David Thompson
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April 08, 2015

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Anna

Has she tried staying in her room and being radical in front of a mirror? Or is that too near the knuckle?

David

Or is that too near the knuckle?

Heh. But no, you mustn’t mock. All Ms Johnson wants is a safe space, a beautiful space, one “rife with consciousness,” with massage circles, where everyone “can express all aspects of [their] identity” and air their “more radical views.” A place where people are being radical only in ways of which she approves. Because they all agree with her, about everything.

ACTOldFart

... a safe space is one in which I feel that I can express all aspects of my identity without feeling that any one of those aspects will get me ... judged, fired, marginalised, attacked, or killed

Translation: "I am an utterly self-absorbed solipsistic wanker who lacks the intellectual and moral resources, or the backbone, to comprehend, let alone deal with, any event, situation or action which is even a millimetre outside my tiny, narrow, narcissistic world view. Further, you, the taxpayer/my employer/the academic institution which I currently parasitise are required to provide me with the grubby, narrow little cocoon necessary to sustain the utter unreality in which I currently dwell"

I hope, David, that you will pass on to Ms Johnson this alternative view of the nature of things.

David

the academic institution which I currently parasitise

As Heather Mac Donald put it, it’s “a co-dependent relationship between self-engrossed students and adults whose careers consist of catering to that self-involvement.” You can get a lot of psychodrama and enabling for that $60,000 a year.

Greg

The few times a week I visit this blog I don't get any sense that I will be (including, but not limited to) judged, fired, marginalised, attacked, or killed.

Thanks, David, for making a safe space for me.

David

You’ll find cushions and lotion at the bar.

Theophrastus

Someone should tell her that a safe place is one where there is respect for order and authority, as well as the rule of law and some norms of politeness.

Nicola Timmerman

It reminds me of La Leche breastfeeding meetings where we had legitimate reasons for being only women. Nevertheless it was often very precious too. I remember once expressing to the other women how boring raising a baby was, only saving myself by adding "If I have to do one more load of laundry..'

sackcloth and ashes

Dear Ms Johnson,

Take your whiny, narcissistic, self-important arse out of your safe space and out of Harvard. And if you've got even a shred of a social conscience you can ask mummy and daddy to pay in lieu the fees for an intelligent and hard-working - albeit less-well off - student to get the degree which he/she deserves.

Yours,

S&A

David

and some norms of politeness.

Yes, you’d think some everyday bourgeois politeness would go a long way. It seems to work for most of us, most of the time. But being desperately radical and therefore averse to all things bourgeois, Ms Johnson wants a place where she can “express all aspects of her identity” and show off her “more radical views.” Display being the whole point of having radical views. And no-one must ever judge any aspect of her “identity.” Even the aspects that are ludicrous. And so I picture a bizarre fusion of aromatherapy, group massage and primal screaming. With everyone being terribly radical and different, but in exactly the same way.

Ten

Known also by its working title, The Impending Evolutionary Wind-up of the Narcissistic Self-Coddled Progressive Intellect: Unfit for Survival at Any Cost.

sk60

massage circles

Oh dear.

David

Oh dear.

Lefties and lotion, together at last. “Do I have to take my pants off for this...?”

David Gillies

Irregular verb time:
I am airing my radical views in a safe space.
You are trying really hard not to say anything obviously prejudiced.
He is using the language of hegemony and oppression.

R. Sherman

I'm trying to imagine how my college years would've turned out had I demanded "safe spaces" where I was insulated from thoughts which disturbed me or called into question my pre-existing beliefs. For some reason, I don't think graduation would have been an option.

Jamie MacMaster

It was so much simpler in the old days. Every time drips like her wanted to beat a retreat, they created their own little happy lands by smoking a joint or two and emptying the refrigerator.

cep

This reminds me of a line from a song by the Austin Lounge Lizards:

"All my friends were non-conformists, so I became a non-conformist too."

Dr Cromarty

And we wonder why ISIL are winning.

&

Essay is dated April 1.

