David Thompson
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October 30, 2013

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Joan

Saddened by the happiness of children. Because the Shard is “a function of late capitalism” and “a symbol of unjustifiable luxury.”

Sweet effing Jesus...

Richard Powell

"Saddened by the happiness of children." Because they're suffering from Early Onset False Consciousness. I'm sure a few hours with Evil Ogre Dave would show them what misery is.

David

Because they’re suffering from Early Onset False Consciousness.

The flipside of course is illustrated by Polly Toynbee, who took delight in correcting a random stranger’s choice of newspaper. She seemed quite pleased at having interfered because the unenlightened must be spared from reading rival publications, what with them containing views and facts of which Ms Toynbee doesn’t approve. You see, muttering at strangers and berating their choice of newspaper is what a sane person does.

RNB

If you have not read it, John Scalzi's piece on how living your life as a straight white man is like playing a video game at the 'easy' setting is a classic.

Tom Foster

'You see, muttering at strangers and berating their choice of newspaper is what a sane person does.'

Well, I must admit I've started sneering – internally, as it were – when I see people carrying the Guardian. I haven't gone as far as berating them yet, but I wouldn't absolutely rule it out.

I happened to be in Waitrose the other day – no doubt much to the horror of 'Jo' above, there were indeed 'white folk' everywhere – and I noticed that the chap in front of me had a Guardian in his shopping basket. The queue was moving unusually slowly and he looked very unhappy about this, and I was delighted to have my prejudices confirmed when he moaned at length at the poor woman serving him, despite her polite apology for the delay. Evil fascist that I no doubt am, I somehow managed to smile at the woman serving me and tell her it was no problem.

Well-off leftists just don't like the proles, do they?

rjmadden

Today I just opened my rucksack and said SWAG PLEASE

She's living her philosophy. Don't oppress her with your hetero-patriarchal mockery.

Stuck-Record

Can't agree more with the 'FUCK MICHAEL MANSFIELD' sentiment, even if it is for the wrong reasons.

So lovely to see his client base turn on him. Parasite.

R. Sherman

Twitter means never having to create a cogent syllogism with, you know, evidence and stuff.

ajf

Can people delete tweets? I ask this because I imagine that the instantaneousness of tweeting means that people can often blurt things out that they later regret. And later can be anything from minutes to years. The tweeters above seem to be extremely judgmental individuals. Maybe they'll be more inclined to live and let live after spending more time on the planet? And so maybe we shouldn't judge them too harshly?
This is basically a round about way of saying that maybe they're young and brash and outspoken and that one day they'll chill out a little more...

Rafi

You see, muttering at strangers and berating their choice of newspaper is what a sane person does.

Polly knows the Guardian can't afford to lose any more sales. They've got to pay her £100,000 salary for a start.

clazy

What is this advantage to which Ms. Penny refers? Every advantage refers to a purpose, but I've seen nothing to suggest that she has one beyond flaunting outrage. I'm not so curious that I'll go digging, but I do wonder if she's ever been frustrated in some genuinely productive labor, or whether she's only a failed writer. It seems she'd be lost without a borrowed grievance and a wheezing scapegoat to torment. What is she but a professional bigot?

Tom Foster

I think what *really* annoys me about the first LP tweet is the been-there-seen-it-all arrogant dismissive smugness of 'Next question please'.

David

Can people delete tweets? I ask this because I imagine that the instantaneousness of tweeting means that people can often blurt things out that they later regret.

Yes, tweets can be deleted and gaffes will happen. But I don’t think it’s just a matter of young people being too hasty in what they type and announce to the world. Laurie and her peers have been blurting out the same thing for quite some time now, with a confidence undiminished by attempts at correction. And although they may sound it, they’re not all fresh-faced ingénues.

