Theodore Dalrymple on the intrigues of communist micro-cults:
The Balakrishnans, however, had a falling out with the Communist Party of England (Marxist-Leninist) over small doctrinal questions such as how many class enemies could be shot on the edge of a mass grave. Such differences over tiny matters led to immediate expulsions and excommunications. The Balakrishnans were expelled from the CPE(M-L) for “conspiratorial and splittist activities,” splittist being a technical term for anyone who disagreed with the leader of the groupuscule from which he was allegedly producing a split. Considering that the groupuscule always viewed itself in the vanguard of the whole world’s proletariat, splittism was a very serious offence: It risked confusing the world proletariat and leading them to mistake its own interests by following the splittist faction instead of the true, real Marxist-Leninists.
FIRE’s Harvey Silverglate on policing speech and the redefinition of “liberal”:
The thing that makes me laugh the most is that I am considered a right-winger by people on the academic left. Only people on the academic left are sufficiently narrow-minded to call me a right-winger. In fact, I’m a liberal, but I’m a civil libertarian liberal, an old-fashioned liberal, who not only believes in the decent society that helps its most unfortunate members survive, but who also happens to believe in freedom. So much of the left today doesn’t believe in liberty, especially the academic left. There’s something wrong with calling the academic left liberalism – they’re not liberals at all. They’re really leftist totalitarians.
Marc Sidwell on the bloat and dysfunction of the Arts Council:
The Arts Council was designed as a short-term expedient, operating on a modest budget carefully spent and with costs tightly controlled, as they had been in wartime... It was not designed to serve as a permanent substitute for public initiative and taste, and certainly not to administer a budget almost 80 times larger than it initially enjoyed.
And from 2008, Heather Mac Donald on the feminist inflation of rape on campus:
[If true,] the one-in-four statistic would mean that every year, millions of young women graduate who have suffered the most terrifying assault, short of murder, that a woman can experience. Such a crime wave would require nothing less than a state of emergency — Take Back the Night rallies and 24-hour hotlines would hardly be adequate to counter this tsunami of sexual violence. Admissions policies letting in tens of thousands of vicious criminals would require a complete revision, perhaps banning boys entirely. The nation’s nearly 10 million female undergrads would need to take the most stringent safety precautions. Certainly, they would have to alter their sexual behaviour radically to avoid falling prey to the rape epidemic. None of this crisis response occurs, of course — because the crisis doesn’t exist.
As usual, feel free to add your own links and snippets in the comments.
Many moons ago, in a post on classroom radicalism and the grooming of students, I wrote,
The problem is that adversarial role-play, like that of leftist academics Grover Furr and Rhonda Garelick, has little to do with reason, refutation or how the world actually is. It does, however, have a great deal to do with how those concerned wish to seem. In order to maintain a self-image of heroic radicalism - and in order to justify funding, influence and status - great leaps of imagination or paranoia may be required. Hence the goal posts of persecution tend to move and new and rarer forms of exploitation and injustice have to be discovered, many of which are curiously invisible to the untutored eye. Thus, the rebel academic tends towards extremism, intolerance and absurdity, not because the mainstream of society is becoming more racist, prejudiced, patriarchal or oppressive – but precisely because it isn’t. As mainstream society becomes less fixated by race, gender, sexuality, etc., so peddlers of grievance and victimhood must search out - or invent - something to oppose. Overstatement and escalation are all but inevitable.
This last point was illustrated with the ‘scholarship’ of Barbara Barnett, a graduate of Duke’s infamous humanities department, who claimed that college campuses have a rate of rape and violent sexual assault almost 1000 times higher than any credible calculation. Other, equally bizarre examples of activist ‘scholarship’ can be found in the archives, starting with this gem. You can imagine my dismay on discovering that my thoughts were not at all original, as Jeff Goldstein had demonstrated three years earlier:
An obvious problem with the grievance aspect of identity politics is that the grievance needs to be perpetually maintained in order to justify the identity aspect of the politics. And in an era of academic specialisation wherein just about every individual identity group has its own set of researchers and theoretical champions - as well as a widely accepted generic narrative of grievance - the observation that continued relevance (which translates into political power) is contingent upon the nursing and care of the grievance is something that too often goes unexamined by a society that, at base, really does wish to understand and fix the problems and frustrations expressed by individual identity groups.
That nursing of grievance – from hoax hate crimes to hallucinated racism - is a subject that’s cropped up here many times since. It’s a trend that’s becoming increasingly surreal. As, for instance, when Kerri Dunn, a psychology professor at Claremont McKenna College, slashed her own tyres and defaced her own car with abusive and racist messages, before walking over to puzzled onlookers and asking if they’d seen who was responsible. Despite being witnessed vandalising her own vehicle, Dunn protested her victimhood to faculty and police, citing a “crisis of hate” on campus, while students held rallies for “tolerance and diversity.”
A few days ago we were talking about critics grafting their own political hang-ups onto early zombie films. As when cineaste Robin Wood informed readers that the zombies’ cannibalistic tendency “represents the ultimate in possessiveness, hence the logical end of human relations under capitalism.” Well. With that in mind, I feel it’s time for a few words from someone close to our hearts:
I wondered if we could go back to talking about zombies and socialism? Because there is quite a lot of scholarship on this, recently, and a lot of people writing, erm, quite intelligently about the idea of the power of the zombie narrative as a class war narrative.
See if you can guess who it is before you follow this link.
For newcomers, more items from the archives. A flavour of what goes on here.
When there isn’t enough racism to justify her rhetoric and pre-booked outrage, what’s a girl to do?
A psychology professor at Claremont McKenna College slashed her own tyres and defaced her own car with abusive and racist messages. The professor, Kerri Dunn, protested her victimhood to faculty and police despite being seen vandalising the vehicle, thereby setting an example for youngsters everywhere. Meanwhile classes were cancelled in support of Professor Dunn and students held rallies for “tolerance and diversity.” But spare a thought for the professor, our self-imagined heroine. After all, if you’re going to tell students there’s a “crisis of hate” on your campus, as Professor Dunn did, and if the campus you’re talking about doesn’t match that rhetoric at all, then certain measures will have to be taken. And by measures I mean liberties. Like slashing your own tyres then blaming someone in your class. Or walking over to the people who’ve just watched you do this and asking if they’d seen who was responsible.
The deep socialist wisdom of Mr Owen Hatherley.
