Jan. 14, 2022
To the Editor:
Timothy Snyder’s reappraisal of my publication “The Story Paradox” (Jan. 9) is simply a smear of advertisement hominem, acheronian insinuation and failures successful basal speechmaking comprehension. Snyder begins by mocking a country from my decision where, helium claims, I uncover myself arsenic a vainglorious Quixote — the archetypal idiosyncratic to instrumentality connected “the ‘science’ of however stories work.” In fact, the publication is based connected extensively cited probe conducted by others, and adjacent the country helium mocks lone complains of this research’s neglect by mainstream psychology.
Next helium has maine arguing for a cosmopolitan communicative operation successful which “everything gets worse until it gets better,” earlier listing immoderate stories that interruption the pattern. This is surely not however I picture storytelling’s cosmopolitan structure, though I bash remark upon an mean inclination successful which fabrication makers technologist last-minute blessed endings. Triumphantly citing immoderate counterexamples to refute an mean tendency, arsenic Snyder does, is similar naming immoderate precise gangly tennis players to refute the assertion that hoops players are mostly taller than tennis players.
“The Story Paradox” describes however rationality is distorted by a quality inclination to unrecorded wrong morality tales wherever we are the bully guys and our opponents are caricatured villains. Snyder’s relentlessly mean and inaccurate onslaught is simply a good illustration of this point, portion justifying my concerns astir different improvement helium doubts: an progressively merciless intolerance for nonconformist perspectives successful higher education.
To the Editor:
Timothy Snyder took immoderate clip retired from his carpet-bombing of Jonathan Gottshall’s witty and insightful “The Story Paradox” for immoderate arsenic intemperate strafing of my books “The Better Angels of Our Nature” and “Enlightenment Now.”
He claims I “cherry-picked” information connected modern decease tolls “from a root truthful evidently ideological that I was ashamed to mention it successful precocious schoolhouse debate.” With this predilection for condescension implicit contented it’s intolerable to cognize what he’s referring to. In world I cited each extant quantitative information acceptable connected warfare and genocide, plotting the meticulous estimates from the Peace Research Institute Oslo and the Uppsala Conflict Data Program successful their entirety. As for “ideology,” arsenic Joan Robinson remarked, it is similar breath: You ne'er odor your own.
Snyder past blows disconnected the massively documented Flynn effect, successful which I.Q. scores roseate by 3 points a decennary for a century, claiming they are “in decline.” In fact, the caller partial backtracking of the Flynn effect has been recovered lone successful immoderate Western European countries wherever it had been going connected the longest; arsenic champion we tin archer it continues successful the remainder of the world.
But Snyder’s assertion that I clasp a libertarianism that would pb to the “dissolution” of the modern payment authorities is thing abbreviated of hallucinatory. In world I celebrated the emergence of societal spending connected the susceptible and authorities regulations connected safety, the workplace and the situation arsenic large chapters successful the annals of quality progress.
The writer is the Johnstone prof of science astatine Harvard University.
A Writer’s Identity
To the Editor:
Regarding Gish Jen’s reappraisal of “To Paradise,” by Hanya Yanagihara (Jan. 9): Why would she adjacent person to inquire if an Asian American pistillate tin constitute a large American novel? It seems beauteous evident to maine that anyone of immoderate contention oregon sex tin constitute a large American novel.
To the Editor:
My acknowledgment to Liesl Schillinger for recommending Tim Parks’s “The Hero’s Way: Walking With Garibaldi From Rome to Ravenna” (Dec. 5). And acknowledgment to Parks for suggesting that the scholar usage Google Maps to spot each the charming elevation towns helium walked to successful Garibaldi’s footsteps. The writer seamlessly interweaves Garibaldi’s trek with his ain walk, making 1 consciousness similar a companion to both.
A reappraisal connected Jan. 9 astir “Chasing History,” by Carl Bernstein, misidentified the paper that the newsman Will Fowler worked for erstwhile helium was covering the Black Dahlia murder. It was The Los Angeles Examiner, not The Los Angeles Times.
The Group Text file connected Jan. 9 misstated the fixed sanction of the protagonist of Jessamine Chan’s novel, “The School for Good Mothers.” She is Frida Liu, not Freya.