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May 2014

Insert Coin for Dancing Monkey

Patrons are reminded that this rickety barge is kept afloat by the kidneys of strangers. No, wait, the kindness of strangers. If you’d like to help it remain buoyant for a while longer, there’s an orange button below with which to monetise any love for this low establishment. Debit and credit cards accepted. Additionally, any Amazon shopping done via the search widget top right, or for Amazon US via this link, results in a small fee for your host at no extra cost to you. For newcomers wishing to know more about what goes on here, the reheated series and greatest hits are good places to start.

Again, thanks for the support, the comments, and the company. 

Friday Ephemera

A gallery of animated PornHub comments. (NSFW) (h/t, MeFi) // A man-carrying kite. // Hitchcock was right. // Because tilting is fun. // Make your own 3D selfie figurine. // Dog lovers may want to look away now. // The five stages of inebriation, circa 1860s. // Signs from the near future. // Self-assembling shape-shifting robot furniture. // Parallel universe film posters. // Detroit’s Masonic Temple. // Types of blood. // So many doctors. // We English give good hedge. // Glow in the dark soap. // “My mum wanted to quickly tidy the house before we arrived.” // At last, a wormhole actualization machine. // Because every girl wants a rubber-band spider bracelet. // And finally, via Ian Fleming, an outburst of Beethoven.

Elsewhere (125)

Tim Worstall reads The Lancet, where socialism trumps reality: 

Lifespans are still getting longer, communicable disease continues to reduce, age adjusted cancer rates are falling: there’s simply no evidence at all that the health of the population is declining. So, given that we’ve not got any sign whatsoever of declining health, it’s very difficult indeed to say that increasing inequality is causing something that isn’t happening.

And again here. When supposedly learned people talk unironically about “social justice,” a good mental response is “yellow alert.

Some random thoughts from Thomas Sowell

In Thomas Piketty’s highly-praised new book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, he asserts that the top tax rate under President Herbert Hoover was 25 percent. But Internal Revenue Service records show that it was 63 percent in 1932. If Piketty can’t even get his facts straight, why should his grandiose plans for confiscatory global taxation be taken seriously?

Why indeed? 

And via D in the comments, Aurelius marvels at the wonders of modern academia. Specifically, the winning oratory in the Cross Examination Debate Association’s national championship. I implore you to watch the video of highlights. It’s a thing to behold, serving as both a bold new standard for eloquent persuasion and a measure of the education these young ladies have received. Here’s a very brief transcript:

Uh, man’s sole “jabringing” object disfigure religion trauma and nubs, uh, the, inside the trauma of representation that turns into the black child devouring and identifying with the stories and into the white culture brought up, uh, de de de de de, dink, and add subjectively like a white man, the black man!

Go Team Dada. Embrace the jive.

As always, feel free to share your own links and snippets below.

Your Masculinity Must Be Abolished

Some of you may remember Ms Lierre Keith, a former radical vegan activist turned radical advocate of a return to subsistence farming. Ms Keith has long been a vocal champion of vandalism, harassment and “militant action,” and taken at their own words, she and her colleagues would like to see those they deem “associated” with environmental accidents being killed by the state. They also like the idea of “sabotaging infrastructure” and cutting power lines, thereby leaving tens of thousands of people without light and heat, as this would somehow encourage “class consciousness.” Elderly people in remote locations would presumably embrace the finer points of revolutionary eco-socialism as they shivered in the dark and the feeling left their limbs.

In March 2010 Ms Keith was herself targeted for “militant action” by disgruntled vegans even more radical and pious than she, and who disrupted her lecture at an anarchist book fair by pelting Ms Keith with chili-flavoured cream pies. An experience our fearless titan found both bewildering and outrageous. “The whole thing was designed for social humiliation,” Ms Keith told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We’re supposed to be against sadism and cruelty and domination, and these people were willing to do this to me.” Unfortunately, the Chronicle didn’t ask Ms Keith whether this small taste of her own medicine, her own methods, had altered her position on changing the views of others by means of “militant action.”

Having since recovered from this traumatic encounter with slapstick protest, and armed only with an anatomical slideshow of male genitalia, Ms Keith has resumed her attempts to establish her own radical credentials in yet another sphere. And so, in the following video, recorded over the weekend at a public library in Portland, Oregon, Ms Keith – now a “radical feminist and gender abolitionist” – speaks truth to power, fearlessly, radically, and at enormous personal risk. Specifically, she shares the truth that, “Being a man requires a psychology based on entitlement, emotional numbness, and a dichotomy of self-knowledge.” Self-knowledge being a subject on which Ms Keith can speak with unassailable authority. 

