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David Thompson
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July 08, 2013

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Anna

I fight constantly for my looks not to matter

Says the woman who changes her profile picture every other week.

David

Anna,

Says the woman who changes her profile picture every other week.

Yes, it’s a head-scratcher. But in Laurie’s mind, your attempts to look pleasing merely signal your “submission” to capitalism and a “slavish adherence” to patriarchal control. While Laurie’s own fastidious grooming, co-ordinated nails and hair colouring, piercings, tattoos, jaunty hat collection, etc., signal her liberation from such things. They just look awfully similar to the unenlightened eye. And despite railing passionately (if incoherently) against how some ladies choose to adorn their bodies - on grounds that pubic glitter betrays all womanhood - she also insists that not judging other women’s genital decoration is a radical feminist statement.

All things are possible in Laurie’s mind.

Anna

All things are possible in Laurie's mind.

Except consistency.

David

Except consistency.

I doubt she even thinks in terms of being consistent. Imagine how limiting that would be for an up-and-coming radical. Instead, her “principles” are oddly non-reciprocal, which suggests they’re generated largely for effect, or wheeled out expediently whenever an excuse is needed.

rjmadden

#10:

working class people that make it and then turn into tories, fucking hate them (also Adele)

How does she know that working class who 'make it' weren't tories before?

rjmadden

working class people

David

How does she know that working class people who ‘make it’ weren’t tories before?

Well, the Guardian can’t exactly boast a massive proletarian readership, and you’d think that cultivating bourgeois values and habits, so often denounced by the Guardian, might play a role in how successful a person is. But still, Ms Holding’s message is clear. Stay on the plantation, prole, where the left will love you forever. Provided you always agree with your Guardian-reading betters.

David

Incidentally, Laurie’s posturing about competitive sport has rather backfired. As Dan Hannan quipped, “Odd when those keen on community solidarity are uncomfortable with its most common expression.” Laurie has subsequently announced that she’s being “attacked” “viciously” with a “barrage of hate” for her views on tennis. “Hate” now being defined as disagreement and mild mockery. Oh, and she’s blocking people again. For saying “me, me, me.”

A fearless role model for all women.

TDK

Amused by the fact that Penny's radical friends are now quitting smoking.

This was a battle also being fought during my era of socialist conformity. I'm sorry to see it remains de-rigour for ersatz rebels to start smoking (no rulez teecher!) but glad to see they are quitting for the right reasons rather than just because it's unhealthy. Awareness raising rulez.

Steve

Is LP 'blacked up' in No. 7?

Is that allowed now?

Will there be an Al Jolson revival amongst trendy lefties?

sk60

Incidentally, Laurie's posturing about competitive sport has rather backfired.

https://twitter.com/PennyRed/status/354180114331873280

Mustn't laugh.

David

Mustn’t laugh.

No, that would be proof of your “vicious” “hate.”

I scarcely need to point out that Laurie isn’t keen on the Boat Race either. It’s insufficiently socialist. And an appreciation of sporting accomplishment must always be policed through a lens of leftwing politics. Those are the rules, apparently.

[ Added: ]

As so often, Laurie’s problem is that she doesn’t understand what she feels she ought to criticise in order to signal her leftist credentials. Everything has to be viewed through a filter of leftist presumption, resulting in distortion and inadvertent comedy. It’s quite dogmatic, almost OCD. And so, according to Laurie, any patriotic sentiment is suspect at best, most likely a sign of fascism. Likewise, football is nothing more than “organised sadism” and “corporate-sponsored quasi-xenophobia” that “violently excludes more than half the people.” Why? It just is. It doesn’t seem to occur to her that other, less fiendish motives might be in play quite a lot of the time.

Tom Foster

"Incidentally, Laurie’s posturing about competitive sport has rather backfired."

It's all so unfair, whines Laurie:

'I never even said people were wrong to enjoy tennis. Lots of excellent souls clearly do. I just mentioned that I didn't. Cue barrage of hate.'

But an earlier tweet was a little more, shall we say, 'judgmental':

'I made a promise to my teenage self never to become the sort of person who likes competitive sports, and I'm keeping that promise.'

I wonder if she'll ever elaborate on what she meant by 'the sort of person who likes competitive sports'? She couldn't be thinking of that great mass of stupid proles she otherwise claims to represent, could she?

