Libertarianism

'Mattress Girl' Emma Sulkowicz Walked Into a Libertarian Happy Hour. No, This Is Not a Joke.

Mattress girl's unlikely friendship with Reason folks is the subject of a recent piece for The Cut.

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When Reason's Nick Gillespie mentioned to me that he had met Emma Sulkowicz—a Columbia University graduate and performance artist known to many as "mattress girl"—and invited her to social events for New York City libertarians, I thought he was joking.

But some days later, I found myself at one of those events—a happy hour at a bar in Manhattan—with Reason folks and friends. And there was Sulkowicz.

Sulkowicz's recent adventures in libertarian circles is the subject of a fascinating piece from The Cut's Sylvie McNamara, who interviewed both Gillespie and I for it. McNamara describes Sulkowicz as someone ideologically adrift, making new friends, and interested in ideas and perspectives she formerly would have rejected.

Regular readers of this website know a great deal about Sulkowicz. She was the subject of a series of Reason articles in 2015, after she became famous for carrying her mattress around Columbia's campus as a from of protest. Sulkowicz had accused a fellow student and former friend, Paul Nungesser, of sexually assaulting her during an encounter that began consensually but then escalated into unwanted sex and violence. She reported the alleged attack, but the university cleared Nungesser of wrongdoing and declined to remove him from campus. This triggered Sulkowicz's protest, which gained nationwide recognition. She even attended the State of the Union as a guest of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D–N.Y.). (She later confessed disappointment that President Obama had not addressed the alleged campus rape crisis in his remarks.)

Suffice it to say, I was extremely critical of Sulkowicz, whose advocacy was, in my view, undermining important principles of due process and the presumption of innocence for the accused. I wrote that she was making life "a living hell" for Nungesser. I assailed some members of Columbia's administration for not merely tolerating but actively encouraging her "harassment campaign" against him. And while I never claimed that she had lied about what happened to her—I don't know, and still don't—I did cast doubt on her allegations.

I was not Sulkowicz's only libertarian critic. Cathy Young, a contributor to Reason, has also criticized her for many of the same reasons, in our pages and elsewhere. Young's piece in The Daily Beast prompted Jezebel's Erin Gloria Ryan to accuse Young of "writing virtually the same rape-is-a-hysterical-feminist-fantasy op-ed over and over again for years." Ryan was editor of Jezebel when one of her writers, Anna Merlan, called me an idiot for doubting the soon-to-be-debunked Rolling Stone story; I've subsequently had many pleasant social encounters with Ryan and one with Merlan, who has not been shy about continuing to critique Reason. It is indeed possible to like people or their writing, while maintaining very strong objections or reservations.

Young was also at the happy hour. In fact, I was talking to her when I noticed Sulkowicz. It seemed like we should say hello.

I can't imagine what it would be like to meet two of your biggest critics—two people who had not only criticized you, but had done so with reference to a deeply personal, disturbing subject. But if Sulkowicz was fazed by this, she didn't show it. She was friendly, even.

With this somewhat awkward but ultimately pleasant introduction out of the way, the next time I encountered Sulkowicz, it was like running into an old friend. This was despite the fact that the occasion was a party for me to celebrate the release of my new book, Panic Attack: Young Radicals in the Age of Trumpwhich included (among many other things) a chapter about how Sulkowicz's activism had negatively impacted the landscape for due process on campus. Sulkowicz was accompanied by McNamara, who writes:

This party is for Robby Soave, a libertarian reporter on the snowflake beat whose new book, Panic Attack: Young Radicals in the Age of Trump, is—per Soave's own description—"a book that is extremely critical of [Sulkowicz] and that I don't wish her to read." Soave met Sulkowicz a month or so before at another libertarian happy hour. Initially bewildered, he warmed to her, finding her to be inquisitive and even fun to talk to. "We exchanged contact information," he tells me later, "and talked about maybe becoming, I guess, friends or something?" He laughs incredulously as he says this, sounding a bit on edge.

As Sulkowicz swirls around the party, her presence stirs an obvious question: whether this is performance art. Soave brings it up twice when we speak on the phone afterward, acknowledging the possibility that he's being set up. While he's inclined to believe that Sulkowicz is moved by earnest curiosity, he's aware of her background in "elaborately planned performance art" and her reputation as a provocateur. Since graduating from Columbia in 2015, Sulkowicz has done around a dozen performances touching on issues like consent, anti-institutionalism, climate change, trauma, wellness, and female sexual desire. It's natural to wonder if she's currently breaking bread with this crowd to lampoon civility politics or to expose views she hates. Honestly, it might be harder to believe that she's simply trying to learn. …

Leaving Robby Soave's book party, I walk Sulkowicz home through the June heat and she wants to know how I'll describe her. "You're a trickster," I say, and she asks how I came to that word. I tell her that she seems to relate to the world on the level of mischief and play, rather than through any kind of ideology or strict moral code. I use the word "chaotic," and she doesn't object. A friend of hers wrote a book about tricksters, and she says she relates to it. Tricksters, he argued, can move unrestricted between any circumstances, because they're always playing.

McNamara was right to bring up the possibility that this all some sort of trick, or game, or even an art project. Sulkowicz's past art work—not just the mattress project—often involved elaborate setups, and the audience becoming not just passive consumers but part of the art themselves. I would not be completely shocked if that was the case here.

But I don't think that's what is happening, mostly because Sulkowicz's starting point for her journey of self-discovery was Jonathan Haidt's outstanding book, The Righteous Mind. It does not at all surprise me that someone, after engaging with Haidt's work for the first time, would subsequently find value in meeting new people and exploring different ideas. Sulkowicz even attended one of Haidt's talks and became friendly with him.