Our self-described Marxist also wants us to share a toilet and kitchen with people we may not like, and thereby “look beyond our obsession with private space.” Wanting your own living space, a little freedom from the tribe, is apparently an obsession, i.e., something bad and unhealthy. Rather than, say, a sign of not being a student or a hippie. Communes are a good thing and “increasingly sensible,” according to Mr Hatherley, while “insularity” – which is to say, privacy and individual territory– is not. “Other ways of living are possible,” says he, though he doesn’t disclose whether this morally improving arrangement is good enough for him.
Shaping young minds for a brighter tomorrow.
Many students of the humanities are entering a world in which adults can behave like Duke’s Wahneema Lubiano, an Associate Professor of African and American Studies who rails against the “hegemony” of “Western rationality,” and whose students learn that she’s “physically traumatised and psychologically assaulted” by global capitalism. This, remember, is a woman tenured at an elite university. For Lubiano, the classroom is a venue for her own political “activism,” i.e., the propagation of obnoxious racial theory, in which guilt depends on pigment, class and gender. Universities, we learn, are “engines of dominance” that should be “sabotaged” by people suitably radical and enlightened. People much like her, in fact. A transformation, incidentally, that one might think had already taken place and hence Lubiano’s license to take such liberties with students and the people paying her salary.
Pretentious racial guilt is so hard to wash off.
So remember, if you should be mugged in a part of town where lots of black people happen to live, whatever you do, don’t call the police. That would be proof of your ignorant racism and “white privilege.” And if your refusal to alert the police subsequently results in someone else being robbed by the same mugger, most likely someone who lives in one of those “Black and Indigenous communities,” at least you can take comfort in the fact that you won’t be accused of racism by one dogmatic bonehead.
And I’ve hidden hard liquor in the greatest hits.
More crushing injustice on campus, this time at the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies:
In a letter sent to colleagues in the department after the sit-in, [Professor] Rust said students in the demonstration described grammar and spelling corrections he made on their dissertation proposals as a form of “micro-aggression.” “I have attempted to be rather thorough on the papers and am particularly concerned that they do a good job with their bibliographies and citations, and these students apparently don’t feel that is appropriate,” Rust said in the letter.
You see, by highlighting spelling and punctuation errors, the professor is contributing to an “unsafe climate for students of colour.” Reminding students of the basic rules of English apparently helps to create “a hostile and toxic environment” in Professor Rust’s classroom. Such are the mental and emotional traumas of the modern grad school intellectual. These, remember, are people studying for master’s degrees and doctorates. Advanced learning. For those of you interested in the policing of tiny tragedies, “micro-aggressions” are defined by an official UCLA report as,
Subtle verbal and nonverbal insults directed toward non-whites, often done automatically and unconsciously. They are layered insults based on one’s race, gender, class, sexuality, language, immigration status, phenotype, accent, or surname.
It is not clear whether any workable definition of discriminatory conduct is capable of capturing every such microaggression.
The indefinite and strangely unilateral nature of the term does raise one or two problems. As Ricochet’s Tim Groseclose notes,
I’m pretty sure that by writing this blog post I have engaged in a microaggression.
And by drawing further attention to this story and its comedic possibilities, it’s very likely that your mild-mannered host is also oppressing somebody, somewhere, in ways that aren’t quite clear. And don’t you get all high and mighty either. By reading this you’re almost certainly complicit too. I denounce your wickedness. Now report to the correction booth. Three hours, maximum setting.
Mark Steyn on America’s throbbingly intellectual Clown-in-Chief:
As historian Michael Beschloss pronounced the day after his election, he’s “probably the smartest guy ever to become president.” Naturally, Obama shares this assessment. As he assured us five years ago, “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors.” Well, apart from his signature health-care policy. That’s a mystery to him. “I was not informed directly that the website would not be working,” he told us. The buck stops with something called “the executive branch,” which is apparently nothing to do with him. As evidence that he was entirely out of the loop, he offered this: “Had I been informed, I wouldn’t be going out saying, ‘Boy, this is going to be great.’ You know, I’m accused of a lot of things, but I don’t think I’m stupid enough to go around saying, ‘This is going to be like shopping on Amazon or Travelocity,’ a week before the website opens, if I thought that it wasn’t going to work.”
Ooooo-kay. So, if I follow correctly, the smartest president ever is not smart enough to ensure that his website works; he’s not smart enough to inquire of others as to whether his website works; he’s not smart enough to check that his website works before he goes out and tells people what a great website experience they’re in for. But he is smart enough to know that he’s not stupid enough to go around bragging about how well it works if he’d already been informed that it doesn’t work. So he’s smart enough to know that if he’d known what he didn’t know he’d know enough not to let it be known that he knew nothing. The country’s in the very best of hands.
Tim Worstall on why the advice of Will Hutton should never, ever be taken:
If we’ve got a cost that is higher than the benefit then this is a signal that we should stop doing this thing. Hutton is indeed arguing that the cost of a university education is higher, for many to most people, than the benefit that comes from having one. This is true whoever is paying the bills. Therefore we would rather like to have fewer people going to university... Hutton is arguing that university does not make sense in terms of value added for most students. He therefore proposes subsidy for those students. Which is ridiculous. If the activity is not value adding we don’t want more of it, we want less of it.
A very common way of thinking in literary criticism is not seen as a consequence of communism, but it is. Every writer has the experience of being told that a novel, a story, is “about” something or other. I wrote a story, The Fifth Child, which was at once pigeonholed as being about the Palestinian problem, genetic research, feminism, anti-Semitism and so on. A journalist from France walked into my living room and before she had even sat down said, “Of course The Fifth Child is about AIDS.” An effective conversation stopper, I assure you. But what is interesting is the habit of mind that has to analyse a literary work like this. If you say, “Had I wanted to write about AIDS or the Palestinian problem I would have written a pamphlet,” you tend to get baffled stares. That a work of the imagination has to be “really” about some problem is, again, an heir of Socialist Realism. To write a story for the sake of storytelling is frivolous, not to say reactionary.
It’s remarkable how often some cultural critics see their own preoccupations in unlikely art forms. As when the film historian Sumiko Higashi saw the Vietnam War lurking somewhere among the zombies and wrote that although “there are no Vietnamese in Night of the Living Dead... they constitute an absent presence whose significance can be understood if narrative is construed.” Or when cineaste Robin Wood informed readers that the zombies’ cannibalistic tendency “represents the ultimate in possessiveness, hence the logical end of human relations under capitalism.” Or when a Channel 4 reviewer hailed Danny Boyle’s zombie film 28 Days Later as actually being a “powerful message” about “anger at call-centre queues.”
As usual, feel free to share your own links and snippets in the comments.