If you follow these kinds of twitter exchanges you’ll see common patterns. For instance, Nick Jackson - the chap who found himself being told - had politely disagreed with some of the doctrinaire generalisations being aired by Laurie and co. He was promptly assailed for his heresy, emphatically and from all sides, and it got quite surreal. GustyFlawless was outraged by an incidental figure of speech that assumes men generally have penises. Such was the outrage at this appalling verbal sin, he/she felt entitled to be instantly abusive. The hair-trigger indignation and rush to personal insults is no accident, of course. It isn’t just youthful exuberance. It’s a game of Gotcha! See more examples here. Gusty saw an opportunity to scold a stranger based on nothing much, certainly nothing that was intended to be offensive, and seized it eagerly. Scolding being both an assertion of status and the payoff for all that wound-up dogmatism.

Leftist piety can get very competitive. And in my experience egalitarians really do enjoy scolding their inferiors.

Tom Foster

Ooh, look. More 'disrespectful cultural appropriation'. And she's even upset about the way he pronounces 'Jamaica':

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/30/marco-pierre-white-jamaican-dish-knorr-advert

David

And she’s even upset about the way he pronounces ‘Jamaica’

He’s stealing her black essence. The bastard.

ajf

"It’s a game of Gotcha!"

LOL. That's how I feel every time someone outs someone else for being a 'racist' based on very tenuous evidence, or even none at all. And needless to say, the 'outer' is often a white person offended on behalf of someone else (real or imagined).

Will

In "Evil Ogre Dave"'s defense, I think The Shard is ugly as homemade sin. It would be less awful in New York or Hong Kong where it could get lost in a crowd of other ugly skyscrapers, but in central London, it's really egregious.

David

That’s how I feel every time someone outs someone else for being a ‘racist’ based on very tenuous evidence, or even none at all.

The more improbable and groundless the accusation is, and the more esoteric it is, the more points you get. I believe those are the rules of Gotcha!. But at the same time, the more improbable the accusation is, the greater the risk of the game being revealed to the rubes. If someone is being publicly scolded for their improper spelling of “trans person” or because they use the term “fishy” (as in “a bit suspect”), then I think we can assume the berating isn’t about its ostensible pretext. Especially when the supposed grievance is that the term “fishy” must refer to vaginas as being pungent and evil, regardless of context, etymology or intent, and must therefore also be a slight against people who think of themselves as women but who don’t have a vagina.

As I said, it’s a game. And the people who like to play it aren’t always well-meaning.

D

I talked with someone from China. She said that in China, there's pretty open dislike of people who aren't Chinese, with derogatory terms that more or less translate to "white ghost" and "black ghost" being common for white and black people respectively.

I'd be fascinated to know what people like LP would do with this. Would she deride their yellow privilege? Would she insist that they must accept black and white people equally even though they have an inferior position in society? Or do they get a pass, even when they're being derogatory towards black people, because they're not white, and with her "privilege" she can't judge the wise natives?

I don't care enough to research it, but have you encountered this situation before? Do they just ignore these kinds of things in non-white societies or have they figured out a way to be outraged about it? I don't understand their bizarre grandstanding enough to be able to predict. My guess would be that it doesn't count when non-white people do it.

Tom Foster

'Do they just ignore these kinds of things in non-white societies or have they figured out a way to be outraged about it?'

Having race – or gender – on the brain all the time can get you into all kinds of trouble. This piece…

http://www.theguardian.com/football/2013/oct/28/jeffrey-webb-fifa-black-managers

…quotes Fifa vice-president Jeffrey Webb, who is upset that there aren't enough black managers and administrators in English football. Talking about players, he points out that 'more than 30% of the league is made up of people of African descent' and then says, without apparently noticing the irony, that 'The [English] game must reflect society and the community. It doesn't do so.' But if he really wants the English game to reflect English society, then there are obviously far too many black players – and that number should presumably be reduced.

It's all a bit of a minefield.

DavidHadley

Of course, this competitive Middle-class Left-wingery is little more than a variation of Stephen Potter's oneupmanship, where the object of the game is to be more Left than your interlocutor at all times, thus making them appear not Left-wing enough to reach your own exalted and exacting standard.

abacab

The irony being, of course, that Laurie Penny is herself so privileged that she has the luxury of time to pontificate on matters of such infinitessimally marginal interest. Her immediate material needs are met, she has no immediate family whose needs must also be met, and she has a cushy sinecure writing tripe for the Groaniad and being on speed dial for the BBC that many less privileged "writers" would give their eye teeth for.

