – is a bit funny.

    • Abelard Lindsey says:

      Scientific American went into the tank in the mid 80’s over Carl Sagan’s “nuclear winter” theory which, BTW, was never peer-reviewed at all. There was a defector who worked for the KGB and later FSB who told the whole story about the nuclear winter theory. It was a clever piece of disinformation cooked up by the KGB in an effort to prevent the positioning of the Pershing II missiles in West Germany in the early 80’s. The book “Comrad J” has the whole story. Its quite entertaining.

  7. Hesse Kassel says:

    The only surprising thing about this kind of thing is that anyone is still surprised.

  8. My commiserations for the quality of your quality press. However, the worse they get, the more people start searching the web in search of informed opinion. Be of good cheer.

  9. Sean says:

    I think Razib might have produced the greatest stuff he ever wrote under the constraints at the NYT. He is free to write anything he wants now, but that is not necessarily a good thing because without anything concrete, one’s focus goes of into futile ruminations on vengeance and victory. When you try to say something of de-localised scope and infinite significance it falls flat. It’s when working under close restrictions that we are at our most surprisingly awesome.

    • Razib was fired because and I quote the Gawker headline ” A Colorful Past With Racist Publications.”

      In other words guilt by association. He has filled his excellent blog with thousands of pages of thought and they couldn’t find one quote pulled out of context to pin on him and label him a racist. He is one because he associates with them.

      The decline of the New York Times over the last ten years has been spectacular. Good. Let it continue.

  10. Sean says:

    Same day is par for the course. The same day his columns started appearing at the Unz Review, Peter Frost’s Wikipedia article was nominated for deletion.

  11. Bruce says:

    Off topic I guess but Razib looks like he’s about 17 years old. Not that that’s a bad thing.

    • it’s a heritable thing. my mother’s side of the family especially live long (maternal grandfather 1896-1996) and age slowly. but i get some premature graying on my dad’s side, so i’ve had issues with people much of my life asking if i have a condition due to the youth of my face + gray hair.

  12. Jason Malloy says:

    “so a quick hire-and-fire is optimal”

    More realistically, this was a high status and influential position, justly earned and unjustly stolen.

    The stinging irony of their guilt-by-association hit-piece is that Gawker and GNXP (the web’s first HBD community website) were both co-founded by the same person, Elizabeth Spiers.

    And in fact, Spiers was the first to congratulate Razib on his New York Times position, just hours before J.K. Trotter’s point-and-sputter.

  13. Jason Malloy says:

    It’s an absurd dramatization of O’Sullivan’s First Law: Gawker under Spiers was a breezy off the turnip truck gadfly rag. But in the years since her departure it’s morphed into a venomous clickbait social media inquisitor:

    “In particular, Gawker, Jezebel, Valleywag, and their sister sites specialize in witch hunts: digital vigilantism against those who fail to keep up with leftist orthodoxy. Geoffrey Miller, Pax Dickinson, Justine Tunney, Violentacrez: the list of people whom Gawker has garroted for “racism” or “misogyny” could fill a phone book. With an army of Twitter twits behind it, Gawker Media truly is the moral majority of the left, instigating mob action against those who sin against the religion”

    • Yudi says:

      Well, I guess Gawker is going to have to run an article tarring and feathering Elizabeth Spiers now. They must not allow a racist to live!

    • Dain says:

      Seems Vice went this direction too after McInness left. Though I admire it still for sending journalists into weird dangerous places ’round the world.

  14. Tom says:

    Who is Razib Khan?

  15. JayMan says:

    Well, there’s also this:

    That doesn’t bode well for my Black ass…

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t think at bottom it’s ever about your identity. Feminists hate conservative female pioneers in political leadership like Thatcher. People just use the color of your skin to score cheap shots against their opponents, but what they really care about are your opinions. Which in a way is a comforting thought.

    • Maciano says:

      I wouldn’t be pessimistic, jay. Someone will give you a paid blog someday. Just don’t quit.

  16. Bruce says:

    Can Ron Unz afford to buy the NYT? That would kick ass.

  17. IC says:

    Truth can both beautiful or ugly, depending on perspectives. Ugly truth is like pornography, which is denied in public, appreciated in privacy. Writing about inconvenient or ugly truth in public with real name needs courage, or less concern for future consequence (weak future orientation useful here).