Watcher In The Dark

The trouble with really, really 'safe spaces' is that no-one knows you exist and cares even less.

wtp

I'm trying to imagine how my college years would've turned out had I demanded "safe spaces" where I was insulated from thoughts which disturbed me or called into question my pre-existing beliefs.
And we wonder why ISIL are winning.

Don't worry. Such will be coming to your alma mater as well. And after that, Marine Corps boot camp. Assuming ISIL hasn't won in the mean time. But again, I feel it needs to be said that the problem should be addressed/mocked at the source. Why do we see so many of these whiny stories of whiny children and very few of the enablers? Why aren't stories like this presented to administrators, professors, and such and have their names exposed, mocked and ridiculed?

David

Essay is dated April 1.

And yet so far as I can make out it’s not an April fool. It’s one of several confused articles by the same author.

Steve E

David, I trust that you are following Safe Hand and Body Lotion Guidelines and that the cushions used are hypo-allergenic and feather free.

https://gimmethegoodstuff.org/safe-product-guides/hand-and-body-lotion

David

Our young intellectual says, “In these spaces, I expect to be able to let my guard down for a moment, to not be on high alert about what I can and cannot say or about what others may or may not say.” So she wants a shared space in which to talk about her fascinating self – “all aspects of my identity” – all while free from any judgment whatsoever. A space where she doesn’t have to “water down” her “more radical views.” But if other users of that space are also not worrying about what they can and cannot say, and also wanting to share their “more radical views,” similarly uninhibited, they may say things of which she disapproves or with which she doesn’t agree. Therefore, in her mind, making it “dangerous.”

If only she could purge the world of people who aren’t like her.

pst314

"Ms Johnson is clear about what a safe space means to her:"

'Ms' implies that she is an adult. The language needs titles that indicate the person is a child, maybe PC for Precious Snowflake.

rjmadden

I think she needs a nunnery. Or medication.

TheTooner

"...so far as I can make out it’s not an April fool. It’s one of several confused articles by the same author."

That's because she's a fool every day.

David

I think she needs a nunnery. Or medication.

It’s such an extraordinary conceit – this idea of being entitled to mouth “radical views” and bang on about how fascinating you are while being spared from disagreement or factual correction. Any hint of which is “dangerous,” if only to a psyche made of meringue.

Dr Cromarty

I think she needs a nunnery. Or medication.

She wouldn't last ten minutes in a Cistercian, Carmelite or Carthusian convent. The type of psychological robustness required to accommodate others, to undertake beneficial tasks for a community or to spend long periods of solitude without seeking peer approval and affirmation would be beyond her.

R. Sherman

Don't worry. Such will be coming to your alma mater as well.

Oh, it already has. Things went to hell when they banned smoking in classrooms. Those were the glory days with goateed literature professors puffing on pipes pontificating about Middle High German while we grad students fired up the non-filtered camels and pondered vowel shifts in the late Middle Ages. That was back when, in order to get degree in German Literature, one had to actually read Faust.

Stuck-Record

Like so many closet authoritarians what she really wants is a place where there are no rules — apart from the ones she has made herself.

A place like this does exist.

It's called the inside of your head.

wtp

Those were the glory days with goateed literature professors puffing on pipes pontificating about Middle High German

At UF we had a history professor, I believe the name was Barrington or some such, who would start his lectures by opening a large bottle of Miller High Life which he consumed through the hour. He had tenure, of course. Don't recall if the students were similarly "empowered".

DH

....complaining that her school’s “safe spaces” are just not safe enough.

Do the existence of these "safe spaces" mean that their proponents consider the world at large to be an "unsafe space"?

If you genuinely feel that you're in peril of being judged, fired, marginalised, attacked, or killed virtually everywhere you go, then surely you need to visit a psychiatrist rather than a university.

svh

This.

https://twitter.com/iowahawkblog/status/585808310168748032

R. Sherman

At UF we had a history professor, I believe the name was Barrington or some such, who would start his lectures by opening a large bottle of Miller High Life which he consumed through the hour.

Later in my academic career at Mizzou, we would occasionally lunch at a local eatery which served Long Island Teas in opaque to-go cups. Afternoon classes tended to be more lively.

