Her stern, clear warnings

Naomi Wolf is an interesting case study. Here I was thinking she had learned from the drastic mistake she made in her book and the fact that it was pointed out to her in a BBC interview. But just three days ago she tweeted

This clip shows @BBC editing of audience laughter at Boris Johnson. My own @BBC
interview was edited to cut my stern, clear warnings to host that he was mistaken to state as a fact that men executed for sodomy in 19th c were mostly molesters, rapists.

Was that before the host pointed out her mistakes, or after?

It’s all the stranger that she’s so boastful of her stern, clear warnings when it’s only been a month since the news that her book is so full of mistakes that the US publisher canceled it.

The US edition of Oxford-educated author Naomi Wolf’s new book Outrages is being pulped after a number of major errors were discovered.

Outrages: Sex, Censorship, and the Criminalisation of Love is based on a PhD thesis that Wolf wrote in 2015, in which she claimed to have found examples of “several dozen executions” of men convicted of sodomy in Britain.

But, oops, she hadn’t found that at all, she had simply misunderstood the meaning of the phrase “death recorded” in the records.

Wolf came upon the phrase “Death recorded” in Old Bailey records, and cited one case of Thomas Silver, “aged 14”, who was “actually executed for committing sodomy” in 1859.

“The boy was indicted for an unnatural offence. GUILTY – Death recorded,” she wrote, inferring that an execution took place.

However, in an embarrassing interview with BBC radio host Matthew Sweet – himself an author – which took place in May, it was pointed out that Wolf had, perhaps understandably misinterpreted the term “Death recorded” to mean executed, when in fact it means the opposite: that the judge abstained from pronouncing the death sentence and the prisoner was pardoned.

But now she’s back, and not just back but bragging on Twitter about how she told that very same Matthew Sweet what’s what in that very interview?

Matthew Sweet is not impressed.

Oh dear. Here we go again. With the usual apologies. No such statement was made, as we were discussing post-1835 executions for sodomy in England. Contrary to the emphatic argument of @Outragesbook, no such executions occurred.

Here we go again after her US publisher recalled the book from shops and pulped it. What is she smoking?!

Sweet suggests she make an official complaint:

If Dr Wolf has a genuine complaint to make about editorial standards on @BBCFreeThinking, she – or perhaps her own editors at @ViragoBooks – could make it directly to the programme, and if that fails to satisfy, to take it up with @Ofcom.

As ever, I look forward to the corrected edition of @Outragesbook. And the revised version of her @UniofOxford DPhil. I will be interested to see if Dr Wolf has found any evidence that the Victorian cases upon which she builds her argument involved consensual sex.

Is Naomi Wolf Trump’s cousin or something?

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