Between the lines

Sometimes when reading a piece in a paper or magazine, I get the impression that the reporter is not necessarily 100% on board with the official editorial position, particularly when it is ripely insane, as is so often the case nowadays. I figure that there must have been many examples of this in the East Block, back in the day: although you were dicing with death if you tried it with Stalin. I wondered about this after reading a bit by Farhad Manjoo, about Peter Thiel, in the New York Times:

“Though Silicon Valley has well-known problems with diversity in its work force, people here pride themselves on a kind of militant open-mindedness. It is the kind of place that will severely punish any deviations from accepted schools of thought — see how Brendan Eich, the former chief executive of Mozilla, was run out of his job after it became public that he had donated to a campaign opposed to gay marriage.”

You could almost suspect that Manjoo was teetering on the edge of crimethink.

Stalin, by the way, didn’t have this kind of worry: he was free to say that that Pavlik Morozov was ‘a rotten little shit, ratting on his parents like that.’

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30 Responses to Between the lines

  1. Cloudswrest says:

    “Though Silicon Valley has well-known problems with diversity in its work force”

    We do??? I’m a white male and I work at a major Silicon Valley company and I’m probably in the minority. Oh, I get it, we have the wrong kind of diversity.

  2. petrhanak says:

    It is amusing to see how broadly knowledgeable Mr. Cochran is, for American, anyway 🙂 I come from the Czech Republic and confirm that he is right. This “political correctness” resembles the old Communist times more and more. This is also the reason why the Eastern Europeans have not fall for the EU propaganda and remain vigilant (lies about saving Greece from its own fiscal irresponsibility, Paris conference on climate change, Lisbon plans for leading the world in competitiveness and innovation, welcome to Muslim illegal immigrants and so on). In reality, the EU is lead by incompetent people that to incessantly correct old errors in regulation with new regulation. Mr. Juncker is an alcoholic, Ms. Mogherini is a communist with admiration for that criminal Arafat and the chairman of the EU parliament is a bookshop assistant who dropped from grammar school. Such a shame.

    • petrhanak says:

      Sorry for my grammar…

    • petrhanak says:

      And Pavel Morozov was indeed a rotten piece of shit.

      • reiner Tor says:

        Read the Wikipedia story, it’s very unlikely he ever informed on his parents. It entirely seems to have been a fabricated propaganda story.

        The protagonist of the propaganda story was indeed a rotten piece of shit.

        • petrhanak says:

          I am now 40. Back in late 1980s I read the book. It is quite possible that the book was not true. It is however quite obvious that any kid that does that to his parents is corrupt.

    • Frau Katze says:

      That’s interesting to hear from someone who lived under Communism. Yes, it’s getting that way here.

      Regardless of how Manjoo worded that statement, I have trouble thinking that any writer for NYT is in danger of crime think. NYT (on sensitive topics) is just as bad as Pravda was and the atmosphere there must be awful.

      I could be wrong, of course. I hope I am, in fact!

      • benespen says:

        I’ve also felt that some articles i the NYT display evidence that the writer is chafing under an inability to say what they want. This is admittedly a subjective impression, but I’ve found this impression to be getting stronger with time.

  3. Greying Wanderer says:

    The blatancy (if that’s a word) of the lie about diversity in Silicon valley must be particularly hard to write for anyone who’s not a sociopath.

  4. RCB says:

    When I worked in Silicon Valley (last year), my team consisted of myself (a Californian), a southern white guy, an Iranian guy, an Armenian guy, and our boss, an Indian guy. No women, although our product manager who managed our website was a woman, and the main sales person was a woman.

    I’ve since moved to Boulder area, still working in tech. Team includes Ethiopian woman and Argentine guy (… With German last name…).

    Much more diversity in my professional tech career than in my grad school ecology department, which was very liberal and almost exclusively white.

  5. Jim says:

    It’s amazing. Back a few years ago opposition to gay marriage was a majority view. Even Hillary Clinton oppossed gay marriage back in 2013 just three years ago. Now even a big-shot executive can lose his job for deviating from left-wing dogma on this issue.

    The extent to which the US has moved to the left in the last few years is astonishing. The future looks bleak.

