David Thompson
Subscribe
Blog powered by Typepad

« We Must Chase Her From The Village | Main | Friday Ephemera »

December 03, 2015

Comments

Joan

Laurie is doing that “difficult, necessary work” before our very eyes,

Snork.

Steveo40

Ooh, it feels like ages since we had a good Laurie Penny story. That's my day working from home sorted then.

Steveo40

When basic survival seems like a stretch goal

Heh heh heh. Yeah, it's really tough living in one of the richest countries in the world, during the richest period that's ever existed, with all your material needs easily satisfied. Really tough. I don't know how she can get out of bed in the morning / afternoon.

Jen

we’re worried we’ll be laughed at.

Has she tried not being laughable?

Steveo40

Sometimes I feel guilty laughing at the likes of Laurie. In the same way that I feel guilty laughing at the unfortunates being thrown off the early rounds of the X-Factor.

Sam

I once felt a twinge of guilt. Then I got over it.

Tim Newman

As PJ O'Rourke said:

Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes.

TDK

Because forcibly ‘occupying’ the entrance to St Paul’s Cathedral, as Laurie and her comrades did in 2011, and blathering about “revolution” and an unspecified “new world order” – and then being laughed at as self-flattering and pretentious – that’s exactly like “being beaten up by a gang of armed thugs.”

I think what she would say is that Capitalism is like being beaten up and that's what people would say stop to - ie Stop Capitalism without needing to specify the alternative. Cos' you know, revolutions are like fluffy wonderful events.

Most people given the variety of real life political and economic systems currently or historically on offer would think she is being melodramatic at best (and that's being generous). Given a choice between what we have and an unspecified utopia, only a fool would be on board.

Watcher In The Dark

'Working' for The Guardian, The Independent and the BBC seems to me like Ms Penny whirls around in a very small world. A bit like those souvenirs of plastic domes with fake snow in water; it's all stirring up in a very small, very protective bubble. Mind you, I imagine that if she saw the ones with St Paul's Cathedral in it that was why she thought her occupy outing was in sub-zero conditions.

Joan

a new collection of utopian fiction by radical women.

They must be flying off the shelves.

Jonathan

...for the simple, human reason that we’re worried we’ll be laughed at.

Or even worse, taken seriously and given a beating - sorry, disagreed with - on the spot.

Anon

'And the weakness of all Utopias is this, that they take the greatest difficulty of man and assume it to be overcome, and then give an elaborate account of the overcoming of the smaller ones. They first assume that no man will want more than his share, and then are very ingenious in explaining whether his share will be delivered by motor-car or balloon.'

G.K Chesterton, Heretics.

Karen M

Laurie is once again explaining how hard it is to be radically left-wing, to be Laurie Penny,

Privately educated middle class lefties with book deals and newspaper columns suffer so much.

David

Privately educated middle class lefties with book deals and newspaper columns suffer so much.

Quite. And she’s doing all this suffering for us, you know.

Yes, it’s ludicrous but it’s a pet theme of hers, a key part of her self-flattering theatre. She’s forever complaining about being “attacked,” by which she means mocked, as if the sniggering were unrelated to anything she says, and repeatedly tells her readers about “how hard it is for a woman to be taken seriously” in the media – despite the fact that other, more capable female commentators – Heather Mac Donald, Janice Fiamengo, Janet Daley, Christina Hoff Sommers, Cathy Young, etc – don’t seem to have this problem.

Likewise, she bangs on about how “women, leftists, people of colour” – noble people, people like her – are “punished for the smallest failure to be polite and sensitive.” This, from a woman who thinks that randomly abusing polite security staff is something to applaud, that mob intimidation, vandalism, rioting and “upsetting the police” are just tickety-boo, and that throwing heavy metal objects through someone else’s windows, showering the people cowering inside with missiles and shards of glass, “is not the same thing as violence.”

Almost every aspect of her persona is an inversion of reality, or a myth, or a cartoon.

Adiabat

This reminds of those people who always have "great ideas" for inventions, or a new business, but never follow through and do anything, often due to lack of talent or drive.

She's imagining how great it'll be if we all had flying cars or Star Trek-style teleporters, while leaving all the 'little details' of making it reality to others; the engineering plebs who will implement her "great ideas".

Ideas are cheap, anyone can have them. It's the detail that matters: how are you're going to achieve it.

mojo

The Risible Revolutionary

R. Sherman

. . . [E]veryone on the left are [sic] used to hearing… that we cannot point out what’s wrong with politics without instantly suggesting an alternative. This is nonsensical.

Penny: Your house is crap. I wish to burn it to the ground because you deserve a better one.

Me: Um, may I see the blue prints for this new "better" house? When will it be built? Where am I to live in the meantime.

Penny: Don't be nonsensical. You can't expect me to solve all your problems at once.