Now that global capitalism has ironically solved all the problems that so ostentatiously exercised the Left in the past, they've run out of things to obsess about. Hence the whole "white privilege"/"cis-sexual" nonsense they've come up with.

I'm sure the pictures I'm seeing of melatonin-challenged gentlemen of the street when I google image search "homeless tramp" are grateful for all their white, heterosexual, cis-sexual patriarchal privilege that enable them to live lives of such ease, power and luxury.

abacab

Also, how would the old Soviet paymasters of the 1960s-1980s have reacted to all this decadent preening?

I reckon Penny et al would, however, have enjoyed their "holidays" to Moscow.

Jon Powers

I have no idea what "intersectionality" is. Please explain. I’ve noticed that is a thing they do on the left – they’ll latch onto a new term coined by some "progressive" writer, and then use it to flout their own moral superiority. If you aren’t familiar with the term, then you’ve already lost the argument because you’ve outed yourself as a knuckle dragging bigot. #winning.

Chris_navin

Cisgender non-hetero normative victims of the patriarchy and race-mongering capitalist overlords unite! Claim your rights granted by the Supreme Galactic council of Human Equality!

Freedom is next! Yaaaargh!

Dom

"...they’ll latch onto a new term coined by some "progressive" writer ..."

Hav you noticd how much of the left's arguments use a vocabulary that is specifically designed to give them the win? Patriarchy, cis-gender, Islamophobia, heteronormative ... These words have no use outside a typical left/right debate, and once you've used these words the whole co-ordinate system of rational debate shifts around and there is only one way out -- the left way.

Anna

I have no idea what "intersectionality" is.

Victimhood poker.

David

I have no idea what “intersectionality” is.

It’s a tendentious method of calculating pity points based on various, often question-begging victim categories and claims of “privilege,” and whether they interact, overlap or “intersect.” It allows enormous scope for pretentious fretting and/or self-flattery. And scolding, obviously.

Or as Anna says, victimhood poker.

D

victimhood poker

Excellent reference! This helps me clear up my question from earlier.

While brilliant, the deck is missing at least one card, that card being "communist," worth at least 9 points. Thus, Occupy Wall Street protesters can rape women, but it's alright because "communist" is worth more than "woman."

Thus, "communist oriental" is worth 16 points, edging out "black." Therefore it's okay for the Chinese government to be racist toward black people because their victim value is higher. That really explains it, thanks!

Henry

My guess would be that it doesn't count when non-white people do it

Good guess. In fact there is a fair bit of nonsense written explaining how racism now means "prejudice or hatred from a group with greater power than the objects of the hatred". Or something like that. I'm fairly sure it didn't mean that before someone on the left decided to make racism something only whites did.

It's dishonest rubbish, of course, but there are those who think it's self-evidently true. How do you define the "power-dynamic"? Who cares! It's one of those check-your-white/male-privilege things.

dicentra

The purpose of adding the power dynamic to the definition of "racism" is to relocate the locus of responsibility from the individual to the group.

As an individual, you can control your decisions and actions — and therefore your character — but you cannot control those of any group to which you ostensibly belong.

So the way to win the game is to gerrymander the groupings so that you win and the other guy loses, regardless of what the individual may think, do, or say.

If you can't gerrymander the groups to make yourself "powerless" (and therefore unquestionably righteous), you can become a champion of the oppressed. You demonstrate your champion bona-fides by wearing a hair shirt and flagellating (publicly), scolding those of your group for their oppressiveness (publicly), and staying up on the "vocabulary treadmill" game, wherein the virtuous are kept apprised of the approved lexicon, thus proving their virtue.

"Heads I win, tails you lose" is not just the rule, it's the POINT.

Imagine the delirium of always being on the side of the angels!

David

It’s dishonest rubbish, of course, but there are those who think it’s self-evidently true.

It’s a worldview that’s encouraged, not least in academia. And as we’ve seen, it requires a pathological unrealism.

Hal

Cisgender non-hetero normative victims of the patriarchy and race-mongering capitalist overlords unite!

