Little Knots of Agony
It’s Harder Than You’d Think

Reheated (36)

For newcomers, more items from the archives. A flavour of what goes on here.

Two Balls Bad, No Balls Good.

The Guardian’s Mike Power denounces the barbecue patriarchy. It’s “sexist,” “ugly” and “oppressively penetrating.” 

According to Mr Power, there’s nothing uglier than the sight of menfolk indulging, often knowingly, in a clichéd male behaviour – cooking for friends and family, and making sure that everyone is having a good time. “This grilled-food gender split is ubiquitous, odd and unacknowledged,” says he. This may strike readers as a bold, indeed preposterous, claim to make. One of the rituals of the barbecues I’ve attended is the good-natured parodying – one might say acknowledgment – of precisely those conventions. “Man make fire. Man cook meat,” etc. Perhaps we’re to imagine that only the keen social observers who write for the Guardian have ever noticed such things or found them worthy of amused comment. More to the point, it doesn’t seem to have occurred to Mr Power that quite a few people, male and female, actually enjoy the role-play opportunity of the barbecue - the theatre, the ritual, the fun. Even – heresy! – gendered fun. But hey, the point is that some of you heathens are still arranging your leisure time and social gatherings in a way of which our Guardianista disapproves. Your barbecues aren’t being gender balanced in the way he would like. 

I’m Sorry, But Your Utopia is Just a Little Creepy.

On sacrificial children and the “anti-family.”

The endlessly entertaining Laurie Penny – who entertains us for reasons she doesn’t quite comprehend – pointed her readers to a breathless endorsement of the fatherless family. New Enquiry contributor Madeleine Schwartz dubbed this non-nuclear unit the “anti-family,” thus signalling its countercultural radicalism and general sexiness. We were told, based on nothing much, that “a couple cannot raise a child better than one [person] can.” Apparently, the “diffusion” of the family unit – which is to say, absent fathers, hardship and subsequent dependence on the state – “is one of the most exciting things to happen to the American social pattern since sexual liberation.”

He’s So Liberal, You See.

Make way for George Monbiot. Being a socialist, he’s better than you. 

George, after all, is known for his immense modesty, as when he expressed his contempt for those who dare to disagree with him, all of whom were waved aside as dullard conservatives struggling with racial phobias. “The other side,” he announced, is “on average more stupid than our own.” Guardian readers - known far and wide as The Great Thinkers Of Our Era™ - were told in no uncertain terms that “conservatism thrives on low intelligence” and “appeals to stupidity.” “Conservative ideology,” said George, “is the critical pathway from low intelligence to racism.” And all of this in contrast with liberals such as himself, who are allegedly “self-deprecating” and “too liberal for their own good.” 

Improving Us From Above

Robert and Edward Skidelsky want to save us from all the nice things they enjoy and that we shouldn’t want.

“Why don’t more people aspire to living a good life?” asks our architect of tomorrow, before blaming Margaret Thatcher. Why doesn’t the rabble want what he knows is good for us? And what’s good for us, apparently, is not earning more than Mr Skidesky deems “enough.” It seems we shouldn’t want to travel the world, as Mr Skidelsky does, or sunbathe by the pool at the Caracas Hilton, as Mr Skidelsky did, or own a house as comfortable and spacious as his. “Keynes never owned a house in his life,” we’re told. “Neither for that matter did Virginia Woolf.” And so why should we, the little people? Mr Skidelsky imagines his inferiors “living good lives, surrounding themselves with beauty.” It’s just that he’d rather we didn’t get to own much of it, or have enough money to make more of it happen. Utopia, you see, will “require some restriction.”

And by all means plunge into the greatest hits



The Mike Power article is pure Guardian –smug and totally joyless.

Also, the Plastic Spatula of Oppression™. :-)


The Mike Power article is pure Guardian –smug and totally joyless.

Like a lot of Guardian commentary, it does convey a certain… self-satisfied sourness. It’s almost as if the challenge is to find some way to disapprove of – and look down on - anything that lots of people enjoy. Whatever the thing is, it has to be “problematised” and revealed as somehow unjust, and no amount of contrivance will impede that mission. As if the typical barbecue could only be endured and pass without critique if you aren’t as enlightened as a Guardian columnist.

Steve 2

They really should remake Zardoz for the Twitter generation. The spatula is good, the penis is evil!

If that doesn't tempt Sean Connery out of retirement I'll eat my red vinyl mankini.


Apparently, the “diffusion” of the family unit – which is to say, absent fathers, hardship and subsequent dependence on the state – “is one of the most exciting things to happen to the American social pattern since sexual liberation.”

Incredible. Do these idiots actually *want* generational dependency?


Do these idiots actually *want* generational dependency?

It’s hard to be sure what Ms Schwartz wants, beyond being thought of as terribly radical and subversive. Her avoidance of any actual data or marked correlations suggests she’s not particularly interested in how her anti-bourgeois posturing would play out in real life. And does play out in real life.

For a less narcissistic view and some actual information, see Heather Mac Donald’s articles here and here. The statistics are not encouraging, to say the least. There’s also this podcast, in which she describes various “community organisers” pretending that Chicago’s poverty and crime stats have nothing whatsoever to do with those “diffused” family arrangements advocated by Madeleine Schwartz, Laurie Penny et al. The idea that sub-optimal family arrangements might often have sub-optimal outcomes was, she discovered, practically taboo. As Mac Donald points out, “The sky-high illegitimacy rate meant that black boys were growing up in a world in which it was normal to impregnate a girl and then take off. When a boy is raised without any social expectation that he will support his children and marry his children’s mother, he fails to learn the most fundamental lesson of personal responsibility.”

Which doesn’t sound like a recipe for “one of the most exciting things to happen to the American social pattern since sexual liberation.”


Thank you for mentioning Heather Mac Donald. I am in awe of her work, and I often go to City Journal to find more of it.


Do these idiots actually *want* generational dependency?


It validates their belief that Whitey is still as racist as ever and that the po' black folks need their saving grace terribly, terribly much.

If the blacks were to rise out of poverty, then what's a do-gooder to do? Whom are they going to champion next, poor white folk?

See my comments in the previous thread about my scuffle on Twitter with these folks. If I were to stroll into the projects and offer to help them better their lot, they'd accuse me of trying to make them "act white," beat me to a pulp, and send the dog over to piss on me.

I do NOT exaggerate. You should see what they did to Bill Cosby when he suggested that kids pull up their pants, point their brims forward, and learn to speak Standard English. If they'll excoriate him, they'll murder me.


"Revolution is totally gonna 'appen" says rich ex-junkie comedian with a messiah complex.

"I’m sure you won’t be astonished to learn that I, Russell Brand, the stand-up comedian have not dreamt up a viable replacement for the Free Market between gigs and joyless trysts but I know all over the world, in the face of incredible obstruction and resistance, people are inaugurating economic systems that are founded on fairness and egalitarianism. Worker run factories, villages without currency and even in Blighty, council estates bulk buying shopping to make benefits go further."

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