Novelist Brigid Delaney wants a nicer flat in order to write about those non-creative people. You, taxpayer, come hither.
As a member of our creative caste, Ms Delaney wants to capture the buzz and thrum of city life. She wants to inspire “recognition” and above all “empathy.” It’s just that she’d prefer not to empathise too much with those non-creative people. Say, by working for a living and paying her own bills. And who will write about those ordinary people and their non-artistic lives if we don’t encourage Ms Delaney and her peers to live way above their means, at our expense, in places they can’t afford? Places they can’t afford because what they create isn’t as vital to the public as they might wish.
Campus feminists combat “male-centricity” by making unerotic pornography and rubbing eggs on their breasts.
As some readers may be intrigued by the notion of all-female feminist pornography, here’s a brief description: “It begins with a group of girls sitting around a library table taking their shirts off. As the film progresses, the girls engage in activities including kissing, rubbing eggs on their bodies and twerking around a chicken carcass.” The finished political opus, titled Initiation, also features the somewhat lacklustre use of a riding crop and extended scenes of floor-wiping.
A San Francisco “nude-in” reveals more than intended.
Some may register a whiff of disingenuousness in exhibitionists accusing their critics of being repressive and stuffy. Exhibitionists may be eager to dispense with clothing in incongruous locations – say, a traffic island in the middle of a busy intersection - but they desperately need an audience, preferably one that’s embarrassed and unwilling. San Francisco is remarkably well-equipped in terms of nude-friendly clubs and amenities, including a nude beach and nearby nudist colonies. What’s revealing is that such venues weren’t deemed sufficient for our wrinkly radicals. And while I doubt many readers here are prone to fainting at the sight of withered genitals and subsiding buttocks, they may conceivably object to being made an accomplice to someone else’s psychodrama. As one young lady points out, “Unwanted exposure to scrotum is never okay.”
And I’m told it’s possible, if not wise, to while away an hour in the greatest hits, now updated.
Dennis Saffran on beer pong, WrongThought™ and academia’s latest racial inquisition:
The black student had jokingly named his beer pong team “Team Nigga” and would shout the name whenever the team scored. At some point, the white student - reprising a running joke on the football team, in which black students would greet white teammates with the phrase “White power!” - said, “Can I get a white power?” The black student replied, “White power!” The noise from the party awakened a student in another room in the residence hall… She reported this exchange to the Campus Living office, and an inquisition began.
The two students were charged with inflicting “physical or mental harm” and “discrimination or harassment,” as well as with disorderly conduct… Within days after the hearing, the two were found guilty of all charges, placed on probation, and ordered on threat of suspension to undergo “bias reduction training.” The ruling stated, without any support, that their “language had contributed to the creation of a hostile and discriminatory environment.” Rarely does the modern left’s humourlessness, authoritarianism, and subversion of its own goals come together as starkly as in this case.
This story didn’t get much play in the mainstream media but it tells you everything you need to know about the public health racket, from the headline down: “‘We will push for a law if we don’t get support,’ warns health group.” Yeah, that’s the spirit. If people don’t agree with you, force them.
And via Hal, Robyn Urback on the intolerant psychodramas of the Proletarian Feminist Front and their comrades-in-shouting:
By the protesters’ later account, however, their rebellion was akin to confronting and conquering proponents of “misogynist” messaging. (The event was actually about the struggles men and fathers face in family court, but that doesn’t really matter). On the Revolutionary Student Movement website, a blog post subsequently bragged that, “Revolutionaries shut down [a] Men’s Rights Activists event at the University of Toronto.” The protesters’ post reads like a passage from George Orwell’s Animal Farm, written in the style of a supervillain manifesto.
What occurs to me about these delusional tools - besides their mental conformity, their vanity, and their belief that the campus belongs to them and is theirs to disrupt – is that their places could have been taken by students who don’t strive to silence facts and ideas, and who actually want to learn something. Perhaps even a skill that’s of value to others and will thereby earn them a living. There must be thousands of much smarter, more honest people – people who don’t imagine themselves as Maoist “revolutionaries” - who would eagerly use the opportunity that these obnoxious little parasites are squandering.
As usual, feel free to share your own links and snippets in the comments. It’s what these posts are for.
