The Substack Discourse and the Self-Referentiality of Everything

Justin E. H. Smith in his Substack Newsletter:

You might recall the strange case of Matthew J. Mayhew, professor of educational administration at The Ohio State University. In late September he published an opinion piece in Inside Higher Ed enumerating the many supposed virtues of college football. A week later he issued, in the same venue, an abject apology for his first piece, in which, he now confessed, he had failed to recognise the various ways his support for collegiate athletics perpetuated white supremacy and failed to center the voices of people of colour. “I am just beginning to understand,” he wrote, “how I have harmed communities of color with my words. I am learning that my words —my uninformed, careless words— often express an ideology wrought in whiteness and privilege.”

One could not help but try to imagine the struggle session to which Mayhew was subjected that week, from which he emerged as if reborn. It seems hard to deny that he is sincere in his follow-up piece —the common view that he is writing as if there is a gun held to his head misses the mark—, but also totally and radically converted from one way of seeing the world to another, a conversion that can typically only occur where there is significant social and institutional pressure.

More here.