David

I wonder if she’ll ever elaborate on what she meant by ‘the sort of person who likes competitive sports’?

I denounce your vicious hatred. You monster.

rabbit

These people have created their own little world untethered from reality. And it is the very thing they loath -- capitalism -- which affords them the luxury to do so.

But they seem such small-minded, hateful, bitter people. Where is the humour? Where is the joy?

T.K. Tortch

Where is the humour? Where is the joy?

Once you've flattened your personality into two dimensions - power and ideology - there's not much room for much humanity.

Sam Duncan

God, but Laurie's a barrel of laughs, isn't she? Is Viz comic still running Mille Tant? Because they've got an endless stream of storylines right there.

And I might have guessed she'd be a Mac user. Dumping it after only two years, too. That's the trouble with defining your identity against an ideology: you can't think of everything. She might look all “radical” to her ignorant chums, but to those of us who have to get by with five-year-old netbooks held together with duck tape, that Macbook marks her out as a spoiled rich kid just as clearly as a BMW, Rolex, or designer clothing.

Sam

I have not watched a single tennis match this year, because I wildly dislike twee patriotism, competitive sports and summer

Wow. She's like totally non-conformist.

David

Wow. She’s like totally non-conformist.

Yes, in fact Laurie is so non-conformist she has to keep letting us know just how non-conformist she is. It’s what non-conformist people do, you see.

dicentra

Penny's pathology points to some kind of awful traumatic upbringing, either sexual abuse or commie-pinko parents (or is it pinko-commie?).

Which, if she's managed to cook up a genuine case of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, there's cause for a modicum of pity for the damage done to a mere child.

But only a modicum. NPDs grow up to be such relentless @holes that they quickly exhaust what goodwill the rest of us might extend.

Once you've flattened your personality into two dimensions - power and ideology - there's not much room for much humanity.

I am reliably informed that "ideology" means "a rationalization cooked up by capitalist running-dogs to cover their rapacious ways." Which makes the Left ideology-free.

I informed my reliable informer that such a definition properly belongs to the term "sophistry," whereas "ideology" is a generic term for "world-view."

No wonder Jonah Goldberg has fits and seizures when conversing with the Left: their lexicon has been rotated 127° off-kilter, inverted, and stuffed through a wormhole.

JeremiadBullfrog

David: "you’d think that cultivating bourgeois values and habits, so often denounced by the Guardian, might play a role in how successful a person is."

Modern Ed.Psych. research is finally wrapping its head around the notion that "traditional" virtues like self-control, conscientiousness, deferment of gratification, etc. are actually highly correlated to future success and happiness. But the academics don't like it. I'm reading a book on it that makes all the usual Liberal noises, and it quotes a researcher as saying: "It would actually be nice if there were some negative things that went along with conscientiousness." Um...why? Clearly, so that the high-minded can condescendingly fret over the sad, pathetic lifestyle of those "constrained", "compulsive" control-freaks who must, MUST be secretly tortured by the self-control and deferred gratification that undergird their worldly success. How else to explain the consistent psychological projection and glaring rhetorical conflation of reasonable "self-control" with abject self-denial?

T.K. Tortch

I am reliably informed that "ideology" means "a rationalization cooked up by capitalist running-dogs to cover their rapacious ways." Which makes the Left ideology-free.

Or, insist that everything about everyone is already ideological - The Personal Is Political!! - and that their ideology is Just and True.

Power is always its own justification; some Ideologies can't tolerate that others might not have one.

Watcher

She hasn't watched tennis this year, and I haven't listened to idiot lefties blathering away about things they know nothing about. So we are even, then.

David

But only a modicum.

Oh, I don’t know, dicentra. You have to see it from Laurie’s perspective. What’s the point of being non-conformist unless you can win social approval by ostentatiously declaring your non-conformism? You can see the bind she’s in.

David

*[ The TypePad spam filter is performing as usual, i.e., with alarming zeal. If anyone has trouble posting comments, email me and I’ll shake them loose. ]*

Richard Powell

If you want your personal political, this is the place to go: http://startmeoff.wordpress.com

If you scroll down to the third item - "Is a minority of one a lunatic?" - you will find the author regretting her lack of sophistication in never having suffered from depression. (At least I think that is what she's saying. If so, it is a significant new Agony.) She tells us that her friends are just "interesting and pleasant people who would like a more just society, and, to varying degrees, the complete destruction of existing structures with their inherently oppressive dynamics."