Tim Blair on the self-regarding eco-guru David Suzuki:
Self-importance comes with the territory when you’re a warmist. After all, you’re saving the planet. Who could be more important than you? This elevated sense of self manifests itself in curious ways, such as Tim Flannery’s prediction of a universal belief system or his insistence that everybody is always writing about him, or Will Steffen’s fear that a retired public servant wanted to shoot climate scientists and Michael Mann’s mistaken Nobel Prize claim. But those three are mere junior narcissists compared to David Suzuki, who is now starring as a global climate martyr in a “powerful live theatre and public engagement project” about himself.
Tim Worstall on the myths and omissions of the “gender pay gap”:
Women who work part time earn more than men who work part time. Women in their 20s earn more than men in their 20s. Women who don’t marry and don’t have children earn more than men. What kills the average wage of all women, in comparison to the wage of all men, is that women - and it’s important to note that this is on average - take career breaks to have children and often then either more time off or lighter workloads to raise them. We might want to say that this isn’t a good idea. We might think that it’s just fine that people who make different life decisions earn different amounts of money. But what this isn’t is a gender pay gap. And anyone who wants to change matters has to recognise that it isn’t a gender pay gap so it isn’t something that is going to be changed by blathering on about gender. It’s about children and the having of them. And, if we’re to be honest about it all, as long as more women than men decide that they want to take those breaks and changed workloads in order to raise their children, then we’re always going to have that motherhood pay gap. Whether it’s a good or bad thing is entirely reliant upon your personal definitions of good or bad.
Theodore Dalrymple on modern priorities:
The slowness [of the police] to react - infinite slowness, in fact, since they did not react at all - contrasted oddly with an experience I had the previous Sunday. A couple of American filmmakers came to Paris to interview me… and decided that the little park opposite my flat would be a good place to do so. They set up the camera, but a few seconds later, before they could ask me a single question, a municipal policeman arrived. They were not allowed to film here without a permit from the mairie of the arrondissement, he said. I explained that these were Americans, come all the way from Texas expressly to interview me. He, a very pleasant and polite man of African origin, phoned his chief to see whether an exception could be made. As I suspected, it could not. I told the film crew that we should make no fuss; the man was only doing his job, silly as that job might be. As it happens there were several drunks in another part of the park making aggressive-sounding noises and breaking bottles, but them he did not approach, perhaps wisely, as they were several and he was only one. He thought he would have more luck with someone wearing a tweed jacket and corduroy trousers as I was.
And Jack Dunphy on our student intelligentsia:
Only on a college campus, and nowhere more so than an Ivy League one, does it take a committee to figure out the obvious. Which in this case is that a group of coddled elitists, none of whom would dare set foot in the New York neighbourhoods that benefited most from the NYPD’s “stop-and-frisk” tactics, decided that their opinions… are the only ones deserving of a public airing, and that anyone whose opinion may differ is therefore worthy of mockery, shame, and contempt.
As usual, feel free to share your own links and snippets in the comments.
Ed Driscoll quotes Kevin D Williamson on the joys and innovations of socialist thinking:
California is running out of things in the present to tax, and its future does not look terribly bright, so it has resorted to taxing the past. A combination of judicial shenanigans and legislative incompetence resulted in California’s reneging on tax incentives that had been offered to some businesses — and then demanding the retroactive payment of taxes for which businesses had never been legally liable. Small-business owners, some of whom had sold their businesses years ago, suddenly got demands for taxes running well into the six figures. And, California being California, it had the gall to charge those businesses interest on taxes they had never owed.
Via sk60, students demonstrate their grasp of a certain event in 20th century history:
We found all of the students who participated in our survey to be very bright and articulate. If they did not know the answer to any of the questions we posed, it is because they were never taught it in public school.
Greg Lukianoff on pretentious grievance and its advantages:
[Jonathan Rauch] talks about the idea of an offendedness sweepstakes. That essentially, if you make the argument that “I’m offended” is the ultimate trump card on what people are allowed to say, you shouldn’t be surprised that the standard for being offended gets lower and lower and lower. It’s only human nature that if you have a trick that lets you win any argument, you’re going to play it.
Lukianoff provides some vivid examples of this manoeuvre. If you want to see the kinds of people to whom it appeals, see also this.
And Theodore Dalrymple on the anti-capitalist millionaire named Banksy:
Banksy is a cartoonist and social commentator whose works appear on buildings, bridges, and other constructions rather than in newspapers or in The New Yorker. He has turned himself into a Scarlet Pimpernel figure, whose aversion to public appearances has proved the best possible publicity. His work is often witty and pointed, though his choice of targets for satire is purely conventional and precisely what one might expect of a privileged member of the intellectual middle classes. Only in his manner of proceeding is he truly original. In other respects, his work seems that of a clever adolescent — one who is now approaching middle age.
Theodore Dalrymple on the delusions and dishonesties of Marxist fathers:
Marxism was replete with heresies and excommunications that tended to become fatal whenever its adherents reached power. There was a reason for this. Marx said that it is not consciousness that determines being, but being that determines consciousness. In other words, ideas do not have to be argued against in a civilised way, but rather the social and economic position of those who hold them must be analysed. So, disagreement is the same as class enmity – and we all know what should be done with class enemies… A genre of apologetic literature grew up in the Twenties and Thirties. I have a collection of it; perhaps my favourite is Soviet Russia Fights Neurosis. How could intelligent people not have laughed? They didn’t laugh, though; they believed it, because they wanted to. What they did not want to believe was the abundant evidence that, from the start, the Bolshevik Revolution was a human catastrophe. Contrary to what many think, Solzhenitsyn revealed nothing in the Seventies that had not been known from the Twenties on. I have a contemporary account of the famine in the Ukraine, complete with photographs of piles of cadavers. Intellectuals devoted great dialectical effort to showing either that the evidence was false or that its meaning was different from that given it by “bourgeois” people.
Nick Gillespie on trimming a little fat from the state:
The shutdown provides the country with a perfect moment to ask why a federal government whose spending habits are an insult to drunken sailors everywhere is paying above-market compensation to hundreds of thousands of “non-essential” workers. The Department of Education is far from the only federal agency where massive numbers of take-them-or-leave-them employees hang their hats. According to Government Executive magazine’s incomplete tally, 90 percent or more of the staff at the Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Communications Commission, Securities and Exchange Committee, and the Departments of Treasury and Housing and Urban Development are considered “non-essential.” And let’s get real: When the Department of Commerce claims that a relatively tiny 85 percent of its workers are “non-essential,” we know we’re being played.
