Abandon hope all ye who enter here

“Read her book if you want your blood to freeze.”

Northwestern film professor Laura Kipnis has a new book – Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus – which is at #1 on Amazon even before the release date (in the categories of “Sociology of Abuse” and “Education and Reform Policy”).  The Guardian interviews her.

“All that stuff Kafka wrote about,” she says, “is true: the inner sense of guilt that even an innocent person can feel. I would imagine myself in this interrogation situation – which, by the way, is pretty much what happened.”

The tone of the article might give one hope – a liberal newspaper commiserating with a liberal feminist professor about surviving a Kafkaesque trial put on by liberals – that the day has finally come when people can “look back at this officially sanctioned hysteria with the same bemusement that they look back on the Salem witch trials.”

Trials in which “the authorities seem to be unwilling to object to the relatively low standard of proof” and “don’t even allow the accused person to present a defence.”

But you’d be well advised to exercise that most middle-class of values, deferred gratification. Not only because not all today’s witches are in the relatively protected classes of females or feminists, but also because Kipnis herself still has not fully accepted that liberals have moved past “increasingly authoritarian.” In this territory where show trials are the norm, she still believes there are “certain allies” who are unacceptable.

“The people supporting free speech now are the conservatives. It’s incomprehensible to me, but it’s the so-called liberals on campus, the students who think of themselves as activists, who are becoming increasingly authoritarian. So I’m trying to step carefully. It’s not like you want to make certain allies, particularly the men’s rights people.”

As Mike Pence once wrote about having dinner within 100 miles of Wellesley, which he wisely avoided, “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.”