David Thompson
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December 10, 2014

Comments

Glenfilthie

Other than the STEM programs, our universities have become moral and intellectual wastelands - and they are a factory for producing moral and intellectual cripples.

I find it hilarious, actually. Fascism is all but illegal in North America even though they killed less people than the socialists - and the universities are cranking out socialist morons - (er...liberal arts graduates)- like they were on an assembly line.

David

What’s grimly amusing is that the creator of the statue, Professor Serhat Tanyolacar, considers himself an “activist” and champion of ‘progressive’ causes. Yet he doesn’t quite grasp the irony of other self-styled “activists” and champions of ‘progressive’ causes accusing him of “hate speech” and calling for him to be fired. And that’s the thing. The denouncers and accusers imagine themselves as enlightened and morally sophisticated, when in fact, very often, they’re just obnoxiously dogmatic pinheads with an urge to punish and coerce.

Watcher in the Dark

So a pointy head shape is now offensive? Damn, that mean I better cross Coneheads off my Christmas DVD list.

Theophrastus

Meanwhile, at another seat of learning, the University of Salford, a planned giant sculpture of the beard of a certain third-rate thinker will be "a symbol of wisdom and learning" and "a metaphor for how it is an effort and a struggle to pull ourselves out of ignorance". Of course, it is also an opportunity to propagandise: with "wage inequality and mass poverty" in Salford and Manchester apparently reaching 19th century levels.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-30375063

Jim Whyte

On the bright side, what happened to Tanyolacar's obtrusively symbolic statue is the same thing that should happen to most Bad Public Art.

Jim Whyte

Oh,yeah -- and did you notice he created the monstrosity to "facilitate dialogue"? Always the out, it seems:

http://www.torontosun.com/2014/12/08/im-the-victim-of-a-smear-campaign-cop-board-chair-alok-mukherjee-says

Yes, it's all "to generate conversation, discussion and reflection on an important subject.”

Note to self: when somebody says that after being caught out, they are lying. Always and everywhere.

DH

Similarly baffling dramas happen at universities here, sadly.

http://www.independent.co.uk/student/news/edinburgh-student-society-apologises-for-golliwog-poster-8839512.html

What confuses me is how these people become so utterly joyless at such an early stage in life.

Nikw211

What’s grimly amusing …

My mind is torn between which part of the affair I find the most repellent - Tanyolacar or the protestors.

Any seven-foot high figure made out of old newspaper articles is execrable and would only just about be acceptable in a GCSE art class (and even then I'd say that would be touch and go).

That this was produced by someone who is both a Professor and a professional artist is laughable. Still, it's probably no more risible than the claims he makes in his own artist's statement:

    As an artist, my intention is always to bring social awareness and social change through provocation and public dialogue. I deploy my works strategically to engage viewers in critical inquiry of economic, social, and political issues. […] My recent works are one person, public performances where I can embody my physical existence within the social and political dogmas to an anti-government ideology. [Art] must benefit every individual and should not be confined to galleries and museums only to be consumed by certain social classes as a pure commodity object.

The best thing that can be said about this for me, is that all that seeming virtuous rage on the part of the protesting students is clearly revealed to be nothing more than an exercise in shaming, bullying, coercion and control.

Tanyolacar and the protestors deserve each other.

Assholes.

R. Sherman

Tanyolacar's mistake was attempting something too nuanced for the delicate flowers in Iowa City. He'd have been better off creating a composition involving bodily waste and a creche, in keeping with the holiday season.

Nikw211

too nuanced

I hope that's irony!

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

We're told that art is supposed to be "challenging" and "transgressive". This is what happens when art challenges and transgresses against the wrong people.

Rob

Hoist by own petard. Laughs.

R. Sherman

@nik

"Nuance" is a word beloved by the Left and deployed against conservatives in order to demonstrate the Left's alleged intellectual superiority. It's fun to slap the Left around with it once in awhile.

David

The spam filter is having one of its periodic fits of hypersensitivity. If anyone has trouble with comments not appearing, email me and I’ll apply a generous helping of lubricant.

Robert of Ottawa

"university police" enforce morality.

Tim Newman

The denouncers and accusers imagine themselves as enlightened and morally sophisticated, when in fact, very often, they’re just obnoxiously dogmatic pinheads with an urge to punish and coerce.

They learned nothing from the Soviet experience: the vanguard of the Revolution were the first up against the wall in the aftermath.