Not too much to ask, really, is it?

Watcher

"Seriously considering trying to write some kind of guide to doing direct action with kids in tow"

There, that's what I love about the left in one simple tweet. 1) She's not just considering but 'seriously considering' in case you think, er, she's not serious. 2) 'Write some kind of guide' because you won't be able to think of anything for yourself unless you are told. 3) 'Kids in tow' because you shouldn't just look after them and care for them, you have to drag them round like prizes or use them as props at protests, though frankly they are a nuisance, right, and anyway who wants to stay at home when all your friends are out enjoying themselves?

Chris S.

I have always wondered at what impetus behind some of the odd purges of the Cultural Revolution. Weird things like dumping all violins and only allowing brass and accordions; but there you have it in larval form. "Tennis is to patriotic" "Boat racing insufficiently socialist". She would certainly be excited to run the "working group" overseeing cultural pastimes and expressions, and gleefully sending folks who like tennis or football to the camps.

David

because you have to use [children] as props at protests,

In some circles it’s becoming quite fashionable to use children as tools for “direct action.” As when a woman used her toddlers to block a fire escape and trap the building’s occupants. Note the subsequent, quite vehement displacement of responsibility. If that’s not sufficiently unhinged, consider this great parenting demonstration. In the name of “social justice,” an Occupier named Lotus – one of these clowns - wanted to disrupt lawful business at a major port. She therefore placed her 4-year-old daughter on heavily used train tracks. As you do. Now imagine for a moment that the worst had happened in either of those scenarios. Who do we think these idiots would be screaming at? This isn’t politics; it’s psychodrama.

Reed

Surely if you were a 'socially conscious' activist intent on bringing down the evil multinational corporations, the most responsible place to start would be 'big tobacco'. That many of them appear to be smokers is quite instructive. It's so much more difficult to abstain from something that you enjoy in order to obtain moral purity, so it's probably best(ie convenient) not to include your habits amongst the bad things that ought to be boycotted. Go for McDonald's and Starbucks instead, much easier to avoid.

Is there such a thing as 'ethical tobacco'?

Flying Tiger Comics

Note to leftist clowns: if you're really against a system, stop hypocritically grabbing handouts from it for your godawful "art".

Cultural marxism really is the lowest kind of unflushed turd in the toilet of the marketplace of ideas.

Doug and/or Dinsdale Piranha
I have not watched a single tennis match this year, because I wildly dislike twee patriotism, competitive sports and summer

I have never been proud of my country until now.

Spiny Norman

Bravo, Doug!

And, this: Angus Podgorny, that Andy Murray has done us proud!

RebeccaH

I have a schizophrenic younger brother with whom I cannot communicate (not least because he has, in the past, threatened violence against me and my family), and these people sound exactly like him. Their world view is totally skewed toward the paranoid and angry. The world (society, religion, people, what have you) as it actually exists is their enemy and must be resisted and destroyed if possible. I don't know whether to pity them or, more current, resent them because present-day attitudes give them the freedom to indulge, extensively and disruptively, in their delusions out of some misguided sense of "compassion". If my brother were in an enforced institutional setting, I wouldn't have to worry about him being murdered on the street (where he lives), because despite all, he is my younger brother, and while I can't manage him on my own, I still love him.

TimT

Hey, I sympathise with Penny about summer. My least favourite season too. But honestly, you Brits have it easy when it comes to summer, when a few 30 degree days in a row is counted as a heatwave (come and bask in our balmy 45 degree heatwaves sometime). I admit your winters are far worse than ours though.

dicentra

I have a schizophrenic younger brother with whom I cannot communicate…, and these people sound exactly like him. Their world view is totally skewed toward the paranoid and angry.

Your brother has a physiological brain disorder over which he has no control.

What the hell is their excuse?

Ken in TN

Gee, a bitter sort, no?

Jason

I would truly love to have the ability to collect up all the Laurie Penny's of the world and deposit them on an alternate Earth. Temperate climate, natural foodstuffs available (if they can find them, or kill them), and no oppressive patriarchal, capitalist System to get between them and their now-intimate connection to Holy Mother Gaia.

I suspect they'd all be dead within a month...

KFell

"You will find the author regretting her lack of sophistication in never having suffered from depression."