David Marcus on arts funding versus arts diversity:
The NEA and the tax exempt status of many arts organisations are hurting the very art forms they purport to support. They are in fact making American art less relevant to Americans’ lives… It is simply accepted that government support of the arts creates better, and better attended art. In fact, the perverse market incentives enshrined by federal tax expenditures through deductions for arts giving and direct government support have been accompanied by a decrease in attendance and a crisis in theatre… Fewer and fewer people go to theatre even though the federal dollars keep rolling in. These government dollars are not expanding the base of arts attendees, but rather subsidising the entertainment of wealthy, white people. Government dollars are not content neutral, a cultural ground game is being executed by the progressive Non Profit community to ensure that culture remains the sole preserve of leftist ideology… According to the NEAs own numbers the percentage of Americans who attended theatre dropped by thirty percent from 1992 to 2008. In that time the number of 501 (c) 3 tax exempt theatres doubled, from about 900 to about 1800. The total number of tax payer dollars dedicated to those companies also increased. So more companies are getting more money to create theatre but fewer people are attending.
And the playwright David Mamet on the same:
It is only in state-subsidised theatre (whether the subsidy is direct, in the form of grants, or indirect, as tax-deductible donations to universities or arts organisations) that the ideologue can hold sway, for he is then subject not to the immediate verdict of the audience but to the good wishes of the granting authority, whose good wishes he will, thus, devote his energies to obtaining.
The political uniformity and extraordinary conceits of our own pubicly-funded arts establishment have entertained us many, many times. As when the writer Hanif Kureishi told Guardian readers that culture, as represented by him, is “a form of dissent,” while the paper’s theatre critic Michael Billington claimed that a reduction of taxpayer subsidy for loss-making plays is nothing less than “suppression” of that “dissent.” Likewise, when the playwright Jonathan Holmes claimed that he and his peers are “speaking truth to power” – I kid you not – and insisted, based on nothing, that “the sole genuine reason for cuts is censorship of some form” and “the only governments to systematically attack the arts have been the ones that also attacked democracy.” You see, the suggestion that artists might consider earning a living, rather than leeching at the taxpayer’s teat, is apparently indistinguishable from fascist brutality and the end of civilisation. Though when the status quo in London’s dramatic circles is overwhelmingly leftwing, and when publicly subsidised art and theatre tend to favour parties that favour further public subsidy for art and theatre, what “dissent” actually means is somewhat unclear. And reluctant taxpayers please take note: Despite all the years of providing hand-outs, you’re now the oppressor. Yes, Mr Holmes and his peers are “speaking truth to power,” and for that they must have power over your wallet. And your wallet, and yours.
Last month the Daily Caller reported on an incident at the ostentatiously “progressive” Oberlin College in Ohio. This time the anti-black messages circulating around campus were joined by anti-Jewish and anti-homosexual messages. It turns out that one of the two principle culprits was a vociferous supporter of Obama who belonged to such groups as “White Allies Against Structural Racism” and who describes himself on Twitter as an “atheist/pacifist/environmentalist/libertarian socialist/consequentialist.” As William A. Jacobson reports on his website Legal Insurrection, “School officials and local police knew the identity of the culprits, who were responsible for most if not all of such incidents on campus, yet remained silent as the campus reacted as if the incidents were real. National media attention focused on campus racism at Oberlin for weeks without knowing it was a hoax.”
Jacobson’s timeline of the Oberlin saga makes for interesting reading, not least for the credulity and rush to judgement in the supposedly progressive media and the obfuscation – one might say complicity - of Oberlin’s President. Other fabricated “hate crimes” are mentioned in Kimball’s piece, including a sixteen-year-old student sending himself racist and threatening text messages warning him to drop out of running for presidency of the Student Council, and leading to the involvement of parents, school officials and the police.
As regular readers will know, feigning racial abuse, whether to justify more “diversity” measures or simply to indulge in some personal psychodrama, has, for some, become a fashionable strategy. As when a 19-year-old freshman ransacked her own room and scrawled racial slurs across its walls before curling into a foetal ball, supposedly “traumatised and mute.” When the invented nature of the incident eventually came to light, Otis Smith of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People showed a remarkable indifference to what had actually happened: “It doesn’t matter to me whether she did it or not because of all the pressure these black students are under at these predominantly white schools. If this will highlight it, if it will bring it to the attention of the public, I have no problem with that.” Despite Mr Smith’s nonchalance, it isn’t clear to me how activist theatrics of this kind – ranging from email sock-puppetry to hanging nooses in campus libraries - will help any students feel welcome and at ease.
Update, via the comments:
Mr Smith’s willingness to excuse malicious disinformation is shared by other activists. Among them, black law student Johnathan Perkins, who in 2011 told the University of Virginia’s student newspaper that while walking home he’d been taunted and intimidated by two white police officers. Perkins’ letter to the paper claimed that “most Americans are raised in racially sterilised environments,” and that “black people are accused of… playing the victim.” The student’s stated hope was that, “sharing this experience will provide this community with some much needed awareness of the lives that many of their black classmates are forced to lead.” A subsequent investigation involving dispatch records, police tapes and surveillance video from nearby businesses revealed the student’s story to be entirely untrue. In a written statement Perkins later admitted, “I wrote the article to bring attention to the topic of police misconduct... The events in the article did not occur.”
Archives of similar hoaxes can be found here, here and here. The latter includes a psychology professor at Claremont McKenna College who slashed her own tyres and defaced her own car with abusive and racist messages. The professor, Kerri Dunn, protested her victimhood to faculty and police despite being seen vandalising the vehicle, thereby setting an example for youngsters everywhere. Meanwhile classes were cancelled in support of Professor Dunn and students held rallies for “tolerance and diversity.” But spare a thought for the professor, our self-imagined heroine. After all, if you’re going to tell students there’s a “crisis of hate” on your campus, as Professor Dunn did, and if the campus you’re talking about doesn’t match that rhetoric at all, then certain measures will have to be taken. And by measures I mean liberties. Like slashing your own tyres then blaming someone in your class. Or walking over to the people who’ve just watched you do this and asking if they’d seen who was responsible.
To be cultivated, obviously, with racial segregation:
In order to create a safe space, this programme is open to people of colour only. A similar conversation for white students, faculty and staff is planned for the spring semester.
You see, it’s a “conversation,” one that’s all about “healing and mutual respect” and “engaging with diverse views.”