Spiny Norman

Almost every aspect of her persona is an inversion of reality, or a myth, or a cartoon.

If Laurie didn't exist, some satirist would have invented her by now.

rabbit

Duck Dynasty is mocked by many, but it regularly shows people bowing their heads before a meal and sincerely giving thanks for what they have.

Such a simple act. And so alien to the far left, who would have us believe that life is nothing but wretched oppression that deserves only our bitterness.

WTP

She's imagining how great it'll be if we all had flying cars or Star Trek-style teleporters, while leaving all the 'little details' of making it reality to others; the engineering plebs who will implement her "great ideas".

Ideas are cheap, anyone can have them. It's the detail that matters: how are you're going to achieve it.

That. Though I would add to "how you are going to achieve it", "and getting it done". Implied from above but bears repeating.

Horace Dunn

Penny says:

“The kind of independence many women my age can enjoy would have been almost unimaginable half a century ago – but somebody did imagine it, and that is why we got here. A great many somebodies, over centuries of struggle and technological advancement, asked how the world could be different for women and set about making it happen.”

There’s truth there. But instead of offering these “great many somebodies” as examplars for her readers, might Penny serve her cause better by applying herself to a study of just how these advancements came about? There were certainly utopians amongst these “somebodies”, but the visionary tendencies were necessarily tempered by practicality and reason and, of course, compromise. Very few parsnips were buttered by mere self-pity and self-flattering victimhood. If only Penny could grasp this fact, she could use her extraordinary privilege (Oxford, Harvard, the BBC, the Guardian, New Statesman, millions of admirers etc.) to better effect.

dw

Currently touring the United States,

Dear everyone in the US, we're sorry. We can't stand her either.

rabbit

Most leftists do have an idea of the sort of world they would prefer to see. Many of us have several. It’s just very hard to get us to talk about it ... for the simple, human reason that we’re worried we’ll be laughed at.

Point well taken. Leftists should be worried about being laughed at.

Which is why, I think, that they constantly redefine the English language. It cloaks their ideas under a shroud of pleasant-sounding obscurity, while giving the illusion of novelty and profundity. Eventually, though, these neologisms become understood for what they truly mean, and the left must keep replacing them with even newer terminology.

WTP

Dear everyone in the US, we're sorry. We can't stand her either.

FWIU, Oprah made her way over there. So...I suppose our bad to start.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

The kind of independence many women my age can enjoy would have been almost unimaginable half a century ago...

Having been very much alive in 1965, all I can say is that young Miss Penny don't know much about history, as the song goes.

NielsR

Meanwhile, back in the real world...

"The most brilliant idea, with no execution, is worth $20. The most brilliant idea takes great execution to be worth $20,000,000. That's why I don't want to hear people's ideas. I'm not interested until I see their execution."

Via http://blog.codinghorror.com/cultivate-teams-not-ideas/

It's amazing how much time and passion the left has poured into building their utopias, and how little they have to show for it. Meanwhile, progress.

NielsR

'“We want more.” This week, exhausted by the news, I dragged myself out of the house to a book fair, where I came across a new collection of utopian fiction by radical women. That was the first line and it stopped my breath in my throat.'

Showing that her entire stance and worldview is emotionally, deeply rooted in 'gimme'.

pst314

"Dear everyone in the US, we're sorry. We can't stand her either."

I wish that were a universal "we". I've met visiting Brits who think well of the Grauniad. People with advanced degrees, even.

(Sorry about Oprah.)

rabbit

NielsR:

I was manager of a research and development team for a dozen years, and I agree. Ideas are a dime a dozen. We never had any problem generating ideas.

Figuring out which ideas were worthwhile and creating valuable products from them was the trick. Still is.

jones

It's all those nano-aggressions.

Poor thing.

NielsR

Oh, God, sorry for the repeat posting but :

"The kind of independence many women my age can enjoy would have been almost unimaginable half a century ago – but somebody did imagine it, and that is why we got here"

This after wailing at length about how awful it is now, how the modern world is ripe for dystopian fiction (having overlooked Brave New World and 1984, for some reason).

"Motherhood is still not valued as work." whut? She wants children to be paid for? Isn't that... Staten-run slavery? I don't remember Huxley mentioning a going rate for Epsilons...

'we must continue to imagine other worlds and then plot ways to get there. '

*Waits for the imagining phase to end *

'our best shot at surviving that change starts when we have the courage to make impossible demands – to face down ridicule and say: “We want more.”'

Notes the low bar set for courage, and the retreat to 'gimme'.

NielsR

@rabbit: quite. I write software for a living, figuring out what you want the product to do is the easy bit. Then you hit the edge cases, or you struggle to get the licenses you need, or you have to make it play nice with the legacy system. Or even, the massive initial success shows that your code doesn't scale quite as nicely as you'd hoped...

The road is littered with the bodies of those whose dear looked great on paper...

