Stevenson College is apologising to its students for serving Mexican food during [a science fiction event]. In a letter sent out to students, the college apologised for having “a Mexican food buffet,” while also featuring spaceships and aliens.
Wait for it.
The college received complaints saying the combination was racist because of the association between Mexicans and illegal immigrants.
Despite eight years of doing this, I didn’t see that coming. Let’s take a second to check the algebra of umbrage: Science fiction event plus chiliand burritos equals racism.
After receiving complaints, Dr Carolyn Golz said that the event “demonstrated a cultural insensitivity on the part of the programme planners and, though it was an unintentional mistake, I recognise that this incident caused harm within our community and negatively impacted students.”
At this point, bear in mind that several students, our fearless intellectuals of tomorrow, have felt a need to publicly articulate some version of the following, rather staggering idea: “Dear Sir or Madam, I have been negatively impacted by your insensitive buffet.”
Naturally, this explosion of WrongThought™ will have to be punished:
As a result, Dr Golz “will require cultural competence training for Programmes staff, in addition to implementing mechanisms for future programme planning that will ensure college programmes are culturally sensitive and inclusive.”
In the wake of this terrifyingly racist punch in the face of decency, expressed via the medium of reheated beans, Dr Golz urges students to report any further incidents of “hate” to the university’s Report Hate website, and thereby “cut down on insensitive events like Intergalactic Night.”
“The rich are richer and the poor are poorer,” says the left-of-centre British newspaper, The Independent, on its front page. That phrase is so common, so facile, so glib, that it is almost a truism. Except that it’s not true… On almost every measure of absolute wealth, the poor are getting richer. Because this fact seems counterintuitive, some people scrabble around for data that seem to contradict it. The Independent’s rather tendentious use of savings as its main measure of wealth is typical… The same partiality explains why leftists clutch so determinedly at their bizarre definition of poverty as having a household income less than 60 per cent of the mean – a measure which gives Britain a greater rate of poverty than Bangladesh.
And Natalie Solent on minimum wage laws and the subsequent, inevitable, dancing around the obvious:
I came across this article asking “Why are so many Seattle restaurants closing lately?” The writer, Sara Jones, goes through the possible answers to this question at some length. Ownership changes. “Concept switches,” whatever they might be. Premises too big. Ingredients too pricey. Menus too esoteric. Too loud. Too quiet. Managers who do too much. Managers who do too little. Many and various are the potentialities diligently listed by Ms Jones. It is a little hard to see why a plague of Managers Doing Too Much should suddenly descend on so many of Seattle’s eateries all at once, though. Could there be something else behind it, some really strange and frightening phenomenon whose name no one in Seattle dare speak? […] In fairness to the author, she does discuss the effect of the minimum wage hike eventually, after having exhausted all other options. She’s doing better than many.
As Anthony Anton of the Washington Restaurant Association puts it, “It’s not a political problem; it’s a math problem.” And I was rather taken by this comment here, spotted by Sam Duncan and offered in reply to a typically pious and self-flattering leftist:
No you don’t get to get away with that. You don’t get to advocate policies [i.e., higher minimum wage laws] which allow you to use force to deprive people of their jobs and their opportunities, and then claim that those who would have provided the jobs are the heartless ones. You don’t get to trot out the insipid, mindless, tendentious talking points about how you are morally or intellectually superior when every “solution” you proffer is destructive and is based upon forcing others to do your bidding. You don’t get to decide whose job is worth preserving and whose isn’t and still claim the moral high ground.
As yet the leftist in question has not seen fit to respond. Feel free to share your own links and snippets in the comments below.
In which we reflect on the woes of the Guardianista class, on the great thinkers of academia, and on the mind-shattering wonders of contemporary art.
In January we marvelled at the modesty of the novelist Brigid Delaney, who told Guardian readers that her lifestyle and living arrangements should be determined not by her budget, as is generally the custom, but by her self-estimated importance as a creative person. And therefore taxpayers should pay for her to live in a much nicer flat in a more happening part of town. On the same day in the same paper, fellow creative person Amien Essif bemoaned the fact that “there’s not much money in writing these days.” And so, again, the taxpayer must be made to “subsidise creativity” – including Mr Essif’s own writing on “consumerism, gentrification and hegemony.” For which, it turns out, there isn’t much of a market.
February brought us other elevated sensibilities, among them those of David Dennis, a man who regards the word “serve” as sexist and who, at home, frets about how food is put on plates. For him, meal times are a theatre of patriarchal oppression and fraught with complication. Gender politics also inspired the radical ladies of Columbia University to combat “male-centricity” by making all-girl pornography that is “hard to masturbate to.” Because thwarting masturbation with badly-made erotica is both a “guerrilla action” and “a feminist statement.”