Or, “What do we want? Diversity! When do we want to pay for it? Er…”
Heather Mac Donald discusses academia’s ‘diversity’ bureaucracy, its disregard for evidence and its multiple redundancies:
I was recently at Ohio University and their ratio of administrators to faculty tipped over in 2000. So for the last decade they have had more bureaucrats than faculty. Faculty lines are going unfilled because they claim not to have sufficient funding, and physical maintenance is cut, and yet, in 2009, they too created a new Diversity, Access and Equity Office, with a new provost to run it. Of course it was redundant, with the Office of Institutional Equity and their various ‘diversity’ ombudsmen throughout the university.
University administrators were telling state legislature that they were absolutely cut to the bone when it came to funding for essential functions and activities. UC San Diego was a typical supplicant. They had recently cut an MA programme in electrical engineering, had cut classes in French, German and Spanish, and they’d recently lost three cancer researchers… So this looked grim. And yet - that year - the university had announced the creation of an entirely new bureaucratic sinecure – a Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. And as is the case with all such new posts, it was incredibly redundant, with an already massive ‘diversity’ infrastructure that extended through the chancellor’s office, into provosts, committees, you name it. The list of names of their ‘diversity’ functions takes up an entire paragraph. […]
This ‘diversity’ infrastructure, and the larger bureaucracy, has made the recent wave of student protests look particularly foolish… There they are protesting against tuition hikes, and my view is, who are you guys protesting against? Take it to the administration, guys. Ask them why they have been bulking up on the ‘diversity’ chancellors instead of creating more introductory chemistry classes. But with their usual perfection of getting things wrong, the students completely missed the boat.
Gibor Basri, the Vice Chancellor of Equity, Inclusion and Diversity at Berkeley, participated in some of these tuition protests and said rising tuition gives him heartburn. Well, if he’s got so much heartburn, how about he starts divesting the seventeen staff in his ‘diversity’ office? He could even give up his own salary [of $200,000] or cut it by half. But instead he’s going to egg the students on to demand what he says “we” believe – that a college education is not a private right but a public good. Basri [with NYU’s “professor of social and cultural analysis,” Andrew Ross, of Sokal Hoax infamy] is spearheading an Occupy movement to demand the forgiveness of federal college loans and ‘free’ college tuition. Which would of course merely fuel the bureaucratic bloat by giving it an endless source of funds [i.e., taxpayers’ money].
It is the softly spoken radio show that provides good-natured help and advice to thousands of gardeners every week. So regular listeners to Gardeners’ Question Time may be horrified to discover it has been accused of peddling racial stereotypes. According to an academic, the sedate Radio 4 panel show is riddled with “racial meanings” disguised as horticultural advice.
Dr Ben Pitcher, a senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Westminster…
…claimed the programme’s regular discussions on soil purity and non-native species promoted nationalist and fascist beliefs. Speaking on another Radio 4 programme, Thinking Allowed, the academic said: “Gardeners’ Question Time is not the most controversial show on Radio 4, and yet it is layered with, saturated with, racial meanings.”
“The context here is the rise of nationalism. The rise of racist and fascist parties across Europe. Nationalism is about shoring up a fantasy of national integrity. My question is, what feeds nationalism? What makes nationalism powerful?” Dr Pitcher said the “crisis in white identity in multicultural Britain” meant people felt unable to express their views for fear of being called racist, so expressed their racial identity in other ways, such as talking about gardening.
When not hearing racism in discussions of soil acidity - and seeing it in Scandinavian furniture, which is “all about race” - Dr Pitcher writes about “how the meanings of race are made and remade in acts of creative consumption.” And, obviously, “the relationship between race and neoliberal capitalism.” He is, in fact, “setting out a framework for thinking about race in the twenty-first century.” Our senior lecturer in sociology also ruminates deeply on “Top Gear and postfeminist media culture.” Yes, a giant walks among us. Let’s all follow him.
Here’s the Gardeners’ Question Time website, in case any of you want to comb through the content for those hidden racial messages with which it’s apparently “saturated.” The episodes on the National Botanic Garden of Wales and the Chelsea Flower Show look particularly suspicious.