I have just had to physically restrain myself from posting an extremely rude comment on that silly, smug woman's blog post, a rare event for me. Oh yes, depression and mental illness are so romantic and evidence of such deep and profound insight into the universe, obviously. May she develop strangulated piles...

Rob Crawford

I haven't watched a single tennis match this summer, either. In fact, I don't think I've watched one since high school. I just don't like tennis.

Cloudbuster

Laurie Penny writes books: http://www.penny-red.com/tagged/books

Clearly, if you see any of her books for sale, you should steal them. Because she hates her some capitalism.

D

I'm intrigued by Penny's objection to "twee patriotism". Does she mean that she would be in favor of more serious, earnest, full-throated patriotism? I assume she would be violently opposed to that, rather than just whining about it. So why imply that the patriotism is too weak, when she's actually upset that any of it is there?

Tom Armstrong

I'm reminded of a truly great quote from Trudy The Bag Lady,

"I can take reality in small doses, but as a lifestyle, I find it too confining."

from 'The Search For Signs of Intelligent Life In The Universe', starring Lily Tomlin as Trudy

Kurt Rosell

And here we stupid Yanks were pleased that Andy won just because we like our Scot friends and can commiserate when a losing streak has gone on too long. It is, nonetheless, good to know that you poor folks have the same sort of imbeciles that we are forced to deal with every day of our lives, as apparently they represent 51% of our electorate. Misery loves company.

joe

I'm hearin a lot of mockery here, but it all seems to overlook the fact that Penny's radical friends are starting to give up smoking! Unfreaking real! I mean seriously, try and wrap your conciousness around such a bold and transgressive anti-capitalist act. Oh sure, the rest of us sheep that make up the 99.5% of the population that continues to smoke can make fun, but this is actually a move that should make us sit back and think. Giving up smoking....whoa, heavy.

Rich Rostrom

rjmadden @ July 08, 2013 at 13:10:How does she know that working class people who 'make it' weren't tories before?

She doesn't. There have always been lots of working-class Conservatives. At the 1872 Conservative party banquet in the Crystal Palace, Henry Cecil Raikes MP famously remarked:

"A few years ago, it was said that if a Conservative workingman could be found he ought to be put in a glass case. We have found for him the largest glass case in England to-night!"

Such "false consciousness" is even more common in the U.S., which truly annoys the Left.

dicentra

INSTALANCHE!

Peej

One of the ironies of this post industrial age is that the "working class" doesn't.

bobby b

"Is there such a thing as 'ethical tobacco'?"

Non-state-subsidized tobacco.

Q30

David, I have a question that I'd like to get your opinion on.

One of the tweets posits that 'patriarchy' and 'capitalism' are intimately connected. I take that to mean that the two bolster or mutually reinforce each other. Or something like that.

Secondly, it also seems to me that people on the left also accuse capitalism of destroying the fabric of society.

Thirdly, society is said to be patriarchal.

So if you take all three of these statements together, they basically say that capitalism and a patriarchal society reinforce each other, except that capitalism destroys the fabric of a patriarchal society.

So which is it? Does capitalism undermine patriarchy? Does it reinforce patriarchy? It's all very confusing.

dcardno

Q30 - and THAT'S the sheer genius of capitalism. Or, maybe Patriarchy. Anyway - we've got Laurie coming and going.

JuliaM

George Monbiot climbs up on the cross:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/08/philistinism-nature-scientific-ignorance-money

"That, I suppose, is the price of confronting the power of money."

Joseph Shmeau

She lives in England but she hates summer? Gotta agree with Tim T here -- you can understandably hate summer if you live in Las Vegas or Miami, but in England?

David

Q30,

It’s all very confusing.

I fear you’ve given it more thought than Laurie did. But the gist, I think, is that she and her peers are against something or other, something you won’t understand, and are therefore terribly radical. And special. And heroic. They’re shapers of minds. And totally non-conformist. They must be, really. They tell us so often enough.


dicentra,

INSTALANCHE!

Blimey. Someone help me move the sofa. And put out the good towels.

carbon based lifeform

She therefore placed her 4-year-old daughter on heavily used train tracks.

Not putting your children on train tracks is just bourgeois conformism.

David

Not putting your children on train tracks is just bourgeois conformism.

