Friday Ephemera
Unearthly Views

Elsewhere (15)

Stuart Taylor takes another look at Duke University, where its infamous far left faculty has dug in even deeper.

Duke’s rules define sexual misconduct so broadly and vaguely as to include any sexual activity without explicit “verbal or nonverbal” consent, which must be so “clear” as to dispel “real or perceived power differentials between individuals [that] may create an unintentional atmosphere of coercion.” The disciplinary rules deny the accused any right to have an attorney at the hearing panel or to confront his accuser. The rules also give her - but not him - the right to be treated with “sensitivity”; to make opening and closing statements; and to receive copies of investigative documents.

Jeff Goldstein notes why Duke’s infestation will persist. 

The fact is, the people who make up these activist identity groups need their “isms.” And because fighting a particular “ism” is what gives them their identity to begin with, they cannot allow the “ism” ever to be stamped out without, in effect, obviating their own identities.

As Jeff, myself and others have pointed out, the relevance and power of identity politics advocates requires a cultivation of grievance among those ostensibly being championed. The grievance narrative must never be allowed to go away, whatever the actual situation, since grievance (or professed grievance) is the principal source of leverage, influence and funding. Even if this entails exaggerating minor slights or distorting statistics, or framing the issue so tendentiously that almost any kind of dissent can be deemed oppressive and malign. See, for instance, the ludicrous campus rape claims of Barbara Barnett, formerly of Duke, or the reactions of many feminists to factual correction by Christina Hoff Sommers, or the outrageous treatment of Keith John Sampson and Thomas Thibeault.

And Ophelia Benson notes some routine moral flummery at the BBC.

It had to report on this al-Shabab guy trying to kill Kurt Westergaard so therefore it had to make sure you didn’t get the wrong idea and think it, the BBC, didn’t think Kurt Westergaard deserved it, at least a little bit.

Indeed. Yesterday morning, the BBC’s Today programme performed much the same manoeuvre, suggesting the attempt to murder the 75-year-old cartoonist with an axe showed the strength of “feeling” on the issue and the “anger that still exists over what he did.” A more realistic response might stress instead a psychotic sense of vanity and barbarous presumption – one that validates the point of Westergaard’s cartoon.

Feel free to share your own items of interest.

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