I’m actually rather tickled by the notion of students needing a “safe space” at Hamilton College, an elite New York liberal arts college with an endowment of around three-quarters of a billion dollars and where tuition is a mere $46,ooo, excluding room and board. This, after all, is one of the most cossetting and exquisitely PC environments on the face of the Earth. One that boasts an extensive, indeed prodigious, “diversity” apparatus, spanning Kwanzaa, Diwali, Multicultural Week, GLBT History Month, Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month and a “diversity and social justice project.” Not to mention numerous identity-affirming groups, among them, a Feminists of Colour Collective whose activities include workshops, naturally, and, also naturally, “periodic flash mobs.” Oh, and a Womyn’s Centre – yes, spelled womyn’s - whose “Womyn’s Energy Week” reveals the “creativity, progressiveness and deep thinking” of its participants.
Following unexpected public attention, the segregated “diversity” class has now been cancelled. Says Hamilton’s Director of Diversity Amit Taneja, “My intent was to be inclusive but my phrasing suggested otherwise.” The mistake, you see, was merely one of phrasing and how things may have appeared, i.e., to the uninitiated. Racial segregation being a cornerstone of inclusion, apparently. Despite being obliged to ditch his achingly sensitive ‘no white folk’ policy, Dr Taneja is of course undeterred in his mission:
I think it is a good idea now to pause and reflect on how we structure conversations about race. As a result, I invite all interested members of the community to come to a re-envisioned dialogue this Thursday at 4:15 p.m. to address two central questions: What does a meaningful dialogue about race look like? How can we best structure such a dialogue?
Because if there’s one thing students of the liberal arts really, really need - and need to be billed for - it’s another “dialogue” about race. Or rather, a dialogue about how a dialogue about race might be structured and what that dialogue might look like, should it actually happen.
More background on Dr Taneja and his acolytes can be found here. It starts off sounding clownish, as such people generally do, but a note of authoritarian creepiness may soon become apparent.
John Nolte spies a revolving door:
Whether the number is 15 or 19, the fact that this many so-called journalists from outlets as influential as CBS, ABC, CNN, Time, the Washington Post, Boston Globe, and the Los Angeles Times want to work at the very same administration they are supposed to hold accountable, is not only troubling, it also explains a lot. Why would anyone enamoured enough with an Obama administration they want to go work for, do anything that might make a potential employer uncomfortable — you know, like actually report on ObamaCare and the economy honestly, or dig into Benghazi and the IRS?
Advocates of minimum wage laws often give themselves credit for being more “compassionate” towards “the poor.” But they seldom bother to check what are the actual consequences of such laws. One of the simplest and most fundamental economic principles is that people tend to buy more when the price is lower and less when the price is higher. Yet advocates of minimum wage laws seem to think that the government can raise the price of labour without reducing the amount of labour that will be hired... As for being “compassionate” toward “the poor,” this assumes that there is some enduring class of Americans who are poor in some meaningful sense, and that there is something compassionate about reducing their chances of getting a job… Most working people in the bottom 20 percent in income at a given time do not stay there over time. More of them end up in the top 20 percent than remain behind in the bottom 20 percent. There is nothing mysterious about the fact that most people start off in entry level jobs that pay much less than they will earn after they get some work experience. But, when minimum wage levels are set without regard to their initial productivity, young people are disproportionately unemployed -- priced out of jobs.
Related to the above, ESR on fast food and “social justice”:
If you are one of the concerned, caring, and vastly indignant activists behind this strike, I’m here to tell you that your social-justice problem has a simple solution. Take out a loan (or put together the money from your like-minded activist friends), buy a franchise from one of the chains, and hire workers at $15 an hour. There, that was simple, wasn’t it? You’ll make money hand over fist and demonstrate to all those eeevil corporations that they can too pay a “just wage”; they just don’t want to because they’re greedy. Or…maybe not.
Heather Mac Donald on when ‘affirmative action’ fails:
Racial preferences are not just ill advised, they are positively sadistic. Only the preening self-regard of University of California administrators and faculty is served by such an admissions travesty. Preference practitioners are willing to set their “beneficiaries” up to fail and to subject them to possible emotional distress, simply so that the preference dispensers can look out upon their “diverse” realm and know that they are morally superior to the rest of society.
And BenSix considers the artistry of Mr Robin Thicke:
It is customary in pieces such as this for their author to insist that he or she is no prude. I will respect this tradition and offer credentials: I have wallowed in low culture to an unhealthy degree, from cage fighting to B movies to French literature.
As usual, feel free to add your own links and snippets in the comments.
Writing in the Guardian, the Australian feminist and academic Hila Shachar rails against the little people, and how tight and stupid they are:
We seem to pride ourselves on our anti-intellectualism in Australia. This is why it came as no surprise to those in the business of thinking and researching when the Coalition insulted the work done through Australian Research Council (ARC) funding, calling the grants funded by the ARC “ridiculous” and a “waste” – a “waste” which it plans to “re-prioritise.”
Yes, Australia’s new and insufficiently leftwing government has dared to suggest that, while there will be no reduction in overall annual research funding of around $900M, and indeed some increase, those same public funds might more usefully be directed somewhere other than the fringes of the humanities. Say, into “researching dementia and diabetes.” As a product of the humanities and therefore in “the business of thinking,” Dr Shachar is not at all impressed by this and is keen to let readers know just how noble and heroic her fellow grant-seekers are:
It’s one of the most rigorous, stringent and competitive processes… Academics don’t apply for grants for the fun of it, and many continue to wade through endless applications because they believe in the basic worth of the research and its overall contribution to society.
Dr Shachar is, however, careful not to explain the contribution to society made by her own work, or by the humanities research projects that were highlighted as examples of non-essential spending, including a $164,000 grant for studying “how urban media art can best respond to global climate change.” Or by the boldly titled research project Queering Disasters in the Antipodes, which hopes to probe the “experiences of LGBTI people in natural disasters” and ultimately provide “improved disaster response” to gay people, whose needs in such circumstances are apparently quite different from those of everyone else. The princely sum of $325,183 has been spent on this endeavour. “No such work has been done in this field before,” says the project outline. Instead, we learn that “people who have received an ARC grant… are the last people in Australia you could accuse of frivolity and waste,” and that taxpayer subsidy of such things should be left to “people who are actually qualified to decide the importance of specific projects.”
Politicians shouldn’t be allowed to decide what is “relevant” in research any more than they have the right to tell business owners whether they like or dislike their products… If modern democratic countries such as Australia pride themselves in things such as free speech and an independent media, we should also fight for our free thinkers. There is nothing “ridiculous” about research, but there is something ridiculous about a country that is proud of its contempt for its thinkers.
You see, Dr Shachar is all in favour of democracy. She mentions it four times. She just doesn’t think the public should have any say in how its money is spent - say, by voting for a government with particular spending policies. Whichever party you vote for, nothing should ever change, at least in the humanities.
