Wednesday, February 24, 2021

NYT columnist Bret Stephens blasts woke culture that saw Bon Appetit rewrite its archive of recipes amid allegations of culinary appropriation

New York Times columnist Bret Stephens, whose recent column was pulled by the paper when he criticized the firing of a reporter who repeated a racial slur in conversation about the word, has lashed out at what he says is excessive 'wokeness' in the media and academia.

In a column published on Monday, Stephens took aim at Bon Appetit's 'Archive Repair Project', which launched last July as an effort to identify and edit 'problematic recipes' over the past 55 years.

In a recent example, Bon Appetit apologized for a 2015 recipe that had promised 'actually good hamantaschen,' a triangular cookie that is traditional for the Jewish festival of Purim, hours after someone on Twitter complained that the author wasn't Jewish.

'Most Jews would probably be grateful for an 'actually good' hamantasch,' wrote Stephens, who is Jewish. 'No transgression of sensitivities is so trivial that it will not invite a moralizing rebuke on social media.'

Food writer Abigail Koffler had written on Twitter of the hamantaschen recipe: 'Traditional foods do not automatically need to be updated, especially by someone who does not come from that tradition.'

Hours after the complaint, Bon Appetite had changed the headline on the six-year-old article to read 'Five Steps to Really Good Hamantaschen' and added an editor's note of apology.

'As part of our Archive Repair Project, we have edited the headline, dek, and content to better convey the history of Purim and the goals of this particular recipe,' the note read in part. 'We apologize for the previous version's flippant tone and stereotypical characterizations of Jewish culture.'

Stephens, a Pulitzer-winning conservative columnist, slammed the move, writing 'no charge of cultural insensitivity is so far-fetched that it won't force a magazine into self-abasing self-expurgation,' saying that the incident was 'the apotheosis of Woke.'


Slate Podcast Host Suspended for Discussing Controversy Over NY Times Reporter Fired for Using Racial Slur

The controversy over the use of the word that shall not be spoken intensified when the New York Times fired star reporter Don McNeil, who had worked there for 40 years, for using the word that shall not be spoken during a conversation with some kids he was chaperoning in Peru.

The hysteria generated by the use of the word that shall not be spoken was beyond belief. More than 150 Times staffers signed a letter demanding McNeil be fired. The context of the use of the word that shall not be spoken made the reaction to it frightening.

Clearly, McNeil’s intent was not to insult or injure but rather to gather information. But Baquet dismissed McNeil’s explanation as irrelevant.

Now, another reporter has been caught in an even more ludicrous trap. A Slate podcast host, Mike Pesca, was apparently discussing McNeil’s situation with colleagues on a Slack channel and defended McNeil — as any rational person would do — and ended up getting suspended indefinitely for it.

In that forum, Pesca and his colleagues discussed McNeil’s exit from the Times after it was revealed that he had used the n-word while leading an educational trip in 2019. McNeil, while offering an apology, explained that his use of the word came during a discussion about the word itself and was not meant as a pejorative.

According to Defector, the conversation explored whether McNeil’s use of the n-word was justified, as well as whether White people are allowed to say the word in certain contexts.

Pesca suggested that McNeil, the star Times science reporter covering the coronavirus outbreak, should not have been fired, writing: “McNeil’s journalism made the Times more valuable to more Americans than having ousted him in 2019 would have.”

Defending McNeil might be a career-ending mistake for Pesca. He never used the word that shall not be spoken. He was discussing the circumstances surrounding its use by someone else. The reaction of his colleagues to Pesca’s defending McNeil is terrifying.

Slate employees told Defector they felt “outraged” toward Pesca’s comments, with one of them saying, “I cannot believe I had to watch him enthusiastically provoke people on whether or not it is appropriate to use a racist slur.”




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