    • We all go through phases thinking the future is bleak. But it isn’t. The past is bleak, real real bleak. Think of burying half your children bleak, think of a toothache giving you constant pain for years bleak, until a barber ties you down and chisels the rotten part of your mouth out bleak.

      Yea, the dumbshits are rampant, but when haven’t they been.

    • Li says:

      It may be better that the left speeds up with the agenda if we can hope that it also brings in the blowback earlier. On the other hand, the demographic trends in the west look real bleak in the long-run.

  6. Bob says:

    Between the cheeks seems more like it:

    ” Peter Thiel plans to make history as first GOP convention speaker to announce that he is proud to be gay ”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/07/20/peter-thiel-plans-to-make-history-as-first-gop-convention-speaker-to-announce-that-he-is-proud-to-be-gay/

  7. AppSocRes says:

    “… open-mindedness … that will severely punish any deviations from accepted schools of thought”
    This could be a dictionary example of an oxymoron. It’s hard to believe that anyone but a brain dead SJW idiot, e.g., any senior NYT oped editor, wouldn’t realize the utter absurdity.

    • gcochran9 says:

      A lot of people didn’t get the joke. You have to gauge your audience accurately in this kind of thing – understand what your management will pick up on and what they won’t.

      Reminds me of a time, in the middle of a long and mildly alcoholic lunch, my vicious underboss came out with a long story about how women in LA had blown him off even when he was making pretty good money. I said “Maybe there were other considerations” – which made not much impact on him, but left everyone else laughing hard – because he was an utter dick, which everyone knew except him.

      • reiner Tor says:

        A few commenters over at Steve Sailer’s blog explained how it was not ironic at all and thought earnestly. It’s only seemingly oxymoronic because of a misunderstanding – it was written in Liberalese and not English.

        “Open-mindedness” means “open minded to the idea that protected minority groups should have privileges” or “pro-protected minority groups”. Protected minority groups include gays, blacks, women, etc., but curiously don’t include poor Southern whites, a.k.a. “rednecks” or (including other poor whites) “white trash”. “Diversity” has many meanings, “full of blacks”, “full of non-Asian minorities”, “full of anybody but whites”, “full of anybody but cisgendered white males” etc. Depending on context any of these meanings could apply, an intelligent reader can effortlessly determine that the meaning here is “full of non-Asian minorities or women”.

        Let’s take a look at the text again in Liberalese:

        “Though Silicon Valley has well-known problems with diversity in its work force, people here pride themselves on a kind of militant open-mindedness. It is the kind of place that will severely punish any deviations from accepted schools of thought — see how Brendan Eich, the former chief executive of Mozilla, was run out of his job after it became public that he had donated to a campaign opposed to gay marriage.”

        This section in English would sound something like this:

        “Though Silicon Valley has well-known problems with having too few non-Asian minorities and women in its work force, people here pride themselves on a kind of militant pro-protected minority identity group ideology. It is the kind of place that will severely punish any deviations from accepted schools of thought — see how Brendan Eich, the former chief executive of Mozilla, was run out of his job after it became public that he had donated to a campaign opposed to gay marriage.”

        A better translation would probably change the grammatical structure here and there, but I think you get the idea: it is quite possible that it was not meant ironically.

        Simply because something is incredibly stupid doesn’t mean it wasn’t meant earnestly.

        • gcochran9 says:

          I read between the lines correctly, confirmed later by a tweet from Manjoo.

          • reiner Tor says:

            Is there no way we could have misunderstood the tweet? On the other hand, if he’s openly mocking the orthodoxy, than it’s no longer “between the lines”.

            • gcochran9 says:

              If I understand it, while his editor and a big fraction of those reading do not, I’d call it “between the lines”.

              Seems to me that this must have happened frequently in eastern Europe, often in quite subtle ways. Enough so that there should have been a special word or phrase for it, not that I know it.

          • Konkvistador says:

            Can you link the confirming tweet? Browsing his twitter feed I don’t see a clear candidate.

  8. Jim says:

    Oh I’m sure many left-wing readers never noticed any irony at all. I do suspect however that Manjoo did put the irony in there intentionally. “accepted schools of thought” has a slightly subversive sound to it in comparison with “holy word of God” or “it is Allah’s will”.

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