David Thompson
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January 28, 2017

Comments

Turk Turkleton

Nice to see Laurie taking lifestyle advice from Dostoevsky's Underground Man.

Matt G

You know, I think we do Laurie a moderate disservice by complacently lumping her in with the insidious ranks of the 'looney Left'.

Indeed, we only need compare her to one of her contemporaries: Owen Jones. On first glance both are very much the same: terminally naive, chronically deficient in self-awareness, obstinate, dogmatic, alarmingly proficient in espousing romanticised platitudes of tyrannical leftist regimes, adept at manipulatively alternating between bully and bullied with lightning fast reflex, etc, etc.

Yet unlike Jones, Laurie essentially checks EVERY single box on the leftwing faux 'radical' cliche checklist (including even affecting an unconvincing mockney accent in a feeble attempt to obscure her privileged background!) which, contrary to popular belief, is not as common as one might imagine. In fact I'm not even sure the likes of Polly Toynbee can claim that dubious accolade. Not to that extent.

Indeed, the more one masochistically peruses Penny's inane witterings the more of a 'character' (as opposed to a real person with genuine if unpalatable/unfathomable views) she appears to be.

Now I appreciate that it is pretty much 'de rigueur' to insultingly speculate upon the mental stability, nay sanity of one's political/ideological enemies but in Penny's case such speculation is demonstrably warranted.

To use the official medical terminology then I really don't think she's very 'bright' (of which her elite education could evidently not alleviate) and to such a debilitating extent that one must wonder whether she's suffering from some undiagnosed mental affliction such as Bipolar Disorder or similar.

Again, gloating about the 'loony left' just doesn't satisfactorily explain away her penchant for incessant f^ckwittery and often jaw-dropping, delusional proclamations, assertions et al.

I generously used to wonder whether Penny had simply made that most cynical yet shrewdest of media-derived observations that so many under-talented hustlers had before her, i.e: spouting sh^t is far more lucrative than espousing sense. Katie Hopkins (for comparative example) is one such individual who deliberately courts controversy because she wryly knows that being outrageous ultimately always pays more.

But as I lamented above, I think Penny actually believes the bewildering crap she peddles and therefore likely has something seriously wrong with her - a deduction that, unlike others, I refrain from making lightly or else flippantly.

With all that said I wouldn't be at all surprised to read within the next few years that Laurie had tragically committed suicide. She's the type.

I don't gloat at that prospect.

Joan

hope is great but in the meantime there’s always spite.

It's always the meantime with Penny Dreadful. She also thinks spitting on people is okay.

http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2015/10/laurie-penny-defends-spitting-protesters-at-tory-conference/

David

She also thinks spitting on people is okay.

If memory serves, she was also quite enthused by Amy Whitehouse spitting on Kate Middleton’s younger sister. And Laurie has a long and colourful history of excusing, and indeed championing, thuggery, rioting and antisocial behaviour - or as she puts it, “upsetting the police” - including people smashing the windows of Mothercare and small ethnic restaurants and setting fire to occupied buildings. An attitude perhaps best summed up by her belief - stated on the BBC’s World Tonight programme - that “nicking trainers” is both righteous and “a political statement.”

This, then, is the woman, the grown woman, hailed by The Institute of Art and Ideas as “a leading thinker.”

Lisboeta

The sole commenter on Penny Dreadful's current rant has correctly summed her up:

Carry on being the same spoiled, privileged adolescent you’ve always been. “Sober facts and reasoned debate” are fields you never visited; “racist fearmongering”, instead, is an apt portrait of the usual snobbish posture, hypocritically directed against an allegedly oppressive white race, whose richest and most elitist milieu you belong to, inextricably.

R.Sherman

... that “nicking trainers” is both righteous and “a political statement.”

It's only political if one gets busted by the cops. Otherwise, it's wardrobe augmentation.

As for "trainers," I always have to remind myself that those are athletic shoes and not the underwear toddlers wear when learning to use the loo. Two peoples separated by a common language and all that.v

David

Two peoples separated by a common language and all that.