"My wife and I have gotten to know her well, can attest that she is open-minded, loving, funny, forgiving," he wrote on Twitter. "She is on a journey, guided by virtues badly needed these days."

Gillespie hit on this theme as well in his comments for the Cut piece:

Gillespie laments that, despite the "embarrassment of riches with how much we can communicate and explore ideas, we're having kind of shitty conversations." He hopes Sulkowicz's journey sparks "a movement, among younger people in particular, to broaden the types of conversations that happen." Asked about the value of these conversations, Sulkowicz's friends mostly resort to abstraction: the benefit of dialogue is to "bridge divides" or "build empathy," responses that are neither trivial nor satisfying. To be fair, not everything that is valuable can be easily explained. Several people tell me that, after knowing Sulkowicz, they have "more respect for people's personal narratives" and are less likely to see others in bad faith.

I think libertarians are a bit better at having these kinds of uncomfortable conversations and associations simply because we tend to have larger areas of passionate agreement and fiery disagreement with just about everybody. Indeed, those of us in the Reason orbit are sometimes accused by people outside the Beltway of zipping from one cocktail party to the next, happily clinking glasses with the very government policymakers and elite media class whose ideas we are inveighing against in our writing.

As a serial attender of ideologically-all-over-the-place social events, I'm guilty as charged here. I get drinks with Brooklyn lefties then head to Fox News to talk with Tucker Carlson about why Trump is right to pull out of Syria. I carve pumpkins with Vox writers and play Dungeons & Dragons with Federalist writers. I've dressed up for a gala featuring neoconservative stalwart Nikki Haley, and gone to a drag show with David French (OK, I made that last one up, but all the others are real). The simple truth is libertarians can't really afford to avoid being friends with non-libertarians. If I only associated with the people whose views very closely matched my own, I would only associate with a small handful of people.

There are, of course, critics of this kind of befriend-everyone feel-goodery, and many have reacted to the Cut piece with predictable condemnation. On the right, some were furious that we would seemingly welcome Sulkowicz without her having made any kind atonement for her perceived wrongs. On the left, many accused Sulkowicz of betraying her own tribe. Both extremes might be surprised at how alike they sound, if they could possibly listen to each other for even one minute.

Everyone else, I think, can take solace in the fact that it is possible for people with stark differences to be on friendly terms, and make strides toward better understanding each other. We often have more in common than we think, especially when we set aside politics—the art of bossing each other around.

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  1. “She is on a journey, guided by virtues badly needed these days.”

    Right. Since her notoriety didn’t turn into an activist career as she hoped she’s on a journey to find someone else who will give her a job so she can make a living avoiding real work.

    1. So… work for Reason?

      1. Any port in a storm is my guess, but Reason seems to be her target.

      2. Why not? Can’t work for Deadspin after last night’s debacle.

    2. The story says she just started a four year master’s degree course in traditional Chinese quackery.

      1. It also says she quit both making art and her fellowship at a museum.

        [She] was essentially unemployed for a time, drawing income from occasional speaking gigs, mostly about campus sexual assault.

        And she’s writing a book.

        Sounds like she figured out which is the easier gig . But she already tried to get in on the left and failed. So now she’s a Free Agent looking for a team.

        1. Quit, or was discovered that caring a mattress isn’t art?

      2. The twist at the end of that sentence was fantastic.

    3. She just seems highly impressionable. At Columbia she was hanging with SJW artist crowd, now she’s hanging with a libertarian crowd.

      That’s not really a criticism, she’s young and it takes some time to to find out who we really are as adults, assuming we ever figure it out.

      1. “Hanging with” and “advocating for” are very different types of behavior.

      2. She’s a couple of years out from 30. Not young

    4. Searching for a supplemental source of income?
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      1. Will you accept a former SJW with a mattress?

    5. My thoughts exactly. There can’t be a lot of money in carrying around a mattress (unless you’re a prostitute but the mattress thing would make it kind of an obvious target for the popo).

  2. You can cure ignorance but crazy is for ever, I’d stay away from that one.

    1. Just keep the right distance. Crazy can be interesting and/or fun.

      1. Sounds like you want to bang her

        I don’t reccomend

        1. A friend of mine often says: “Never stick your dick in crazy.”

        2. No, I really don’t. Just a general observation.

      2. She comes with her own mattress.

          1. Wood berry, and then regret it forever, sad to say. Gnothi seauton.

  3. Nice article. Also this:

    The simple truth is libertarians can’t really afford to avoid being friends with non-libertarians. If I only associated with the people whose views very closely matched my own, I would only associate with a small handful of people.

    is a great point. If any lifestyle idea is libertarian, it’s that politics should be subordinate to friendship.

    1. She made her name by harming others. Why would anyone want to be her friend? Why would anyone trust her if she claims to want to be your friend? Why would anyone trust her for anything?

      Isn’t her mindset generally called sociopathic?

      1. I don’t think one should trust everyone, far from it. I suppose I am responding to the broader point, that political disagreement should not be a reason to not be friends.

        True, in this woman’s case it goes far from that. I still don’t think he is in any danger by saying hi at a crowded event.

        1. I still don’t think he is in any danger by saying hi at a crowded event.</i.

          With witnesses.

          1. Non-feminist witnesses.

        2. Saying hi, maybe not. Exchanging contact information, possible rape accusation. WALKING HER HOME? why not just just take a roofie in Crusty’s front yard?

