My Photo


David Thompson
Subscribe
Blog powered by Typepad

« Elsewhere (83) | Main | Friday Ephemera »

January 23, 2013

Comments

AMB

"...seventh-year human rights student Arun Smith."

Seven years? Damn, son. Just how long does it take to get a fake degree?

Sam

The only comment that verged into anti-gay territory was a scrawl reading “traditional marriage is awesome.”

It's good to know that loving your wife or husband is now verging on 'anti-gay'.

David

It’s good to know that loving your wife or husband is now verging on ‘anti-gay’.

Oh, I think you’re still permitted to actually love each other, discreetly, and even to have unspoken regard for the institution. You’re just not supposed to mention it in public. Though I may be wrong. It’s hard to keep track of these things.

But for some among us, tolerance and acceptance (or indeed indifference) mean you must affirm every whim of the Designated Victim Group. Every assumption, however fatuous, every molecule of their being, must be endorsed wholeheartedly. Anything less would be a sign of your hatred, obviously. Remember Zoe Williams’ theatrical weeping over a mayonnaise advert?

And I vaguely recall gay activist groups taking umbrage at an equally innocuous Snickers ad, which dared to imply that some straight men feel uncomfortable kissing other straight men, albeit inadvertently and while eating a chocolate bar. The Mars Corporation, which immediately pulled the advert, was accused of “anti-gay prejudice” and told to “correct the intolerant message they sent to millions of Americans.” That the joke was actually at the expense of the burly men in question, not gay people, was somehow overlooked. Again, tolerance so defined means continual affirmation and any suggestion, however flippant, that not everyone is entirely comfortable indulging in same-sex affection is apparently to be expunged from public life. For fear that it will crush we delicate homosexuals, who withdraw to our fainting couches unless everyone agrees with us about everything at every waking moment.

rjmadden

it was torn down by an activist who claimed the wall was an “act of violence” against the gay community.

It's his tolerance I admire most.

Peter

Yes, he shows the same courageous tolerance as this fellow.

One of the great contemporary ironies is that there is probably less free speech at modern universities than almost any other institution or organization.

AmbushPredator

"... it was torn down by an activist who claimed the wall was an “act of violence” against the gay community."

Should said activist like to come to East London, and take a stroll round areas claimed by one of our many Muslim community outreach projects, he might learn just what an 'act of violence' really is...

David

On his twitter page Arun Smith describes himself as a “homophobia/transphobia campaign coordinator” and a “highly delinquent individual.” He also tells us, “I don’t believe in ‘free speech,’ but rather participatory speech and inclusive dialogue.” Which presumably excuses his authoritarian urges and self-righteous vandalism.

Karen M

"Shut up", he explained.

Joan

Student life has been getting very strange since I was at university.

David

Student life has been getting very strange since I was at university.

I suppose it’s always been a stage for theatrics of one kind or another, but the scenario above is comical, practically surreal. A campus in which students feel they need a free speech wall, for God’s sake, and a human rights activist who objects to said wall because… well, because. It’s the kind of narcissistic bubble that can only be sustained in the Clown Quarter of academia, where children don’t grow up. Imagine transplanting that retentive self-important fuss into everyday life. I suspect it would seem a little odd.

For instance, near where I live there’s a newly-built student village, an upmarket halls of residence. If you walk past it, or through the grounds, you’ll see the usual student guff - posters and stickers demanding “solidarity” with dubious or reprehensible groups, or demanding the imposition of communism in the name of “social justice.” Yes, these things are hackneyed and fatuous. Some might find them faintly obnoxious. But I’m not likely to prowl the campus and start ripping down posters or picking at stickers on lampposts. Because I’m not quite that petty, dogmatic or self-absorbed.

AC1

Don't worry, the current debt bubble, grade inflation and over-supply of nonsense degrees has ensured academias suicide.

I'd invest in the credential securing private sector with a set of shorter courses. Cheaper, zero bullshit, more time to earn = pulling girls who wash more often.

Wm T Sherman

"Seven years of college, down the drain."

pst314

“I don’t believe in ‘free speech,’ but rather participatory speech and inclusive dialogue.”