Naturally, Ms Keith’s latest area of expertise is not limited to maleness and its inherent wickedness; the entire world of manandwomanlyness™ is hers to describe, and of course correct. And so we learn that, “Gender is a political creation because patriarchy has to separate who counts as human and who counts as an appropriate target for violation. That’s what gender is.” Gender, it turns out, is merely a “caste system,” one “disguised as biology.” Therefore there must be “organised political resistance.” Which is to say, “The sex class ‘men’… needs to be abolished if women are ever to be free.” Because, “Liberty and a living planet will only be won when masculinity, its religion, its economics, its psychology and its sex is resisted and finally defeated.” These deep thoughts and more can be savoured more fully in the video below: 

Continue reading "Your Masculinity Must Be Abolished" »

I Get Mail from Sensitive Souls

An unparagraphed outpouring, edited for brevity: 

It saddens all that I believe is truly good so deeply to see such ignorant and violently senseless comments made out of selfishness and an inability to think beyond an immediate and primitive reaction... But how do you address a flood of ignorance, a torrent of hatred and insecurity? How do you speak to the angry voices with pitchforks and torches? You are the witch hunters and you project your own inadequacies onto others without any self-critical thought or capacity for ideas outside of your own selfishness. Good art causes us to ask questions of ourselves and the reason you hate this art is because you refuse to ask yourself any meaningful questions... Your soul will remain undeveloped and your life without meaning if you allow your ignorance to control you. In art, as in life, you must ask yourself the most important question: why? And ask it honestly. Give yourself some time. And for most of you, a lot of time.

You see, we mustn’t laugh at the vanity of substandard artists. Alas, we can only guess at the identity of the commenter. 

Friday Ephemera

“Aunt Velma, she never married.” // At last, a swingers-only apartment complex. // “How often do you fart in your place of work?” // The bath houses of 1950s Tokyo. // Transparent faucet. // On drunk and sober fish. // Adorable fungi. // More fun with magnetic putty. // Light painting. // At play, from above. // Poolside Radio. // How to wake your pig. // 808 cube. // The rise and fall of the courtroom sketch artist. // Cinematic matte painting, from Black Narcissus to Alien. // Unsold cars. (h/t, Dr Westerhaus) // Spielberg’s long takes. // In local news. // At last, the vegan feminist network. // A snoring albino hedgehog. // Cross-dressing gentleman, 1896. // And finally, Glenn Close in space. With a talking raccoon.

Elsewhere (124)

Kevin D Williamson on where Big Government goes: 

In the run-up to the 2012 election, senior IRS executives including Lois Lerner, then the head of the IRS branch that oversees the activities of tax-exempt non-profit groups, began singling out conservative-leaning organisations for extra attention, invasive investigations and legal harassment. The IRS did not target groups that they believed might be violating the rules governing tax-exempt organisations; rather, as e-mails from the agency document, the IRS targeted these conservative groups categorically, regardless of whether there was any evidence that they were not in compliance with the relevant regulations… Also targeted were groups dedicated to issues such as taxes, spending, debt, and, perhaps most worrisome, those that were simply “critical of the how the country is being run.”

An exhaustive archive of IRS-related items can be found here

Stephen Carter on the narrowness and hubris of student ‘radicals’:  

In my day, the college campus was a place that celebrated the diversity of ideas. Pure argument was our guide. Staking out an unpopular position was admired - and the admiration, in turn, provided excellent training in the virtues of tolerance on the one hand and, on the other, integrity. Your generation, I am pleased to say, seems to be doing away with all that. There’s no need for the ritual give and take of serious argument when, in your early 20s, you already know the answers to all questions. How marvellous it must be to realise at so tender an age that you will never, ever change your mind.

And Luke James steers us to the following round-table discussion about the suppression of free speech by self-styled student ‘activists’. If you’ve 30 minutes to spare, the video below is well worth watching, though not exactly encouraging. The participants are Professor of English Janice Fiamengo, whose encounters with such ‘activists’ have been mentioned here previously, Justin Trottier of the Centre for Inquiry, Huffington Post blogger and “community organiser” Rachel Décoste, and Alice McLachlan, Professor of Philosophy at York University, Toronto. The views of Ms Décoste and Ms McLachlan may be of particular interest, though possibly for reasons the ladies didn’t intend.

Continue reading "Elsewhere (124)" »

Emotional Guidance

I am in a shared student house and think a lot about the plugged-in devices we have continuously charging or on standby. How terrible should I feel, and what can I do?

Because it just wouldn’t be Sunday without a display of piety

The cost of recharging a smartphone is a few pennies per year. How much pretentious agonising that justifies, I really couldn’t say.

Another Observer reader helpfully points out,

Telephone chargers use pathetic small quantities of energy.

And adds:

If you really want to cut down on electricity usage during the night you should unplug your fridge before going to bed.

Here endeth the lesson. 

Friday Ephemera

Enormous 3D collage made from repurposed books. // More drama with ducklings. // “A great, simple idea.” // Crocodile versus sneaker. // At last, holographic rainbow chocolate. // On margarine and other ersatz foods. (h/t, Kurt) // An archive of spurious correlations. // The periodic table of storytelling. // “The suit circled the Earth twice.” // Quarries, cheap blasters and Servalan’s heels. The low-budget glories of Blake’s 7. // A very brief history of visual effects. // Leather goods. // Glacier and glass. // Clever octopus. // These are parrots, not women. // Predictive robotic arm. // Punks in Myanmar. // Pogo-stick parkour. // Geometry is fun. // Coffee maker of note. // And finally, do you yo-yo? Well, this little boy does.

A Collision of Intellectuals

Or, When Anarchists Gather. Or, Tremble, Ye Patriarchs.

Further to the shocking news that narcissists are distressed by public contradiction and the apparently fashionable claim that “debate is violence,” Bart steers us to footage from Portland State University’s 5th Annual Law and Disorder Conference, a gathering of self-styled anarchists, feminists, anti-capitalists and other radical titans. And which, it turns out, was a little disorderly.

“You shouldn’t be given the space to speak.”