It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of…a bunch of wealthy blowhards deciding that now, of all times, is the appropriate moment to ask us all to stop being so mean to them on Twitter.
On Tuesday, Harper’s Magazine—the musty magazine of choice for musty magnates—published a ridiculous and delusional open letter signed by such luminaries as J.K. Rowling, Bari Weiss, David Brooks, Jesse Singal, and Malcolm Gladwell. The purpose of this screed? Ostensibly, to encourage “open debate.” But upon closer inspection, the upshot appears to be that writers and journalists should be able to advance whatever bullshit ideas they want without being held in any way accountable.
One might ask why anyone thought now, of all times, was the moment to do this. After all, we are in the middle of a pandemic. And an urgent movement for Black lives. Another recession is looming. So is an eviction crisis, and several more issues that feel more pressing than the right to spew transphobic garbage and sandwich-based class analysis without getting roasted on Twitter.