Ofay Cat

When people are not longer required to actually work for a living .... get their own food, pay their own bills and who have too much time on their hands .... tend to do what is happening now ... The ignorant masses show their listless malcontent and frustration that their own lives have no purpose or meaning. Soooo they become petulant and often violent defenders of nature. How stupid is that. Socialist welfare state run by pseudo-compassionate leftist idiots is where are. Nature can defend herself .... we need to mind our own business.
Rioting and protesting will get us more government and we all know how stupid government can be.

Connor

If Mr Sampson’s treatment by the university’s Affirmative Action Office doesn’t sound sufficiently Kafkaesque...

Oh it does.

David

Oh it does.

By minding his own business and quietly reading a book, Mr Sampson was apparently “creating a hostile atmosphere.” Unlike the moral guardians in the Affirmative Action Office, whose motives are assumed to be pure and beyond question. And it’s worth noting that no faculty member or administrator came to Mr Sampson’s defence or publicly pointed out how absurd the accusations against him were. Instead, they said nothing or closed ranks, some even lied. And the woman most responsible for this farcical abuse of power, Margeurite Watkins, was subsequently promoted.

Nikw211

"Nuance" is a word beloved by the Left

You're unlikely to be wrong there.

Once the already (IMO) flawed concept of structuralism has been so abused by dullards and mendicants that it can be made to do the work of a medicine man's fetish - detecting barely perceptible traces of the supposed powerful, invisible forces that shape all our lives - 'nuance', unsurprisingly, takes on a whole new meaning.

Nikw211

it’s worth noting that no faculty member or administrator came to Mr Sampson’s defence

That is indeed noteworthy.

I'd not considered that aspect before and it strikes me as highly unusual for a tutor - he must have had one at the time - not to defend one of his/her own students. That would be true under any circumstances, but it seems even more striking that they would not strive to stick up for a working class autodidact.

Lord of the Fleas

When people are not longer required to actually work for a living .... get their own food, pay their own bills and who have too much time on their hands .... - Ofay Cat at 15:03

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!
- Rudyard Kipling 1919

Nikw211

OT

Apologies for straying from the main discussion (and also for not learning the simple lessons: a) Don't click on The Guardian even though it's free to access and b) if you do click on it, stick to the news coverage and avoid the Centre bar of Stupid dominated by the likes of Laurie Penny, Lindy West, Jessica Valenti etc. etc.), BUT …

A woman called Jack Monroe wrote a piece today called Poverty has left me unable to open my own front door

It's not so much the histrionics of the article itself that make it a compelling read, nor the questions left begging to be answered (though both of those too), but some of the comments that follow.

RY

Another example of college students' open minded behaviour.
Extract from note pinned to dorm room door of female student who wrote piece for Campus Reform:

'Many of your peers found your views hateful, transphobic, homophobic, as well as racist and would like to convey that such disregard + close-mindedness will not be tolerated in any design at this institution.'

Can they not hear themselves?

http://www.campusreform.org/?ID=6117

james

I still cannot decide if this sociology class trip to a football match, in the linked article, is tongue in cheek, or not.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/11284863/Sociology-students-trip-to-observe-working-class-culture-at-Millwall-FC.html

Hal

I still cannot decide if this sociology class trip to a football match, in the linked article, is tongue in cheek, or not.

At at least one level that will always remain, I rather expect they're quite serious, and genuinely and correctly so.

I have no memory of the specific case or instance or professor or whomever, but I'm remembering some instance of some sociology professor telling the students to not bother with wandering off to some far off jungle to study some mysterious tribe. Instead, and so much easier, just wander off to the local mysterious bowling alley and study the bowlers.

Kate Fox did that, and the result is extremely informative and useful . . .

james

@Hal
No doubt the sociology professor you cite was correct.

I got no sense however that the students were being invited to go the match and be open-minded about, let alone sympathetic to, the white working classes in their natural environment.

So much so, that I suspected someone having a laugh. A sociology teacher wouldn't be so self-unaware, would he?

dicentra

'twould appear that Laurie Penny has a rival for Most Psychotic Feminist on the TUBEZ: @Shanley the Internet Witch's Silicone Valley trolling is becoming legendary.

Hoo boy.

David

A sociology teacher wouldn’t be so self-unaware, would he?

Perhaps we need an anthropological study of leftist sociology lecturers and their question-begging classes. With hidden cameras and everything. It’s the only way to be sure.

David

dicentra,

Hoo boy.

It’s possibly significant that modern feminism attracts such a high percentage of people with quite serious mental health issues.