David

Do the existence of these “safe spaces” mean that their proponents consider the world at large to be an “unsafe space”?

There’s always a chance you could be interacted with in a way that’s insufficiently flattering and indulgent, so yes. I suggest they stay indoors, somewhere remote, huddled together in their mutual inadequacy.

Kel kel

What she describes exists and is called "the Oval Office".

David

Of course for Ms Johnson and her exquisitely delicate peers, the problem is intractable. Even if other random people don’t voice their disagreement, due to that bourgeois politeness mentioned earlier, they could still be disagreeing with their minds.

Imagine the sleepless nights.

Justthinkin

Wow. This child woman needs two things....a good spanking with a wooden spoon, and to be told to grow up. And a "safe" place? Here in Canada we call them mental institutions.

Spiny Norman

An over-indulged child of a "progressive" upbringing discovers the world does not cater to her every whim, then whines and snivels, demanding that it must. Oh, the unrelenting calamity!

For me, a safe space is one in which I feel that I can express all aspects of my identity without feeling that any one of those aspects will get me (including, but not limited to) judged, fired, marginalised, attacked, or killed.

She's describing a psychiatrist's office, not a university campus.

wtp

She's describing a psychiatrist's office, not a university campus.

What's the difference?

Crazed Weevil

What's the difference?

Better quality couches?

wtp

Well, I did think "football team" but now I'm not sure which one is the standard. Having a bit of an ontological crisis.

Rich K

Along similar lines: "#DayOfPink celebrates diversity as LGBT activists boycott over Laureen Harper's involvement"
(http://www.cbc.ca/news/trending/lgbt-activists-boycott-dayofpink-over-laureen-harper-s-involvement-1.3024726?cmp=rss)

i.e. We celebrate diversity as long as it agrees with our beliefs

james

I thought the market had peaked, and I sold all my shares in Stupid Inc.

More fool me.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

I tink svh's link to Iowahawk is referring to this:

University of Michigan Cancels Showing of American Sniper Due to Student Protest; Shows Paddington Instead:

Hal

I thought the market had peaked, and I sold all my shares in Stupid Inc.

More fool me.

Oh, no no. Stupid is eternal and omnipresent.

That's the way he would of wanted it, had he thought of it.

He's a little known saint, 'bout four foot two, four foot three, patron saint of civilization and parking meters . . .

The original Mr. X

"Only two things are eternal, stupidity and the universe, and I'm not so sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

If Miss Johnson really wants a place where "I can express all aspects of my identity without feeling that any one of those aspects will get me (including, but not limited to) judged, fired, marginalised, attacked, or killed", maybe she could try finding a like-minded blog/chat forum.

pst314

"Space itself is bounded by its own curvature, but stupidity goes beyond infinity."

Chistery

I had a 'safe place' at my Uni. It was called the library.

I doubt that would appeal to Miss Johnson because, alas, there was no stage and a condition of entry is that you must shut the f*** up.

mojo

Try to think of it as evolution in action. Lacking the social antibodies required for survival in normal life, they'll likely die off. Quietly, one hopes.

Darleen

I had a 'safe place' at my Uni. It was called the library.

Those are some of the most dangerous, double-plus ungood spaces now ... she might be exposed and triggered by dangerous books in there.

Jimmy

Those are some of the most dangerous, double-plus ungood spaces now ... she might be exposed and triggered by dangerous books in there.

It sounds crazy, but this is an actual thing that happened.

https://www.thefire.org/cases/indiana-university-purdue-university-indianapolis-student-employee-found-guilty-of-racial-harassment-for-reading-a-book/

Granted, he wasn't right there in the library; the same book can be found in the student library.

sackcloth and ashes

Twenty years ago, the 'safe space' was the bar.

I was (and still am) an atheists, and my friends included Christians. I was (and still am) on the left, and my friends included students who intended to vote Conservative (who included a blue-collar, comp-school educated lass who shattered many of my assumptions about who could be a Tory).

Universities are supposed to be places where your ideas and opinions - which may not be ideally and perfectly formed at the age of 18 or 19 - are to be challenged, and where you can meet people who actually disagree with you and have a perfectly valid point of view.