Siiiiigggghhhh. Clearly you are one with the reactionary oppressors and must now report for correctionary flogging and ritual apology.

Left Handed cisgender non-hetero normative victims of the patriarchy and race-mongering capitalist overlords unite!

Hal

If you can't gerrymander the groups to make yourself "powerless" (and therefore unquestionably righteous), you can become a champion of the oppressed. You demonstrate your champion bona-fides by wearing a hair shirt and flagellating (publicly), scolding those of your group for their oppressiveness (publicly), and staying up on the "vocabulary treadmill" game, wherein the virtuous are kept apprised of the approved lexicon, thus proving their virtue.

A very amusing story has turned up in today's Sf Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com/politics/joegarofoli/article/GOP-infighting-centers-on-anonymous-blog-4937603.php . . . .

Apparently Palo Alto physicist Charles Munger Jr. has practiced the totally inexcusable and unforgivable action of . . .

. . . funding a 2010 ballot measure that created a citizens panel to draw boundaries for congressional seats. The commission, which supplanted the political parties that had always overseen redistricting, left Republicans "with a legislative map that has helped reduce the GOP ... to historic smallness," the website says.

They also loathe him for funding the 2010 ballot measure that created the system under which the top two finishers in a primary advance to the general election, regardless of party. That arrangement, says the Munger Games, "has done more than any other single measure to diminishing identification with the GOP while wastefully pitting Republican candidates against each other in general elections in safe seats."


Oh. Dear. In this case, No Gerrymandering?!?!?!?!?!?! Politicians having to be elected by merit?!?!?!?!!

Clearly something is greatly amiss and Something Must Be Done!!!!!!!

David Gillies

I have to admit that this "intersectionality" thing is a new one on me. I'm not sure that building collections of Grievance Cards quite rises to the status of Victimhood Poker, though. It sounds more like Victimhood Top Trumps. Or Victimhood Magic: The Gathering, given what a bunch of irremediable saddos these people are.

AC1

All her extreme leftist nonsense, and yet the BBC will put her on air quite often.

Tim Newman

Eager to hear from men about ways in which they feel patriarchy/traditional gender male stereotypes hurt them.

Well, firstly my wife's insistence that I kill lions for dinner with my bare hands in the traditional fashion resulted in my arm being torn off, which hurt a lot. Then there was the time when my maleness led to the stereotypical assumption that a swift kick in the bollocks would hurt me, and it did.

I can think of others.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA
Good guess. In fact there is a fair bit of nonsense written explaining how racism now means "prejudice or hatred from a group with greater power than the objects of the hatred". Or something like that. I'm fairly sure it didn't mean that before someone on the left decided to make racism something only whites did.

A year or so ago, there was a piece on Radio Sweden about Jamaican reggae (or was it dancehall/rap) artists visiting for a stop on their concert tour, and the controversy over how quite a few of the lyrics are pretty much gay-bashing. It was hilarious listening to several of the gay Swedish interviewees contort themselves into knots trying to rationalize anti-gay bigotry when it comes from black people.

DensityDuck

Well, traditional male gender stereotypes say that all men are potential rapists.

So, yeah, I'd say that there's ways traditional male gender stereotypes hurt men.

DensityDuck

What Nick Jackson fails to recognize is that while he himself might not be particularly advantaged, men on *average* are advantaged, and as a man he is therefore inherently better off than if he were a woman. Because there might be some situation in the future where he'd have an advantage due to being a man, and that means it's OK to tell him he's "advantaged" right now.

David

I’m not sure that building collections of Grievance Cards quite rises to the status of Victimhood Poker, though. It sounds more like Victimhood Top Trumps.

I can’t help thinking that someone who spends lots of time trying to weigh up these things - whether being female or brown-skinned in situation X makes a person more victimised than being fat or gay - may have, or develop, issues of some kind. It’s hard to see that kind of mindset as entirely functional or leading to happiness. The tribal calculations, the implicit resentment, the dogmatism and dishonesty - and the subsequent mismatch with reality – that doesn’t sound like a recipe for mental wellbeing. And then of course the question is whether any unhappiness they experience is a result of all those multiple oppressions and other people’s “privilege,” or just the fact they have a personality that views the world in those terms.

