Get Wrecked - Woke Author Realizes Supposition Error in Writing Book She Wrote


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We all make mistakes. Some are bigger than others. When that happens, you need to fix it and acknowledge it immediately. Yet, it gets to become rather embarrassing, disastrous actually, when you realize that virtually your entire body of work is wrong because you screw up the legal term. That’s what happened to Naomi Wolf’s latest book, "Outrages: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalization of Love."

Wolf wrote that scores of executions were carried out in the 19th century for homosexual behavior. Ms. Wolf also didn’t know a key sodomy case in her book was actually in reference to child sex abuse. Oh, and “death recorded” also threw her off (via Daily Beast) [emphasis mine]:

During the interview with journalist Matthew Sweet, Wolf realized she’d made two huge errors in her book. The host pointed out two serious problems with her work. First, she assumed “sodomy” means homosexuality, but Sweet pointed out that, in one key case in her book, it was referring to child sex abuse. Second, she mistakenly believed the 19th-century legal term “death recorded” meant the convict was executed, but it actually meant a death sentence wasn’t carried out because the prisoner was pardoned and freed. So Wolf’s claim that there were “several dozen” executions for homosexuality appears to be based on a complete misunderstanding of old court records. “I don’t think any of the executions you’ve identified here actually happened,” said Sweet.
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Naomi Wolf was destroyed by her research bias

Everyone listen to Naomi Wolf realize on live radio that the historical thesis of the book she's there to promote is based on her misunderstanding a legal term
— Edmund Hochreiter (@thymetikon) May 23, 2019
This brings into question not only Wolf’s book, and her research method, but the standards of publication. Wolf’s argument, that homosexuality used to be not considered such a bad thing by society, but increased in public and legal shamefulness to bring us to the hate filled morass of contemporary society, fits in nicely with our idea that our human ancestors existed in some kind of panacea where our natural urges toward love, joy, and play were nurtured.

She noted earlier in the interview that it’s essential “to warn people about not reading historically backwards to our current understanding of sexual identity,” but that’s exactly what she’s done. In wanting to prove her theory, she did not question the assumptions she made about her research discoveries.

Where were the editors and fact checkers? Writers have much of the burden to get everything right, and when they’ve got a thesis, and find research to back it up, they are free to run with it without anyone stepping up and asking questions. Scientists have peer review, writers have publication deadlines.

In the new literary marketplace, where departments are stripped down, writers are out there on their own, trying to make sure everything is clear, well told, and accurate. But accuracy, for historical books like this, needs to be a team effort. That’s why there were editors, fact checkers, and people who looked into this stuff. With all the cuts, those people barely exist.
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