The Allure of Protective Stupidity

The most important aspect of the Grievance Studieshoax—in which three writers duped supposedly scholarly gender and race journals with absurd papers such as “Human Reactions to Rape Culture and Queer Performativity at the Dog Park”—may also be the most overlooked: the triumph of their term “Grievance Studies” as the collective noun for the various “disciplines” of woke academia.

James A. Lindsay, Peter Boghossian, and Helen Pluckrose managed to get seven bogus articles accepted by more or less real academic journals.

On the other hand, that seems like a huge amount of work to make fun of self-demeaning periodicals with names like Fat Studies and Journal of Poetry Therapy. After all, the Twitter account New Real Peer Review routinely links to actual published academic papers at least as derisible as the hoax efforts, such as this authentic bit of “autoethnographic” navel-gazing:

A FemmeNist ManiPedifesto

This is an autoethnography about the role of nail salons in relation to my own evolving feminist and femme consciousness.



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Does the Internal Revenue Service let you deduct getting your nails done if you are a published autoethnographer on the subject of getting your nails done? Perhaps autoethnography is in part an elaborate tax-evasion scheme to write off whatever the authors would spend money on anyway?

Nobody can deny Lindsay, Boghossian, and Pluckrose one historic accomplishment: They’ve permanently affixed the name Grievance Studies to their targets.

Before last fall, there were a variety of self-designations that only their smartest critics could keep track of. For example, Steven Pinker tweeted,

Is there any idea so outlandish…

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