That sounds like rhetoric invented by Maoist thugs.

Tired

I'm sure he'll get himself a very secure life-long position in the Canadian Civil Service or Oxfam.

David

pst314,

It reminded me of the “dialogue facilitators” at Queens University, the ones hired to “encourage discussion of privilege and social justice issues” by eavesdropping on students’ private lunchtime discussions.

[ Added: ]

Incidentally, Mr Smith thinks the free speech wall constitutes a “microaggression,” which may explain his demands for official “safe spaces” on campus, along with “anti-oppressive and intersectional analyses.” No doubt that’s because the modern Canadian university is a little-known hotbed of gay-bashing and unrelenting intolerance, and not one of the most indulgent and cossetting environments in the history of the world.

mojo

"Damn! Eight years of college down the drain!"
-- Bluto Blutarsky

Nate Whilk

pst314 wrote, "That sounds like rhetoric invented by Maoist thugs."

Ve haff vays of making you participatory und inclusiff.

I read the little fascist's twitter feed after I wrote that formula attempt at humor. You know what? I'm not even smiling now.

dicentra

And I vaguely recall gay activist groups taking umbrage at an equally innocuous Snickers ad, which dared to imply that some straight men feel uncomfortable kissing other straight men,

This one I don't get: How is it homophobic for straights to demonstrate aversion to engaging in homo-eroticism themselves? If a gay man recoils from a flirty woman, what's that? Heterophobia? Or merely expected behavior? What if any man, gay or straight, recoils at the thought of kissing his sister or of taking his mom to the prom? Is that incestophobia? I should hope so!

there is probably less free speech at modern universities than almost

Oh, you can take out the caveats. In the Western world the universities easily top the list of intolerant institutions. You'd have to go to North Korea or Red China or Saudi Arabia to find worse, but only because universities can't actually jail you or have you beheaded for your transgressions.

It’s the kind of narcissistic bubble that can only be sustained in the Clown Quarter of academia

They're hothouse flowers who scorn the very mention of frost, it being a tool of oppression wielded by alpine perennials--who don't even have the decency to bloom year-round--in their quest for floral dominance through ersatz victimhood.

Or something.

David

This may amuse. In February last year Mr Smith made a video and a promise:

I am here so that I can make a difference in terms of creating inclusive, open spaces that are safe spaces where every voice is empowered and where every student’s voice is heard.

Evidently, that commitment to making sure “every student’s voice is heard” excludes anyone deemed “oppressive” or “hateful” or, quite possibly, politically uncongenial. Presumably it also excludes people who dare to write the words “traditional marriage is awesome,” thereby shattering the self-esteem of all vulnerable students within a five-mile radius.

mojo

"Don't get your panties in a bunch, sweetie."

David

dicentra,

dominance through ersatz victimhood.

According to Mr Smith, “breaking down barriers requires anti-oppressive discourse,” which is apparently “antithetical to ‘free speech’.” Expectations of free speech are, he informs us, “structurally oppressive.” And so he, being heroic, must intervene to save some unspecified (and exquisitely precious) potential victim. In this case, presumably, he’s saving them from the words “traditional marriage is awesome.”

Of course some personalities are strongly drawn to linguistic control fantasies and dogmatic pettiness generally, but it’s best not to encourage them. And when someone starts dictating the terms of a discussion in this way before it can happen – what may be said and how, and by whom (if given permission) – then it’s probably wise to assume that person’s intentions aren’t entirely honest or benign. Pretentious Marxoid rhetoric can excuse any number of nasty little urges.

Karen M

In this case, presumably, he’s saving them from the words “traditional marriage is awesome.”

Has he actually said which comment(s) got him so upset? Or am I thinking about this too much and he's just another far-left fascist creep?

David

Karen,

Has he actually said which comment(s) got him so upset?

So far as I can see, Mr Smith still hasn’t specified any actual comment that offended him sufficiently to vandalise the wall. Conceivably, the four words mentioned above – “traditional marriage is awesome” – were deemed vicious, oppressive and grounds for some self-righteous smashing. And if his ostensible grievance is that someone is merely “providing space… for the expression of hate,” then I suppose he can pre-empt any “hate” (as defined by him) that might potentially occur at some point in the future. And so the space itself becomes “an act of violence,” and a target for violent retribution, regardless of what, if anything, is actually written on it.