In March the Guardian unveiled its roster of trainee journalists, thereby offering a glimpse of Guardians-yet-to-come. These hothouse talents, for whom lifestyle and pop culture are areas of expertise, promised to tackle “the issues that matter” to an entire generation, from students’ bedrooms and “canoeing to work” to an extended critique of drop-crotch meggings. Meanwhile, the paper’s Leo Hickman looked back on ten years of struggling with ethical purity and the “pangs of consumer guilt” brought on by buying Kenyan mangetout. Being so globally sensitive, Mr Hickman believes that the way to make Kenyan pea farmers richer is to not buy their goods. Despite his displays of piety, Mr Hickman was assailed by his even more pious readers, who pointed out that our fretful Guardianista “cannot be living ethically” or be “environmentally sound” while also having mains power and three healthy children.
April drew to our attention the talents of Ms Keeley Haftner, a taxpayer-funded artist and self-styled educator of the masses, who, in the name of art, deposited garbage on the streets of Saskatoon and was subsequently bewildered by said taxpayers’ lack of gratitude. Oh, and Guardian contributor Paul Krugman was paid $25,000 per month to think about the wickedness of economic inequality.
In May we beheld the fearsome intellect of Ms Lierre Keith, a radical eco-socialist and “gender abolitionist” whose interests include “sabotaging infrastructure” and cutting power lines, on grounds that leaving tens of thousands of people without light and heat will somehow encourage “class consciousness” and the end of capitalism.
Urban Studies lecturer Peter Matthews was a highlight of June, thanks to his concern for litter inequality, though with no apparent interest in how litter actually materialises, and his idea for defending the “poor and marginalised” with a “physically radical intervention” – i.e., demolishing homes nicer than his own. Another June notable was Ms Silvia Murray Wakefield, a “London-based feminist and mother of two,” who finds the World Cup distressing and oppressive, due to her belief that all of womanhood is being “erased” by a sporting event that occurs once every four years.
Not in the Guardian, as is generally the custom, but in the Spectator, thanks to Carola Binney, an undergraduate history student at Magdalen College, Oxford, who “writes on student life.” In keeping with tradition, the headline is bold:
Cloakrooms should be free to stop young women freezing to death.
If the thought process behind the headline (and its missing comma) is somewhat unobvious, Ms Binney elaborates:
As I wiggled into my tights in preparation for an end-of-term night out, I was faced with the perennial clubbing question: should I take a coat? Logic, and my mum, would say the answer was obvious. My outfit was hardly cosy, and a tipsy walk home at 2am in December is an adventure best braved from within my wardrobe’s most wind-proof, water-proof and fur-lined offering. But the question wasn’t just one of insulation – I had a financial decision to make. The cloakrooms at most Oxford clubs cost between one and two pounds: what did I want more, healthy circulation or a Jägerbomb?
Ah, the life of the mind. Our thoughtful undergraduate goes on to share Dickensian tales of underdressed drunkenness, thereby illustrating the seriousness of her latest cause:
25-year-old Bernadette Lee, for example, died of hypothermia last January after going on a night out in the Kentish snow with no coat.
“Coats,” she informs us, “are especially essential on nights out, because alcohol, although it makes you feel warmer, makes you more vulnerable to hypothermia.” From this, she concludes,
If local councils are looking for a way to protect young women on nights out, they ought to make a free cloakroom a condition of a club’s license.
Readers may wish to take a moment to process Ms Binney’s mindset of entitlement, a mindset not uncommon among our brightest and best. Specifically, the belief that coat-wearing in winter can only be achieved – say, by students at Magdalen College, Oxford, which, incidentally, boasts its own deer park – if local nightclubs are forced to provide storage for these items entirely free of charge. On account of the reluctance of said students to part with one, possibly two, whole British pounds. Money that might otherwise be spent on roughly one half of a tasty and nutritious Jägerbomb. You see, they can’t be arsed to pay. Therefore someone else should.
Two male customers ordered their sandwiches with diced onions, but when the sandwiches were presented the onions were not diced. The argument escalated until one of the men reached into the pocket of his friend’s jacket “pulled out a snake and threw it behind the counter.”
Via Mr X, Charles Cooke is entertained by a circus of competitive indignation:
As it has grown in popularity, the [anti-catcalling] video has been transformed into a blank canvas, onto which America’s brave advocates of hyphenated-justice have sought to project their favoured social theories. Evidently unwilling to let the spot stand on its own, Purdue’s Roxanne Gay wrote sadly that “it’s difficult and uncomfortable to admit that we have to talk about race / class / gender / sexuality / ability / etc., all at once.” Alas, she was not alone. Soon, the claims of “sexism” had been joined by accusations of “racism” and of “classism,” [video makers] Hollaback had been forced to acknowledge that it had upset the more delicate among us, and those who had celebrated the video [for its feminist stance] had been denounced as unreconstructed bigots.
A video that shows a Jewish woman being sexually harassed while walking on New York City streets has engendered tremendous outrage — not so much for the fact that she was sexually harassed, but because there weren’t enough white guys doing it.
Da’von Shaw, a Bedford, Ohio high school student, brought apples and craisins to school for a “healthy eating” presentation he was giving to his speech class. He took out a knife to slice an apple, and I’m sure you can all guess what happened next.