I’m sorry but, like all good-hearted people, I refuse to use the word sneakers.

Farnsworth M Muldoon

I’m sorry but, like all good-hearted people, I refuse to use the word sneakers.

Given that only about 0.1% of people who wear "trainers" actually train, how about the old standby, felony shoes ?

Fred Z

"We have five years until catastrophic climate change becomes a foregone conclusion"

said by the silly bint some time before your February 2012 post

PiperPaul

"as opposed to a real person"

"The followers of a mass movement see themselves on the march with drums beating and colors flying. They are participators in a soul-stirring drama played to a vast audience - generations gone and generations yet to come. They are made to feel that they are not their real selves but actors playing a role, and their doings a “performance,” rather than as the real thing."

- Eric Hoffer, The True Believer

PiperPaul

"spouting sh^t is far more lucrative than espousing sense"

Yes, but there comes a point where (buzzword warning) tipping points and critical mass are reached when this shit-spouting is everywhere. Then you get Trump.

David

felony shoes

Heh. I denounce myself.

David

Speaking of unpleasant and incoherent women, here’s another.

LS

Is "Carry on living and carry on working to spite those people" her version of "Living well is the best revenge"?

Because, while the "Living well…" quote has a touch of facetiousness to it, it certainly doesn't carry the spite that she herself wears so well.

David

while the “Living well…” quote has a touch of facetiousness to it, it certainly doesn’t carry the spite that she herself wears so well.

Quite. It implies letting go of the urge to be petty and vindictive. Whereas Laurie’s political posturing is often difficult to comprehend unless you assume a desire to hurt and frustrate other, happier, people.

Matthew McConnagay

Matt G - I agree, that chick's mad as a box of frogs

Spiny Norman

PiperPaul,

It's remarkable that something a self-taught political philosopher observed in the 1950s still holds true today.

Or maybe it isn't so remarkable: the worst aspects of human nature are eternal, I suppose.

Hopp Singg

Living well is the best revenge ... and she's sick and tired of you getting away with it.

Nikw211

“So Harvard is pretty intimidating. I feel a bit out of place. And I went to Oxford” said Miss Penny, back in 2014, not long after it was announced that:

The same announcement described Miss Penny’s intention to “study the economic history and theory of social movements, with an emphasis on digital culture and linguistics.” So has Miss Penny’s ‘journalism’ benefitted from that “intimidating” year at Harvard? All the evidence suggests not.

    White rage is what got Donald Trump elected.

That's the first line of the first paragraph. Absolutely no evidence whatsoever offered for this; none even hinted at.

    The clearest division between those who supported Trump and those who opposed him was along the lines of race ...

Actually, no

While it is true that only 8% of black voters supported Trump compared to 88% who backed Clinton, this ignores the fact that 37% of whites also voted Clinton. Roughly speaking, that works out as 2 million black and 4.5 million white voters backing HRC. A far more striking division was the one between voters aged 18-39 and those aged 40 and over. The younger age group were much more likely to vote Clinton, but only made up 36% of the electorate. So it was the two-thirds of the electorate who were 40 and over that preferred Trump to Clinton by about 6 percentage points that carried the election.

Given Miss Penny’s preoccupation with “Doomed youth” which “isn’t so sympathetic when it’s screaming defiance in your face” you would have thought she might have taken note of that. Voter apathy among young voters, not race, seems a more likely explanation than ‘white rage’.

    .... just like how in Britain the left still try to claim Brexit was solely about economic anxiety.

Again, no.

And given that Miss Penny is a contributing editor at The New Statesman, how is it even possible for her to have arrived at such a ludicrous conclusion? Her own magazine, the magazine for which she works, has published articles like these:

How did those stories pass her by? For that matter, how did this?:

Miss Penny is either completely ignorant of everything happening outside or a brazen, barefaced liar - neither of which are qualities becoming of a journalist.

    ... those who voted for Brexit were statistically better off than many of those who voted against it. It wasn’t the most deprived people in Britain who voted for Brexit.

Nope.

Almost needless to say at this point, but this is complete bullshit. As The Grauniad helpfully explains: “The decision for the UK to leave the European Union was overwhelmingly supported in parts of England with low income and education levels.”