Bart

"And yes, women body-judge and body-shame each other too. Because capitalist patriarchy relies on internalised sexism."

Free market economics only work if women are internally sexist? Do you have any evidence to back up this outlandish and highly illogical sounding claim?


"Next question please."

Yes, do you have any evidence to back up your previous outlandish and highly illogical sounding claim?


"Eager to hear from men about ways in which they fell patriarchy/traditional gender male stereotypes hurt them."

For one, if I were to make a rubbish haunted house which I used as a feeble excuse to molest entrants, I'd get arrested rather than public money:

http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/sunnews/straighttalk/archives/2013/10/20131030-174547.html

David

Free market economics only work if women are internally sexist?

Heh. I fear you’re giving it way more thought than Laurie has. But I don’t think you’re meant to question the premise or ponder its peculiar implications. Like so much of what Laurie says, it’s not an argument or a statement that refers to reality; it’s a display, an incantation.

JHo
Eager to hear from men about ways in which they feel patriarchy/traditional gender male stereotypes hurt them.

Meaning, presumably, that Ms Penny is so justice-centric that she'll eagerly absorb, for example, the tale of thirty years of harm by matriarchy/traditional gender stereotypes against divorced fathers.

Except for the suicided fathers, naturally, they having had such institutional traditions somewhat temper their enthusiasm for speaking out.

See, there's bullshit, Penny, and then there's willful institutional ruin. There's narrow-minded bullshit the kind of which earns a person of low character and enormous ego a microscopic following, and there's the whole of inhumanity.

Kindly know the difference.

Severian

Well, Penny Dreadful does get one thing right -- male gender stereotypes cause me great agony. I live near a college, you see, and the hateful male gender roles I've internalized force me to nod and smile politely when wymyn start spouting this nonsense, instead of pointing and laughing like a maniac. It's hell on the ol' blood pressure.

David Gillies

"It’s hard to see that kind of mindset as entirely functional or leading to happiness."

I've wondered this myself. My default setting these days is a sort of low-level, undemonstrative happiness. Not singing-in-the-rain, zippity-doo-dah cheerfulness that would have everyone want to stick a shiv in me after five minutes, but modest contentment. How often does young Penny Dreadful sit back during the course of her day and reflect on the fact that her life is really pretty amazing and she is happy? Or is the fight against capitalism-induced female body-shaming such an all-consuming struggle that not being a miserable little shrew 24/7 would constitute a surrender to The Man? She may be a ray of sunshine in her private thoughts, but it sure as hell doesn't come out in anything she writes.

David

David Gillies,

She may be a ray of sunshine in her private thoughts, but it sure as hell doesn’t come out in anything she writes.

I wouldn’t care to probe Laurie’s emotional crevices, beyond what’s apparent from her articles and media appearances. But the mentally disabling effects of such thinking become apparent if you follow the twitter exchanges linked above. For instance, the indignation aimed at Mr Jackson, mentioned earlier, is more than a little boggling. One of his critics, an “aspiring social anthropologist” and enthusiast of “gender and sexuality studies” named Theodora Tsipoura, tells Mr Jackson that he’s to blame for women’s woes because he doesn’t readily accept his complicity in it, as defined unilaterally by Laurie and co. Apparently he “feels entitled” to unspecified things in ways that are never specified. Another indignant tweeter, an avowed “intersectional feminist,” insists that if a man attempts to explain why women’s alleged oppression isn’t his fault personally, as an individual – say, because it isn’t – then by definition it is his fault. Not deferring to the gathered she-tribe and their cloud of self-righteousness is in itself taken as proof of one’s moral complicity and intent to oppress. And so if you correct an error or try to clarify a definition, or just dare to equivocate, however politely, you’re a tool of the Patriarchy and will promptly be berated for all of your sins.

It’s hard to see how to untangle thinking like that, thinking that’s truly balkanised. And remember, these people are generally either students or former students. They’ve been educated.

D

Eager to hear from men about ways in which they feel patriarchy/traditional gender male stereotypes hurt them.

