David Thompson
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May 16, 2013

Comments

rjmadden

Like Fun, But Less So.

The list of 'ethical dilemmas' made my morning, David. Especially the one about what to do with inherited fur coats. :)

David

Especially the one about what to do with inherited fur coats.

As Mr Eugenides noted, it does rather convey the moral minefield confronting Guardian readers on a daily basis.

Susan

Should Fireworks be Banned on Environmental Grounds?

Isn't transporting all those unsold Guardians up and down the motorway day in and day out a bigger environmental problem?

Bart

"This felt like a parallel universe"

Like some surreal and nightmarish alternate reality where the security guards check people's bags every so often? That sounds like quite the ordeal you went through there.

rabbit

Arun Smith is a self-described 7th-year human-rights major.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, including being able to say the above with a straight face, he's not stupid. His stunt, fascist by any standard, will endear him to the radical left, thus ensuring him of a life-long career sucking the blood from those who actually produce things of value.

No, the real idiots are the rest of us who allow ourselves to be exploited by such parasites. Too many pucks to the head, I guess.

David

rabbit,

Despite all evidence to the contrary… he’s not stupid.

That’s what’s so damning. Mr Smith is the end product of an absurd education. He’s been encouraged to embrace an obstinate foolishness, one that’s impervious to logic or reciprocity. It’s the kind of foolishness that has to be taught.

rabbit

David:

It’s the kind of foolishness that has to be taught.

Oh for sure. Lucidly arguing that censorship is liberating takes years of training using skills perfected and passed down through generations of academics.

K Fell

In my much younger days, as a wild living lesbian of the London demi-monde, c. 1982, I was propositioned, in somewhat clinical and militaristic terms by one of Ms Jamison's ilk. As a recently converted 'lesbian feminist', this singularly humourless, dour and boring woman, explained to me that it was important that she had an 'erotic' (emphatically not sexual) encounter with another lesbian to establish her status. I had apparently been nominated by her for this wondrous task.

I was young enough just to gape at her horror but too young to just laugh in her face. I really think she thought I would feel honoured.

rabbit
I was propositioned, in somewhat clinical and militaristic terms by one of Ms Jamison's ilk.

Good call. You definitely do not want to do it with an ilk. As soon as you feel those hooves on your shoulders you should stop, drop, and roll.

JuliaM

"...explained to me that it was important that she had an 'erotic' (emphatically not sexual) encounter with another lesbian to establish her status. "

That sounds like the sort of thing that should come with a whispered Attenborough exposition...

David

K Fell,

I had apparently been nominated by her for this wondrous task.

Heh. You may also be interested in Angry Wimmin, from Vanessa Engle’s Lefties documentary series. Around 6 minutes in there’s a section on “political lesbianism,” i.e. lesbianism as an ideological duty, irrespective of desire. One of the ladies, Lisa Power, remembers the dismal effect of this sexuality by decree:

It was a bit of a pain because there were all these women who suddenly wanted to be lesbians, but they didn’t actually terribly want to sleep with women. But they sort of felt they ought to, to pay their dues.

There’s a YouTube version here.

David

rabbit,

…arguing that censorship is liberating takes years of training using skills perfected and passed down through generations of academics.

It’s almost funny. Mr Smith obviously considers himself heroic and daring, a transgressive figure, practically a martyr. Speaking truth to power, as idiots like to say. But vanity aside, his most striking feature is a willingness to conform to someone else’s dogma, regardless of how incoherent and ridiculous that dogma makes him seem. Each slogan - almost everything he says - sounds regurgitated wholesale, as if he’s reading from someone else’s lecture notes.

And so he tells us that he’s vandalising property and censoring other students in order to spare the feelings of theoretical people who could one day be traumatised by even the possibility that someone might disagree with them, or question them, however politely. He also tells us that feelings should be inviolate – unlike personal property - and the ultimate decider of who gets to say what. Provided, of course, they’re the feelings of Designated Victim Groups, which must be given an absolute right to silence anyone they choose for any reason they choose, regardless of their own motives, or logic, or factual accuracy. And who counts as a Designated Victim, and is thus extended special unilateral privileges, will be decided by Mr Smith.

Because he’s so clever and cares so very much.

It’s all very postmodern, in that, for Mr Smith and his peers, insight and cleverness are to be achieved by disregarding logic and evidence in favour of tribes and feelings, or made-up feelings. If those feelings are opportunist and dishonest that doesn’t seem to matter, provided you can declare them loudly and on cue, preferably with tears in your eyes. The result is a parody of cleverness in which particulars don’t matter and presumed virtue depends solely on which notional group you can be said to belong to. And the cultivation of this tribalism and pretentious victimhood doesn’t seem to lead to clarity or equality or liberation; it leads to psychodrama and cartoonish bedlam like this. It’s just a bad faith pantomime for nasty little narcissists.

rabbit
It’s just a bad faith pantomime for nasty little narcissists.

Or perhaps it's a great way for Smith to score with university chicks. Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by horniness.

And if that's the case then I have to pay him some grudging respect. Well played, sir, well played.

Perhaps not, but at least I can understand and respect it more than postmodernism, which is an obscene power play dressed in the garbs of truth and justice.

Big Joe

cartoonish bedlam like this.

Holy crap. There are no words...

Rob

Thank God Diwali wouldn't be banned, only Guy Fawkes Night. Colossal firework displays lasting for days are completely different when it is Diwali.

mojo

Resistance to violence is not violence?

