philosophy meta-forum

"Professor X" in Kipnis: what came of him?

Thales

24 day(s) ago

Professor X was very much on the scene during Hartley and Ludlow’s relationship: the two were still close, and for reasons open to speculation, Hartley lets Ludlow know when they’ve chatted or he’s sent a little gift; his name is scattered throughout their texts. She even had a photo of Professor X on her desk, Ludlow said. Yet Professor X had also acted pretty badly during their relationship, Hartley had told Ludlow—proposing marriage, going so far as to buy her a ring, then getting cold feet and disappearing. (There was a problem: he was already married.) ... At a second conference, a few months later, as recorded in Bobb’s notes, the grad student and Hartley were once again flirting, though he knew he was competing with Professor X for Hartley’s attentions; unfortunately Professor X won. (Indeed the two were spotted kissing—Professor X minus his wedding ring, I was told.)
-Laura Kipnis
In Kipnis’ new book, she says that Lauren Leydon-Hardy was in a relationship with a professor before coming to Northwestern. Kipnis calls this person “Professor X” throughout, but doesn’t say who it is. Anyone know?
-Anonymous, PMMMB
Clue 1: Professor X’s nickname is “Jer” Clue 2: Professor X sent LLH a mug from “U of C” Clue 3: “U of C” means Calgary and not Chicago, since LLH went to Calgary for undergrad Clue 4: Professor X was one of LLH’s former advisors Conclusion: Professor X is Jeremy Fantl, Lauren Leydon-Hardy’s undergraduate supervisor at the University of Calgary.
-Anonymous, PMMMB

Desiderius

23 day(s) ago

The real question is what happened to Lackey's Lackey-Hardy. After two documented instances of fucking her way up in the profession, and countless Title IX abuses against anyone who disagreed with her, why is she still in the program at Northwestern?

Olaf

23 day(s) ago

I believe LLH will be on the job market, though her entry there is delayed due to fears about professional blowback. Comments like yours, Desiderius, seem to confirm that this is a wise choice.

Menasseh

23 day(s) ago

I believe LLH will be on the job market, though her entry there is delayed due to fears about professional blowback. Comments like yours, Desiderius, seem to confirm that this is a wise choice.

Olaf

But put yourself in the shoes of someone on a hiring committee. Even if you have nothing personally against LLH and even if you're sympathetic to her particular brand of feminism, wouldn't you be totally insane (sorry, Shelley) to hire her? She is clearly willing to wage total bureaucratic war against anyone who crosses her (or is perceived to cross her). Having someone like that around can be fatal for a department, especially in this age of Title IX madness and "Site Visits".

James

23 day(s) ago

I suspect that the people commenting here wouldn't like it if people speculated anonymously about them on the Internet. Why do it to someone else?

Ulrich

23 day(s) ago

I agree with James. Let's keep the anonymized gossip about particular people out of it. If you feel strongly enough about someone's perceived sins, at least have the courage to cast your stones under your own name. (Or have the stones to cast your stones, etc.)

Herbert

23 day(s) ago

I believe LLH will be on the job market, though her entry there is delayed due to fears about professional blowback. Comments like yours, Desiderius, seem to confirm that this is a wise choice.

Olaf

You make it sound like it's a bad thing. It's a good thing.

Max

23 day(s) ago

I don't think Lauren Leydon-Hardy's strategy here is dumb at all. She got into exactly ONE Leiter-ranked grad program (thanks to a letter of rec from the aforementioned Professor X, who was, let us not forget, buddies with Lackey). Also, based on documents she filed in her suit against Kipnis, I would deduce that Ludlow was not buying the philosophy part of her project , so coat-tailing on him was out of the question. Looking around and deducing she was not going to go gangbusters on the job market coming out of a 30th-ranked program with little philosophical acumen other than the ability to parrot the Prof. X and McG dogma, she cleverly deduced that the only path to glory and the love and eternal support of Lackey was to go the claim she was the victim of her relationship with Ludlow. Music to Lackey's ears and to the ears of the usual suspects in philosophy. She went from philosophical nobody to philosophical star without having to write a paragraph of solid philosophy. Genius.

Liang

23 day(s) ago

Like James and Ulrich suggest, Max should reveal his/her real name so that other people can anonymously speculate about his/her strategies, quality as a philosopher, and so on. Why would Max be willing to do this to someone else, but not want it for him or herself?