NielsR

*idea

james

Currently touring the United States

and of course fretting about global warming and rising seas.

Obviously her own CO2 emissions are virtuous- it is the capitalist ones that cause the problems

ACTOldFart

Utopias require that we do the difficult, necessary work of envisioning a better world

Then, when we have our glittering vision in place, we'll start sending the goons around to re-educate/disappear/eliminate anyone who, most inexplicably, doesn't knuckle under to it.

It was ever thus, think "workers' paradise" or "the Caliphate" or Pol Pot's "year zero".

Bertrand Russell, hardly a reactionary capitalist, said something about shows of idealism being disguised hatred or disguised lust for power.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

Meanwhile, there appears to be an explanation for all the leftist arglebargle and their peculiar theories. From The Independent, Scientists find a link between low IQ and acceptance of pseudo-profound BS.

ACTOldFart

I suspect there is an even stronger link between low IQ and the propagation of pseudobabble

Farnsworth M Muldoon

I suspect there is an even stronger link between low IQ and the propagation of pseudobabble

Alas, I fear the two create a veritable perpetual motion machine.

ACTOldFart

Regrettably, the machine's only output is noxious gases

Allan

"our hero is shunned and oppressed by the hetero-patriarchal establishment. And yet she is, we’re told, “marginalised” and “marked as other,” except of course when she’s on TV, or Five Live, or Radio 4, or reviewing the papers for the BBC, or when airing her various and bewildering concerns in the pages of the Guardian, the New Statesman and the Independent. Or when on international book tours."

You call that hegemony patriarchal?! Pfft hardly worth tearing down.

Nate Whilk

Laurie's usual blatherings are always amusing.

However, Laurie's feelings about sports have some distinguished backup. From "The Sporting Spirit" by George Orwell:

"Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting."

Of course, Orwell wasn't always correct.

David

young Miss Penny don’t know much about history, as the song goes.

It’s the sly conflation of second wave feminism, which wasn’t entirely neurotic and dishonest, with third-wave feminism, which is.

Rob

We should cure cancer. I'll leave the details to others; I'm an ideas man.

Anon

I think the thing that is most revealing, about Penny and the Left in general, is that she is unable to conceive of a world which is 'good enough' or 'as much as we can hope for'.

Everything is either dystopia or utopia: there is nothing in between. If it's not perfect, exactly the way she wants it, it is nothing. If you don't agree with her entirely — if you only, say, agree with her about a few things but disagree on a few others — you are The Enemy.

The idea of imperfect, fallen people simply working out how to coexist on this planet we shared so that we don't kill each other seems not to even occur to her.

All or nothing. Black or white. Utopia or dystopia.

There is no middle ground.

NielsR

'If it's not perfect, exactly the way she wants it, it is nothing.'

Seems to be worse than that, actually. If it's not perfect, it's violent oppression of the dissatisfied. Which is why she describes being asked to provide some kind of plan before setting fire to the status quo like being viciously assaulted.

David

If it’s not perfect, it’s violent oppression of the dissatisfied.

As our pocket revolutionary once put it, “It has to be war.”

Bob

She's another lefty charlatan. Not worth the effort.

David

She’s another lefty charlatan. Not worth the effort.

Yes, she’s a charlatan, a hypocrite and an incorrigible liar. And yes, there are times I think my effort might be better spent counting the carrier bags hoarded under the sink. But her hackneyed, wearisome posturing has a sizeable audience. She’s published in every major organ of the British left, is on speed-dial at the BBC, boasts 120,000 Twitter followers, and she tours the world mouthing bollocks to audiences that applaud her. She is, I think, a kind of shorthand for a sizeable chunk of leftist thought. Or rather, leftist posturing.

WTP

She's another lefty charlatan. Not worth the effort.

Don't think I could disagree more. She's very visible in the UK and is a "thought leader", for lack of a better term, for many of her generation. The time to start addressing the these fools and their idiocy is long past. It's why we are where we are today. People, especially young people, accept the dominant ideas that are parroted over and over to them. Similar to Bin Laden's Strong Horse theory. If you can't draw the line with the likes of her, where do you draw it?

David

She’s another lefty charlatan. Not worth the effort.

If Laurie were some random poseur and entirely disconnected from broader trends, mocking her might still be fun but it wouldn’t be terribly significant. Unfortunately, her various pretensions and ideological tics are found quite widely, not least on campuses.

Hal

Hmmm.

Just ran across How To Make A Social Justice Warrior.

Anyone have any comments?

David Gillies

It's a commonplace, but might bear repeating: the root of the word 'utopia' is 'place which does not exist'. The two chief mischiefs of the world lie in imagining things to be other than they are and that a thing is worth other than what people are willing to pay for it. Die Welt ist alles, was der Fall ist.

The comments to this entry are closed.

For Amazon US use this link .

Your filthy consumerism supports this blog.

Blogroll