  4. Right, and Lenin was a performance artist too. Hitler, maybe not.

    Should performance artists who cause harm get a free pass? Artistic immunity, shall we say?

    Good grief.

    1. The moral confusion on display in this article is epic. While some here have pointed out that she caused harm to others, this really doesn’t go far enough. She was highly deceptive and used the levers of power her university and then the social justice mob gave her to terrorize and hound a person for over a year. Her behavior was egregious as it was calculated and done that same dough-eyed look Robby Soave seems to find so endearing.

      What do you think sociopaths look like Robby? Drooling and fangs and crazy hair? Nah, they look like Sulkowicz. Keep in mind that people like her can be incredibly seductive and nice to get past barriers.

    2. “Lenin was a performance artist too”

      Lenin always jumped at the chance to wear disguises, wigs, costumes, makeup etc.

      Emma’s talent lies in her gift for self promotion.

        1. I am the eggplant, cock-a-doodle-doo

        2. I am the floorrus.

        3. I am the mattress.

  5. OK, how many events have you been to with, let’s say, Jordan Peterson or Rick Santorum?

    1. Have you ever hung out at a social gathering with the National Right to Life Committee or the Family Research Council? Ever chatted on friendly terms with members of these groups?

      1. Real libertarians don’t associate with people who literally want to turn this country into The Handmaid’s Tale.

        (I still don’t know why they let Stephanie Slade work here.)

        1. Felony word crime, using literally figuratively.

          1. The character portrayed as OBL would literally be using “literally” literally.

      2. You probably have, whether they/you realize it or not.

      3. You sound like you don’t think he has.

        1. He could have, but maybe an article on the subject would be enlightening.

          The articles the Reason staff publish (except Slade’s occasional contributions) don’t really show a great understanding of the nuances of social conservative thinking.

          If he could talk at greater length with actual social conservatives he could at least know more about the positions he and his colleagues are arguing against.

          Rebutting the other guy’s position is easier if you know what you’re rebutting. That’s why so many classic works have extensive quotations from their adversaries – to an extent which would probably violate copyright law today.

          1. I agree it would be better if they spent a bit more time covering the more conservative side of libertarianism.
            I tend to fall more on the libertine side of things, but it’s good to be challenged and know what other people actually think.

            1. To their credit, Reason did a nice video piece on Tom Woods, which I enjoyed and there was little to no backhanded compliments, but that was a year ago. The tone of the site was already changing well before then and it’s only gone further down that path over the last 12 months. I’m not holding my breath for Nick Gillespie to interview Curtis Yarvin or Lew Rockwell any time soon.

          2. I would cut reason some slack if they did send staff to cover a wide range of groups and their talking points. Get some real views from average people in those groups without the usual gatekeepers in the MSM. That gets expensive and The Jacket refuses to skimp on leather oil. ONLY THE BEST!

    2. You’d be surprised by people that you meet face-to-face. While in college I met G. Gordon Liddy, Dick Gregory, and Ralph Nader at receptions after they made speeches. G. Gordon Liddy was a charming guy. My left-leaning (and Liddy, shall we say, critic) French professor was captivated by him and his excellent French. Dick Gregory was pretty cool. Ralph Nader was kind of a dick, and I don’t mean like Dick Gregory.

      1. G. Gordon Liddy was a charming guy.

        Psychopaths often come across as charming on first encounter. Since their surface presentation is always fake, they can learn to “do” charming when it suits their needs. But as the saying goes, “a sane man can pretend to be crazy, but a crazy man can’t pretend to be sane.” Psychopaths can learn to imitate normal behavior, but they can never really “get” it and act normal instinctively, because they do not experience normal emotions and perceptions. If you hang out with a psychopath for long enough, sooner or later they will screw up and do or say something that a normal person never would. Then you know something’s wrong.

  6. “Everyone else, I think, can take solace in the fact that it is possible for people with stark differences to be on friendly terms, and make strides toward better understanding each other.”

    I only agree up to a point. For example, I argue with my progressive friends about the minimum wage, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy our Handmaid’s Tale viewing parties.

    On the other hand, I have completely stopped talking to my Republican brother-in-law. Republican Presidents run concentration camps and put kids in cages; Democratic Presidents do not. There is no room for nuance here. Anyone who supports Drumpf is enabling crimes against humanity.

    I encourage other open borders advocates to completely “disconnect” from your conservative / Republican / alt-right friends, family, and co-workers ASAP.

    1. Would note that the only President to ever put people in actual concentration camps was a demorat. As for kids in cages, it was also done first by a dem. The truth hurts, don’t it?

    2. God, you’re stupid.

    3. BTW, I was referring to OBL. No, I don’t mean Osama bin Laden.

  7. When Reason’s Nick Gillespie mentioned to me that he had met Emma Sulkowicz—a Columbia University graduate and performance artist known to many as “mattress girl”—and invited her to social events for New York City libertarians, I thought he was joking.

    Joking about what? Inviting her, or about going to libertarian events?

    1. “or about going to libertarian events?”

      Ow, my sides.

  8. Unlikely? Virtually all your commentators consider Reason contributors to be extremely left in everything but economic issues (and even then, supporting government paying for things like abortions). Cosmotarian is the word people used.

    But beyond that, what does it say when you are willing to overlook that she absolutely tortured a guy for years while in college? It was performance art, it was basically a non stop case of harassment.

    1. Dammit, wasn’t performance art.

    2. extremely left in everything but economic issues

      I’m curious what you mean by that. A lot of people might call that “being libertarian”. I haven’t seen any support here for government paying for abortions.