Is it weird to anyone else how lefties seem to expect these things to just fall into their lap? You see a similar formulation often from them and it always strikes me as strange. For example, if one were to say the following:

"Eager to hear from people about ways in which they feel Obamacare has hurt them."

I wouldn't expect them to have to go out and fish for these stories much; it would be understandable, at least at this particular moment. But when you're talking about something so vaguely defined and unclear as "the patriarchy," which ostensibly benefits men anyway, why would she expect men to be eager to talk to her about it? And why would they have stories about how it has hurt them when it was supposedly designed to help them? It puts me in mind of someone going out in a boat in the middle of a lake and saying "I look forward to seeing all the fish that are about to jump into my boat."

Stuck-Record

Whenever I see one of Laurie's tweet frenzies the word 'Salem' pops unbidden into my head.

You just can't argue with pitchfork wielding mob.

dicentra

How often does young Penny Dreadful sit back during the course of her day and reflect on the fact that her life is really pretty amazing and she is happy?

I regularly remind myself of two things:

1) Most of the people who have lived on this planet never had (or heard of) indoor plumbing.

2) Young children are sold into sex slavery in southeast Asia every day, and I was never one of them.

First-world discontents tend to dissipate rather quickly in light of those two facts.

Also, you cannot persuade me that such a thing as this exists in a Godless universe.

Hal

Well, Penny Dreadful does get one thing right -- male gender stereotypes cause me great agony. I live near a college, you see, and . . . .

Hmmm. For Penny and her ilk and demands that all must conform, here's an interesting experiment---at least in the US, which gets inflicted with frats and that ilk---

For all unis, the gender and such studies departments and all related housing are located with the frats and such kind. History, literature, performing arts, and STEM courses and their housing are very evenly blended together. In between these two quite separate locations and serving as a complete separator are all the uni administration offices, any uni stadiums, large meeting halls, Etc . . . .

euripides

"men on *average* are advantaged, and as a man he is therefore inherently better off than if he were a woman"

Are you referring to penises?

Jimmy

First-world discontents tend to dissipate rather quickly in light of those two facts.

If only certain other discontents could be made to disappear in the same way. No one would be the wiser.

dicentra

In other news, the mask slips even farther, and Halloween's not even over:

@jbarro (Josh Barrow; writer for Business Insider) "Vast swathes of policy are based on the correct presumption that people don't know what's best for them. Nothing new."

@jbarro "Elitist technocrats are also the ones making you buy pasteurized milk and buy cars with seat belts."

@jbarro "I can't figure out if the people acting outraged at me about this are stupid or disingenuous. Or both. Probably both."

@jbarro "BREAKING: Some decisions are best left up to individuals, others are best restricted by policy."

@jbarro "Radical, fascist idea: government should collect taxes from everyone and make them educate their children, whether they like it or not."

As per usual, conservatives on Twitter pwn the pants off him: http://twitchy.com/2013/10/29/elitist-primal-scream-josh-barro-declares-that-father-government-knows-best/

Funny if it weren't dangerous, etc…

dicentra

as a man he is therefore inherently better off than if he were a woman "Are you referring to penises?"

When camping, hiking, or otherwise alienated from said indoor plumbing, yes, yes I am referring to that particular advantage.

sackcloth and ashes

'The flipside of course is illustrated by Polly Toynbee, who took delight in correcting a random stranger’s choice of newspaper. She seemed quite pleased at having interfered because the unenlightened must be spared from reading rival publications, what with them containing views and facts of which Ms Toynbee doesn’t approve. You see, muttering at strangers and berating their choice of newspaper is what a sane person does'.

Oh please, God. Please. Be so kind as to allow me a similar encounter with Ms Toynbee, whereupon I can engage her with a conversation about how she managed to get a place at Oxford despite her piss-poor academic credentials, and about how she got a £120,000 gig with the 'Guardian' despite dropping out of Oxford. I could also have a good, fun chat with her about how she gloats over the death of people she hates, and about how she castigates the Daily Heil for cheap smears on politicians whilst doing the same herself. Oh please, God. Let me have that opportunity. I will fucking let rip.

