I take absolutely nothing away from the young man who did it — indeed, the fact that it was instantly obvious to any non-reactionary who looked at it that it was a fraud makes the joke even better in context — but it’s also amazing how easy it is to sucker pseudo-intellectual nitwits when everything they know about leftism comes from Bari Weiss columns and Jordan Peterson YouTube videos about “Cultural Marxism”:
“I don’t wear beanies or sip lattes like the typical stereotypes would have you believe—Maxwell House drip coffee is just fine by me,” he wrote in the pitch.
Quillette senior editor Jamie Palmer encouraged the hoaxer to expand on his essay, telling him at one point to mention clips from the DSA convention that had gone viral in right-wing media. At one point, Palmer asked the writer for identification to prove his identity, prompting the hoaxer to declare he wanted to ditch the Randolph alias and go by his “real” name, Archie Carter.
“I’m tired of biting my tongue, and they can’t do anything about it,” he wrote back to Palmer. “I need it off my chest, and I’ll be damned if I care what they think about me.”
It’s not clear if Quillette made any other attempt to fact-check the essay. Palmer didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Quillette should have had other reasons to suspect the hoax. The one DSA meeting Carter described had already been written about in New York magazine, suggesting that Carter had just cribbed the scene from that article. In his essay, the ostensibly Marxist-Leninist Carter praised community organizer Saul Alinsky—who never embraced communism but who has become a sinister figure for Fox News viewers.
“Only the most rarefied urban elitists would go to a Starbucks! “Fashionable intersectionality! SAUL ALINSKY!!!!!!” This wasn’t a an essay, it’s a mediocre winger pundit buzzword bingo card, only ostensibly from the left. This makes Stephen Glass’s fake columns look like masterpieces of subtlety.
Frankly, I expected more of an “intellectual” movement named after the places on the internet where people buy heroin and underage prostitutes.