The National Science Foundation is spending over $200,000 to find out why Wikipedia is sexist. The government has awarded two grants for collaborative research to professors at Yale University and New York University to study what the researchers describe as “systematic gender bias” in the online encyclopaedia. […] Noam Cohen, a columnist for the New York Times… has asserted the encyclopaedia is biased because articles about friendship bracelets are shorter than entries about baseball cards. “And consider the disparity between two popular series on HBO: The entry on Sex and the City includes only a brief summary of every episode, sometimes two or three sentences; the one on The Sopranos includes lengthy, detailed articles on each episode,” he wrote.
Such are the ruminations of the modern intellectual.
The very fact that a site exists which gives an exhaustive, 4000-word-plus citations treatment of Ant-Man is going to skew male… Men (well, those of a nerdly bent) tend to be interested in trivia and obscura; women tend to not be, or at least not so much. I don’t care about Ant-Man, but for some reason I find comfort in knowing that someone out there does care about Ant-Man, and has digested Ant-Man’s fifty year history for me, should my life ever depend on knowing when Ant-Man married Janet Van Dyne… So the real [feminist] complaint boils down to this: The ten percent of a website which could reflect the cultural preferences of its unpaid volunteers does in fact reflect the cultural preferences of its unpaid volunteers, and yes, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine does get a more exhaustive, nerdishly-loving treatment than Sex and the City.
The federal government needs to pay people to study this and propose “solutions”? It occurs to me that we’ve spent $202,000 for a “study” which deliberately avoids a very simple explanation: Women just aren’t as interested in this type of crap as men. You don’t have to believe that to at least agree: This should have been one of the explanations scientifically studied, if we’re going to have a scientific study at all.
Any honest person who undertakes an in-depth study of modern feminism, from its inception inside the 1960s New Left to its institutionalisation within Women’s Studies departments at universities, will understand that without the influence of radicals — militant haters of capitalism and Christianity, angry lesbians who view all males as a sort of malignant disease, deranged women who can’t distinguish between political grievances and their own mental illnesses — there probably never would have been a feminist movement at all…
Once we go beyond simplistic sloganeering about “equality” and “choice” to examine feminism as political philosophy — the theoretical understanding to which Ph.Ds devote their academic careers — we discover a worldview in which men and women are assumed to be implacable antagonists, where males are oppressors and women are their victims, and where heterosexuality is specifically condemned as the means by which this male-dominated system operates.
While cultural leadership has changed hands many times, that leadership has been real at given times, and much of what was achieved in the process has contributed enormously to our well-being and opportunities today. Cultural competition is not a zero-sum game. It is what advances the human race. Cultures are living, changing ways of doing all the things that have to be done in life. Every culture discards over time the things which no longer do the job or which don’t do the job as well as things borrowed from other cultures… Spanish as spoken in Spain includes words taken from Arabic, and Spanish as spoken in Argentina has Italian words taken from the large Italian immigrant population there. People eat Kentucky Fried Chicken in Singapore and stay in Hilton hotels in Cairo.
This is not what some of the advocates of “diversity” have in mind. They seem to want to preserve cultures in their purity, almost like butterflies preserved in amber. Decisions about change, if any, seem to be regarded as collective decisions, political decisions. But that is not how any cultures have arrived where they are… No culture has grown great in isolation -- but a number of cultures have made historic and even astonishing advances when their isolation was ended, usually by events beyond their control.
At which point readers may recall the Guardian’s Emer O’Toole, a “postcolonial theorist” and assistant professor of Irish Performance Studies, for whom all cultures past and present are equally vibrant and noble, except of course the culture in which she currently flourishes, on which opprobrium must be heaped ostentatiously and often. Ms O’Toole famously bemoaned the colonial propagation of Shakespeare, whose works she denounced as “full of classism, sexism, racism and defunct social mores.” And worse, “a powerful tool of empire, transported to foreign climes along with the doctrine of European cultural superiority.” The possibility that at any given time one set of values and insights might be preferable to another, even objectively better, bothers her quite a bit.
Matt McCaffrey on our left-leaning, status-conscious intellectual caste:
Intellectuals do not participate in the market (at least not in the areas they write about), and do not generally rely on satisfying consumers to earn a living. Add to this their naturally critical attitude… and it is easy to see why intellectuals would be hostile to the market. In other words, intellectuals are often out of place in entrepreneurial societies. The growth of the intellectual class is not a response to consumer demand, but to the expansion of higher education. Passing through the higher education system does not necessarily confer valuable skills, but it often does convince graduates that work in the market is beneath them.