'Can't agree more with the 'FUCK MICHAEL MANSFIELD' sentiment, even if it is for the wrong reasons.
So lovely to see his client base turn on him. Parasite'.

The words 'poetic justice' spring to mind.

'Also, how would the old Soviet paymasters of the 1960s-1980s have reacted to all this decadent preening?
I reckon Penny et al would, however, have enjoyed their "holidays" to Moscow'.

Now I'm not so sure here. Idiot that Penny is, I don't think she would have been a useful one, and I suspect that like the 'New Leftists' she would have had a 'plague on both your houses' attitude had she been contemplating the West and the Soviet Union in the 1960s. I am absolutely no fan of hers at all, but unless I've missed something I don't see her as an apologist for totalitarians. I am happy to be corrected, of course.

In the meantime, David, I guess you would enjoy Owen Jones' latest Twitter disaster. The great one clearly is miffed that his genius is not appreciated even by his own kind:

http://www.trendingcentral.com/owen-jones-slapped-lefties-offer-support/

Chris

"Next question please."

Translation: Because shut up, that's why.

David

Idiot that Penny is, I don’t think she would have been a useful one… I don’t see her as an apologist for totalitarians.

It’s hard to be sure exactly what kind of idiot Laurie is - or would be, given the chance. She talks of freedom but demands “full communism now.” She claims to fight against oppression but delights in Occupy’s tactics of coercion, vandalism and mob intimidation, which she then sanitised and romanticised, repeatedly and at length. You see, Laurie has “no problem with thought-through political violence.” A term she defines in such a way as to give license to all manner of exciting thuggery. “Violence,” she tells us adamantly, “is rarely ever mindless” and opportunist theft is “a political statement.”

She describes the UK as a “police state,” one that “brutally represses” dissent, yet she polices language, imagery and behaviour with a zeal that’s somewhere between hilarious and sinister. She wishes to purge the world of whatever she disapproves of. She doesn’t seem to have any awareness of how actual communism - communism with power - plays out, has always played out, or what it takes to maintain it; yet she says she wants it anyway and spends an awful lot of time with people who say the same thing. Because, despite her ignorance of history, she just knows what’s good for us. In some respects she reminds me of this young woman, another Occupier, who doesn’t seem aware of her own sign’s historical connotations.

By any measure, Laurie’s worldview is incoherent. Irretrievably so. But as with so many of her peers, you can’t help wondering what she’d insist on, given certain opportunities.

JenG

If someone is being publicly scolded for their improper spelling of “trans person” or because they use the term “fishy” (as in “a bit suspect”), then I think we can assume the berating isn’t about its ostensible pretext. Especially when the supposed grievance is that the term “fishy” must refer to vaginas as being pungent and evil, regardless of context, etymology or intent, and must therefore also be a slight against people who think of themselves as women but who don’t have a vagina.

My only question is will that fit on a t-shirt? ;-D

David

My only question is will that fit on a t-shirt?

It’s perhaps a bit wordy. It’s why I don’t use twitter.

But it’s a common enough pattern. I’ve had several exchanges with graduate feminists who seemed to believe that if a man disagrees with some sweeping claim of “patriarchy” and “male privilege,” then this must be because the man is either ignorant, in denial or threatened by its truth. His motive must be unkind and any laughter must be nervous laughter. It’s immensely self-flattering, which is presumably the point. To ask for evidence or explication is to risk theatrical exasperation or simply being denounced, thus short-circuiting the debate and thereby providing cover for any lack of evidence. (“I don’t need to explain. Everybody knows this. You’re not worth talking to. Troll. Blocked.”)

Again, note the tone of the exchange with Mr Jackson. Despite his civility and attempts to find common ground, he’s quickly accused of various sins – that his disagreement is complicity, that he feels “entitled,” that he’s “a cissexist piece of shit” – and when he asks for evidence, he’s told, rather haughtily, to “Google it.” Not only is he a sinner – he just is, okay - but he’s a sinner who doesn’t keep up with the latest language of victimology. Why, it’s an outrage. Proof of evildoing. And you’ll find variations of this manoeuvre in all branches of identity politics. If you dare to question the premise, which must always be deferred to, the balkanised thinking tends to kick in pretty quickly. And of course you don’t have to explain your thinking to Those Beyond The Pale™. An incidental benefit, I’m sure.