By the way, this is still all from Miss Penny’s first paragraph. In just 116 words, this graduate of both Oxford and Harvard – two of the most prestigious universities on the planet – and quote-unquote ‘journalist’, has not managed to produce a single shred of evidence for anything she has said. Every one of her first five sentences is factually inaccurate.

The fact that the subtitle of the second paragraph is On the media provides an irony so deep, rich and fulsome that you cannot help but wonder whether Miss Penny was sober or even fully conscious when she wrote it.

    ... the media is an industry in crisis. Unfortunately sober facts and reasoned debate and tolerance are not things that get hits.

If I was slightly alarmed by the idea that Miss Penny seemed completely oblivious to what The New Statesman publishes, I am downright amazed that she seems not to even know what she herself has written. Where on Earth is the evidence of “sober facts and reasoned debate and tolerance” in anything she has ever emailed out of her overheated Macbook?

    Racist fearmongering gets hits, ...

A lesson Miss Penny has clearly taken to heart. Even the most cursory of glances at her Twitter account will confirm that.

    He knows that all he has to do is say the most outrageous things and he gets all the coverage in the news. They have to keep pumping out the click bait.

As Deckard says of the replicant, Rachel, in the movie Bladerunner: “I don't get it, Tyrell. How can it not know what it is?”

    We also talk too much about generational politics when we should be talking about class politics, and class politics often falls on generational lines as it does now.

What?

That sentence is awful. It’s the syntactical equivalent of an M.C. Escher print .

What is even harder to understand is who on Earth supports this woman and how can they not see how utterly awful she is? I mean it’s not as if she’s going to any great lengths to disguise her near total incompetence.

Everything she writes reads as if it were written by an anxious schoolgirl who has only just started to look at her homework at 11 pm on Sunday a night. She thinks she can bluff it and against all reason and sanity, she does.

Is the English-speaking world really so short of bloggers, especially young women bloggers, saying outrageous click-baity nonsense that the Media cannot, I don’t know, share out the column inches to a few hopefuls now and again rather than keep printing Miss Penny’s twaddle?

David

this graduate of both Oxford and Harvard – two of the most prestigious universities on the planet – and quote-unquote ‘journalist’, has not managed to produce a single shred of evidence for anything she has said. Every one of her first five sentences is factually inaccurate.

To a degree that’s quite surreal, Laurie’s career is based on bald, unargued assertion.

By the way, I love it when you heathens do the poking and combing for me.

Hey, it’s the weekend.

Theophrastus

Nikw211
That's excellent stuff. All I can add is that parts of the media see LP as a prophetess and preacher with radical chic, so she gets a free pass to spout evidence-free leftist cliches. No-one on the left sees her as the nasty and narcissistic girl-child she actually is.

Killer Marmot

Laurie Penny blames Trump's victory in part on "white rage."

The phrase is designed to demonize, trivialize, and dismiss the concerns of middle America, as if these people have no right to an opinion.

Well go ahead. And enjoy watching the Republicans become ever more dominant at the state and federal level as the Democrats' message becomes increasingly irrelevant.

PiperPaul

Why is almost everything the left does a form of Gish Gallopping?

Killer Marmot
May actually is an ideologue to some extent. She’s a different class of bastard to Trump, and equally dangerous in a different way. And remember, she was not elected. I think it’s deeply ironic that Brexit was about “taking back power” and now we have a leader who precisely no one voted for.

Theresa May certainly was voted in -- as the member of parliament for Maidenhead. She then become Prime Minister through a party election.

So far as Theresa May never being voted in as Prime Minister by the general public, no one is. That's not how parliamentary systems work.

You would think Laurie Penny, being English, would know how parliamentary systems work. She doesn't seem to have a clue.

David

Gish Gallopping

Heh. I had to look that one up. But yes, that’s pretty much the signature of Laurie’s so-called journalism. She makes some wild and sweeping claim, typically in the most operatic language, then rapidly piles more fanciful claims and begged questions on top of it, and more on top of those, until there’s a teetering stack of unargued assertions, which the reader is expected to accept - and accept passionately - despite a lack of evidence, or logic, or journalistic probity.

