In my item here Wednesday about the project of three liberal academics to place nonsense articles in leading postmodernist/identity politics journals, I argued:
I can tell you that if you get a couple of drinks, or a shot of truth serum, into the average liberal professor in any traditional academic social science department, and some of the humanities, he will confess that he knows the “scholarship” of the various politicized identity politics programs are a farce. They do not take it seriously, and regard it all with benign neglect at best, but silent contempt most of the time. In other words, most faculty regard their identity politics colleagues in the same manner you regard a precocious child you pat on the head for encouragement.
I am pleased to see that Kevin Drum, the smartest lefty writer at Mother Jones magazine, agrees with me (see especially the very last sentence in bold):
I can’t think of any serious field in which an amateur who’s done a few month’s reading could even produce a plausible parody, let alone a paper that would be taken seriously by dozens of editors and peer reviewers. If that’s all it takes, a PhD is a meaningless five-year waste of time.
This is the problem the academy needs to address, and they need to address it for exactly the reason the hoaxsters gave: these fields are mostly important ones. They deserve rigorous, high-quality scholarship. They can’t be treated as dumping grounds for impassioned mediocrities and then ignored.
If they are, and everyone tacitly agrees to sweep away the whole episode because the hoaxsters didn’t get IRB approval or something, it just gives the game away: these fields exist only to placate troublemakers, and nobody in the serious parts of the university cares about them.
When even Mother Jones can see through the fraud. . .