      1. I actually think that a lot of the “these people are leftists” complaints on the comments here come from two places:

        1) Prioritizing some issues where we happen to agree with the left in some way (like immigration)

        2) The fact that the articles are written in a style and with an angle so as to potentially appeal to left-leaning readers.

        The actual content, though, is almost always thoroughly libertarian.

        1. No, it’s certainly not.

          1. Yeah you’re right. What we need are more “libertarian” articles like “How Trump Is The Most Libertarian President Ever” and “Why Leftists are Traitorous Commies Who Must Be Destroyed”

          2. How is it not? Yes, I grant that there are a couple articles from time to time that are not doctrinaire libertarian. But nearly every one involves shrinking government.

            1. The basic principle of open borders is an expansion of government through additional welfare benefits not only granted purposely up front but through buying votes from said welfare that promote policies to redistribute wealth

              Open Borders is peak beltway liberaltarian

              1. Yes! I’ve yet to see a single piece from Reason addressing the enormous governmental cost involved with throwing the gates wide open. It’s all “hardworking immigrant families are a net positive addition to our communities” bullshit (looking at you, Shikha, you shrieking harpy), when the data indicates exactly the opposite. Reason: talk about how we’re going to pay for being the world’s sugar daddy, or STFU about open borders.

                *** This mag/website brought to you by the Chamber of Commerce, and crony-capitalist Republicans everywhere ***

            2. Not only do private parties have property rights but so do states and the United States of America. Libertarians respect property rights but they are also not absolute because tiny and limited government is a necessary evil.

              The US Constitution grants states immigration control until 1808 and then the federal government gains that control. The residents of states through their Founding representatives established that.

              You can change immigration laws if you get enough support.

              1. Limited government is an oxymoron.

        2. It also comes from fully cosigning Leftist narratives and embracing progressive perspectives/priorities…

          1. Just yesterday, we had a “ to be sure, the valid criticism of a wacko leftist woman is misogyny”

        3. I wouldn’t say that libertarians who favor more immigration are leftists. I would just say they are wrong. People see what they see.

          For example, did you see the story a couple weeks ago where the Mexican army had to give el chapo’s son back to the cartel AFTER they had him in custody? These are the best and brightest people running this country? The same article said that 43 children were kidnapped from a Mexican school. Still unsolved. Really? Why some people think that we need more of this here just smacks of white guilt and virtue signaling to many.

          Oh, and it’s not the 1880’s anymore. There are 8 billion people on the planet. Enough. We can’t take them all. Or clean up their messes. That seems pretty libertarian too.

      2. “Libertarians Should Look Twice at Planned Parenthood Defunding Efforts

        “GOP move to “defund Planned Parenthood” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

        https://reason.com/2015/07/30/will-planned-parenthood-be-defunded/

        1. You mean, an article pointing out that Republican efforts to “defund Planned Parenthood” aren’t actually cutting spending?

          1. I’m replying to this claim: “I haven’t seen any support here for government paying for abortions.”

            1. That article does not advocate for government paying for abortions.

              1. She opposed a bill to defund Planned Parenthood, so, yes, she wanted Congress to vote to keep the money flowing – and Planned Parenthood would put the money in its “not abortion” account and use the money thus freed up to pay for abortions.

        2. I don’t see anything non libertarian in the article. It is more a report of the political issues going on than anything else.

          1. It suggests there’s no point in ending abortion funding since the money will just be spent on non-abortion-related purposes instead of being cut from the budget in true Libertarian fashion.

            Of course, one of the talking points for many libertarians is that the government shouldn’t take sides on abortion, which includes not paying for abortion with tax money (even indirectly by giving the dough to abortionists for their other activities).

            1. “Libertarians also oppose the use of taxpayer funds or other government resources for abortion. Like other matters of individual conscience, abortion should be kept out of the public sphere.”

              https://www.lp.org/libertarians-abortion-is-a-matter-for-individual-conscience-not-public-decree/

              (Of course, I don’t think neutrality is possible, I’m just saying there are *some* libertarians who specifically say they’re against tax funding for abortion)

            2. Did we read the same article?
              Nothing in that article advocates for government funding of abortions.

              1. Opposes a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. But doesn’t want govt to pay for abortions.

                OK, here’s another one:

                “On Friday, Donald Trump is expected to announce plans to resurrect an old rule prohibiting federal grant money from going to any group that even discusses abortion as an option for pregnant women. The rule would also prohibit funds from going to health clinics or organizations that *share a space or affiliation with an abortion provider,* according to what White House officials have told the AP and other news outlets. [emphasis added]

                “Some libertarians will inevitably argue in favor of the move on the grounds that anything that cuts federal spending is good. But that rests on a faulty premise, since the change doesn’t signal one cent of a reduction in federal funds overall. It would simply shift who is eligible to receive the money and how free their speech can be.

                “To the extent that this means more unintended pregnancies and more undesired births, we could actually see a net increase in federal expenditures on health care and family planning. There’s no way this move is really a fiscally conservative one. For most pushing the change, it’s about religious doctrine or morality.”

                https://reason.com/2018/05/18/abortion-rule/

                1. [there should be ellipses between the first and second paragraphs]

                2. “Reason Staff Bitterly Divided on Planned Parenthood Defunding: Podcast

                  “Is President Donald Trump’s plan to enforce a “bright line” separation between Title X funding recipients and even referring to the practice of abortion a good start or a self-defeating political stunt? It depends on who you ask. Including, at least to some degree, within the Reason staff.