And then of course there are those who fret about not being able to commit crimes – sorry, take part in “direct action” – because they have children. Or pets. Or jobs. Whatever, it’s all terribly unfair. If only the police would stop arresting people who obstruct public highways and smash shop windows.

Ed

Such "false consciousness" is even more common in the U.S., which truly annoys the Left.

Indeed, they have constructed their own cottage industry to study this phenomenon in such works as Thomas Frank's What's The Matter With Kansas.

Rafi

I scarcely need to point out that Laurie isn’t keen on the Boat Race either. It’s insufficiently socialist. And an appreciation of sporting accomplishment must always be policed through a lens of leftwing politics. Those are the rules, apparently.

Feeling superior to other people is the only sport allowed for lefties like LP.

witwoud

I suspect Laurie Penny hates the summer because most other people like it, and because it is associated with leisure and well-being and other bourgeois things. Ultimately, it is other people's happiness that she can't stand.

David

Ultimately, it is other people’s happiness that she can’t stand.

Well, there’s an urge to “problematise” the mundane and thereby signal one’s own intellectual and moral superiority. It’s what egalitarians do. One thing this series has illustrated is the tendency towards pretentious contrarianism. It can get quite competitive, even surreal, and there’s a distinct whiff of arrested adolescence. And as we’ve seen, quite vividly, a great deal of leftist display is rooted in a rejection of adulthood.

Peter B

I blame Thatcher. And Blair. Kids brought up on neoliberal individualism and myths of meritocracy. And erosion of vocabulary of injustice

Jesus wept. 13 years of NuLabour and decades of lefty state education and the voters *still* don't want communism. Agony!

David

and the voters *still* don’t want communism. Agony!

We, the general public, must be befuddled by some dastardly rightwing mind control – “false consciousness” or capitalist “Psy Ops”. Clearly, what’s needed is a more pervasive and forceful system of correction. Because obviously there’s something wrong with us. And the people who say such things, from Gramsci and Marcuse to the great thinker Roseanne Barr – don’t seem willing to consider a more obvious possibility. That the product they’re peddling has something terribly wrong with it.

As indicated by the kinds of personalities who find socialism so titillating.

Slartibartfast
I just don't like tennis.

But did you promise your teenaged self you wouldn't ever like tennis? Because that would make your dislike much more noble-sounding.

I was nonconformist once, back in the '80s. It just got old after a few hoursmonthsyears.

Ken Watson

Who knew stupid took so much thought?

Cass

In sport you can only dominate your opponents, sometimes and only briefly. Leftism offers the promise of dominating everyone.

*applause*

Stuck-Record

I love the direct juvenile narcissism of promising her teenage self. Hysterical.

The only thing I would like to promise my teenage self is a good slap and instruction: pull yourself together.

David

Cass,

Well, it’s been suggested before, here and elsewhere, that radical leftism is what often happens when people who want to dominate others are really crap at sports. Urges will tend to find an outlet, and Marxism and its variants offer enormous scope for such behaviour. It’s an ideology of coercion; a political fig leaf for vindictive feeling.

A couple of years ago, thirty or so local students gathered down the road to wave their communist paraphernalia, including hammer-and-sickle-banners. They looked absurd. They seemed obvious to, or indifferent to, the mismatch between their image of themselves as virtuous and heroic and the actual connotations of their symbols and deadening ideology. At the time, I couldn’t help thinking they might at least have had the courtesy to be more honest. Declaring a taste for communism – declaring oneself a Marxist - is rather like saying, “If I had my way, a monstrous state apparatus would control you and ruin the lives of everyone you care about.” And given the boneyard legacy of Marxoid dogma, the people who want such things don’t seem to appreciate that one has shown some restraint in not slapping them insensible.

Undine

You know we've reached a sad time when it's impossible anymore to even parody the moronic gibberish that emanates from these people.

forrester

Thanks for making me throw up! The above spoiled 'children' highlighted above have obviously never faced the hardships and rewards of reality, and as a result of being coddled and left with no responsibilities for themselves, they've had to invent their own pseudo hardship and drama out of sheer boredom, it's a misguided search for relevancy by the irrelevant. This is why utopias fail, those who don't produce but live off the largess of others simply become starved for attention as they are deserving of none themselves, and once you have a majority of the population as dependent fools like these, there goes your civilization.

