December 29, 2010
In which we revisit imaginary evils, ludicrous solutions and various lamentations from the pages of the Guardian.
In January, Kevin McKenna inadvertently revealed the loveliness behind his lofty socialist principles:
Ponder the big, generous heart behind those sentiments. It offends Mr McKenna that private education should be allowed to exist. By McKenna’s reckoning, parents who view the comprehensive system as inadequate – perhaps because of their own first-hand experiences – are by implication wicked. And so they should be stopped.
February brought us the deep, deep thinking of the New Economics Foundation and their blueprint for a socialist utopia:
The NEF are convinced that, once implemented, their recommendations would “heal the rifts in a divided Britain” and leave the population “satisfied.” That’s satisfied with less of course, and the authors make clear their disdain for the “dispensable accoutrements of middle-class life,” including “cars, holidays, electronic equipment and multiple items of clothing.”
February also brought us urban oil painting, delusional playwrights and communist art reviews.
In March, we got a taste of, if not for, the cosmetic surgery aesthetic. And an advocate of “direct action” got a taste of her own medicine and didn’t like it one bit.
April saw Jonathan Kay recounting his visit to a Thinking About Whiteness workshop, where he was told “racism is an outgrowth of capitalism” and that “to ignore race is to be more racist than to acknowledge race.”
Ah, very clever. Guilt in all directions. It almost sounds like a trap. And the way to get past small differences in physiology is to continually fixate on small differences in physiology.
And Eyjafjallajökull did some rumbling.
In May, Professor Sharra Vostral exposed the humble tampon as an “artefact of control.”
At this point, readers may also wonder how it can be that an estimated 98% of humanities scholarship goes uncited or unread.
And a mighty hail fell on Oklahoma City.
June brought us race hustlers with superhuman hearing, anarchists with sticks and the thrill of socialist football:
Keen eyed readers will note that “an opportunity to play” doesn’t entail playing as well as you can. And I’m not quite clear how penalising competence squares with the professed ideals of sportsmanship. However, there is some encouraging news. The handbook helpfully urges talented teams to avoid the risk of forfeiture by “reducing the number of players on the field” and “kicking with the weaker foot.”
Amanda Marcotte added a warm feminist glow to July by sneering at grief and telling menfolk which feelings they’re allowed to have:
Readers may wish to ponder the belief that male feeling on the subject is inherently controlling and therefore nefarious, and the simultaneous belief that defining men’s feelings as malign by default isn’t controlling at all. And note the conspicuous absence of any reference to love – of partner or child-to-be. Coupling and reproduction are reduced to an ideological board game in which rivals vie for power and men only feel hurt when losing their dominion over someone else’s organs.
August saw Theo Hobson singing the praises of pretentious guilt, while Priyamvada Gopal displayed her subtlety of mind by excusing Taliban barbarism and denouncing modernity:
Gopal objects to “assertions of civilisational superiority,” as if the society in which she lives, and lives quite comfortably, offered women no more opportunity for self-determination than one in which girls’ schools are burned to the ground in the name of piety.
Omar Kholeif swooned at pseudo-art. And Gillian McKeith had a spot of bother with her vortex.
In October, Melanie McDonagh added fraud and extortion to the repertoire of feminism and K C Johnson discovered the penalty for exposing student indoctrination and academic groupthink:
Looking through various teacher-training outlines, the familiar leftist buzzwords appear repeatedly. “Diversity” and identity politics feature prominently and teachers-to-be are referred to as “critical thinking change agents.” These “agents” will use the classroom “to transcend the negative effects of the dominant culture” and will “speak on behalf of identified constituent groups,” becoming “advocates for those on the margins of society.” (Evidently, “critical thinking” should be taken to mean leftist thinking – critical of capitalism, individualism and bourgeois values - not thinking that might also be critical of the left, its methods and its assorted conceits. And one wonders how many liberties will be taken while speaking on behalf of “groups” deemed marginal and oppressed.)
Lara Pawson enlivened November by railing against the “hegemony of coupledom,” Priyamvada Gopal redefined violence, Seumas Milne found a new hero, and the festivities of bonfire night gave Leo Hickman and his colleagues a chance to display their righteous disapproval:
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.
Happy days. There’s more, should you want it, in the greatest hits.
Update: Just checked PayPal. Thanks to all those who made donations during the year. Looks like this rickety barge will stay afloat for a little while longer.