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May 09, 2014

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rjmadden

there’s this rather passionate incident.

My Friday morning is complete.

Nikw211

“Debate is a conversation of power, where the objective is to win: to overpower the other side. This is violence. It is not ‘discussion’.”

Good grief.

Just when you think the bar has hit the ground and has nowhere else to go, someone finds yet a new low.

    The University of Cambridge is consistently ranked among the foremost universities in the world.

How long is that going to last with people who think 'Debate is a conversation of power'?

And this:

    "… a damaging set of new tactics by the anti-choicers to legitimise their arguments.” They believe the debate wrongly equated the pro-choice movement ... with anti-disability sentiments.

Crying foul on the charge of deliberately confusing one set of principles with another in the same breath as consistently referring to their opponents as 'anti-choicers' … tsk, tsk, tsk

Craig Mc

Drummond is the same guy who once burnt a million pounds. Maybe. The KLF weren't shy of pranks. The death metal version of their hit "3am Eternal" they performed before an unsuspecting industry audience was exactly the sort of thing self-congratulatory awards shows deserve.

In fact their whole career seemed to be a prank. They even wrote a book on it. That some of it was memorable was probably an accident (our subject is under one of the horns). Your Illuminatus Trilogy obsessions can take you a long way baby.

But that was back when they were business people, making stuff people wanted and selling it to them in great quantity.

Now reduced to vandalising other people's stuff. O the cruelty of impotent, middle-aged torpor to the once creative young mind.

PIMF

Steve 2: Steveageddon

"Lauren Steele, the Cambridge Student Union Women’s Officer who organised the protest, rejected these calls [for discussion]"

Lauren is a little firecracker by the way. When I was at uni the womens officer looked like an Ewok! :

http://www.cusu.cam.ac.uk/sabbs/womens.html

"Instead, the pro-choice activists held a silent protest, displaying placards and banners outside the lecture hall, before holding a three-minute silence in solidarity with all women who have been denied an abortion."

It's not reported if they had a follow-up vigil in solidarity with famous 27th trimester abortionist Myra Hindley.


Re: the “masturbators, drunkards, fornicators and homosexuals” (hey, I'm three of those things!) guy, it takes a special person to make one of those placard-carrying God-annoyers look like the voice of reason and moderation.

But - by Odin's six-legged steed! - braying slap-fight boy managed it. And I haven't heard such disturbing noises since Pinocchio got drunk and turned into a donkey.

Somebody needs to do a remix of that video with the fight music from Kirk and Spock's battle in Amok Time.

"That's... offensive! I... don't like... you!"

Doo dee DOOO DOOO DOOO DOOO DOO DOOO DEEE DOO DOOO!

David

Now reduced to vandalising other people’s stuff. O the cruelty of impotent, middle-aged torpor to the once creative young mind.

You don’t have to be a UKIP supporter to find Mr Drummond’s argument, or rather his “Ooh, I’m making you think” posture, vacuous and self-serving. He says, “I have grey paint and I intend to use it to cover anything I find morally and aesthetically offensive.” Presumably, then, he and his supporters would have no objection to similar tactics being used by people with views antithetical to their own. And similar attitudes being cultivated and excused among the broader population. Doubtless there are quite a few people who disagree with the billboards and broadcasts of, say, Ed Miliband and the Labour Party, or the habitual dissembling of the Arts Council. And once we’re all busy vandalising billboards and drowning out views we don’t share, the world will be so much more civilised and art will flourish.

Perhaps Mr Drummond should have stuck to shoving beats behind Tammy Wynette.

David

it takes a special person to make one of those placard-carrying God-annoyers look like the voice of reason and moderation.

And yet it can be done. We live in an age of wonders.

Nikw211

“Debate is … violence. It is not ‘discussion’.”

If that's true what the hell does that make this?

David

If that’s true what the hell does that make this?

Coherence, like reciprocation and honesty, is for the little people. Not these fearless warriors, these champions of the oppressed.