It is easier to forgive the evil done to others than to forgive the evil done to oneself, especially if in the first place we don’t really like those others to whom the evil is done. Then conspicuous forgiveness becomes a kind of sadism, an additional burden to bear for those to whom the evil was done: for as I know from clinical experience with my patients, the lack of proper punishment of the perpetrators of evil is itself a punishment of the victims of it, a punishment that is often long-lasting… This is because it removes from the victims all confidence that there is justice in the world or that anybody cares what happens to them.
This “conspicuous forgiveness,” a kind of vicarious tolerance, can be quite striking in its boldness and disregard for facts, with acts of savagery being met with improbable excuses and rhetorical diversions. Generally from a safe distance. In 2011, following the London riots, China Miéville, a middle-class Marxist and member of the International Socialist Organisation, claimed to be “horrified” that members of the press and public had used the word feral when describing the career predators and assorted thugs who, seeking excitement and a sense of power, had beaten passing pensioners unconscious and burned random women out of their homes. And who, on the arrival of firefighters, had dragged them from their vehicles and punched them insensible.
To use the word feral when describing such people was, Mr Miéville said, our “moral degradation far more than [theirs].” You see, by referring to such behaviour as savage and anti-social, we are the degraded ones in Mr Miéville’s eyes, the ones in need of chastisement. Our compassionate Marxist was hardly alone in his rush to invert reality and flatter the brutish, even as it became clear that an overwhelming majority of the looters, muggers and arsonists had previous convictions for similar crimes, an average of 15, and some more than fifty. Despite such bothersome details, flattery and evasion were very much the done thing as fellow leftists Nina Power, Laurie Penny and Priyamvada Gopal were happy to demonstrate. Presumably on grounds that none of the feral behaviour, the random beatings and violent predation, was being directed at them.
As usual, feel free to add your own links and snippets in the comments. It’s what these posts are for.
Certainly the notions of dependence and independence have changed. I remember a population that was terrified of falling into dependence on the state, because such dependence, apart from being unpleasant in itself, signified personal failure and humiliation. But there has been an astonishing gestalt switch in my lifetime. Independence has now come to mean independence of the people to whom one is related and dependence on the state.
Mothers would say to me that they were pleased to be independent, by which they meant independent of the fathers of their children — usually more than one — who in general were violent swine. Of course, the mothers knew them to be violent swine before they had children by them, but the question of whether a man would be a suitable father is no longer a question because there are no fathers: At best, though often also at worst, there are only stepfathers. The state would provide. In the new dispensation the state, as well as television, is father to the child.
The IRS tea-party audit story isn’t Watergate; it’s worse than Watergate. The Watergate break-in was the professionals of the party in power going after the party professionals of the party out of power. The IRS scandal is the party in power going after the most average Americans imaginable.
Because of pressure from women’s groups like the National Women’s Law Centre and the Women’s Sports Foundation, Title IX evolved into a rigid quota regime that dictates equal participation in sports by both sexes regardless of interest… Schools are cutting back on male teams and creating new women’s teams, not because of demand, but because they are afraid of a federal investigation. [Feminist advocates] have persuaded courts that if there are fewer women than men on college varsity teams the only explanation is discrimination. [But] the evidence that women taken as a group are less interested than men in competitive sports is overwhelming.
As always, feel free to share your own links and snippets in the comments. It’s what these posts are for.
Peter Matthews, an Urban Studies lecturer with an interest in “urban inequalities,” questions the “rosy image of mixed communities.” And yet he wants to ensure more of us live next door to “the poor and marginalised.”
When trying to create a better social mix, the focus is almost always on deprived areas. Aren’t the posh bits a problem too?
You see, in his mind,
Poverty and affluence are two sides of the same coin. One would not exist without the other.
If we really do want to mix communities, where better to start than in west London, in the decidedly unmixed Belgravia (average house price £4.4m)? Of course, such a move is unlikely to happen any time soon. The powers that be tend to live in such areas, after all,
Unlike Guardian columnists and editors, or leftwing academics, who invariably seek out only the most humble accommodation.
and are unlikely to appreciate the deliberate urban degeneration.