The tone is just a little telling: “How dare you, the lowly taxpayer, question our funding and the value of our work? Only we get to do that, and we agree with us. Why, you don’t even have an amulet!” It almost sounds like a caste thing. And note how our righteous academic conflates efforts to reduce the coercive public funding of, say, questionable art projects with contempt for thinkers. A manoeuvre that’s repeated throughout her article: “This attitude is no surprise… Australia has an underlying contempt for intellectuals, the arts, and specifically its thinkers… in Australia, thinking is for losers.” In Dr Shachar’s mind, these budgetary changes are an “attack” on Australia’s higher brain functions, of which the arts and humanities are its highest measure and most glittering jewel. And if you disagree with Dr Shachar on how your taxes should be spent and vote accordingly, why, it stands to reason you’re some kind of mouth-breathing heathen with a fear of big words.
Unlike you, Dr Shachar holds a PhD in English and Cultural Studies. Her contribution to intellectual life and the “business of thinking” is to occasionally teach classes in Popular Culture and of course Gender Studies, two subjects long admired for their profundity and intellectual rigour. A cure for motor neurone disease is expected from her in no time, along with breakthroughs in cold fusion and a mastery of time travel.
Somewhat related to the previous post, here’s another display by our moral and intellectual betters. Oh, the things that can happen in a creative writing class:
A professor at Michigan State University opened the first day of his creative writing class on Thursday by bashing Mitt and Ann Romney and ranting against “old Republicans” who he says “raped” the country, according to a student who made a secret recording of the class. The eight-minute video also reveals Professor William S. Penn bullying a student who apparently disagreed with his Democratic politics and arguing that Republicans want to prevent “black people” from voting. “If you go to the Republican convention in Florida, you see all of the old Republicans with the dead skin cells washing off them,” said Penn. “They don’t want to pay for your tuition because who are you? Well, to me you are somebody,” he continued.
Here’s the video:
Spare a few minutes for this small but instructive drama in which a self-described “bottle blonde bacon-eating vegan,” one famed for railing against “privileged people,” “conservatives” and “heteropatriarchal crap” - and for complaining about the burden of student debt - is shocked to discover that her degrees in “social justice and peace studies” and of course “gender studies” are not entirely useful in the job market.
It’s a reality our heroine finds difficult to process.
Slate’s Allison Benedikt stands at the altar and demands sacrifice:
You are a bad person if you send your children to private school… I am not an education policy wonk: I’m just judgmental… If every single parent sent every single child to public school, public schools would improve. This would not happen immediately. It could take generations. Your children and grandchildren might get mediocre educations in the meantime, but it will be worth it, for the eventual common good.
Yes, I know. We’ve been here before.
Via Jeff Guinn.
The academic Robert Skidelsky shares with Observer readers his vision of the good life. Or, more accurately, his vision of How Other People Should Be Made To Live™:
Society would be organised so the average person only has to work for a living three hours a day. For one thing, it is possible that person might enjoy his work so much he would want to work longer at it without more pay. There would I think be a huge proliferation of hobbies and adult education. A big expansion in travel. These things would fill many of the hours.
Quizzed, albeit briefly, on the practical implications of this time-rich, low-budget, very organised utopia – implications that include closed borders, consumption taxes, an end to economic growth and of course boredom - Mr Skideslsky replies,
It would require some restriction, I suppose.
The exact nature of this “restriction” is left oddly unexplored. This, after all, is an Observer interview. However, we do learn that,
Advertising… could be limited to a certain number of hours a week.
And someone, someone much wiser than the herd, would have to be put in charge of all that organising and limiting - of advertising and pretty much everything else. After all, says our deep thinker, “a change in philosophy would have to come first.” Hm. Why does that sound familiar? Perhaps Mr Skideslsky, like the Guardian’s George Monbiot, imagines a publicly subsidised “class of intellectuals” – people much like himself, in fact – who would correct the public’s preferences and guide us to “the good life.” (The same Mr Monbiot, incidentally, who thinks “wealth causes misery” and therefore “we” should be more like the peasants of Southern Ethiopia, who “smile more often” than we do and whose fields “crackle with laughter.”)
“Why don’t more people aspire to living a good life?” asks our architect of tomorrow, before blaming Margaret Thatcher. Why doesn’t the rabble want what he knows is good for us? And what’s good for us, apparently, is not earning more than Mr Skidesky deems “enough.” It seems we shouldn’t want to travel the world, as Mr Skidelsky does, or sunbathe by the pool at the Caracas Hilton, as Mr Skidelsky did, or own a house as comfortable and spacious as his. “Keynes never owned a house in his life,” says he, “neither for that matter did Virginia Woolf.” And so why should we, the little people? Mr Skidelsky imagines his inferiors “living good lives, surrounding themselves with beauty.” It’s just that he’d rather we didn’t get to own much of it, or have enough money to make more of it happen. Utopia, you see, will “require some restriction.”
Robert Skidelsky is the father of Edward Skidelsky, a sociology lecturer and Guardian contributor who also wants the state to make “us” embrace “less acquisitive modes of living,” thereby saving us from the morally corrupting horror of expensive cars, sushi boxes and pre-washed salad.
Mark Steyn on the downfall of Detroit:
Americans were so inured that the formal confirmation of a great city’s downfall was greeted with little more than a fatalistic shrug. But it shouldn’t be. To achieve this level of devastation, you usually have to be invaded by a foreign power. […] In my book After America, I observe that the physical decay of Detroit — the vacant and derelict lots for block after block after block — is as nothing compared to the decay of the city’s human capital. Forty-seven percent of adults are functionally illiterate, which is about the same rate as the Central African Republic, which at least has the excuse that it was ruled throughout the Seventies by a cannibal emperor. Why would any genuine innovator open a business in a Detroit “innovation hub”? Whom would you employ? The illiterates include a recent president of the school board, Otis Mathis, which doesn’t bode well for the potential work force a decade hence.
Daniel Hannan on the same:
The Observer, naturally, quotes a native complaining that “capitalism has failed us,” but capitalism is the one thing the place desperately needs. Detroit has been under leftist administrations for half a century. It has spent too much and borrowed too much, driving away business and becoming a tool of the government unions. Of Detroit’s $11 billion debt, $9 billion is accounted for by public sector salaries and pensions. Under the mountain of accumulated obligations, the money going into, say, the emergency services is not providing services but pensions. Result? It takes the police an hour to respond to a 911 call and two thirds of ambulances can’t be driven. This is a failure, not of the private sector, but of the state.