And Ed Driscoll reflects on how the New York Times became a (bad) student newspaper:
In the summer of 1992, the Times published a piece co-written by two seniors at Columbia who claimed to find all sorts of “disturbing” anti-Semitic allegories in the Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Michelle Pfeiffer film Batman Returns. “The biblical allusions and historical references woven into the plot of Batman Returns betray a hidden conflict between gentile and Jew,” they wrote. “Denied his own birthright, the Penguin intends to obliterate the Christian birth, and eventually the whole town. His army of mindless followers, a flock of ineffectual birds who cannot fly, is eventually converted to the side of Christian morality.” It’s some piece of work, and a reminder that calling for the banning of elections might actually not be the craziest thing that the Times has published by a college journalist eager for his first national byline.
As usual, feel free to share your own links and snippets in the comments. It’s what these posts are for.
The contemporary performance artist is, aswe’veseen, a supremely political creature, forever troubled by acute socio-political sensitivities, with insights and perceptions far beyond the ken of mortal beings. Should any of you dare to question that sensitivity, I steer you to the ever-twitching antennae of the performance artist and educator Marilyn Arsem, specifically her description of her own immensely subtle piece, U.S. Domestic Policy II:
My performance was on November 3rd 2010, the day after the elections that brought back a majority of Republicans to the Congress. While the news was not unexpected, it nevertheless gave me a sinking feeling when I awoke that morning to read the election results in the newspaper. I couldn’t help but do a performance called U.S. Domestic Policy as a result.
But of course. What other response could there possibly be?
With the help of an intern, I purchased quantities of beautiful ripe fruit - plums, oranges, kiwi, and a bag of red peppers, as well as a hammer and a water glass.
At this point you may have some inkling of where this is going.
The performance was a systematic act of destruction. I sat at the table and first raised a line of red peppers into the air. Then I methodically destroyed the tableful of fresh ripe fruit.
Uncanny, isn’t it? You must have the gift of mentalism.
I started with the hammer, but quickly began using only my bare hands. It took a surprising amount of time to crush each piece.
Juice spread over the table, and the smell of oranges permeated the room. I continually swept the detritus to the floor as the pile of fruit was reduced, until only a tall glass of water remained on the table. After taking a long sip of water, I carefully set the glass down, and slowly, excruciatingly slowly, inched the glass of water across to the far side of the table, where it hovered for several moments half off the edge, before finally crashing to the floor.
That sound you hear is your mind being expanded as political consciousness rushes in to fill the void.
Urban Studies lecturer Peter Matthews worries about the unequal distribution of litter and suggests bulldozing Belgravia. For the poor.
Our postcode class warrior links to a report fretting about how to “narrow the gap” in litter, how to “achieve fairer outcomes in street cleanliness.” But neither he nor the authors of said report explore an obvious factor. The words “drop” and “littering” simply don’t appear anywhere in the report, thereby suggesting that the food-smeared detritus and other unsightly objects just fall from the clouds mysteriously when the locals are asleep. And fretting about inequalities in litter density is a little odd if you don’t consider how the litter gets there in the first place. Yet this detail isn’t investigated and the report can “neither confirm nor reject the idea that resident attitudes and behaviours are significant drivers of environmental problems.”
Performance artists Katy Albert and Sophia Hamilton hit each other with pillows, thereby sharing their radicalism with the unthinking proles.
One has to wonder what our creative betters’ long-term plan is. How, exactly, were they hoping to entice employers and repay the cost of their extensive education? Is incongruous pillow flailing – sorry, “strategic refraction” - a skill in demand? Is it something the public cries out for and will rush to throw money at? What do the ladies plan to do when they’re, say, forty, or fifty? Given the improbability of such people being self-supporting in later life - at least in their chosen line, the one for which they’ve studied - do they have wealthy parents who will indulge them indefinitely? Or do they expect their talents, such as they are, to be rewarded with other people’s earnings, confiscated forcibly by the state and redistributed as artistic subsidy? And is self-inflicted dependency a thing to encourage and applaud? I ask because the ladies say they want us to “think critically.”
The Guardian’s Matt Seaton rages against tiny cakes, which are apparently exploitative and mentally debilitating, at least to womenfolk.
After telling us at length just how terrible and mind-warping these tiny fancies are, Mr Seaton adds, “I don’t want to ban cupcakes.” And yet he feels it necessary to say this, as if banning miniature sponges would be an obvious thing to consider, the kind of thing one does. And after banning them in his own office. An accomplishment that a fellow Guardianista, the daughter of the paper’s editor no less, regards as confirming Mr Seaton’s moral credentials: “I used to bring cakes into the office a lot, and Matt put a ban on it because he was worried about how much sugar we all ate. Practises what he preaches this man.” Come work at the Guardian, where the party never stops.
There’s more, should you want it, in the greatest hits. And tickling the tip jar is what keeps this place afloat.