Max

23 day(s) ago

Sure thing Liang, I'll show you mine if you show me yours. Are you also going to ask "Jane Doe" to drop her anonymity in her lawsuit? I mean, why would Jane Doe be willing to do this to someone else, but not want it for herself?

Toby

23 day(s) ago

Sure thing Liang, I'll show you mine if you show me yours. Are you also going to ask "Jane Doe" to drop her anonymity in her lawsuit? I mean, why would Jane Doe be willing to do this to someone else, but not want it for herself?

Max

But Liang wasn't "anonymously speculating" about anyone, which is consistent with saying others shouldn't do so. Also, let's assume for the sake of argument that Jane Doe is wrong to request anonymity in the lawsuit. That doesn't mean that it's morally permissible to anonymously speculate about someone in the way you (and others) are doing.

William

23 day(s) ago

Toby, you have made the shocking discovery that people who hide behind anonymity while publicly speculating about other people and attacking their character and quality as philosophers are bad at justifying their behavior.

Max

23 day(s) ago

It is hilarious that someone could not appreciate the need for anonymity on this blog. By all means, lets all post our names and rename the blog "The Career Suicide Blog". Good job trolling though, ant lovers.

Damaris

23 day(s) ago

Getting back to the original post, what do you mean "what came of him"? Isn't he still at Calgary? Did he go into hiding? Did his wife Bobbit him? What is the subtext of your question?

Fazang

23 day(s) ago

It is hilarious that someone could not appreciate the need for anonymity on this blog. By all means, lets all post our names and rename the blog "The Career Suicide Blog". Good job trolling though, ant lovers.

Max

Once again, Max just utterly fails to defend his/her "anonymous speculation" about someone's personal life, job prospects, and the like. Not surprising, but even unsurprising things can be depressing. ***Of course*** there is a need for anonymity on this blog - literally no one disputed that, at least not here. I, for one, think it's best for you and others here to remain anonymous. What was disputed - in plain English - was the moral permissibility of anonymously speculating about someone's life in the way that you are, while hiding behind anonymity. Solution: remain anonymous and cease morally reckless speculation and character assassination, ***even if*** you think that others are doing bad stuff too.

Damaris

23 day(s) ago

What was disputed - in plain English - was the moral permissibility of anonymously speculating about someone's life in the way that you are, while hiding behind anonymity.

I see, so you are telling a blog full of philosophers that speculation is what is problematic here. Got it: If you want to say something speculative about another person you have to put your name on it. Because ulterior motives of persons can be of zero importance. We are talking about a person (Lauren Leydon-Hardy) who has filed Title IX actions and lawsuits to silence people that disagree with her. I don't know if you are paying attention, but Lauren Leydon-Hardy's lawsuit against Kipnis and her numerous title IX filings have become international news. It is fair to ask: Is she doing this because she is a hero (a widely held position on certain blogs in philosophy) or is she doing it for other reasons. If we can't speculate on possibilities then you are asking us to close the door on a process of inquiry that might yield answers in conflict with the dogma at DN, FP and other blogs. Some of us think such inquiries matter, and we also think speculating in such a manner, although important, would be career suicide. Such is the state of free speech in our profession. So kindly stop using your faux moral superiority to shut us up and go back to your Ant Farm.

Debiprasad

23 day(s) ago

I am sort of with Max and Damaris here on the matter of principle here. It seems to me as though when evaluating the moral permissibility of singling out a person for speculation, there's a relevant distinction (along the lines of the legal distinction operative in libel law) between public and private figures. It's much less bad -- perhaps even totally permissible -- to discuss someone who's a public figure in the relevant sense. (No-one could reasonably object to certain kinds of robust discussion by name about, say, Leiter, whereas a graduate student picked at random would be a different story).

So the question is then: is LLH a public figure in the relevant sense? I can see the case for thinking she's not. She's a graduate student -- relatively speaking, a low status member of the profession -- and, after all, she has attempted to stay anonymous throughout this process (processes, really, given the sheer number of complaints she's made at this point). But I think the opposite case is stronger. Ultimately, it seems to me that if you use and abuse the Title IX process and the legal system in the way that LLH has done, if you try to have your critics silenced in the service of an ideological desire to remake a whole academic discipline, if you intervene and try to shut down a perfectly legitimate public debate about free speech on campus -- then you're a public figure and discussion of your motives is fair game.