And, quite often, they do.

Chester Draws

I think it’s deeply ironic that Brexit was about “taking back power” and now we have a leader who precisely no one voted for.

But May is the most popular person for the post of PM, by quite some margin. So if the UK did have a vote, she would win handsomely. And when the UK goes to the polls next, I'd put money that she will win.

Which kind of ruins Penny's argument. Again.

Greg Allan

"Given that only about 0.1% of people who wear "trainers" actually train, how about the old standby, felony shoes ?"

When I was a sporty teenager in the seventies they were "sandshoes". There were only two types we could get. A plain canvas Dunlop and a single type of Adidas. You could get any colour as long as it was white.

Killer Marmot

I sometimes wonder what Laurie Penny thinks about David Thompson's regular eviscerations of her. I can't imagine that she's terribly pleased.

Or maybe not. Perhaps her worst nightmare is simply being ignored.

fnord

It is evident that she enjoys the taste of bile and takes every opportunity to indulge.

dicentra

In other news, I've seen the first 3 episodes of Netflix's "Series of Unfortunate Events" and I quite like it.

If you read the original books and were disappointed by how they ended, this TV series provides some hope, as the cryptographic story elements are being included from the beginning. The author is writing the teleplays, so maybe he's going to make up for writing himself into a corner with the books.

The set dressing is amazing, the casting is perfect, and Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf is wonderfully loathsome.

Ok, then. As you were.

Hal

The fact that the subtitle of the second paragraph is On the media provides an irony so deep, rich and fulsome that you cannot help but wonder whether Miss Penny was sober or even fully conscious when she wrote it.

... the media is an industry in crisis. Unfortunately sober facts and reasoned debate and tolerance are not things that get hits.

The embassy of the United States of America in Paris is, with one’s back to the River Seine, in the upper left-hand corner of the Place de la Concorde. . . .

When the embassy started calling the foreign correspondents the “media,” this caused some confusion at the French Foreign Ministry on the Quai d’Orsay. When the French wanted to know what the media was, they naturally turned to an English dictionary, which told them that “media” was the plural of “medium.” “Medium” was defined, first, as a “middle quality”; then as the middle term of a syllogism; and finally as someone who can communicate with the spirits of the dead departed. The obvious conclusion to be drawn was that the American diplomats were doing their tippling with a group of mediocre, if philosophical, communicators with ghosts. The French Foreign Minister was not surprised. It explained much about American foreign policy.

---MASH Goes to Paris, Richard Hooker and William E. Butterworth

Daniel Ream

one must wonder whether she's suffering from some undiagnosed mental affliction such as Bipolar Disorder or similar.

dicentra, dahling, they're playing our song.

I don't think she is. I think she's about as mad as Anita Sarkeesian or Lena Dunham; they're all deeply narcissistic and maliciously lying to exploit people, but have to some extent been lying so long even they can't quite remember the distinction between lie and truth any more.

Splotchy

Penny's intermittent presence in columns/debates is easily explained. Our crass news media no longer regard themselves as purveyors of news facts. Instead they try to 'entertain'. And what better way to do it than introduce a subject and then produce a couple of voluble extremists with polar views for verbal sparring? They are after clicks/viewers, not truth.

I used to feel annoyed at Penny's unjustified access to publicity for her incoherent squeaky ramblings given the basis for them was not any evidence, but her personal hatred and envy. Since then I've relaxed about her - her moronic promotion of her brand of Leftism helps ensure that Milligan, Corbyn remain unelectable, ditto Remainers/Clintonites did not benefit from endorsement from this selfish sociopath. She is so utterly ridiculous that any political cause she supports is instantly tarnished by association. Plus, her pronouncements lead to threads like this which are gently amusing. Think of her as the burbling clown in life's cabaret.

sH2

a teetering stack of unargued assertions, which the reader is expected to accept - and accept passionately - despite a lack of evidence, or logic, or journalistic probity.