Henry

'feminists who seemed to believe that if a man disagrees with some sweeping claim of “patriarchy” and “male privilege,” then this must be because the man is either ignorant, in denial or threatened by its truth'

They have another variety of this treatment for the increasing number of women moving away from the version of feminism that they are being told to accept today. The BBC current affairs programme Newsnight is currently enjoying a swift decent into farce, and last week included a discussion on feminism. No men were present, just Emily Maitliss and 3 women, including the irritating Mary Beard.

However, one of the women, Angela Epstein, opined there and later in print:

"Rather than campaigning to help women, feminists today are more likely to be picking fights on Twitter, or dressing up petty grievances as proof of rampant 'sexism' [these days they are more likely to shout 'misogyny' on the flimsiest pretext] ...these devotees of 'equality' believe you can't be a feminist unless you're Left-wing. Spoiling for a fight is the default position of today's chippy feminists. They've turned nit-picking into an art form"

The response from the 'hash-tag sisterhood' on Twitter?

"I was accused of espousing views which are 'poisonous to society', and called 'sad', 'ignorant' and 'stupid'.

Someone bitterly declared I must have enjoyed a 'charmed life' - a lazy generalisation by a socialist grudge-bearer who assumes my convictions have been created from a position of privilege. In fact, my parents were of modest means"

This is hardly a one-off I've seen female YouTubers and bloggers getting threats and spiteful ridicule for criticising feminism

David

Henry,

picking fights on Twitter

But being instantly captious and quarrelsome and jumping the gun is how many devotees of identity politics establish their credentials, if only to themselves. I think those are the rules. (See Mr Jackson’s experience, above.)

dressing up petty grievances as proof of rampant ‘sexism’

I’ve mentioned before a discussion with a woman who remembered registering surprise on someone’s face when she announced an interest in physics while at school. This was offered as evidence of patriarchy and proof that more must be done for women today. But assuming such surprise still persists to any significant degree, which seems rather unlikely, I’m not sure one can legislate against an occasional surprised expression. And yet this was offered as a justification for ever more intrusive and overbearing measures, to be indulged at any cost. Someone, somewhere may be Having The Wrong Thoughts™ and this simply won’t do. WrongThought™ must be punished and every molecule must be purged. And as we’ve seen, a great deal of “academic” feminism deserves every bit of ridicule it gets, and then some. What’s struck me, many times, is a disinclination to keep things in proportion or to weigh a problem, or supposed problem, against whatever authoritarian measures its ‘fixing’ would entail. But if imbibed for long enough, that’s what identity politics does. It leads to tribalism, unrealism and in time a kind of madness.

Bart

"Like so much of what Laurie says, it’s not an argument or a statement that refers to reality; it’s a display, an incantation."

If it is all display and incantation, she's effectively devoted her life to pointless, empty posturing in front of her hipster pals.

If she's being sincere, she genuinely belives that a necessary prerequisite of an economy where the value of goods is determined by supply, demand and cost of production is that women make catty remarks about the size of each other's bottoms.

Neither scenario reflects very well on her. I'm not sure which is worse.


"Someone bitterly declared I must have enjoyed a 'charmed life' -"

In my experience, a charmed life (or at least a privileged background) is a good description of what most lefty activist types enjoyed in their early years. Ms Penny, for example, did not exactly grow up in destitute poverty. And a cynic may deduce that the multiple media gigs she lands has more to do with having the right politics and with her going to the same super-liberal college as many of her media buddies, than with her ingenious observations about economics.

Not me, of course.

N

a kind of madness.

Oh. My. God.

They're shameless.

David

They’re shameless.

And indulged.

So far as I can make out, none of the people present dared to acknowledge the absurdity. Nor did the subsequent news report. Why were these delusional hustlers being taken so seriously? Why did no-one in the room start laughing at the obvious deception taking place right in front of them? And so the absurd becomes just a little sinister.

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