At least that's what mine was like back in the day.

Theophrastus

Dr Cromarty

Pedantry corner: the Cistercians and Carthusians are exclusively male orders, so she couldn't join them. And, as you say, the Carmelites wouldn't look at her.

James:

Peak stupid will never arrive. Stupid is an endlessly renewable - and growing - resource as long as so many people are 'educated' way beyond their level of intelligence.

David

I was (and still am) on the left

And yet, shockingly, you roam here with your psyche unmolested. Do let me know if you start to feel panic and anxiety, or in danger of being killed. I keep boiled sweets and a cylinder of oxygen behind the bar.

Dr Cromarty

@Theophrastus

Pedantry corner: the Cistercians and Carthusians are exclusively male orders, so she couldn't join them. And, as you say, the Carmelites wouldn't look at her.

That will be news to the nuns of the 45 Cistercian convents in Europe alone and the nuns of the 6 female Charterhouses around the world.

Google 'Cistercian nuns' and 'Carthusian nuns'

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Boiled sweets? Is this one of those bizarre British food traditions?

David

It’s the secret of all British cooking. At least 14 hours of heavy boiling.

wtp

I had a 'safe place' at my Uni. It was called the library.
Twenty years ago, the 'safe space' was the bar.

Maybe it had something to do with the tight quarters and such, but at U of FL the library, especially the older of the two we had...can't remember which was which, which is a tell itself I suppose...but I digress...the older of the two libraries was notorious for men exposing themselves, occasional sexual assault, and even some (supposedly) consensual public displays of fornication. Funny I don't recall any such thing being a problem in the numerous bars on or around campus.

wtp

damn....i f'd the italics again....apologies.

David

Fixed. :-)

Ofay Cat

When I read massage circles, what comes to mind is 'circle jerk'. I believe that to be a sexual activity brilliantly developed by the gay community. I also believe that today's universities are all functioning on that same principal. The snake eating it's own tail.

Hal

I had a 'safe place' at my Uni. It was called the library.

Hear, hear . . . although as this film student got settled in among the theatre students, the safe space shifted to being clustered with everyone else in the in house theatre lobby corridor with it's own telephone . . .

When I read massage circles, what comes to mind is 'circle jerk'. . . .

See also, circular firing squad.

David

I also believe that today’s universities are all functioning on that same principal.

Well, there’s a widespread assumption, especially among students of the arts and humanities, that an educated worldview is, and ought to be, a more or less leftist one. Professor Jere Surber is a textbook example. Note the man’s parochial conceit and, in the comments, his casual dismissal of people who challenge his self-flattering expectations.

It’s rather like when George Monbiot waved aside those who disagree with him as mere dullards struggling with racial phobias. In his mind, a non-leftist outlook “thrives on low intelligence” and “appeals to stupidity.” It’s “the critical pathway from low intelligence to racism.” While self-imagined super-intellectual leftists – people like George, in fact - are apparently “self-deprecating” and “too liberal for their own good.”

Theophrastus

Dr Cromarty

My sincere apologies. You are quite right. I learn something new every day. Thank you.

Barman, a drink for Dr Cromarty on my tab!

Dr Cromarty

@Theophrastus

C'est pas grave.

Still, thanks for the offer. I'll have a glass of Birra Nursia.
http://birranursia.com

Cheers!

Horace Dunn

Forgive my going off topic, but just in case you missed it, David, it seems that taking a selfie is "actually an attack on the moral self".

Guess where this was said.

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2015/apr/07/selfie-prince-harry-died-in-2015-selfie-stick?CMP=fb_gu

sackcloth and ashes

'Do let me know if you start to feel panic and anxiety, or in danger of being killed. I keep boiled sweets and a cylinder of oxygen behind the bar'.

Fuck off, mine's a vodka with a chaser. And pour yourself one while you're at it.

Hal

. . . it seems that taking a selfie is "actually an attack on the moral self".

Works for me, too.

Ray

"Lefties and lotion ..."

David owes me a new keyboard and a fresh beer.

David

No refunds. Credit note only.

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