Thanks for that link, David. I'd missed that one. She has no shame.

David

Thanks for that link, David. I’d missed that one. She has no shame.

It does illustrate the vivid mismatch between Laurie’s account of events and what actually happened, as photographed and videoed by the people doing it, i.e., Laurie’s comrades, and by quite a few of the people it was being done to.

I find it hard to believe that Ms Penny somehow didn’t know of what was happening, what had been planned, and somehow hadn’t seen the videos of what led to the scuffles and punching. They were, after all, uploaded with pride by the thugs she professes solidarity with. So either she’d managed to construe that thuggery as not at all threatening or provocative - say, to the people who suddenly found themselves under siege, trapped in their offices by a masked and chanting mob. Or… she was just lying.

Burnsie

White rage is what got Donald Trump elected

Poor Hillary. She can't even get a perfunctory "Sexism!" from one of her own loony feminists.

BTW, how can I maintain my white rage when lefties keep making me laugh? I get a giggle every day at that hewillnotdivideus zombie-magnet site.

Nikw211

To a degree that’s quite surreal ...

Speaking of all things “surreal”, could there be anything more bizarre than holding a Michel Foucault read-in during the inauguration?

This is Michel Foucault we’re talking about here – the man that came up with the concept of the “power/knowledge regime” in which:

    “‘Truth’ is to be understood as a system of ordered procedures for the production, regulation, distribution, circulation and operation of statements. ‘Truth’ is linked in a circular relation with systems of power which produce and sustain it, and to effects of power which it induces and which extend it. A ‘regime’ of truth”

You see that?

Is it not absolutely surreal just how often the people wailing loudest about ‘fake news’, the ‘post-truth’ or ‘post-fact’ society, and about ‘alternative facts’ turn out to also be the same kinds of people who nod with approval at Foucault’s definition of ‘Truth’?

@Theophrastus Why thank you kindly.

Roughly speaking, that works out as 2 million black and 4.5 million white voters backing HRC.

Likely no one cares, but those figures are clearly wrong – I think it should actually by around 12.5 million black and 31 million white voters.

The wider point still stands though – Miss Penny’s efforts to use the voting demographics to further stoke already existing racial tensions is as questionable as it is irresponsible.

Unlike Miss Penny, I at least try to correct any errors I have made as and when I spot them – but then I’m a heathen, not a journalist.

David

With my previous comment in mind, and because there isn’t quite enough irony in this thread, here’s Laurie on “fake news” and the importance of journalistic accuracy:

People who have no respect for the concept of truth are still capable of lies. However, they are also capable of bullshit – bullshit being a register that rubbishes the entire notion of objective reality by deeming it irrelevant. The only possible response is to insist, and keep insisting, that the truth still means something.

Sadly, no readers’ comments were permitted in reply.

R.Sherman

David, regarding your link above, I hope you're ready for the day your readers begin chanting, "Who's blog? Our blog!!!!"

David

I hope you’re ready for the day your readers begin chanting, “Who’s blog? Our blog!!!!”

Who blog is this?

R.Sherman

ULU vice president Daniel Cooper shared his thoughts via Twitter, “Today was a huge show of our force. Who’s universities? OUR universities! Who’s streets? OUR streets!”

Pete

Christ on a bike, just ignore the silly cow, you know it makes sense.

David

I sometimes wonder what Laurie Penny thinks about David Thompson’s regular eviscerations of her. I can’t imagine that she’s terribly pleased.

I know she’s aware of some of it, and people have forwarded links via Twitter. It’s hard to say how much thought, if any, she gives to what’s written here. Very little, I should imagine. Certainly, it’s had no discernible impact on her writing or behaviour. But then, if much of your political identity - and self-image and personality - is based on self-flattering errors, unrealism and habitual dishonesty, there’s no obvious incentive to rethink it. To pull at that thread would risk an awful lot.

See also, Melissa Fabello.

Hal

To pull at that thread would risk an awful lot.

See also, Melissa Fabello.

Ehn, no, not so for either.