                  “On today’s Reason Podcast, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Nick Gillespie, Peter Suderman and yours truly duke it out over the lines between conscientious objection and hypocritical stunt, between government imprimaturs and nonprofit branding, between fungibility and non. The quartet also tangles over Trump/Russia, post-shooting argumentation, and Reason’s staff dress codes over the years.”

                  https://reason.com/podcast/reason-staff-bitterly-divided/

                3. Opposes a bill to defund Planned Parenthood.

                  The article doesn’t even oppose the bill per se. It’s just pointing out what the bill would *actually do*, and what it wouldn’t do. Namely, it wouldn’t cut funding, it would just shift the money around, and instead of money going to Planned Parenthood to pay for condoms, it would go to nonprofits to pay for “faith-based pregnancy advice”. She’s obviously frustrated with the Republican grandstanding on the issue. She’s ALSO frustrated with PP’s duplicity when it comes to OTC birth control.

                  ENB obviously views the Republicans as using this issue cynically and deceptively. She may be right, she may be wrong, but it’s not the same as supporting government funding for abortion.

                  1. I suppose you could say she looks forward to a Libertopia with much less spending, not even for abortion, so in that sense maybe she *isn’t* for funding abortions.

                    But, yes, she opposed what was at the time the only option on the table to cut abortion funding – and she did it again with Trump’s executive order.

                    So I’d say at minimum she wants abortion funding for the time being while awaiting in perfect faith the arrival of the Libertopian society.

                    1. Eddy there is no abortion funding and has not been.

                      PP has separate entity for that.

                      What it does provide on a sliding scale with government subsidy are three basic things. STD diagnosis and treatment, birth control, and basic Gynecology. They do not do obstetrics.

                      It can be argued that government has no business in any of that. Then we should also end subsidy for TB control, care of indigent patients, Medicaid, support for trauma services, the CDC, all money losers supported by tax dollars.

                      If not there is no principled argument for the above.

                      Furthermore consider birth control if you are concerned with abortion. IUDs are not that costly and prevent unwanted and unaffordable pregnancy. I am concerned with it and I think the discussion is worth having.

                    2. “Eddy there is no abortion funding and has not been.”

                      To repeat, ENB “wanted Congress to vote to keep the money flowing – and Planned Parenthood would put the money in its ‘not abortion’ account and use the money thus freed up to pay for abortions.”

                      Try making a donation to ISIS’s charitable arm with the assurance that they won’t use the money directly to fund terrorism, and see how successfully you can defend yourself from an “aiding terrorism” charge.

                      “STD diagnosis and treatment, birth control, and basic Gynecology”

                      And they could continue to get federal funding for those services if they just gave up their abortion business. But they think abortion is more important than the things you listed.

                  2. “”“faith-based pregnancy advice”. “”

                    Did that involve Nuns and rulers?

      3. Calling Reason “extremely left” is code for “Ron Paul is the only one true libertarian”

        1. Ron Paul wants men with guns to force women to reproduce against their will. He couldn’t get elected dog-catcher in Catholic Ireland!

          1. Are you claiming Ron Paul has advocated forcing women to have sex?

            1. He’s no Bill Clinton.

            2. Are you saying abortion should be legal for rape victims and minors below the age of consent?

  9. My biggest hope is Gillespue and Soave are just theater subjects of her next performance art. Double mattress girl.

    1. dude no. worst 3some ever.

    2. Didn’t realize he was gay. That explains a lot

      1. Gay or not, association with a woman whose claim to fame is falsely accusing someone of rape and harassing him for over a year makes one (or two in this hypothetical) quite vulnerable to false accusations of rape.
        It would be poetic justice if Gillespie and/or Soave were hoisted by their own petard

        1. Which petard is that now? Are you saying that they support the ease with which one can ruin someone’s life with a false accusation? Have you ever read anything they have written on the subject?

          1. Robby is fully on board for every false rape accusation. His initial reaction to Jackie was how awful her experience was and we should believe her. He got savaged and changed his tune but still. He maintained the credibility of the accusers against Kavanaugh even as the stories all fell apart.

          2. Soave thinks the Red Brigade will never come for him if he just can get them to accept the olive branch.

            This mattress girl is not a team player because she pressured the Academic wing of Socialism. She is looking for friends and would likely suck a dick for one. Too bad for her, women are not Soave’s flavor.

          3. Zeb,
            The petard I was speaking of was enthusiastically associating and endorsing a woman whose known for falsely accusing someone of rape, and trying to ruin his life, in their attempt to be accepted by Leftists.
            But, if the other shoe fits…

  10. “Indeed, those of us in the Reason orbit are sometimes accused by people outside the Beltway of zipping from one cocktail party to the next, happily clinking glasses with the very government policymakers and elite media class whose ideas we are inveighing against”

    Reason writers aren’t accused of traitorously clinking glasses with the elite media class despite opposing their ideas.
    They are accused of abandoning libertarian principles and parroting the ideas of the elites solely to get those cocktail party invites.
    Look at any Suderman, Shikha or Boehm article and you’ll see not one whit of difference between what they’re saying and what DNC party organs like WaPo and the NYT, are publishing.

    1. you’ll see not one whit of difference between what they’re saying and what DNC party organs like WaPo and the NYT, are publishing

      Oh, bullshit. They may not be your or my ideal libertarians, but they surely have a different take on things from the “DNC organs”.

      1. Russiagate anyone?
        was that a thing?
        Who fell for that?
        oh, everyone but Nick?
        cool

      2. “but they surely have a different take on things from the “DNC organs”
        Never read a Dalmia or Suderman article, huh.

