Zadie Smith Declines to Comment

She did not want to talk about call-out culture. But she is still willing to write about it.

Comments

1

Katie, you continue to explore this fraught and dangerous topic with courage and determination. Thank you.

2

Generation-defining? I didn't dislike the novel, but such praise is excessive.

4

I’m with @3, would not take long to figure out that your articles are not something someone with integrity and intelligence would want to be associated with. Honestly can’t believe the stranger keeps you around, would have thought you would have been fired & started working for an alt-right site by now.

5

And the twits have already arrived!

What I keep saying to people regarding this topic: I see something of the bully mindset in the new left authoritarians. The bully is unlikely to pick a fight with a real formidable adversary, this would be problematic as he would likely get his ass kicked. Similarly it is oh so satisfying and real real easy for the bullies of the fringe left to harass and intimidate their not pure enough left-leaning compatriots into tearful pleas for forgiveness, statements of contrition, admissions of guilt and so on. An idea: maybe they should go some place like some white exurb of Baton Rouge once in a while and try out their schtick there.

6

"in real life, uiversities are the epicenter of call-out culture and illiberal activism"

Well, at least, you didn't link to a Koch and Coors funded propaganda mill to make your point today

7

@4

She seems to be the only person who has come close to matching Paul Constant's volume. Too bad she doesn't have anywhere near his level of humanism and compassion.

8

Someone doesn't know what Zadie Smith's burner twitter accounts handles are.

I'll accept - and reject - that anyone other than the museum has the authority, moral or otherwise, or say what goes up or down on its walls; but the debate is at least potentially valid.

but the artists who called for the piece to be destroyed, they should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. It's funny how much the inclusive world feels an absolute need to control and censor. (I've been making the means/end comparison a lot recently. Wokeism is the means, control and censorship is the ends).

10

Good Afternoon Katie,
I've actually met and chatted with Zadie Smith. She was in town at Elliott Bay Book Co. years ago when it was DT. I believe she was promoting the book, "The Autograph Man". She was fascinating. I've read "White Teeth" an excellent novel. I've also read some of her material in Granta.

16

I miss Paul Constant's writing for The Stranger so much. Remember the Goldy and Constant and Lindy West days? THE BEST. Also, I never thought I'd say these works but bring back Seattle Weekly, it was really good in its last couple of years especially.

17

@14 Puritan? for not buying into right wing propaganda regarding universities, free speech and the left?

It's like having a bunch of science deniers complain about having no credibility in academia. You want to be credible? simple, don't say stupid shit.

18

“Universities are the epicenter of call-out culture and illiberal activism…”

“All acts, people, and history are judged by the contemporary standards of what's okay and what's not, no matter what people may have thought 5 or 50 or 500 years ago…”

What is absurdist about any of that??? Sounds completely accurate the accursed times we live in.

19

@8: "but the artists who called for the piece to be destroyed, they should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. It's funny how much the inclusive world feels an absolute need to control and censor."

Ray Bradbury had something to say about that, once upon a time...

20

@19 Ray Bradbury, I've unheard of him.

21

@20 oh Sport, I like you here so much more than on the Savage Love comment threads.

22

Multa novit vulpes, verum echinus unum magnum

I've come to believe the only truly woke beings are the hedgehogs

23

@21 no you don't, there's only one of me.

24

It's fun to see a bully criticizing other bullies.

26

Every time i read someone’s twitter feed there is always a pile up of self-referential gibberish that only makes sense to people who have obsessively track the minute gossip of random strangers - someone says something dumb or mean and then everyone recirculates the tweet until that person is chased of the platform. Even the “anti-call-out” crowd engages in this behavior despite the glaring irony of it all. It feels like high school for adults who never let go of that mindset.

Some people get so caught up in their twitter lives they forget that people exist irl and no one actually gets “canceled” out here.

27

I know I’m reading something worth reading on Slog when the commenters tell me the author should be fired.

28

Good, good commentators...let the hate flow though you. Hate makes you strong, makes you powerful!

29

@26 I'm a member of the "anti-call-out" crowd and sadly I agree. The same endorphin hits 'they' get from trashing someone, I get as well from pointing out someone's flawed logic or whatever. Time for me to double down on principles and stop chasing nods!

30

In essence, you ask if you should have lied to her. No, no you shouldn't.