Imagine those three words, in bold, on the policy document. Followed by, “It’s what you people need, good and hard.”
As someone who grew up in what would now be considered a “deprived area,” amid lots of “social” housing and all manner of inventively antisocial behaviour, and then escaped, I’m not sure I’d appreciate a second taste of what it was I was hoping to get the hell away from. It’s hard to feel nostalgic for casual vandalism, routine burglary and bus stops and phone boxes that stank reliably of piss.
K.C. Johnson on dogmatic faculty, the Duke rape hoax, and why due process matters:
It was, I think, unprecedented, the sort of behaviour we saw from the Duke faculty. Faculty members essentially chose to exploit their students’ distress to advance a campus pedagogical agenda, to push their own ideological vision and to abandon any pretence of supporting fairness, due process and the dispassionate evaluation of evidence… A complete abandonment of any pretence of objectivity, of any interest in the truth.
Ann Althouse parses Hillary Clinton and is taken aback by what she finds:
Read it again and see how shocking it is. Not only did Hillary completely turn her back on “balancing competing values” and “more thoughtful conversation,” she doesn’t want to allow people on one side of the conversation even to believe what they believe. Those who care about gun rights and reject new gun regulations should be stopped from holding their viewpoint. Now, it isn’t possible to forcibly prevent people from holding a viewpoint… but the question is Hillary Clinton’s fitness for the highest office, and her statement reveals a grandiose and profoundly repressive mindset.
Somewhat related, Jayson Veley on the joys of modern schooling:
Andrew Lampart, a student at Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury, Connecticut, was assigned an in-class debate on gun control during his “Law & You” course. While preparing for the debate during study hall, Lampart logged onto the school-provided internet and found that students were forbidden from visiting The National Association for Gun Rights... “I used my study hall to research gun control facts and statistics. That is when I noticed that most of the pro-second amendment websites were blocked, while the sites that were in favour of gun control generally were not… I found it nearly impossible to get solid information to debate my side of the argument.”
For a long while I’ve been trying to interest my friends in the art world to get behind freedom of speech in a bigger way, to recognise that the very health of the marketplace of ideas depends on its openness to entry and its freedom of transaction... This usually doesn’t persuade anyone who isn’t already liberty-minded to begin with. So next I resort to self-interest. We creative types rely on that openness to function. If we don’t stand in defence of hate speech — not the content, just the right to express it — any mechanisms for cutting it off will eventually be used against us. If injured feelings take on the seriousness of injured bodies, we will become a society that pulls art off of walls, cancels performances, and strikes essays from public view. Sadly, this usually doesn’t work either, because the targets of accusations of hate speech typically lean right, and the art community leans left.
Franklin also links to this Pew survey of social media use, which suggests that self-described progressives are statistically much more likely to ban or block people with whom they disagree. A finding that may not be entirely shocking to regular readers.
And somewhat related, Greg Collins on the unremarked privileges of the self-appointed privilege police:
The paramount privilege at universities is not race, class, or gender, but intellectual soft despotism… A student whose worldview clings to that of university administrators and professors has the advantage of accessing university resources, money, and time to drive his cause. These instruments are far more powerful in granting benefits to politically preferred groups in higher education than subconscious biases in favour of particular races or classes. It is a privilege when your views conform with those of more than 90 percent of your professors. It is a privilege when your worldviews are blessed by a proliferation of like-minded commencement speakers and guest lecturers. And it is a privilege when you have university resources, money, and time within fingertips’ reach to wield to advance your political cause.
As an illustration of this leverage, Collins mentions one of many sabotaged speaking events - a talk by the conservative writer Don Feder at the University of Massachusetts in March 2009, the subject of which was, or would have been, free speech. Within 20 seconds of opening his mouth, Feder had been interrupted, shouted down and called a racist, before being screamed at repeatedly and assailed with epithets about his daughter. Despite his pleas for civility, Feder was unable to speak for more than three minutes without further, often deafening interruption by members of the International Socialist Organisation and Radical Student Union. Footage of the disruption can be seen here. Despite the students’ prolonged attempts to intimidate Feder and prevent the intended discussion taking place – a goal they accomplished - campus officials later claimed that Feder “chose to discontinue his speech.” An interesting, and revealing, choice of words.