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Roundup of Reviews and Media Appearances
Russell Brand, Sailer, Prager, and other friends
I’ve been promoting The Origins of Woke, and book reviews have been coming in. I’ve responded to a few of them on Twitter, in addition to having made several media appearances. Here, I’m gathering all of the coverage so far together. The responses that I originally posted on Twitter have been cleaned up a bit here, as I feel for some reason that Substack requires writing in a higher register.
“Hanania was so much better of a thinker and writer …that I decided to remain agnostic on this mystery. How often do individuals improve that much? It turns out that Hanania used to be a fat high school dropout, but now he has a J.D. from the U. of Chicago and a Ph.D. from UCLA, and has recently become a prominent skinny public intellectual. If he keeps improving at this rate, the sky is the limit.”
The Steve Sailer review you (and I) have been waiting for. I’m touched someone noticed the improvements on so many different dimensions! He is the great noticer after all. If people could see the change in social skills they would even be more impressed. Not that I’m normal now but I can win people over in a way that would’ve seemed like a superpower to my young self. I plead guilty to the charge of having an ego. And innocent to the charge I’m treading lightly on Jewish issues because I’m a Palestinian. I think this would’ve made sense 20 years ago, but the dynamics around what you can discuss have changed, and I think talking about Jewish elites would be one of the less risky things for me given everything else I do.
The Atlantic wrote a hostile review. Steve did the point-by-point response. I don’t have much to add, but the review was an opportunity to reflect on liberals and how they approach sensitive issues surrounding race, and who my book is actually for.
No need for a point-by-point rebuttal to the Atlantic review, since Steve Sailer, Monitoring Bias, and others have already done that. Let me just comment on what I think the review shows, which is that I was right to address the book to centrists and conservatives, since liberals are simply unable to think clearly on race or sex issues.
With every piece of work, you have to think about who the audience is and what you're trying to convince them of. There would be little point in taking Richard Dawkins books to the Southern Baptist convention and handing them out.
My view is that even smart and well meaning liberals have a deep emotional need to deny truths about group differences, and there is little that can be done about this. I've been in academia most of my adult life, and I see the fear in their eyes when you bring up inconvenient facts. It's not just the fear of being cancelled, I'm talking about one-on-one conversation where it's just me and there's no incentive to lie, and you can see the physiological transformation. I wouldn’t be surprised if in considering crime statistics, etc many of them feel discomfort or pain similar to what they would feel if a close relative went to the hospital.
Looking at what liberals consider “evidence” and how they use it in this area, the only conclusion I can draw is that either they are crazy or I am. This is similar to what the author says about me in the review, that I’m a smart guy but have racist and misogynist brainworms. Some things you just can’t have a dialogue on, because one side’s brain malfunctions. They think that side is conservatives, while we think it's them.
What can we do then? Talk to those who are reachable. Convince centrists of how nuts liberals are, and for conservatives who are already willing to face the truth of group differences, discuss strategy and how to change the civil rights regime and fight back against wokeness. Dialogue on the existence of groups differences and their causes is simply not where you’re going to get anywhere. Hopefully, when there are fewer elites around with a personal stake in affirmative action and after a generation has grown up without being taught to have an emotional stake in delusions, maybe then we can hope for deeper dialogue. In the meantime, we go to war with the civil rights regime that enforces their delusions upon the rest of us.
Let me just add that I don’t actually talk about the sources of group differences in the book at all. But the author chose to make that the center of his review, and got himself worked up about the question, all the while agreeing with my main arguments! It’s not just that many people can’t see clearly on these issues — their emotional reaction to even the possibility of genetic differences affects their downstream reasoning ability and how they frame and approach related topics and questions.
Although it’s not a book review, people at the Reddit page for Blocked and Reported provide more debunking of the Atlantic piece. I was hoping for more smart liberal engagement, but I think every liberal connected to a mainstream institution has to worry about getting yelled at or guilt tripped by their own Chatterton. So this Reddit thread might be the closest thing we get.
Tyler invokes Pierre Menard, who I had to look up.
See also reviews from Eric Kaufmann at Law & Liberty, Robert VanBruggen at the Washington Examiner, Brian Chau, Gregory Hood at American Renaissance, Oliver Traldi at Quillette, Laurie Wastell at The Critic, and Christopher Chantrill at The American Thinker.
Scott Greer does a podcast book review, which is a format I like and may copy one day. He focuses on something other reviewers ignore, which is the parts of the book addressing the American right, its different approaches to woke, and how it has changed over time.
It wasn’t a review, but Charles Murray delivered some very high praise that I’m grateful for.
The introduction of the book was excerpted over at Quillette.
Media Appearances and Podcasts
My attitude towards media appearances is that I’ll go anywhere I can reach an audience, unless it has the potential to make it harder to reach other audiences in the future. Since I think we’re basically post-cancellation in the realm of center-right public intellectuals, that’s almost never the case, so I accept nearly all invitations. Even if there is a situation where a host or broadcaster is a terrible person, it’s difficult for me to see how getting in front of his audience and saying what I think is bad for the world. So obviously, no appearance is an endorsement of a host or everything he has said in his life, which I shouldn’t have to note even though I feel the need to. For each appearance below I like to a video when available, but know that a podcast version is always out there too, wherever you get your podcasts.
Here I am with Razib. Note the beginning of the conversation on why, even if you’ve already read my other stuff, the book adds to your knowledge.
Emerald Robinson’s The Absolute Truth, see here beginning 53 minutes in.
I was on The Adam Carolla Show, you can start watching at about 1:27 here. It was a completely new experience being on a comedy podcast. In the kind of interview I’m used to, you sometimes make jokes but getting the audience to laugh isn’t one of your main goals. A comedy show requires a different mindset, and you can tell me how I did.
Tom Woods. Hosts differ in the degree to which they give the impression of having read the book. So far, Tom has struck me as perhaps the interviewer who was most familiar with all of its arguments from cover to cover, competing with Thaddeus Russell on that front, whose show I was also on. I guess fellow libertarian nerds tend to be close readers.
I talked to Stew Peters, starting at 22 minutes here. We agreed on anti-white discrimination, but I had to take issue with his view that 2020 was stolen and that elections are fake. I ask him what he thinks we should do if he’s correct that voting doesn’t matter, and Peters basically calls for a violent insurrection. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on that. Hilariously, Right Wing Watch noticed Stew’s calls for overthrowing the government, but I feel wronged that they cut out the part where I proved what a sensible centrist I am by disagreeing with him. See here.
Here’s Matt Bilinsky, a guy who I’ve known for a long time on Twitter and who I met at the recent Free Press event.
I was on the Dennis Prager Show on September 27. It’s sort of hard to find a link, but you can get it through podcast apps. See my recent convo with Inez for reflections on that discussion.
I was on Russell Brand, starting at 44 minutes here. See this short clip on X. I appreciated the chance to speak at a higher level about what I think should be the path for escaping from the culture war.
I was on a podcast called Chatter, and you can watch the video here.
I’ve recorded other shows that will be coming out, and more interviews are scheduled. I’ll keep everyone updated on the coverage.
For those who haven’t purchased the book yet, please do so now. I’m going to do an AMA on it with subscribers before long, if that helps incentivize you to buy a copy.
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