Up the mercury

Laurie dislikes summer maybe because in the warm weather you get a lot of the lower orders out on the street in ill-fitting or far too revealing cheap clothes (or even showing off nasty tattoos with sex as a theme) and as any good socialist knows, the riff-raff should all be indoors being quiet.

Lee Reynolds

The more I encounter people like this, the more they seem like they can't possibly exist in the real world. I know they do of course, it's just that they're so out of touch with reality, and in such a perverse and destructive way, that their very existence seems contrived somehow.

Bryan

Looks matter. It's an immutable fact. I reckon you can put too much truck into looks but that's a separate issue.

David

their very existence seems contrived somehow.

Having compiled eight of these things, what strikes me is the utter lack of stoicism. For all the radical bluster, their worldview seems… disabling.

[ Added: ]

In other, entirely unrelated news… Maleness is also upsetting to many of Laurie’s friends.

Ah, the frontier spirit.

Joan

Ah, the frontier spirit.

Makes you wonder who's going to build their socialist utopia. I can't see this bunch of neurotic posers building anything.

David

I can’t see this bunch of neurotic posers building anything.

I think we can safely assume this chap isn’t the rugged, reliable frontier type. He’s more the fretting-about-whether-his-straightness-is-oppressing-people-on-Twitter type. Which is a new and thrilling type of maleness, one previously unknown to me.

Joan

I... I...

*pours drink*

mojo

Good idea, Joan.

"Keep working, keep drinking - and take your television's advice."
-- Firesign Theatre

Lee Reynolds

I can't see this bunch of neurotic posers building anything.

Except gulags.

pst314

"I wildly dislike twee patriotism"

And yet she gets moist whenever she sees a hammer-and-sickle waving in the breeze.

Spiny Norman

Our friend Penny:

Masculinity + maleness are things that upset and bother many of the men I know...

Ah, sweety, you don't know any men, just boys.

Fay

Masculinity + maleness are things that upset and bother many of the men I know...

Yes, they "bother" this female too, but not in the way Laurie means. But more in a Rodgers and Hart way, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered:

I'll sing to him, each spring to him
And worship the trousers that cling to him
Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered am I

David Gillies

I also loathe tennis, but it would never occur to me to think of my dislike as a revolutionary act. Penny Dreadful's solipsistic notion that every jejune thought that bounces around inside her empty skull is evidence of a DEEP THINKER is quite, quite repulsive. Her self-absorption has reached such a density that, like a black hole, no illumination can escape it. Her forays into Twitterdom have much the same intellectual heft as someone Instagramming their bowel movements.

Spiny Norman

Don't give her any ideas.

David

David Gillies,

I also loathe tennis, but it would never occur to me to think of my dislike as a revolutionary act.

It’s why leftism, as practiced by Laurie and co, is so exhausting. Among less neurotic people, it’s very hard to care whether someone is interested in tennis or not. Just like it or don’t, whatever. The world keeps turning either way. But leftism requires continual display; it’s a non-stop performance. You must always be letting people know how left (and therefore righteous) you are. And so a disinterest in tennis has to be given some significance, something that elevates mere disinterest into political insight and personal status. You have to fret about patriotism, competitiveness and “privilege,” or pretend to anyway. Not liking tennis (or boat races, or football, or whatever) has to signal that you’re above such things.

And so, ironically, not liking competitive sports has to be signalled in a rather competitive way. Credentials must be shown. And then, just to complicate matters, Laurie misjudges the crowd and has to backpedal on her signalling, disavowing the things she so carefully implied moments earlier - due to her readers’ “vicious” “barrage of hate,” i.e., disagreement and a little mocking. For someone who continually tells us how daring and radical she is, Laurie seems awfully concerned with what her peers think.

Sixty six

Met a left-leaner at the weekend. Nice girl, Jewish, protests at everything (though never finds time to raise her voice against socialist wastefulness and hypocrisy, but so it goes) though she seemed troubled that some of the people she associates with might not like the Jews. Israel and its reportedly terrible ways might be the cause, but I think she was slightly unnerved by the idea that her leftie mates aren't actually nice people who find it a tad easy to dislike others for the flimsiest of reasons.

I think the girl in question is beginning to question her allegiance to groups and causes that actively resent other people. It's one thing to say you want everyone to be equal and free and then quite another to do liberating things like abuse the helpless and threaten those who don't immediately share your liberating world view. It's only a question of time before your progressive friends look round for a new hate target and cast their baleful glare your way next...

