Apr 9, 2021 • 49M

How To Spot Psychobabble Fads

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Michael Tracey
Independent journalism, analysis, and interviews from Michael Tracey.
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Notwithstanding the comically intense online vitriol he often seems to provoke, Jesse Singal is a fairly laid-back guy. He also has a new book out this week, The Quick Fix, which I’ve read and can recommend. Upon its publication Singal has been greeted with a new wave of attempts to stigmatize both him and the book, primarily on the ground that he is allegedly “transphobic”—even though the book has nothing to do with Trans issues, and by no conceivable standard of reasonability could he be deemed “transphobic.” But that hasn’t stopped the LGBTQ advocacy organization “GLAAD” from placing him on their scary-sounding “Accountability List,” with the precise mechanism of “accountability” they are aiming for left suspiciously unspecified.

The book provides a helpful framework to understand how bogus, evidence-devoid pop psychology concepts get transmitted through the academia —> journalism pipeline, and how the uncritical acceptance of those concepts encourages poor reasoning and bad political outcomes. So if you notice any questionable “fads” gaining prominence today, the book will give you a methodology to process them with some critical distance—which, as Singal demonstrates, the media is often uninterested in doing.

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