And if that’s the reasoning, it’s enormously convenient and rather bold.

Karen M

Option number 2, then. ;D

pst314

David "It reminded me of the 'dialogue facilitators' at Queens University..."

Ah yes. I may have learned about them thanks to you.

rabbit

Some quotes from the Carleton student newspaper The Charlatan:

"“If everyone speaks freely we end up simply reinforcing the hierarchies that are created in our society,” Smith said in explanation."

"“When you say abortion is murder you’re directly attacking someone who’s had abortions. When you say “traditional marriage is awesome” you’re directly attacking people who are in same-sex relationships,” GBLTQ Centre volunteer Riley Evans said."

"Smith disagreed, and said he believes the term “free speech” has become a cliché"

Isn't that cute? Are very own home-grown Canuck fascists, where are all speech is allowed provided it's correct speech.

rabbit

Apparently they've rebuilt the Free Speech Wall:

http://mostlyfree.blogspot.com/2013/01/carletons-free-speech-wall-20.html>Free Speech Wall 2.0

They could not have asked for better publicity, or for a better demonstration for why it's needed.

Who knows, maybe this will advance the cause of free speech on all Canadian campuses. Arun Smith, that sly devil.

observa

Err not quite Arun meboy. When Ronnie said 'tear down this wall' that wasn't exactly what he meant and Gorbachev aint exactly Russian for Smith young feller, but I can ceratainly understand your youthful enthusiasm to honour Reagan's memory.

Stay awake in class son and you'll get there a lot sooner.

Flying Tiger Comics

Side issue- do any of these parasites have normal names?

They're like 50% manga fugitive and 50% unintentionally funny cultural suicider.

David

Naturally, Mr Smith, whose minor, incidentally, is “sexuality studies,” sees himself as a martyr:

This evening, acting alone, and in an act of forceful resistance, I removed the Carleton Students for Liberty’s “free speech wall” from the Unicentre Galleria. I take full and sole responsibility for this action, I understand there will likely be consequences, and I am prepared for the imposition of those consequences, however unjust they might be.

In his lengthy, self-flattering Facebook screed Mr Smith objected to a space in which “there is potential for triggering, the invalidation or questioning of the identities of others, and/or the expression of hatred.” The mere potential for such things is apparently heinous, indeed vicious, and, it seems, a basis for narcissistic vandalism. Obviously this gives our self-appointed saviour enormous scope for “forceful resistance” against anything he doesn’t like, even if it hasn’t happened yet. And the arbiters of what constitutes “triggering,” “invalidation” and “hatred” – sorry, potential “triggering,” “invalidation” and “hatred” - are of course Mr Smith and those who think like him.

Last night, Ezra Levant interviewed this fearless and heroic champion of the potentially oppressed. If nothing else, it’s an illustration of what happens when someone internalises the ticks and contortions of identity politics and cultivated victimhood. And when a passive-aggressive outlook is a person’s default state.

Steve

"...There's no answer that's not an attempt to get me to say something that, you know, I shouldn't be saying..."

Expecting somebody to explain themselves! That Ezra Levant is a proper bully and needs to be stopped.

AC1

Mr Smith, Fighting for Individuals by trying to stop anyone having an opinion!

WTP

Stay awake in class son and you'll get there a lot sooner.

Methinks we'd all be better off if such people would get their Z's in class, given what is generally being taught there.

Homer Smurf

The only thing I want to ask that little twerp is "What have you been smoking, boy?"

dicentra

Expectations of free speech are, he informs us, "structurally oppressive."

Here's the problem with that mindset (would that there were only one): Morality is not sited in the act and intention of the individual actor but is instead located in external circumstances, i.e., an act of someone powerful = immoral and the act of a victim = moral.

More cheap grace, more evasion of responsibility for one's own conduct, more license to act on one's impulses instead of learning to rein them in.

