By Matt Taibbi
Is sex “our era’s communist threat”? Author Laura Kipnis on speech, Title IX, and the degradation of intimacy in the pandemic era.
Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus, 2017
Love in the Time of Contagion: A Diagnosis, 2022
by Laura Kipnis
On March 18th, the New York Times published “America Has a Free Speech Problem,” an editorial wrapped around a poll, asserting roughly 80% of the country withholds opinions over fear of “retaliation or harsh criticism.” The piece prompted outrage from Twitter’s moral police — “arguably the worst day in the history of the New York Times” cried blue-check analyst Tom Watson — some of whom claimed the article did so much to legitimize right-wing propaganda about speech suppression that the entire Times editorial board should resign or be fired.
A day before the Times editorial, the Chronicle of Higher Education published an article by author and longtime professor Laura Kipnis called “Academe is a Hotbed of Craven Snitches.” My first question upon reading this disturbing piece was why the excellent word “craven” isn’t used more by writers. The second, after digesting the content — a litany of horrific scenes of students, administrators, and academics destroying each other’s careers and reputations, often over consensual, legal sexual encounters — is how anyone familiar with even a fraction of what Kipnis writes about could quibble with the notion that America has a “speech problem.”