  11. Wait, the same people who hate the President because he’s crass are down to hang out with someone who maliciously tried to ruin someone else’s life lies? Are we uptight Victorians or aren’t we?

    1. Maybe they’d be down to hang out with Trump too. It’s not as if they have a lot of nice things to say about this woman, even in this article.

  12. This was an interesting read, but I have to admit my favorite part is Michael Malice devilishly grinning in the background of that picture.

    1. Love your podcast, despite it being an extreme failure

      1. lol, I’m not Tom Woods. We just have the same first name and last initial.

        Thanks for the unsolicited opinion though.

  13. seeing a lack of “would” from Abattoir here …

    1. He may be a tad eccentric, but he’s not nuts.

      1. There are some things a gorilla just won’t do.

  14. Every time you mention the name of the man she slandered you should also link to her amateur porn.

  15. If she’s getting drunk I’d for sure stay far away from her else she starts sleeping on your yard for touching her elbow.

  16. Tomorrow at Reason:

    Robby Soave is no longer writing for Reason. He’s been accused of rape!

    1. The safest thing for him to do would be to go on the offensive and accuse her of rape before she can accuse him.

  17. Interesting piece. But what about “who interviewed both Gillespie and I for it.”
    Where’s your editor? And cannot believe I’m the first to notice it. Did I miss it in other comments?

  18. just make sure everything is in writing and signed with witnesses

    1. Also, it seems they have a softened-down version of Me So Horny –

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhJ-7KIf6k8

      1. Of course, I myself was far too innocent to recognize the substitutions.

    2. Is it called, “Baby, I don’t care if it’s cold outside”?

      1. I Wanna Hold Your Purse

        1. I see it as role reversal, with her trying to stay and him trying to avoid a bogus sex assault charge.

          1. “My Wife’s Boyfriend wouldn’t approve…”

  19. We interrupt this comment thread to bring you:

    Just The Headline

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled comment thread.

    1. Prick up your ears.

      ALTERNATE JOKE: Fortunately she escaped before the ear, nose and throat doctor was finished.

  20. Has she made things right with the guy she railroaded?

  21. “and talked about maybe becoming, I guess, friends or something?”

    Be very… fucking careful Mr. Soave.

    1. “You’re a trickster,” I say, and she asks how I came to that word. I tell her that she seems to relate to the world on the level of mischief and play, rather than through any kind of ideology or strict moral code. I use the word “chaotic,” and she doesn’t object. A friend of hers wrote a book about tricksters, and she says she relates to it. Tricksters, he argued, can move unrestricted between any circumstances, because they’re always playing.

      Daniel Pearl was ultimately lured to his death by a person he met online with the handle ‘badmash’ which was an Urdu word for ‘trickster’ or ‘troublemaker’.

      I’m not surprised she would relate to the term.

    2. Several people tell me that, after knowing Sulkowicz, they have “more respect for people’s personal narratives” and are less likely to see others in bad faith.

      *crosses arms, judges*

      I keep hearing this “personal narrative” phrase get thrown around in the modern era.

      It often seems to imply that the truth doesn’t matter, but instead we respect what the person says or feels happened, even if the facts don’t bear it out.

      1. Well, I interpret “personal narrative” to mean that we should be mindful if at all possible to understand where a person is coming from in any particular situation, and not necessarily try to project our preconceptions of things onto other people’s circumstances. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to believe untrue things just because someone else sincerely does, but at least try to understand why a person might believe those things before offering a judgment or a correction.

        Just my 0.02 bitcoins in the matter.

        1. I fully expect a psychotic such as yourself to defend the absurd reality denial called “personal narrative”

  22. On the right, some were furious that we would seemingly welcome Sulkowicz without her having made any kind atonement for her perceived wrongs. On the left, many accused Sulkowicz of betraying her own tribe.

    I don’t care if Sulkowicz shows up to an event that I’m associated with. Hell, I’ll even chat with her. But every nano-second I’m in her presence I’m going to have six to eight of my very close friends chaperoning every goddamned instant of it, preferably with video from at last five angles.

    1. preferably with video from at last five angles.

      Does that include the under-the-skirt angle?

  23. her perceived wrongs

    That’s OK, Columbia Univ. still settled with Paul Nungesser. Hope he’d taken a big chunk of their monies & spent some of it on convincing girls to put out.

      1. Yup, that’s a classic.

        1. I think I learned about it from another commenter here.

          1. But really, you don’t need a lawyer. There are several standard pre-coital contract forms available – all you need is a notary to witness the agreement, and a videographer to film the whole encounter to make sure it conforms to the contract.

            1. Of course, you still might need a lawyer to draw up the confidentiality agreement for the videographer.

  24. Nothing about the article suggests that Robby is foolish enough to get within arms reach of Mattress Girl. And yet, there’s the photo. Is he _trying_ to get #metoo’d?

  25. Reading the headline, I had the wrong “mattress girl” in mind. I thought you meant the girl in the 9/11-themed commercial for Miracle Mattress, the Springtime for Hitler of mattress store commercials.

    Am I the only one whose mind went there? I can’t be the only one.

  26. I noticed a slight problem with the article – it refers to Sulkowicz as “her” and “she.”

    But it seems Sulkowicz “identifies as non binary (and uses they/them pronouns).”

    https://www.refinery29.com/amp/en-gb/2019/03/224564/louis-theroux-sexual-assault-the-night-in-question

    Isn’t this known as “misgendering”?

    1. Furthermore, how can you call them “mattress girl” if they aren’t a girl?

      Shouldn’t it be “mattress entity”?

