NYT op-ed writer says residents fearful of ‘lunatics’ on subway should seek ‘therapy’ for ‘imaginary monsters’
Posted For: Layla Godey
By Yael Halon
New York Times op-ed contributing writer Elizabeth Spier was shredded on Twitter Monday after she insisted that New York residents complaining about the crime and “half-naked lunatics” on the subway should seek therapy to address the “imaginary monsters” in their heads.
Spiers, a Democrat pollster and professor at NYU’s Graduate School of Journalism made the comment in response to a tweet by senior National Review writer Dan McLaughlin, who was weighing in on a larger Twitter debate about gun violence, the country’s mental health crisis and the purported differences between a “free” and “polite” society.
The discussion followed the recent death of Jordan Neely, a 30-year-old homeless man who was fatally choked after he was reportedly acting erratically and threatening passengers in a New York City subway car. His death has sparked protests in New York City and condemnations from elected officials.
“If a ‘polite society’ means one where people can safely ride the subway to work or take their children out in public without being accosted & menaced by half-naked lunatics, you might be surprised how many people of all backgrounds would like that,” McLaughlin tweeted.
His tweet seemingly hit a nerve for Spier, who suggested he seek mental health counseling for exaggerating the state of NYC subways, which she attributed to “imaginary monsters” in his head.
“Hi – New Yorker here. I’ve safely ridden the subway for 23 years and my child has never been menaced by a half naked lunatic, but these imaginary monsters in your head are addressable with therapy,” she wrote.
Spier’s words drew a strong reaction online, with some users questioning whether her tweet was “satire” and others dismissing her logic on the issue as “delusional.”
“I worked in Manhattan from 1996-2020,” McLaughlin wrote in a responding tweet. “While the city was safer for many of those years than it is today, if you’ve never encountered an alarming lunatic on the subway or its platforms, I question what city you’ve been traveling in.”
I worked in Manhattan from 1996-2020. While the city was safer for many of those years than it is today, if you’ve never encountered an alarming lunatic on the subway or its platforms, I question what city you’ve been traveling in. https://t.co/alv7nBtqH2
— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) May 8, 2023
“I know someone from Chicago who’s never been shot. It follows that gun violence in that city is imaginary,” Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon weighed in.