Theophrastus

Nikw211:

The emotionally incontinent and never-knowingly-understated Jack Monroe is presumably no longer poor, as she has moved in with chef and restaurant-owner, Allegra McEvedy.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegra_McEvedy

rjmadden

Counselling is of course being offered to “anyone negatively affected by the incident.”

I'm lost for words.

David

I’m lost for words.

They do seem determined to extinguish any remaining trace of stoicism and self-possession.

DH

Extract from note pinned to dorm room door of female student who wrote piece for Campus Reform.

The comments from within the progressive hive mind at Mount Holyoke highlighted in the article are an eye-opener.

She won't shut up about how much money she has but if she's so rich why didn't her parents fix her teeth...

The feminist hobby horse of 'body confidence' can be conveniently forgotten. She is from a *spit* rich family.

As an alum I don't know why YDB is part of the community. Make it a hard road for her please?!?!

well she just f***** up any hope of having a social life for the next four years.....altho I'm hoping she'll transfer the f*** out of here.

Let us make the college a "safe space" for everyone. Everyone has the right to be respected. Apart from the heretic, whose life must be made a living hell.

Well done left wing dogma. You've transformed a place of learning into a horrifying cross between a Carthusian charterhouse and East Germany.

David

Apart from the heretic, whose life must be made a living hell.

The ladies are so lucky to have a fashionable, ready-made excuse for being complete and utter bitches.

R. Sherman

One wonders what these people derive emotionally from being angry and offended all the time. Are they so insecure that they must flee anything which challenges their worldview? (And, N.B., according to the artist in question, his intent was not to challenge their worldview but to affirm it.)

As for Professor Ryfe, it would appear that his Propaganda Ministry dues are up to date.

RCF

And yet conservatives and/or religious nuts are the ones who deface art they find offensive or *gasp* call for its censorship. Just ask any of the tolerant individuals quoted above; they're absolutely certain of it.

Hal

Counselling is of course being offered to “anyone negatively affected by the incident.”

I'm lost for words.

They're very, very. very. very. very, Very, bored.

wtp

These are the people we have tolerated our entire lives. They have grown in size and breadth over a couple of generations now. We continue to nourish this growth by doing little more than pointing and laughing. And we point and laugh only amongst ourselves, lest we attract attention of the vast majority of people who only pull their heads out of the sand long enough to deny the width and breadth of problem. The people in charge of crazy approve of them and question us. The joke is on us, people. Keep accumulating wealth so these clowns can take it away, both today and tomorrow when you're old and need it. Personally, I'm planning to accelerate life and hopefully die before the problem comes to full fruition.

dicentra

One wonders what these people derive emotionally from being angry and offended all the time.

Some people are addicted to drama; a subset actually have Borderline Personality Disorder.

Some people find their tantrums an effective way to make other people jump, which is its own reward.

Some people harness the emotional intensity to push through their political agendas.

We continue to nourish this growth by doing little more than pointing and laughing.

The pointers and laughers don't nourish them — the college administrators and CEOs and others who take their demands seriously are the ones encouraging this. Rewarding today's tantrum guarantee's that tomorrow there will be another.

Witness this ongoing Twitterspat and the tedious question-begging.

wtp

The pointers and laughers don't nourish them — the college administrators and CEOs and others who take their demands seriously are the ones encouraging this. Rewarding today's tantrum guarantee's that tomorrow there will be another.

And where does the wealth come from to nourish the administrators and CEOs (I'm guessing you mean a subset of such, not SOP)? Wealth doesn't create itself, you know.

dicentra

I'm guessing you mean a subset of such, not SOP

The screamers scare CEOs with threats of bad publicity, so they usually bend.

Yes, we are the ones generating the wealth. Good luck cutting off the supply enough to get the attention of the enablers.

wtp

Good luck cutting off the supply enough to get the attention of the enablers.

It will never be accomplished by luck, I guarantee you that. Other ideas?

Hal

Other than the STEM programs, our universities have become moral and intellectual wastelands - and they are a factory for producing moral and intellectual cripples.

Noted.

The title of this paper might seem a bit pretentious until one considers what is laughingly referred to as education in the early 21st century. In the early 1970s, one could pick up some near random comic book or two, and one would soon find an ad proclaiming that one could indeed get one's very own High School diploma, and thus achieve social success, peace of mind, and lots of money.

In 2011, a very real assessment of exactly the same educational network can be made by observing that there is just one primary difference between any random print shop and a masters degree program---particularly one of the uber-mega-executive-deluxe-hyper-masters-in-business-administration varieties of program---The very clear and ascertainable difference is that the print shop doesn't charge five to seven figures and take one to three years to print out the exact same piece of paper.