Victor Davis Hanson tries to start that “honest conversation” about race in America:
The president knows that if it is true that African-American males are viewed suspiciously, it is probably because statistically they commit a disproportionate amount of violent crime. If that were not true, they might well be given no more attention as supposed suspects than is accorded to white, Asian, or Latino youths. Had George Zimmerman been black, he would have been, statistically at least, more likely to have shot Trayvon Martin — and statistically likewise less likely to have been tried.
See also Heather Mac Donald on reports by victims of crime:
In fact, the race of criminals reported by crime victims matches arrest data. As long ago as 1978, a study of robbery and aggravated assault in eight cities found parity between the race of assailants in victim identifications and in arrests - a finding replicated many times since, across a range of crimes. No one has ever come up with a plausible argument as to why crime victims would be biased in their reports.
Cassandra ponders some fashionable double standards and things one mustn’t discuss when discussing race:
If it is acceptable for the President of the United States or the Attorney General to regale us with a remembered litany of racial slights, why is it racist and wrong for Victor Davis Hanson to share memories that left an imprint upon him? Why is it racist and wrong for me to do the same?
And Jeff Goldstein observes what $100,000 of student debt is buying for tomorrow’s “progressive” intellectuals:
And besides, what better way to save the planet than to remove a bunch of carbon footprints that are probably wasting valuable natural resources with all their electronic gadgets and social media time. Killing the children is for the children. As any major dude can plainly see.
As usual, feel free to add your own links and snippets in the comments.
As the ultimate private institution, the family is a stubborn obstacle to the great collective effort. Insofar as people invest in their own families, they are holding out on the state and unacceptably privileging their own kids over the children of others. These parents are selfish, small-minded, and backward. “Once it’s everybody’s responsibility,” [MSNBC host, Melissa] Harris-Perry said of child-rearing, “and not just the households, then we start making better investments.”
This impulse toward the state as über-parent is based on a profound fallacy and a profound truth. The fallacy is that anyone can care about someone else’s children as much as his own. The former Texas Republican senator Phil Gramm liked to illustrate the hollowness of such claims with a story. He told a woman, “My educational policies are based on the fact that I care more about my children than you do.” She said, “No, you don’t.” Gramm replied, “Okay: What are their names?” The truth is that parents are one of society’s most incorrigible sources of inequality. If you have two of them who stay married and are invested in your upbringing, you have hit life’s lottery. You will reap untold benefits denied to children who aren’t so lucky. That the family is so essential to the well-being of children has to be a constant source of frustration to the egalitarian statist, a reminder of the limits of his power.
Echoes of this attitude – that your children shouldn’t be privileged in your affections above the children of others - can be found in the pages of the left’s national newspaper. As, for instance, when Arabella Weir insisted that parents must make sacrifices - not for their own children, of course, which would be selfish and irresponsible - but of their own children. For the Greater Good. Children, see, must learn “who to be wary of, who to avoid, how to keep their heads down” by mingling conspicuously with “people of different abilities” and “local roughs,” including local roughs who see bookish children as prey. By Ms Weir’s thinking, if you had a grim and frustrating experience at a state comprehensive school, you should still want to inflict that same experience on your own offspring. Ideally, by sending them to a disreputable school with poor educational standards, demoralised teachers and lots of people for whom English is at best a second language. This, then, is what makes “a good, responsible citizen.”
The notion of children as collective property, something to be distributed for optimal social effect, as determined by the left, isn’t hard to find. Nor is it hard to find the penalties for thinking otherwise. As when the Guardian’s education journalist Janet Murray, who is presumably familiar with the eye-widening surveys of state schooling teaching staff, decided to spare her daughter those same physical and psychological thrills. And was promptly denounced by her readers in no uncertain terms. At least a dozen commenters called Ms Murray “selfish” on grounds that she is paying extra for her child’s education while also paying via taxes for a state system that she doesn’t regard as fit for use. (Paying twice, for her own child and for others, apparently makes her “elitist,” “uncaring” and mean.) Amid the inevitable accusations of racism and moral degeneracy, several readers took comfort, indeed pleasure, in the belief that Ms Murray would soon be fired for her heresy thus leaving her unable to afford her daughter’s tuition. Proof, if more were needed, that the Guardian is read by the nation’s most caring, enlightened and tolerant people.
Chris Snowdon on booze, sponsorship and publicly subsidised temperance zealots:
With tiresome predictability, Alcohol Concern says this must all be done for the sake of “children.” There is, it seems, no interference into adult pastimes that cannot be justified in the name of those who are prohibited from engaging in them. For the moral busybody, all the world is a crèche.
Peter Wood ponders the bean-counting world of campus gender equity:
To be “representative of the student body,” approximately 55% of the 52 Title IX Coordinator positions should have been held by women. But in our sample, 83% are held by women. Likewise, women appear overrepresented in the staff positions of the relevant campus offices, but the level of overrepresentation was less than for the top positions (73.1 percent of the positions are held by women). Considering that the overwhelming preponderance of sexual harassment allegations are directed by women at men, the disproportion of women to men in the positions charged with interpreting and enforcing the sexual harassment rules is a legitimate concern. Are male students who are accused of sexual harassment likely to receive fair-minded treatment in these offices?
Mark Bauerlein* on do as I say not as I do:
When white male President Mills pledges to press for race-based affirmative action, the right reply is this: “Well, then, sir, you must resign your post immediately and call for Bowdoin to hire a racial or ethnic minority in your place.” Keep it simple and direct. Every white male board member of the ACE should receive a message to step down. Let’s ask white male campus leaders to stand up for their own principles and do the thing they want everybody else to do. When white women acquire a disproportionate number of jobs in campus leadership, yet still call for more diversity, they, too, should be asked to withdraw. This is the logic of affirmative action, and if diversity proponents who are white follow it to its conclusion, they should relinquish their positions as soon as possible.
Jennifer Kabbany notes the difficulties of gendered nouns:
The University of Leipzig has voted to adopt the feminine version of the word for ‘professor’ as its default. In German, professorin refers to a female professor while professor is the male equivalent. Under the new measures, written documents will use the term Professorinnen when referring to professors in general. A footnote is to explain that male professors are also included in the description. Physics professor Dr Josef Käs suggested the change as a joke because he was becoming weary of extended discussions about gendered language. To his surprise, the university board voted in favour of the idea.
And Theodore Dalrymple on jihad, entitlement and Michael Adebolajo:
It is not true that the society in which he lived offered him no opportunity for personal betterment. Adebolajo was for a time a student at Greenwich University, graduation from which, whatever the real value of the education it offered him, would have improved his chances in the job market, especially in the public sector. But it was at the university that he encountered radical Islam, that ideology that simultaneously succours people with an existential grudge against the world and flatters their inflated and inflamed self-importance. It also successfully squares the adolescent circle: the need both to conform to a peer group and to rebel against society.