"Narcissism" doesn't even begin to cover it.

Gulermo

"Mr Smith, Fighting for Individuals by trying to stop anyone having an opinion!"

Umm.. that would be a differing opinion.

Ak4mc

"Questioning a person’s 'identity' is impermissible too."

If the person's "identity" is so flimsily constructed that even questioning it qualifies as an "act of violence," maybe that "identity" is what's "illuory."

Gulermo

And the touring words; hnorrigr affection

Rigorous honor affection, why yes, yes I do.

Gulermo

"Expectations of free speech are, he informs us, "structurally oppressive.""

Self-awareness is not in his lexicon.

Gulermo

"That the joke was actually at the expense of the burly men in question, not gay people, was somehow overlooked"

Not overlooked, UTR, (under the radar).

I am Napoleon

Questioning a person’s “identity” is impermissible too.

Fantastique!

cranky-d

He's certainly a good little fascist, isn't he? That and the lack of self-awareness make him a perfect drone in the progressive army.

rabbit

I look forward to him getting a PhD, a professorship, and finally tenure one day, all heavily subsidized by those he claims to despise. And lots of appearances on the CBC (also heavily subsidized) as an expert on social justice.

I would call him a leach, but leaches have uses.

Bart

A man whose spent seven years studying for a phony degree, vanquishing a plank of wood wrapped in paper that he felt oppressed by, who subsequently feels so giddy with triumph at his achievement that he struts about the internet loudly proclaiming himself a hero and a martyr.

Does anyone run an annual Most Pathetic Person contest? Because they need to be told we have an early frontrunner here.

Puzzle

The wall deserved to be torn down, not for the remarks on gays or marriage, but for the hate speech and incitement to violence against the unborn, which you can see on Ezra's video.

Anna

Seven years (and counting) doing a joke degree. I think he's got institutional syndrome.

David

I think he’s got institutional syndrome.

Well, he’s cultivated the usual vanities and pathological unrealism, and he’s learned to smile while attempting to rationalise his authoritarian urges. So those seven years haven’t been entirely wasted. As dicentra pointed out, it seems that Mr Smith bases his moral displays on which group a person can be said to belong to (if you squint and tilt your head), rather than on what a person actually does, or wishes to do, to others. And so Mr Smith tells us that, “Contrary to popular belief, feelings and emotions are entirely valid and matter.” (Unlike free speech, reciprocity and personal property, feelings must be inviolate.) Though some people’s feelings evidently trump others, to the extent that the feelings of Designated Victims – designated by Mr Smith – are to be spared even from potential questioning, while others – thee and me, I guess – will have to learn our place, humbled and silent, in the New Hierarchy.

You can see the appeal to a certain kind of sadist.

That and the lack of self-awareness make him a perfect drone in the progressive army.

That’s what’s funny, or almost funny. Mr Smith most likely imagines himself as daring and radical, shaking our preconceptions with his pretentious vandalism. It seems to me he’s all too ready to conform, and simply following a pattern of petty, dogmatic idiocy that we’ve seen many times before. Note how these acts of vandalism are often encouraged by, or conducted by, uptight leftist faculty. They’re so very keen to show us what they will not tolerate. In that respect, Mr Smith is the ideal, self-satisfied product of a modern leftist education.

Dr Cromarty

Most Pathetic Person contest

Not sure, but he easily makes my Petty Authoritarian Twat Of The Year shortlist

rabbit

So what to do ?

Rebuild the wall. And if it gets torn down again, rebuild it once more.

And so it goes, the yin and yang of freedom and fascism.

Bart

"Not sure, but he easily makes my Petty Authoritarian Twat Of The Year shortlist"

Qualifying for the former usually compels people to behave in a manner that'll qualify them for the latter. Crusades against paper tiger foes (or just literal paper in this case) are the easiest way to induce enough sanctimonious self importance to ease the pain of realising that you kinda suck.

RickC

In the mid-ninties while my wife and I were attending college in Montana, the student newspaper published a special edition that included a two page spread on their local Man of the Year as decided by the editorial board. I read over the piece and decided it was meant to be ironic or satirical. To my surprise, when I inquired about it at their offices I was told no, it was a serious piece and the award was real. So the joke was on me and these kid's parents.