To back this up, I've had two different friends of mine comment on their experiences in "education" in the early 21st century. One is going for a doctorate and states that in Hawaii, just getting into college requires very involved courses in mathematics and English writing comprehension---specifically, the variety of English and math that one is to have been taught in Jr. High through High School, and already have mastered by the beginning of college. The other has had his doctorate for several years, he has taught quite a few of the classes in his department at the college he works at, and states that he keeps having to fight demands to water down the curriculum because letting people merely get through rather than genuinely get educated is stated to be required. In his case, he teaches math, so there is nothing that can be watered down. Either the concept is mastered, or it isn't, there are no variations or loopholes, and there never will be any.

And after a period of time, I had a collection of ideas come together.

RY

OT, a bit.

It's slightly amusing given the endless charges of racism made by liberals - in media, on campus, in politics etc etc
to read the emails released via the North Koreans hacking into the Sony database.
Apparently, liberals are not always as unracist as they would like to appear.

http://pjmedia.com/vodkapundit/2014/12/11/racism-still-a-lefty-pastime /

JeremiadBullfrog

Wait...I thought "Art" was supposed to cause us discomfort and disrupt normal ways of thinking....

Hal

Apparently, liberals are not always as unracist as they would like to appear.

http://pjmedia.com/vodkapundit/2014/12/11/racism-still-a-lefty-pastime

Errrrr . . . on one tentacle, when claiming left wing, consider Orange County over time.

On another tentacle,

Faceless Commenter
If any North Koreans are reading this, I would like to point out that the other Hollywood studios also have e-mail servers.
2 hours ago

Heh . . . . . . .

RY

@Hal

No chance of the MSM bothering with this story...

dicentra

Other ideas?

The Sweet Meteor of Death.

Or a good plague. Total societal collapse. Another confounding of the languages like at Babel.

Having reached peak absurdity, it will either collapse under its own weight or be dissipated by a severe disruption, whichever comes first.

Clancy McClannahan

Why are these students being so niggardly with their appreciation of art?

fnord

Counselling is of course being offered to “anyone negatively affected by the incident.”

Nice little earner there for the counsellers. Of course to ensure full employment they need a continuous supply of emotional cripples which the administrative invertebrates will be happy to create.

Nikw211

The emotionally incontinent … Jack Monroe is presumably no longer poor

Theophrastus,

And in addition to her living arrangements, there are the various articles for The Guardian and Huff Po and others she writes for, a book contract with Penguin and (at one time at least) a publicity deal with Sainsbury's …

Yes, I think it's safe to say that this latter day Oliver Twist has been safely removed from the depths and delivered into the loving embrace of a thoroughly bourgeois Metropolitan lifestyle.

Though on the reasonable assumption that she is someone who thoroughly disapproves of said bourgeois Metropolitan lifestyle on moral grounds, tears and trauma from it all must surely be just around the corner.

I wonder who long we will have to wait before she starts penning articles entitled:

    Preparing avocado and walnut canapés for dinner parties has left me unable to open my own front door

or

    Interviewing Romanian nannies for my son has left me unable to open my own front door
Nikw211

From Elizabeth Nolan Brown's piece:

    … this case provides a good reference point for why we shouldn't curtail freedom of expression even when it comes from despicable groups like the Klu Klux Klan.

I find so very often that this is the heart of the matter and that it is always completely missed – whether through ignorance, accident or design – by the ever-swelling ranks of the Totalitarian Left.

More than once now, I have tried to make a very similar argument (online) with supporters of the No More Page Three campaign, when they have been attempting to force local authorities to remove The Sun newspaper from the periodicals section of public libraries.

I don't read The Sun but I find this campaign to be so wrong-headed and in so many ways that it's almost hard to know where to start. But the suggestion that The Sun ought to be removed from library shelves because of the continued presence of a naked woman on page 3 (i.e. inside the paper, not on the front cover) immediately runs into the problem of the campaigners being hoist by their own petard - yet they refuse to even acknowledge this seemingly obvious fact.

Art News, Flash Art and other journals of contemporary art - also often on display in public libraries - frequently contain within their pages, images of naked men and women sometimes doing such eye-popping things as 'laying' eggs from their vaginas, wiping their own asses with soft toy stuffed animals, knitting scarves naked, using wool that's been secreted in their vaginas and more recently charging phones … while naked … using their vaginas.

I cannot conceive of how any library policy could be crafted cunningly enough so as to target The Sun for page 3, but which could not equally be applied to a whole range of other periodicals and books - and not just ones on art.