As usual, feel free to share your own links and snippets in the comments. [ *Added, via Rafi in the comments. ]
The number of bureaucrats on college campuses exceeded the number of people involved in instruction as of 2005. And that’s on average. It’s just been getting bigger and bigger. And when you have so many people whose job is to police the daily lives of students – shock upon shock – they start overdoing it. The reason why college has gotten so expensive, and the reason why free speech and due process are in such trouble on college campuses, is one and the same.
FIRE’s Greg Lukianoff on the battle for free speech, the redefinition of ‘harassment’ and the selective uptightness of the “new Victorians”:
Also from the video:
Mark Steyn on the loveliness that is Obama’s Big Government:
In April last year, the Obama campaign identified by name eight Romney donors as “a group of wealthy individuals with less than reputable records. Quite a few have been on the wrong side of the law, others have made profits at the expense of so many Americans, and still others are donating to help ensure Romney puts beneficial policies in place for them.” That week, Kimberley Strassel began her Wall Street Journal column thus: “Try this thought experiment: You decide to donate money to Mitt Romney. You want change in the Oval Office, so you engage in your democratic right to send a cheque. Several days later, President Barack Obama, the most powerful man on the planet, singles you out by name… The message from the man who controls the Justice Department (which can indict you), the SEC (which can fine you), and the IRS (which can audit you), is clear: You made a mistake donating that money.”
Miss Strassel wrote that on April 26, 2012. Five weeks later, one of the named individuals, Frank VanderSloot, was informed by the IRS that he and his wife were being audited. In July, he was told by the Department of Labour of an additional audit over the guest workers on his cattle ranch in Idaho. In September, he was notified that one of his other businesses was to be audited. Mr VanderSloot, who had never previously been audited, attracted three in the four months after being publicly named by el Presidente.
Thomas Sowell on words that replace thought:
You don’t need a speck of evidence, or a single step of logic, when you rhapsodise about the supposed benefits of diversity. The very idea of testing this wonderful, magical word against something as ugly as reality seems almost sordid. To ask whether institutions that promote diversity 24/7 end up with better or worse relations between the races than institutions that pay no attention to it is only to get yourself regarded as a bad person. To cite hard evidence that places obsessed with diversity have worse race relations is to risk getting yourself labelled an incorrigible racist. Free thinking is not free.
And Cathy Young on standards of academic feminism:
No scholarly text is ever error-free. But in the case of Kimmel’s book, there is a consistent pattern of using selective evidence and even pseudo-facts to stress women’s victimisation and paint males (particularly American males) in the worst light. The fictitious claim that most boys would choose death over girlhood – which will undoubtedly live on the internet after it’s gone from future editions of the book – fits seamlessly into the big picture. Internet myths aside, The Gender Society is widely used in college courses. And if it is indeed the most balanced gender studies textbook available – which may well be true – that says a lot about the rest.
Tsk. Questioning the accuracy of feminist textbooks is like hunting blind orphans for sport. It’s frowned upon, to say the least.
[ Added via the comments: ]
Fair, balanced and impartial Ian Katz will have no trouble fitting in… He is reunited with former Guardian colleague Allegra Stratton and, in Paul Mason, he has an ex-Trotskyist Workers’ Power group member as his Economics Editor.
Feel free to add your own links and snippets in the comments.
For newcomers, more items from the archives.
Bonfire Night is insufficiently glum. Something must be done.
An earlier Guardian poll - Should Fireworks be Banned on Environmental Grounds? - was a close-run thing, with a narrow majority willing to permit an evening of explosive hedonism. The Guardian’s Felicity Carus suggested a possible compromise in the form of “green fireworks,” a quieter, less colourful, less explosive alternative made from sawdust and rice chaff.
The colossal self-awareness of Mr Sunny Hundal.
Some people weigh their activist credentials by the annoyance they arouse, often deliberately, while dismissing the irritation as symptomatic of exposure to the Daily Mail. The degree of inconvenience and subsequent hostility can then be taken as evidence of one’s own righteousness and a cause for satisfaction. As if on cue, Sunny Hundal tells us: “Environmental issues is one area where I don’t yield much, and frankly when people snort angrily about [anti-air travel activists] Plane Stupid, that gives me even more pleasure.” Though not, I suspect, quite as much pleasure as Mr Hundal’s own extensive air travel adventures, which were excitedly announced shortly before his declaration of support for Plane Stupid: “Honestly, I love these guys.” Now I’ve no objection at all to people flying halfway around the planet, twice, as Mr Hundal did, to India then California, but I’m not the one declaring my “hard-line” green credentials.
Marxoid lesbianism, where the party never stops.
Margaret Jamison is a lesbian feminist who defines rape as “all penile intercourse” on grounds that, “there is something wrong with this notion that a woman’s ‘consent’ is what separates a rapist from a non-rapist.” When not insisting that “all heterosex is rape,” Jamison’s thoughts turn a little too readily to the subject of harming children: “I believe male infanticide to be a better option than the current circumstances. I think it’s better than what we’ve got.”
Meet Arun Smith, the ideal self-satisfied product of a leftist education.
Despite his extensive commentary on the subject, Arun Smith still hasn’t specified any actual remark that offended him sufficiently to vandalise the university’s free speech wall then boast about it online. However, he does tell us that expectations of free speech are “structurally oppressive.” Quizzed on his presumed entitlement to violence, Mr Smith replies, “You forget that writing can be violence. Resistance to violence is not violence.” And so he, being heroic, must resist and intervene to save some (again unspecified and exquisitely precious) potential victim. In this case, presumably, he’s saving them from the psychological hazard of passing by the statement “traditional marriage is awesome.” Four words that would obviously shatter the self-esteem of any vulnerable student already on the verge of weeping. Such are the dramas to be enacted in the modern Canadian university, one of the most indulgent and cossetting environments in the history of the world.
The Guardian’s fashion guru Charlie Porter has a bag that’s much too daring for Canary Wharf security.
“I heard someone behind me. I turned and saw a man in jeans and a plain top. ‘Security,’ he said quietly but firmly, showing me some ID. ‘Can I have a word?’ He asked to see my bag. ‘Is it yours?’ I said yes, incredulous. This felt like a parallel universe. ‘It’s just that we’ve had a lot of women’s handbag thefts. You can’t be too careful.’”
For more, grab a torch and waders and explore the greatest hits.