Texas National Guard hold migrants crossing the Rio Grande River before crossing the United States border in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on January 02, 2024. (David Peinado via Getty Images)

TGIF: Where’s the Veritas?

Claudine Gay is ‘a scapegoat.’ Chicago is flooded with ‘migrants from Texas.’ Fox News uses tarot to predict Trump’s chances. Plus, Tucker, trans boxers, our pro-nuke Miss America, and more…

Welcome back. This is the all spin zone. 

→ Claudine Gay is out: There might be other more important news in the world, but in my little corner of heterodox liberalism, this is the biggest news of the decade. Claudine Gay is now the shortest-serving Harvard University president in history. To recap: after hesitating to condemn Hamas freedom fighters after October 7, she then stumbled during a congressional hearing when Rep. Elise Stefanik asked her if calling for the genocide of Jews violated Harvard’s student conduct rules. As The New York Times put it: “she fell into something of a prosecutorial trap”! Ah, it was so clever, the question so complicated. Then someone thought to read her old work, and it turns out she plagiarized dozens of times, quite egregiously (my favorite was plagiarizing someone else’s acknowledgements section). Still, Harvard’s board stood behind her. They had already sicced high-powered lawyers on journalists, threatening to sue The New York Post for reporting on the plagiarism. (Harvard’s lawyers advanced a strange theory to the Post that it was all made up by ChatGPT.) But the drumbeat was too loud. And in what is and will forever be the biggest news of 2024, no matter how many world wars start: Claudine Gay resigned.  

Gay, for her part, refused to apologize. Her resignation letter blamed it all on “racial animus.” Her inevitable Times op-ed repeated the idea that she had fallen into “a well-laid trap” and doubled down on her own “broadly respected research.” No notes, Mrs. President. Never explain, never apologize! 

→ Who came up with this plagiarism idea? The Associated Press set the tone for how this would be covered. Plagiarism being bad is a monstrous and deceitful new concept, developed in a lab by right-wing activists and unleashed on unsuspecting academics. 

As my favorite, Nate Silver, put it: “Pretty worried about this new chronoweapon that can force you to go back as many as 27 years in time and commit plagiarism.” 

Ibram X. Kendi called the movement to oust Gay the work of a “racist mob,” which I think means every student honor code should be turned over to the FBI. It’s irrelevant to him that weeks earlier, the (white) president of the University of Pennsylvania resigned over the very same missteps, actually minus the plagiarism. No matter. This time it’s racist! So racist that Claudine Gay will still keep a position on the faculty and her $900,000 annual salary.

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