Monroe

23 day(s) ago

Lauren Leydon-Hardy has been trying to have her cake and eat it too. On the one hand she wants to be Jane Doe, but on the other hand she wants to publish essays under her own name in Huffington Post on the very subject of her case while never identifying herself as the accuser. Even her new lawyer got in on the act, making public statements to news media even while arguing that her client be a Jane Doe. Sorry, but you can't be Jane Doe and an attention ho at the same time. And that isn't a moral claim. It's a metaphysical claim.

Ted

23 day(s) ago

Sorry, but you can't be Jane Doe and an attention ho at the same time. And that isn't a moral claim. It's a metaphysical claim.

Monroe

This is brilliant.

Edmund

23 day(s) ago

It is galling to see the double standard. Jennifer Lackey's old grad school buddy Jeremy Fantl gets a free pass, but Peter Ludlow is run out of the profession. Unfair. Wrong.

Kipnis has done a service to philosophy in bringing all of this to light, and history will smile on her courage in doing this.

Chiao

23 day(s) ago

... It's much less bad -- perhaps even totally permissible -- to discuss someone who's a public figure in the relevant sense. (No-one could reasonably object to certain kinds of robust discussion by name about, say, Leiter, whereas a graduate student picked at random would be a different story).

Debiprasad

This seems clearly false to me, though apparently I would be in the minority here. Suppose Brian Leiter filed a lawsuit against someone accusing them of sexually assaulting him, or filed other Title IX suits, or whatever. It still seems obviously morally impermissible (and psychologically aberrant) for members of his profession (or anyone, really) to go onto forums and anonymously speculate about his sex life, wonder about his past relationships, insult him as a philosopher, speculate about his job prospects, etc. To be clear, this seems (clearly, obviously, transparently) wrong to do about anyone else as well - I'd certainly include Ludlow! Frankly I don't even get why people enjoy doing this stuff to other people... let alone why they think it is actually morally defensible. Now, it could be that your "certain kinds of robust discussion" happen to exclude most or much of what goes on here. If so, fine. But the contributions that I think people are objecting to surely don't count? I apologize for calling you Shirley.

Edward

23 day(s) ago

Asking for verification of claims in the public record of court cases, published books and their ilk isn't really "speculation". It's due epistemic diligence. LLH wants to make a big stink about all this and files a lawsuit and a bunch of Title IX complaints, fine. LLH wants attention, fine. Kipnis wants attention too, fine. Let's hear them all out and see what the evidence is.

Virginia

23 day(s) ago

Getting back to the original post, what do you mean "what came of him"? Isn't he still at Calgary? Did he go into hiding? Did his wife Bobbit him? What is the subtext of your question?

Damaris

One question I have is whether Fantl ever faced professional consequences for having a sexual relationship with one of his students. Many of these cases are public or semi-public, with people getting fired or publicly shamed over this kind of behavior, you got your Pogges, Searles, McGinns. Is Fantl in this pantheon? If not, why not?

Monroe

22 day(s) ago

Many of these cases are public or semi-public, with people getting fired or publicly shamed over this kind of behavior, you got your Pogges, Searles, McGinns. Is Fantl in this pantheon? If not, why not?

Well why single out Fantl? Is Kit Fine off the hook because he married his last known student conquest? The list goes on.

Zhu

22 day(s) ago

This seems clearly false to me, though apparently I would be in the minority here. Suppose Brian Leiter filed a lawsuit against someone accusing them of sexually assaulting him, or filed other Title IX suits, or whatever. It still seems obviously morally impermissible (and psychologically aberrant) for members of his profession (or anyone, really) to go onto forums and anonymously speculate about his sex life, wonder about his past relationships, insult him as a philosopher, speculate about his job prospects, etc. To be clear, this seems (clearly, obviously, transparently) wrong to do about anyone else as well - I'd certainly include Ludlow! Frankly I don't even get why people enjoy doing this stuff to other people... let alone why they think it is actually morally defensible. Now, it could be that your "certain kinds of robust discussion" happen to exclude most or much of what goes on here. If so, fine. But the contributions that I think people are objecting to surely don't count? I apologize for calling you Shirley.

Chiao

Debiprasad here. I think Edward nailed it. You make it sound like we're just chatting about her sex life for prurient reasons (and perhaps that really is the motivation of some people here), but most of the speculation I've seen has been directly relevant to the facts of the case. If we want to come to a responsibly based view of her complaint, we need to know about things like the nature of LLH's relationship with Ludlow; and e.g. the released text messages between the two of them and her previous track record dating professors are clearly evidentially relevant to that. I would agree with you that discussing these topics would be wrong if the issues were irrelevant or the speculation was gratuitous, but as far as I've seen, it mostly hasn't been. (You might be objecting to the tone of the discussion, which is I think a different argument. But I can't see a good case for ruling the topics themselves out of moral bounds).