"You've got me wrong," she said, "all wrong. I don't believe in God."
"Then what do you believe in?"
"History."
He looked at her in astonishment for a moment, then laughed. "Oh Liz...oh no! You're not a bloody Communist?"

---John le Carre, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold

Given that you're so utterly and clearly on just the wrong side of history, then obviously there are no loose threads to pull . . . .

Liz

See also, Melissa Fabello.

That's one of your better ones. :-)

David

Given that you’re so utterly and clearly on just the wrong side of history, then obviously there are no loose threads to pull…

That’s one of your better ones. :-)

It is quite vivid. But note that Ms Fabello refuses to share with her readers a link to the offending commentary, and is unhappy that I, someone she’s “never heard of,” dare to criticise her “work and personhood.” As if one could parse her bizarre claims at any length without reference to the psychological contortions that inform them.

And this is the thing. It’s not like disagreeing over some statistic or logical error, or debating the optimal level of taxation, given various criteria. In Ms Fabello’s case, as with Ms Penny, the entire edifice is riddled with neurosis and dishonesty. And so any pointed out-group challenge to it, however particular, is reacted to as if it were a challenge to that person’s very identity. Everything is at stake. And hence the imperviousness.

MC

Responding to Matt G up above, I think that Penny and Jones are quite different. He is an old-school Dave Spart socialist who - while not being personally evil - will turn himself inside out and defy logic for The Cause. Or just not mention unhelpful stuff, like Venezuela. I suspect if you met him in a coffee queue for 5 minutes and if politics did not come up you'd find him perfectly pleasant.

On the other hand, I can't imagine anyone normal spending 5 minutes with Penny and not feeling murderous. I suspect Owen Jones would feel the same way.

Penny is just a deeply unpleasant nihilistic narcissistic aggressive shitbag.She's Flashman* with ovaries. She will never commit suicide. She loves herself and her mess too much. She might be angry, but she is not unhappy.

*Tom Brown's Schooldays version, not the GM Fraser version

David

If anyone has trouble with comments not appearing, email me and I’ll shake the spam filter.

David

Further to my previous, I think the ladies may be extreme examples of what Thomas Sowell calls “the vision of the anointed,” and as he puts it,

If you happen to believe in free markets, judicial restraint, traditional values, [etc.]… then you are just someone who believes in free markets, judicial restraint and traditional values. There is no personal exaltation resulting from those beliefs. But to be for “social justice” and “saving the environment” or to be “anti-war” is more than just a set of beliefs about empirical facts. This vision puts you on a higher moral plane as someone concerned and compassionate, someone who is for peace in the world, a defender of the downtrodden… In short, one vision makes you somebody special and the other vision does not.

Because the vision of the anointed is a vision of themselves as well as a vision of the world, when they are defending that vision they are not simply defending a set of hypotheses about external events, they are in a sense defending their very souls – and the zeal and even ruthlessness with which they defend their vision are not surprising under these circumstances.

There are probably things I could write that might cause Ms Penny and Ms Fabello offence or irritation, perhaps even brief depression. But I doubt there’s anything I could write, at any length, however carefully, that would prompt them to register, and then alter, what it is they’re doing. They are committed. And committed in a way that’s unlike a confidence in, say, free speech or classical liberalism. The words “locked in” may be more apt.

Tim Newman

and to such a debilitating extent that one must wonder whether she's suffering from some undiagnosed mental affliction such as Bipolar Disorder or similar.

That would align with her being a polyamorist: it was in the comments on this here blog that somebody popped up with considerable knowledge of the practice and said it was full of Cluster B types.

Ramspace

I still enjoy her "debate" with David Starkey:
https://youtu.be/oj9dA6E3fJw

David Gillies

I've heard professional comedians complaining that it's very wearying when people expect them to be 'on' the whole time. Most of the time they want to be normal people saying normal, boring things. But those of Penny Dreadful's ilk are on the whole time. Nothing is outside the political sphere. Politics seeps into every nook and cranny; there's no escaping it, like the smell of drains. The most mundane aspects of life are picked up and peered at, like looking at a tchotchke through a demented jeweller's loupe. They really are appallingly boring people.

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