Snidely Whiplash

My God, these people are funny. Time is heavy on their hands, yes?

David

Speaking of disdain for popular sports, I was reminded of Terry Eagleton’s bizarre piece on football, the popularity of which is apparently “a way to distract the populace from political injustice.” The World Cup, we learn, is “a setback to any radical change.” Yes, football must be why the working man still hasn’t recognised radical socialism as the glorious thing it is. And note the condescending sneer at people who like the sport. He, you see, is smarter than them and he wants you to be clear on that. Because he’s so egalitarian.

Severian

But leftism requires continual display; it’s a non-stop performance.

When you get right down to it, this is probably why I'm a conservative: I'm lazy. I know, you'd think that would make me a socialist -- these people seem to have nothing but time on their hands, and all the accoutrements with which to pleasantly wile away the hours (a two year old MacBook, even one "covered with revolutionary stickers," is way better than the piece of crap I'm using now because I can't afford a better one). But the tradeoff for all that state-subsidized bliss is having to police one's every thought and attitude, and damn it, I just can't muster up any strong feelings about tennis one way or the other. Or "football" (English version). Or reality tv or trainers or fast food or any of the zillion other things leftism requires one to care about. I just want to be able to kick back and watch the tube, read the internet, or take a walk around the block without having to write an Apologia Pro Vita Sua, 140 laborious characters at a time.

My apathy has doomed me to a life of conservatism.

David

Severian,

But the trade-off for all that state-subsidized bliss is having to police one’s every thought and attitude,

Ah, but you also get to police other people’s every thought and attitude too. Think of all the people you could scold. For some, that’s more than enough compensation. It’s also why leftwing in-fighting can get so heated and competitive. And quite surreal. Or positively bonkers. It’s all about social positioning and jostling for place in a hierarchy of po-faced piety. They’re basically playing Gotcha! It’s like shouting, “You said ‘poo,’ I’m telling!” – but with intellectual pretensions.

David Gillies

Here's another thing: again, not to try to one-up little Laurie in the competitive grievance stakes, but my Macbook is six years old and is still my primary machine at home. Unlike Laurie, I am a professional software engineer and I use it to do actual, computationally-intensive work. Unless she's busy compositing video from performances by Marylou Ogreburg and the People's Bread and Marmite Street Dance Theatre Workshop then I submit she doesn't actually need a new computer and is just one of the sheeple who have bought into the planned obsolescence culture that the multinationals use to keep us endlessly hitting the feed bar in our Skinner boxes. Or some such.

Henry

"seriously considering trying to write some kind of guide to doing direct action with kids in tow"

..is the one that evoked the purest sensations of nausea. I thought this might not be entirely serious, but her follow-up tweet suggests that it was.

Ms Holding's twitter-profile statement says "Aspiring to be intersectional but don't like the calling out thing so much". I had to look up this use of "intersectional" - being the privileged know-nothing that I am - and I wonder whether this page (which contains a whole world of agonies of it's own) may be close to the meaning she has in mind. An excerpt:

"If someone suggests that you're doing something racist, ableist, etc., you will tend to react defensively. That's OK and natural! Take a deep breath, check your privilege, step away from the keyboard if you need to, then apologise and figure out how not to do it again"

WTP

Wait a minute...I thought soccer was a communist sport. Re James Taranto in the WSJ several years ago:

While I certainly sympathize with your attitude toward this “sport” implicit in the name you give it, I think the appropriate disdain can only be shown by calling it what it really is: communist football. Consider:

No one understands the rules.

Workers are prohibited from using the tools that would let them be more productive (hands).

From time to time petty bureaucrats (officials) interfere with play in such a way as to limit production.

Players, coaches, officials and fans are all fully involved (employed) and yet output is miniscule.

Any production is met by celebration all out of proportion to its objective value.

Followers are slavishly (religiously?) devoted to the system and their own brand of it and resort to violence at any criticism of either.

http://causeofliberty.wordpress.com/2005/08/25/is-soccer-a-communist-sport/

AC1

Severian

Penny has a trust fund... So it's not all state subsidised bliss, it's the pernicious effect of a generous parental welfare state.

