New York Times Op-Ed writer and editor Bari Weiss appeared on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" Friday.
"There is a useful term for what this woman experienced on her night with Mr. Ansari. It’s called “bad sex.” It sucks.(...) The insidious attempt by some women to criminalize awkward, gross and entitled sex takes women back to the days of smelling salts and fainting couches. That’s somewhere I, for one, don’t want to go."
Weiss took flak for her Op-Ed from left-leaning publications like Alternet and HuffPost. The Intercept even pulled out the other R-words, dismissing Weiss as "reactionary" and her writing as "reductive."
Two weeks ago, Weiss rattled the political left again, calling out liberal commentators as sleazily dwelling on (Michael Wolff-instigated
What did Weiss say during her "Real Time" appearance?
Weiss' conversation with Maher centered largely around the #MeToo movement and what Weiss perceived as the hard left's intolerance for viewpoint diversity.
- Weiss' throat clear on #MeToo: "Obviously the #MeToo movement is long overdue as we've seen today with Rob Porter and everyone else. But there's a real debate happening between the hard left and liberals."
- The hard left's consistency problem: "The hard left is basically saying it's okay if a few innocent men go down with the ship if that's what it takes to bring down the patriarchy. They hate zero tolerance on the right when it comes to drug policy but they love zero tolerance when it comes to sexual misconduct."
- Why people are silencing themselves on the #MeToo issue: "There's sort of trial by Twitter. Not only for the people who are accused ..."
Weiss on toeing the party line: "If you step out of line even slightly with the hard left feminist orthodoxy all of a sudden, like me, you're a traitor to your gender. You're an anti-feminist. You're condoning 'rape culture.'"
Weiss on modern romance: "Whatever happened to intimacy and love and romance?"
- On courtship: "Courtship! That's become a dirty word. But it shouldn't be."
Let's look at what people were saying about Weiss' appearance.
There were those Twitter users critical of Weiss' appearance on 'Real Time'.
bari weiss is borrowing the times' credibility to shit talk victims at the same time bret stephens is DEFENDING WOODY ALLEN. https://t.co/A7Qyqzmacw— defiant POTUS who thinks he can 'overfeed fish' (@thetomzone) February 10, 2018
One Twitter user used a colorful analogy to sum up Maher and Weiss' exchange.
Bari Weiss on Bill Maher is basically two primates throwing shit at each other, only for them to find out they’re actually in a hall of mirrors— Too Damned Cold Li'l (@karengeier) February 10, 2018
Another commentator was more interested in Weiss' distinction between "the far left and liberals."
I wouldn't phrase the conflict, as Bari Weiss did, in the #MeToo movement as between "the far left and liberals." I'd say the politically correct and everyone else. Not everyone on the left is politically correct & some PC women were centrist Clinton supporters. #RealTime— Dan Therriault (@dantherriault) February 10, 2018
Feminist author Jessica Valenti's tweet reaction generated a long comment thread ...
Would love for Weiss to name one innocent man who has “gone down with the ship.” I mean, most of the GUILTY men are still on fucking sundeck https://t.co/lpbvCp0Em2— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) February 10, 2018
... And sparked an exchange between American Enterprise Institute scholar Christina Hoff Sommers and actress Kylie Sparks.
Do you think Glenn Thrush deserved to be fired? Wasn’t humiliation and suspension sufficient punishment in his case?— Christina Sommers (@CHSommers) February 10, 2018
The @nytimes did a thorough investigation. Interviewed dozens of people. Sanctioned him accordingly. No question, he behaved badly. But he isn’t a criminal predator. Would you deny him a second chance?— Christina Sommers (@CHSommers) February 10, 2018
Wait, so you also believe @BretStephensNYT should lose his job because of his opinion on Woody Allen. It’s a murky case where people of good will can disagree, no? Here is a thoughtful piece by journalist @CathyYoung63 https://t.co/OLvfy0hTVR— Christina Sommers (@CHSommers) February 10, 2018
Here's how the exchange ended:
Bret Stephens is a climate change denier and has had multiple terrible takes besides Woody Allen’s. And to deny a victim’s story is actual bullshit, which you are doing here. I refuse to read an article denying a victim.— kylie sparks (@kyliesparks) February 10, 2018
Let's bring it back to Weiss.
"Twenty-five percent of millennial-age men think that asking someone for a drink constitutes sexual harassment," Weiss said.
The logical extension of the argument sparked by the statistic leads to a world where an "unsolicited kiss is rape." And at that point, she said, "We've lost. It's over. That's game over. Then words don't mean anything."
Whether you agree with Weiss or not, this seems like a good distillation of one of the main tensions defining discussion of the #MeToo movement.