Their man of the year was in his late thirties, lived in his mother's basement, was unemployed, sponged off both her and his grandmother for all his necessities, but did occasionally raise a little spending money by selling one of his collectable comic books. He was however a gadfly at city council meetings, always making his opinions heard during proceedings on whatever nonsense he was worked up about. So political activity, however stupid or pointless, was enough for these young intellects to believe him deserving of accolades.

I would have asked if the guy was maybe mentally impaired and thus chosen out of PC motivations, but there was no mention of that in the article. Frankly, I was too flabbergasted to even speak at that moment so I just walked away.

Just another sign post on the road to Crazyland.

rjmadden

To permit just one area for free speech, even one the size of an average desk, is, we learn, “offensive, ill-considered and dangerous,” especially “during our Pride Week, where our communities are supposed to be able to seek liberation and celebrate our diversity.”

He's right in a way. If he allows people to argue back he's screwed.

David

He’s right in a way. If he allows people to argue back he’s screwed.

A free and honest exchange would, in time, expose his conceits and evasions. For instance, the grandiose pretensions of victimhood in such a cossetting environment, and the pretensions of having “no institutional support” despite all evidence to the contrary, including no fewer than 14 specialist on-campus “diversity,” “equity” and “support” offices, a GLBT centre, and of course a Director of Student Affairs who felt obliged to ponder whether the words “traditional marriage is awesome” constitute “hate speech” and a basis for punishment. (A campus that “challenges heterosexism” and provides endless gender-and-identity workshops and “safe spaces,” gender-neutral washrooms, and a – note the spelling – “womyn’s centre,” where students are invited to whine about their “body image” and being too fat or too thin, or too pretty or not pretty enough. And where “those who identify as womyn” hold “exciting events such as The Colourful Vagina, showcasing their talent, creativity, and culture.”)

A free and honest exchange might also expose the assumption that feigned victimhood should grant unilateral privileges, including a right to silence others and prevent them even from potentially questioning one’s alleged victimhood. Or the assertion that almost any disagreement amounts to “hate” and that those who disagree are by definition “hateful” and “oppressive” and should therefore be punished with acts of “forceful resistance.” And of course the conceit that all of this can be determined – can only be determined - by the likes of Mr Smith.

Yes, pulling on those threads wouldn’t do any favours to Mr Smith’s ego.

Henry

More Canadian weirdness that I feel is worth sharing.

A woman hires a hitman to kill her ex-husband. She then claims dubiously (read the article) that he was an 'abusive control freak, who punches holes in walls, once put a gun to her head, and who exercised a “reign of terror” over the household'.

The ex-husband is not called to testify at the trial, so is not able to refute these allegations - as he does, robustly, elsewhere. The lady in question is acquitted. The Nova Scotia Appeal Court and the Supreme Court of Canada overturned the acquittal, as I understand it, but she won't face a retrial because “The abuse she suffered and the protracted nature of these proceeding(s) have taken an enormous toll on her” (note that “the abuse she suffered" is according to her own testimony, accepted by the judges without question)

"When a witness demonstrably intent on murder is given full latitude to make her case, possibly cut from whole cloth, while the intended victim, painted as a villain, is denied his right to face his accuser, what are we to think?"

Puzzle

Henry, it reminds me of the superinjunction cases in the UK where, by claiming they are being blackmailed, many celebrities get to silence, for example, the husbands of the women they have been fucking. Like the case you mention, the judges accept without question the charges of blackmail, granting the superinjunctions on that basis when they should actually be putting the purported blackmailler on trial.

Squires

What say the Arun Smiths of this?

http://www.fahrenheit211.net/2013/01/22/islamic-hatred-of-gays-it-is-out-in-the-open-now-will-there-be-silence-from-the-left-as-usual/

Nothing? Nothing? Anyone? Anyone?

Petty tyrants of a feather, and all that, I suppose.

Ryan

After wading through so much mental faeces, your host could use a drink.