Leucippus

22 day(s) ago

I wonder if the admins at Calgary even know about Fantl's affair with Leydon-Hardy. It was consenting, so why would they care or investigate?

Georges

22 day(s) ago

Though this is basically been said in different ways: it seems relevant that we're talking about a person whose claims and complaints seem to be not only fairly clearly false, but nutty / malicious. And motivated largely by a kind of politics. And a kind of destructive politics. And a kind of destructive politics that not only threatens to but *aims to* (in effect) destroy the philosophy profession (and, perhaps, academia generally).

Things would be very different (that is, I mean, with respect to things like speculating about personal matters) if we were talking about a person who seemed to be innocent and wronged and honest and reasonable...rather than a person who seems to be none of those things...*and* who seems to be a kind of operative (or cat's paw) for a powerful, destructive, political movement.

I'm not saying that anything goes. I'm saying that I think things are a bit different than if a reasonable, private person had suddenly found him/her self thrown into the spotlight.

Vladimir

22 day(s) ago

I no longer have the tiniest bit of sympathy for Lauren Leydon-Hardy, not since her lawsuit and latest title IX filing against Kipnis, and I don't think the discussion here is just mean gossip. Lauren Leydon-Hardy has been, let's face it, a monster within our profession, destroying peoples lives, including Ludlow and that unnamed grad student, Jeremy Fantl's family, and the people who have been victims of her can't-be-counted-on-one-hand title IX filings and lawsuits.

We pretend it is no big deal for Kipnis to go up on these endless charges, but that can't possibly be true. Imagine having to go through endless gauntlets of legal proceedings. It can't be good for one's mental health nor for one's ability to get work done. But beyond that, from the outside, it looks terribly dehumanizing. Being put on trial like that and being asked how you came up with your ideas and what your sources are must be just awful. I don't imagine the President of Northwestern University enjoyed being brought up on title IX charges for writing an editorial in the WSJ, and I don't imagine that the President of the University Senate at Northwestern enjoyed being brought up on title IX charges because he expressed concern about the violations of Kipnis's academic freedom. None of those people deserved what Lauren Leydon-Hardy did to them. None of them.

As for Lauren Leydon-Hardy's sex life, I don't think anyone here gives a fuck about it, but they have every right to ask if the philosophy profession is in danger from a person who cannot restrain herself from making obviously false charges against people and then harnessing institutional powers to make their lives living hells. And they have every right, indeed an obligation, to worry and wonder whether this person could end up getting a job in their profession because wherever she lands the philosophers there will be in danger. That is not hyperbole. That is not gossip. That is just a horrifying fact, and it is supported by her history of actions up to and including the recent lawsuit and title IX filing against Kipnis.

But this discussion raises another concern. Just how corrupt is our profession if it can lionize such a student (one from whom the philosophical work is tissue-paper thin) and applaud her use of title IX bureaucracy to commit acts of violence against members of our profession? Her ability as a philosopher is absolutely relevant here, because it looks to my eyes that her sole claim to fame as a philosopher is her ability to file title IX actions against philosophers. Perhaps, if she is filing against your philosophical enemies, that is good news in today's philosophical profession, but I find it morally repugnant.

So no, the concerns expressed against Lauren Leydon-Hardy are not pointless or mean; they speak to a profound concern that this is a person using falsehoods and institutional power to lay waste to innocent members of our profession, to Laura Kipnis, and selected members of Northwestern University. We should all be very concerned and the expression of this concern absolutely should NOT be silenced.

Noam

22 day(s) ago

What Vladimir just said. Every frickin' word of it.

H.

21 day(s) ago

There's a lot of truth in what Vladimir says, but I think LLH still deserves some sympathy. She might have been the victim of a sexual predator. Or she might not. I don't know, and neither do most of us. But what I do know is that she's been badly misled by her advisors into making a public spectacle of the whole thing. Lackey and admins at Northwestern will probably emerge unscathed from this whole thing. LLH will not. That is sad, and unfortunate. She was once a happy and promising philosophy student. She is now, by her own accounts, a shadow of her former self. Her life is ruined. This is, again, sad and unfortunate.

These observations do not diminish LLH's culpability for ridiculous abuses of Title IX and all that, but they do make room for some sympathy.

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