I’ve got to get the word out about Lindsay Beyerstein.
I first encountered Lindsay a few years ago at Magikthise, her original personal blog. (That name sounds like one of the lesser-known Bond girls, but it’s actually a geek reference to a character — a philosopher, your basic working thinker — in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.) Lindsay is a liberal, not a libertarian, so I don’t always agree with what she has to say, but I like the way she says it. She’s smart, she’s intellectually honest, and she’s a good writer.
Recently, however, I’ve made the disturbing discovery that Lindsay is the victim of a widespread campaign to wipe her presence off the internet. Surprisingly, the campaign is not the work of the nefarious Koch brothers, as you might expect. It’s much more insidious than that. The conspiracy to silence Lindsay is orchestrated by none other than her own publishers!
It all started with Focal Point, Lindsay’s brilliantly-named blog at big think. Ever since this new blog came online, the original Magikthise home page has redirected to it. Fortunately, this first attempt was not completely successful, and Lindsay’s classic Magikthise posts can still be found at the Magikthise archives.
The next attempt to silence Lindsay was much more effective. It came when the progressive magazine In These Times set her up with a new blog called Duly Noted. It sounds great, doesn’t it? Her posts would be appearing alongside those of key progressive figures such as Noam Chomsky. What could possibly be wrong with that?
It was only when I tried to add Duly Noted to my feed reader that I tumbled to their clever plot. You see, the feed link on the Duly Noted home page doesn’t link to Lindsay’s blog feed at all. Instead, it subscribes me to the main In These Times feed, and the main In These Times feed doesn’t include Lindsay’s posts. It was a fiendish trick. A nefarious rip-off. A blatant bait-and-switch to hide Lindsay’s writing from the world.
Finally, just yesterday I uncovered yet another attempt to suppress Lindsay’s voice. She wrote a piece about how and why unemployment is a feminist issue, and it’s gong to be the cover story of the Fall 2011 issue of Ms. magazine. As we’ve seen before, this at first sounds like a terrific career milestone for Lindsay: A chance for her work to appear in the magazine of the feminist movement.
But once again, Lindsay has fallen into trap, as you can see for yourself at the preview page for the next issue of Ms. Lindsay’s story “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” is featured prominently in the image of the magazine’s cover, but it doesn’t name Lindsay as the author. Next, check out the table of contents below. The article is listed, but Lindsay’s name appears nowhere on the page. Most baffling of all, clicking on the name of the article in the table of contents doesn’t take you to Lindsay’s article.
Admittedly, there may be an alternative explanation. If you explore the Ms. magazine table of contents more thoroughly, you will soon discover a shocking truth: None of the article titles are linked to articles. The entire page is nothing but dead text.
This invites us to consider the possibility that there is no conspiracy to silence Lindsay Beyerstein’s promising young progressive voice. Perhaps it’s just another case of the sort of tragic ineptitude that results when old media publications like In These Times and Ms. try to make use of that new interweb thing all the kids are talking about.
I’m not sure which would be worse for Lindsay.