Devil makes work for trust fundees.

dicentra

Think of all the people you could scold. For some, that’s more than enough compensation.

Zealotry is always its own reward.

dicentra

Henry, that Geek Feminism Wikia is digital ipecac.

I'll be sending you the bill for my brain-reaming.

Alex

People shouldn’t have to choose between pointless work and destitution.

Who pays anyone to do 'pointless' work (except maybe the government)? What she means is 'I shouldn't have to do jobs I don't like'.

It's one big 'waah'.

David

Alex,

What she means is ‘I shouldn’t have to do jobs I don’t like’. It’s one big ‘waah’.

It does have an air of adolescent pouting. And to be clear, Laurie and co weren’t discussing people unable to work; they were talking about able-bodied people who believe they shouldn’t support themselves because they’re such “freethinkers.” It’s worth noting that many of the people who espouse this view are former students who’ve discovered, belatedly, that their chosen degrees, often politicised degrees, have little commercial value and therefore find themselves obliged to consider less elevated employment. Work they consider beneath them. Hence the disaffection with even the concept of supporting themselves.

And as we saw recently, the people making these pronouncements usually assume that other people should be forced to work longer (or themselves go without) to pay for the proponent’s leisure, food, housing, education, healthcare, etc. As illustrated in the link above, Godfrey Moase and his supporters envision a society in which an undefined but apparently unlimited proportion of one’s earnings (and therefore one’s freedom) will be expropriated by the state in order to keep in comfort people who choose not to support themselves - say, on grounds that they consider themselves “artists and musicians.” Or “theorists,” a fashionable euphemism for generic, rather credulous Marxist poseurs.

After all, it’s hard to let the world know just how radical you are when you’re busy earning a living like a bourgeois nobody. Despite the standard guff about “social justice,” the relationship they want with other people isn’t altruistic or utopian; it’s selfish and parasitic.

Severian

Penny has a trust fund.

Ahh, a Trust Fund Trotsky! Those are the best kind. Though... aren't they the only kind? None of the great people's champions ever worked a day in their lives, so far as I know. Engels actually owned a factory, for Pete's sake.

Which is why I always tell my liberal friends, "I take socialism exactly as seriously as you do."

Squires

“[...] We rode in silence, breathing deeply, trying to fill ourselves with the free air we wouldn’t breathe again for a very long time. And there were those bayonets too – swaying hypnotically, menacingly before our eyes like cobras in some nightmare, ready to sink their fangs into our throats.

But at that moment I seemed to wake up – the memory of my fallen comrades, executed by the firing squads of La Cabana, came into my mind. I thought about Julio and his scorn for life as he defended his belief in freedom and patriotism; I thought about all those men who marched to the firing squads with a smile on their lips; I thought about the integrity of those martyrs who had died shouting, “Viva Cuba Libre! Viva Christ the King! Down with Communism!” And I was ashamed to feel so frightened. I realized that the only way to honor the memory of those heroes was to behave with their firmness and integrity. My heart rose up to God, and I fervently prayed for Him to help me stand up to this brutality, and do what I had to do. I felt that God heard my prayer.”

“I would always act according to my own set of values, because reprisals would be more bearable than the reproaches and censures of my own conscience.
Every morning at sunrise La Cabana awoke to the same question -
“Who will they shoot today?“

- Armando Valladares, Against All Hope: A Memoir of life in Castro’s Gulags

Eh, but what would an anti-revolutionary, bourgeois enemy of "the people" like that know about real agonies? He was clearly suffering from some kind of capitalist psyops-induced false consciousness.

Squires

"None of the great people's champions ever worked a day in their lives, so far as I know. Engels actually owned a factory, for Pete's sake."

While Engels does lose streetcred for possibly doing something so bourgeois as earning money, he did make up for it with the devout bellyfeel with which he advocated wiping out vast swathes of those whose ethnic background rendered them suspected un-re-educatedable persons.

Still, Marx had Engels beat. Having courageously defied his own mother's suggestion (psy-ops?) that he might not have to borrow/guilt/coerce money from her and others so often if he'd only spend more time trying to earn capital rather than writing about it, he managed to make it through his adult life hardly ever having earned an honest dime, or paid back a debt. Even if it meant selling the silver (inherited or bought with borrowed cash, presumably), he made sure he was always able to pay his servants without ever being enslaved by crass and exploitative capitalism.

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