MONDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2022
Guggenheim "Karen" exposed: When is anger justified—perfectly sensible, even?
When is anger something different? When might it showcase a possible human imperfection within our own blue tribe?
For people interested in such questions, we'll recommend Helen Lewis' new report for The Atlantic, which appears beneath this title plus synopsis:
The Guggenheim's Scapegoat.
A museum curator was forced out of her job over allegations of racism that an investigation deemed unfounded. What did her defenestration accomplish?
According to Lewis, a black curator accused various Guggenheim officials of racist conduct. According to Lewis, the curator responded in the following way when she was asked for an interview:
LEWIS (10/3/22): In August, I sent an Instagram message to LaBouvier asking if we might speak for this article. In her reply, LaBouvier castigated The Atlantic for not having covered her Guggenheim exhibition or its fallout. “Where were you in 2019 or 2020?” she asked. “Fuck you and your arrogance.”
LaBouvier followed up by email, copying the executive editor at the magazine. “I am not interested in participating in a piece that through lack of expertise, thoroughness, research or fortitude will resign me as a footnote and amplify a glorified publicity stunt,” she wrote, calling me “another example of a clueless, rapacious White woman.”
“I am so tired of scavenging journalists attempting to speak for me, or depict me. I am nothing if not direct, and I have always said it from my chest, and with my name on it.” She closed with a warning: “Should you fuck this up—which you will—I will be on your ass like white on rice on a paper plate in a snowstorm at a KKK rally.”
For the record, the episode in question is rather complex. We can only offer Lewis' account of the episode—but along the way, a Karen lost her job.
When is anger justified, constructive? Can it ever happen that members of our own blue tribe behave in ways which are less than perfectly wise—and if so, are members of the Other tribe sometimes able to see this?