No matter what anyone personally thinks about the The Sun's output, the fact remains that it is the best-selling newspaper in the UK and by a considerable margin.

How then could any public library justify stocking The Morning Star or Red Pepper, say, both of which have tiny circulations, but not the most popular tabloid in the country?

David

And in terms of their potential for morally corrupting the young and credulous, the Morning Star and Red Pepper are streets ahead.

wtp

Or a good plague. Total societal collapse. Another confounding of the languages like at Babel.

Well, here's a thought. Instead of only preaching to the choir, which don't get me wrong is a very important thing that needs to be done, go into enemy territory and present alternative view points. Yeah, maybe you will get banned. Nothing you can do about it. Move on elsewhere. There's plenty of targets of opportunity out there.

Lancastrian Oik

(K)nitting scarves...

That's something you wouldn't want for Christmas. Sweet Jesus, have you seen the state of her fingernails?

Meanwhile, the enthusiasm for bans and censorship is thriving at the University of Essex

"Safe Space" = the university as a pan-sexual convent.

DH

Is anybody else concerned that the totalitarian Safe Space policy will eventually seep out of universities and into everyday life once a sufficient amount of these lunatics graduate?

One must worry about the mind of a person that seeks to ban a political party from campaigning on the basis that it negatively impact on Union Member’s feelings, but is happy to take to Facebook to declare bloody tories, we need to get rid of them all now! ‪#‎sendthemtothegulags‬ ‪#‎buildabonfire‬ ‪#‎fullcommunismnow‬ as if it's the most normal thing in the world.

This, incidentally, appears to be George Johnson, the great progressive thinker behind the UKIP ban.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAdeLgvN5pE

Nikw211

Meanwhile, the enthusiasm for bans and censorship is thriving at the University of Essex

I know it's rather trite to make references to 1984, but quite honestly to deploy the phrase Safe Space in the service of banning freedom of expression really is one of those times when "War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength" comes quite forcibly to mind.

Incidentally, while I'm no fan of UKIP and won't be voting for them any time soon (if indeed, ever) I am starting to become very tired of the constant barrage of insults and accusations any time Farage opens his mouth, while his proposals and policies go untouched.

On that topic, I thought this, from columnist Grace Dent, was actually worth a look.

Hal

One must worry about the mind of a person that seeks to ban a political party from campaigning on the basis that it negatively impact on Union Member’s feelings, but is happy to take to Facebook to declare bloody tories, we need to get rid of them all now!

Right or left wing extremists do right or left wing extremism.

By contrast, we conservatives who are thus bookended by the right wing and left wing are the ones who actually take the time and effort to go and sort through the issues.

For the extremists, reality isn't the issue, it's all about the agenda.

At all times the conservative welcomes attention and discussion, for only that way does refinement and evolution and progress occur. At all times the liberal extreme points past the conservative to the other and opposing extreme, for in that way does the liberal attempt to deflect the self examination and improvement that will inevitably move the liberal away from the right or left wing and expand the liberal edge and excess to the all encompassing conservative center.

Forever denying this ongoing progression are those liberals who will remain forever liberal, and these liberals are made of the idealist liberals and the practicing liberals.

The idealist liberals are those who remain forever right or left wing, who will never accept anything the least bit conservative or opposing liberal, who remain the useless and infective extreme.

The practicing liberals are those who switch back and forth between right and left wing, depending on circumstance, who also remain the useless and infective extreme. For the practicing left wing liberal, the will of the individual is paramount, as long as that left wing liberal individual gets what that left wing liberal individual wants. For the practicing right wing liberal, the will of the right wing liberal organization is paramount, as long as that right wing liberal individual gets what that right wing liberal individual wants. When the left wing liberal gets an organizational position that allows that individual liberal to achieve whatever that liberal wants regardless of the cost to any others, then at that point that practicing liberal becomes right wing, where the will of the right wing liberal organization is paramount, as long as that right wing liberal individual gets what that right wing liberal individual wants. When the right wing liberal's organizational point of view ends up not being able to get that right wing liberal whatever that right wing liberal wants, then at that point that practicing liberal becomes left wing, where the will of the left wing liberal individual is paramount, as long as that left wing liberal individual gets what that left wing liberal individual wants.

Aside from general current events that keep reenforcing the above, in the UK at the moment specifically, the idea of jumping from Labour to Ukip does come to mind . . .

Spiny Norman

di,

Witness this ongoing Twitterspat and the tedious question-begging.

I see it didn't take long for Matty Iglesias to throw the considerable weight of his leaden intellect into the "debate".

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