Check your tip jar, David. Thanks for wading through the faeces so we don't have to.

David

Ryan,

Thanks for wading through the faeces so we don’t have to.

It’s a pleasure. Well, maybe not a pleasure exactly. And thanks to all who’ve made donations to fund my, um, wading. These boots could do with hosing and hosing good.

Oh, but the drama goes on. Mr Smith now takes exception to the observation, aired here and elsewhere, that he’s a product of his academic environment, a testament to its dysfunction. Faced with some unflattering and rather obvious truths, Mr Smith dismisses his critics as “anti-intellectual” and “lacking in analysis.” This from a man who delights in vandalism and who responds to disagreement, or potential disagreement, by smashing someone else’s property and then boasting about it afterwards.

Behold the new intellectual - dogmatic, narcissistic and impervious to correction, but so much cleverer than us. Because he tells us so.

Miguel

Leftism is a mental disorder.

Chris

I look forward to his autobiography, "Dreams From My Jodhpurs"

Mags

and a – note the spelling – “womyn’s centre,” where students are invited to whine about their “body image” and being too fat or too thin, or too pretty or not pretty enough. And where “those who identify as womyn” hold “exciting events such as The Colourful Vagina, showcasing their talent, creativity, and culture.”

Narcissism 101. Self-awareness not required.

David

Self-awareness not required.

I should think that self-awareness would be sniffed out in no time and actively discouraged.

[ Added: ]

I’ve just received a snotty and self-satisfied email from someone who’s taken exception to this post, for reasons they don’t share, telling me to “take a look at my unexamined privilege.” The details of my alleged “privilege” aren’t specified of course, but I guess the hope is that the accusation alone will make me stop noticing Mr Smith’s conceits and idiocies. It’s remarkable how the denouncers of “privilege” will make sweeping assumptions about a person they don’t know for reasons they can’t specify, apparently based on dogmatic misapprehensions and Marxoid bigotry, and then congratulate themselves for having done so.

Henry

'The details of my alleged “privilege” aren’t specified of course'

If they were specified the sender might be in danger of having a thesis that could be argued with clearly along rational lines.

"Privilege" is, as you say part of the language these people use - an argot, lamely pretending to sound intellectually superior. Ironically it is employed by people too fervently political - and probably, I'm afraid, too stupid - to concern themselves with logical rigor.

Matt

"The details of my alleged “privilege” aren’t specified of course, but I guess the hope is that the accusation alone will make me stop noticing Mr Smith’s conceits and idiocies."

I'm sure the fact you don't already know the details of your "privilege" is construed by the sender as proof that you're hopelessly blinded by it, and thus should shut up until such time as you accept the argument against free speech. Lovely Catch-22 there.

David

I'm sure the fact you don’t already know the details of your ‘privilege’ is construed by the sender as proof that you’re hopelessly blinded by it, and thus should shut up until such time as you accept the argument against free speech.

That was indeed the gist of it.

Some people just want to let us know that, being egalitarian, they’re above certain things and very much above certain people, i.e., people who disagree and choose not to pretend. (See the tweets of Mr Smith for dozens of examples.) Of course the term “privilege” is tendentious, often question-begging, and the tone with which it’s typically used implies that one is not only dense but has some kind of egregious and unfair advantage, as determined unilaterally by the accuser, and for which one should atone and feel guilty. And so the accuser becomes the gatekeeper of virtue and Corrected Thinking.

As a phenomenon, “privilege-checking” (or Privilege Top Trumps) isn’t really about fairness at all; it’s a social positioning exercise. A kind of passive-aggressive browbeating. It’s about tricking people into deference and signalling that one is aware of some incredibly rarefied and unverifiable form of oppression that other people – lesser people – can’t see. Evidence and specifics don’t matter, and nor does logic. Claims of theoretical, potential harm will do, however improbable and absurd – say, that the words “traditional marriage is awesome” might reduce a faint-hearted soul to tears, depression and thoughts of self-harm. Such is Mr Smith’s ongoing psychodrama.

The comments to this entry are closed.

For Amazon US use this link .

Your filthy consumerism supports this blog.

Blogroll