So, if you punch me in the nose (violence), my beating your butt bloody is NOT violence. Gotcha.

You're a loon, son.

Flat Eric

You need to read - and Fisk (or should that be 'Thompson'?) Eliane Glaser in today's Guardian, David. She's practically writing your blog for you.

David

mojo,

It’s much more self-serving than that. Much more grandiose. Simply by allowing a space to exist that someone might use for expressing ideas that Mr Smith might find unflattering on someone else’s behalf, whether or not that someone else complains or even sees it and regardless of what is actually said or written, you are indulging in “structural oppression” and “structural violence.” He is therefore entitled to “resist” your “dangerous” and “oppressive” behaviour “forcefully” – say, by vandalising your property and boasting about it online.

A humble chap, isn’t he?


Flat Eric,

Oh my. Thanks for that. Imagine how shocked I was to discover that Ms Glaser works for the BBC.

Anna

Imagine how shocked I was to discover that Ms Glaser works for the BBC.

Speaking of which.

Spiny Norman

David,

...cartoonish bedlam like this.

And remember, these people are students, intellectuals, our hope for tomorrow. Truly, we live in an age of heroes.

I've been reading your blog for... oh, years now, but I remember that line as one of your finest, even if might have been a "throwaway". I literally laugh out loud reading it again.

David

Spiny,

Well, it’s important to remember what you’re looking at isn’t some random aberration. It’s a logical endpoint of behaviour that’s been taught and encouraged. Yes, it’s a mental car crash with no logical solution, and yes, it’s theatrical, dogmatic and comically dishonest; but it’s very much the kind of drama that Mr Smith and his peers want to see more of. It’s a preview of their utopia.

Spiny Norman

David,

At some point in the near future, when it directly and adversely affects ordinary people's lives (or when they finally take notice), that sort of buffoonery will spark a genuine backlash, and the Arun Smiths of the world will never see it coming.

K Fell

'It was a bit of a pain because there were all these women who suddenly wanted to be lesbians, but they didn’t actually terribly want to sleep with women. But they sort of felt they ought to, to pay their dues.' (Lisa Power)

Oh yes, indeedy, I remember that syndrome all too vividly. But the more egregious thing was that these arrivistes also loudly and aggressively set out to police what was acceptable lesbian sex (nothing resembling penetration was to be countenanced) and any lesbian who 'pandered' to societal expectations by wearing make-up or a skirt was to be sneered or shouted at.

Oh, all my yesterdays... Was I ever that young?

David

Spiny,

The academic bubble is already starting to deflate, and not before time. But meanwhile the circus is in town.

As Heather Mac Donald illustrates in the links above, “the massive campus-diversity bureaucracy treats the delusional claims of hyperventilating students with utter seriousness.” And so, in order to cultivate their precious misfit status - and with it, attention and special favours – students are encouraged to flatter themselves by claiming that they face brutalising cruelties on a daily basis while wandering one of the most indulgent and cossetting environments in human history. And if a student’s caricature “identity” is pandered to in this way and rewarded with status and leverage, that same “identity” will be embellished and exaggerated even more. This theatre of the absurd can get quite heated and competitive, as seen in the video linked earlier. And so we end up with a menagerie of self-dramatizing idiots and people who think their own supposedly exotic sex lives are the stuff of degree courses. And, presumably, careers.

Makes you wonder how these precious creatures expect to survive in the big bad world.


K Fell,

Yes, you do have to marvel at people who insist that sex is above all an ideological activity, and that the way to feel liberated is to continually fret about the unending list of things you mustn’t ever do, or even think about.

By the way, welcome aboard. Help yourself to liquor and nibbles.

Henry

Marxoid lesbianism

...one of the many things that feminist movement has spawned. The movement itself started off with some reasonable tenets, but then the worst thing that could happen to it happened - they achieved several of their goals: many female leaders and heads of state around the world, girls/women achieving in education and the workplace, more and more power within the family was transferred to women in western societies.

So feminism had to adapt, find new things to get angry about - some of them imagined - and had to ignore a few facts at the same time. In other words it had to become more fanatical. Logic and argument became so hard for hardline feminists that they began to claim that logic and language were "tools of the patriarchy".

The only people left who could truly believe in such a movement are those incapable of seeing clearly where this chain of events is heading.

Watcher

Late to this, as always, but I arrive breathless to note that the Guardian is mentioned a number of times.

Now here's the thing for me: when I worked in a newspaper (albeit the local, common variety) the then editor complained his staff -- that would be the writers and not the people who actually produced anything, like sales or necessary invoices or even the printing itself -- never read the newspaper itself. In other words, they did their word-shuffling and spill-chucking and then ignored what anyone else had written.

Should this tendency to be 'focussed' solely on what oneself is doing and thinking and not looking around translates to the Grauniad then I imagine the disinformation gap would be huge. So too the shock; if some of that paper's journalists were to actually read what was in the paper they worked they may be horrified and even offer ridicule at what their 'mates' say. Or does the interview for one of those lofty jobs include extracting the promise the lucky ones will always read everything in the Graun uncritically?

By the way, this may not be part of merely the remit of overpaid hacks. I knew someone who worked in lighting at the BBC who would laugh and say the thing about our glorious state broadcaster was no one who worked there ever watched television in their spare time. It was, apparently, bad enough working there without making yourself suffer more by actually staring at the output when you could be doing something more interesting.

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