    Not every body has nerve to be porn star. Not everyone has guts to talk about inconvenient truth in public. You are all free to do any thing in your privacy. In public, it is different story. To be good politician, salesman or public figure, you need to lie for the popular audience. To tell ugly truth in public is like bringing out sexual activity in public. Porn or urination or defecation is the thing we all do in private but will not talk about in public (unless working class/ghetto culture with full appreciation of porn in open).

    For people on recieving end of ugly truth, denial or dunning-krugger effect is best way to prevent depression and suicide. They really do not want to hear how stupid they are, how bad future waiting for them. When they cherry pick good denial, good opinions for their illusion, they are looking at major media as their legit source of information to justify their good feeling. Any business conerning for popularity can not tell the truth as it is.

    The people who are truely able to see the truth are often victim of depression. Some research has comfirmed that only depressed patients can judge the reality more accurately.

    One time when Khan arguing with parent of down syndrome about how bad the disease is, the parents tried to convince every one how wonderful down syndrome kid is. We all know the truth how bad the down syndrome is. But the parents need those denial or dunning-krugger effect to survive. Standing on victim perspective, you know when to stop since denial is only way for some people to survive. In healthcare field, we see this kind of denial all the time. Healthcare workers have no choice but telling the truth. But if the denial does not harm the treatment, just leave it is. There is never easy answer for the situation. Very sympathetic to Razib situation. But New York Time is media, not healthcare facility, not scientific institution. NYT is a business with its revenue based on popularity. So Gladwell is better candidate who sell good feeling with pseudoscience or lies.

    • ursiform says:

      So Greg is like a porn star?

      • MawBTS says:

        In a way, HBD writing is exactly like porn.

        If you’ve made a porn film, even if it was one time twenty years ago, it will haunt you forever. You won’t ever shake it. Linda Lovelace is a porn star turned social activist. Jenna Jameson is a porn star turned businesswoman. It doesn’t matter what else you do with your life. People will never forget that you used to do porn.

        If you’re trying to make a career as a writer, “used to write racist publications” is a black mark you will carry on your record for a very long time.

  18. jb says:

    I was rather shocked when Razib’s op-eds first showed up in the Times, but also very heartened, because I assumed that the Times must have done their due diligence, and that they had published him despite his paper trail. Well I guess not! (Frankly, I never thought it was wise for Razib to publish with Taki and Unz, but I assumed he knew he was putting himself on a de facto blacklist, and he was OK with it. Also, I just saw him as an interesting genetics blogger, and it never occurred to me that he might have a shot at a regular gig with the Times. I wonder if it ever occurred to him?)

    BTW, I think it’s wishful thinking to talk about the decline of the New York Times, just because we don’t like their politics and the way they treat a particular issue that is important to us. It has always been commonplace for newspapers to be political and prejudiced, and that in itself has never done them any harm. The Times is a good source for original reporting, and this is becoming more and more valuable as the newspaper industry continues to collapse economically. (I remember when you could stay decently informed by reading the New York Daily News, but have you seen it recently?) I think the most likely scenario is that the Times survives handily (perhaps with the aid of a billionaire sugar daddy), and becomes one of a handful of primary sources for the stories recycled endlessly by lesser publications and the blogosphere. Not thrilled, but that’s what seems most likely to me. Who is going to replace them?

    • Bryan Bell says:

      For me Greg, Razib & other bloggers have already replaced the NYT as a source for original reporting at least for human sciences. And there is nothing wrong with that.

      Their cost structure is an order of magnitude more efficient than old school media such as the NYT.

  19. ghazisiz says:

    “a dubious honor… something like having a leper ask you out on a date”…
    B’god man, where do you get these gems? I swear, you could be Mark Twain, if you willed it.

  20. Unladen Swallow says:

    What do you disagree about? I saw the Bloggingheads interview, you seem to be in strong agreement on most things. It is scientific in nature or philosophical?

    • MEH 0910 says:

      I recall Razib once commenting that Greg is a religious believer. I myself as an ex-Catholic atheist find myself in agreement with Razib.

  21. melendwyr says:

    This is absurd. Khan should be fired because he’s a fool, not because he’s purportedly a racist. Why in the world did he try to get a job there in the first place, anyway?

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