      1. Ah, the *Cut* article offers a way out:

        “Since 2016, Sulkowicz has identified as gender fluid, and she sometimes uses they/them pronouns. When I ask what to use for this article, she texts me, “Lol I’m not clear about it either,” before settling on she/her.”

        1. I’ll call you sir or ma’am just fucking pick one and stick with it!

        2. I thought the gender fluid was on the mattress.

          1. Full Stop….shut it down…. we have a thread winner.

            That is all.

          2. Out of the park homerun.

        3. How often should you change your gender fluid?

          1. At least get your objects and subjects straight: “who interviewed both Gillespie and I for it”. How can we do gender pronouns if we can’t even differentiate subjective and objective pronouns? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  27. The LP will now probably invite her to be the party’s next presidential candidate. Anything for ballot access.

      1. McAfee/Mattress Girl 2020 – we’re crazy…for freedom!

        1. Vote for McAfee/Mattress Girl, or we’ll shoot this dog.

          1. Mattress Girl/McAfee – we won’t do anything to you without your express permission, unless you’re a whale.

            1. Mattress Girl/McAfee – We’re woke, stoked, and you won’t believe what we just smoked!

  28. So the story is – annoying busybody who put someone through hell for something he didn’t do is actually cute and charming after I’ve had a couple Manhattans.

    Got it.

    1. +1.
      When you earn it, you get it.

    2. I’ll add another +1

  29. “…With this somewhat awkward but ultimately pleasant introduction out of the way, the next time I encountered Sulkowicz, it was like running into an old friend. This was despite the fact that the occasion was a party for me to celebrate the release of my new book,…”
    Goody for you.
    Author spends 1000 words justifying some scumbag trying to ruin another person’s life since that scumbag now might help the author?
    Pathetic.

  30. She’s a trickster now? A regular Till Eulenspiegel , eh?

    This is how her abhorrent behaviour that turned an innocent man’s live up side down being characterized? I would like to know how his life is doing after that episode. I couldn’t care less about her.

    A journey you say?

    Beatrice!

    “… a fair, saintly Lady called to me
    In such wise, I besought her to command me.
    Her eyes were shining brighter than the Star;
    And she began to say, gentle and low, …
    ‘A friend of mine, and not the friend of fortune,
    Upon the desert slope is so impeded
    Upon his way, that he has turned through terror,
    And may, I fear, already be so lost,
    That I too late have risen to his succor.’”

    1. “Signor Alighieri, you look like you’ve been to Hell and back!”

  31. Reason magazine turned into the Huffington Post so slowly over the last several years, many people didn’t notice.

    1. We noticed, yet we find the journey most amusing.

      Like Playboy back in the day, we definitely do not read for the articles. In this case, the pictures are no treat either, but our comment interactions are the stuff of legend.

      1. As someone else pointed out, Michael Malice made his way into the picture like some sort of grinning troll. Totally made the article worth it. That’s not happening at the Huffpo.

  32. Soooooooo……

    Literally so you can hang out with them at cocktail parties.

    I don’t think people meant it that literally, but there ya go. I can see Sulkowicz — she was a college student, after all. People learn things after they graduate and have to work for a living.

    But Jezebel writers? C’mon guys!

  33. I have mixed feelings about this one. My sense is that her intellectual journey is genuine, not calculated, avaricious, or a form of performance art. And, sad to say, but in our hyper-polarized times, treating libertarians with respect, humanity, and an open mind is a revolutionary act on the left. She may be excommunicated for it. So I don’t think “Go fuck off!” is the right response here.

    As for what she did to Paul Nungesser — that sucks. No doubt. But I think she could get to the point where she acknowledges something like, “I did not lie about the sexual assault — at the time I firmly believed I had been assaulted. But my perception of the events was powerfully influenced by the extreme feminist hive-mind I was part of at the time. I probably would not perceive them the same way now.” And I actually think that is something approximating the truth–some of these campus sexual assault accusations are of the ‘vindictive psycho ex-girlfriend seeks revenge’ variety, but a lot of others are ‘impressionable young women under spell of extreme intersectional wokeness truly believes she has been assaulted’. Mattress-girl seems like she was the latter.

  34. I understand what you’re trying to do here, Robby. I respect the attempt.

    It’s a terrible idea all the same. There are certain types of behaviors that shouldn’t be dismissed so easily. It’s not even contrition that is required, but some type of introspection, or else you’re just facilitating the behavior.

    It’s true that libertarians must be more tolerant than average because of our status as minorities of thought, but whereas that compromise must be made (and is, indeed, practical and potentially efficacious) in the political sphere, being overly tolerant of disgusting interpersonal behavior is not similarly justifiable.

    1. Because her mattress performance was a powerful public symbol of campus ‘sexual assault’ for the left, a change of heart on her part regarding what happened would be a powerful act. I’d say there’s little harm to be done in giving her the space to get there.

      1. Everyone can associate with whoever they want, but I draw the line at sociopathic narcissists. It’s not as if they can turn a switch and become sincere and thoughtful people all of the sudden, no matter how many uppity cocktail parties they attend.

        1. But I just don’t read her as a sociopath. It would have been much easier to continue on as celebrity victim. I’d have been surprised if there wasn’t a ‘tenured radical’ position for her waiting somewhere if she’d continued down that path.

          1. But she kinda is continuing as a celebrity victim. She’s parlayed that pervious episode into passage at uppity Manhattan cocktail parties with journos where some networking is being done no doubt.

            Maybe your right. Maybe she’s really sorry she smeared that boy so mercilessly, but I don’t see evidence of it.

            1. Maybe your right. Maybe she’s really sorry she smeared that boy so mercilessly, but I don’t see evidence of it.

              Oh, I don’t see any evidence of that yet, either. She’s more at the oh-wait-these-people-really-arent-the-monsters-I-was-told-they-were stage.

  35. This chick deserves as much empathy and forbearance as the man whose life she desperately tried to ruin with her psycho bullshit. Fuck you for wasting virtual space giving her attention.

    1. Goes to show that reason staff are more interested in giving Lefties attention and media time to further their Due Process and Free Speech destroying agendas.

  36. Cosmo parties are where you meet all the cool people!

    Reminds me of the “cool” Bohemian beer hall meetings that took place in the 1920s. Nobody really confronted these lunatics in one-on-one discussions and discussed how Socialism would lead to the death of millions. I mean, its not like one of these National Socialists actually said “Germany will either become a World Power or will not continue to exist at all ”

    I guess some Cosmos need to find out for themselves what happens when you put Socialist dictators in charge of Nazi Germany.

  37. “Sulkowicz’s recent adventures in libertarian circles”

    If she went to a Reason happy hour and hangs out with Soave, she is not in “libertarian circles”.

    1. At some outward radius from the location a circle with some libertarians in it could be drawn.

  38. I know that libertarians aren’t about purity tests but we like reading tea leaves relying on the information gleaned from tea leaves even less. I’d need some sort of clear *and direct* statement (McNamara’s assertions don’t count) from Sulkowicz to the effect that she’s understands that her performance would cause people to mistrust her and/or that she’s aware of some of the damage her ‘performance’ caused.

    Otherwise, the tea leaves suggest that McNamara is massaging ‘lying shitbag’ into the word ‘trickster’.

  39. This is how you lie as a journalist. Detailed glowing uncritical characterizations of the accusations, short undefined statement of the outcome followed by more glowing detailed accounting of her being abused by the system.

    We get it, she read a book and is fun to drink with. What I don’t get is the redemption arc of a vindictive SJW who refuses to recognize her lies and the damage she inflicted on another.

  40. Does Paul Nungesser get invited to any of these parties? I’d bet the guy’s probably got some pretty libertarian ideas that he might even articulate if you guys happen to know any libertarian journalists.

  41. Looking forward to a follow-up post on Lobster Girl.

  42. is she there to become libertarian or turn Reason into another SJW rag that it almost is now. or is Nick just trying to get laid. Curious people want to know

  43. ” . . . who interviewed both Gillespie and I . . . .”

    and me!

    ~Graham R. Crank

  44. Hey, maybe you can get Christine Blasey Ford and Anita Hill too and have a “Lying Bitches” segment. Fuck that crazy bint.

  45. I think Robby should sleep with her and see what happens. Surely, she’ll be nice to the desperate libertarian guy, right?

  46. Why isn’t her mattress in the picture?

  47. The girl drastically harmed an innocent kid’s reputation to further her career. The problem with the relationship between the Reason crew and Mattress Girl isn’t that they’re crossing political lines; its that they’re forming a united front that holds public figures like them matter more than the lives of private citizens.

    1. I don’t think it was for career purposes. I think she was just so narcissistic she couldn’t accept a blow off without a total blow up. To paraphrase Greta the Grump, “you’ve destroyed my fragile ego, how dare you!”

  48. Has she apologized to that poor kid?
    If not, escort her out the door and tell her to fuck off; she deserves no civility from any thinking person.

    1. Has she apologized to that poor kid?

      You think he still goes to parties? Hits on women at those parties? Seems like he might appreciate a party where the majority of women consider Emma Sulkowicz to be a flake and don’t consider him to be a rapist/sexual predator.

      The most we can do is speculate because even Robby seems content to step on his own dick writing yet another a story about self-absorbed, sometimes destructive, non-entity that is Emma.

  49. I kept waiting for the part in the article where mattress girl owns up to her mistake at the party or at least offers her own perspective on her past allegations. It never became.

    It’s commendable that Robby and Cathy were civil with their subject of criticism. The left loses their mind whenever one of their own is chummy with Bush or Trump. But this whole article just seems morally ambivalent. If she became interested in libertarianism for serious reasons she’d have to be introspective about the ordeal she caused by lying. If she’s on some “eat pray love” journey where she tries to things that feel new or spiritual, she deserves our contempt.

  50. Sounds nice but it appears that libertarians can’t even be friends with each other so I don’t have much hope in reaching out to the rest of world.

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  52. Am I the only one who seems surprised by just how many cocktail parties Reason writers seem to spend their time attending? Don’t you have journalism to be doing? I don’t really care if people are friends with Mattress Girl and, like with all people, I hope she has a fulfilling and happy life, but when the biggest complaint about Reason writers is that they seem more interested in attending cocktail parties than libertarian journalism maybe an article about who you met at last week’s cocktail party isn’t a great look.

    1. in DC you party at night and wake at none work till 2 then start all over again

  53. Thinking about this further, Reason has gone from being a libertarian lifestyle magazine to more of a libertarian lifestyle anthology or collection of short stories. Emma carries on not caring about Nungesser, Title IX, or actual rape because she’s a millenial performance artist. Her brain can’t grok a concept like integrity any more than it can grok the 5th dimension.

    Similarly, Robby doesn’t report facts or write about stories and principles he actually believes. He’s a narrator, a fiction writer. They’re friends because Robby doesn’t actually care about Nungesser, Title IX, or false rape allegations either.

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