The original Mr. X

"Lauren Steele, the Cambridge Student Union Women’s Officer who organised the protest, rejected these calls [for discussion]… A statement issued by the pro-choice protesters, derived from the text of the leaflets handed out to passers-by, argued that “Debate is a conversation of power, where the objective is to win: to overpower the other side. This is violence. It is not ‘discussion’.”"

What always gets me about statements like this is the complete inversion of reality. In real life, honest, reasoned debate is the best way for powerless groups to convince others that they're right; for without debate, what is left but violence and compulsion, which will naturally favour the stronger side? That's why I've always been hugely sceptical of claims that we shouldn't debate some group of people because it might somehow hurt members of a powerless Designated Victim Class: if said Victim Class is powerful enough to stop their opponents' views being heard, then by definition they aren't powerless.

Spruance

"Therefore words must be redefined, and redefined again, until talking equals violence and debate becomes impossible."
This is because they know from experience that tey'll loose every discussion with someone who's got more than two brain cells functioning.

David

In one of my very first posts, I wrote:

When I see attempts to stifle debate, or to control the terms of debate, or to shut down thought before it can happen, I most often find those attempts coming from the left. This wasn’t always the case, of course; but right now I don’t see too many leftists standing up for free speech and the testing of ideas. Those that do are assailed from the left… And if a person doesn’t want an open debate to take place and wants to define in advance what kind of language is permissible and which subjects are off-limits, that usually indicates the weakness of their position and, more to the point, an awareness of just how weak that position is.

I can’t say the situation has improved in the seven years since.

JuliaM

"Somebody needs to do a remix of that video with the fight music from Kirk and Spock's battle in Amok Time."

That would be teh awesome, as the kiddies are wont to say...

David

15 quatloos on the burly chap in red.

Nikw211

… for without debate, what is left but violence and compulsion … ?

Some time in the mid-'90s I saw Deborah Lipstadt in Leeds giving a talk on her book, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assualt on Truth and Memory during which she told a story about refusing to accept an invite to a debate with some revisionist historian (presumably David Irving, but I don't remember now).

As she explained, she felt that showing up at all would have given a degree of legitimacy to claims that were as untrue as they were vile.

At the time, this struck me as an entirely reasonable proposition (and particularly for the subject in mind), but these days I'm not so sure.

For one thing, Lipstadt was eventually forced into a 'debate' on the issue during the Irving v Penguin Books and Lipstadt libel case - which she rightly won.

But since then I've seen that same idea of refusing to engage in debate on the grounds that the issue already resolved and therefore closed be picked up time and again by other groups with highly tendentious claims that are, indeed, a long way from being indisputable.

And once such-and-such a group has decided that something is beyond debate, because it, like, just is OK?, there is literally no restraint placed on the rising tide of ever more idiotic provocations as having no counterbalance, members of the group vie with each other to see who can come up with an ever purer, ever dumber version of the same arguments.

I mean just look at this:

    What we have in the United States is a new form of slavery – for young people – and it's called 'Debtfare' because it so limits their possibilities for doing public work, for doing public service, for getting involved in activities that enhance and deepen the possibility of democracy. And it keeps them basically in place by preventing them from using time as a luxury rather than as a burden. They're constantly struggling simply to survive to pay off that debt. That represents one of the most significant attacks on the radical imagination of young people that I have ever seen. Except of course for the poor. For low income and poor blacks, it's not about debt it’s about prison. I mean these are kids who are just being incarcerated. And, and, so you have two forms of containment here – you have the disciplinary element of debt […] and secondly poor black kids, poor working class white kids who are just going from the school to the prison pipeline. So, they're the two major forms of containment, it seems to me.

Who is it that is suffering from this rather unhinged vision of the US as a totalitarian nightmare, worse even than Orwell's Oceania? And is he being properly cared for?

Well, I guess so.

Sam

GAAAAHH! WAHH! MMMEHHH!

Holy cock.

ac1

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/377492/obama-administrations-deserving-victims-heather-mac-donald

Steve 2: Steveageddon

JuliaM - yes it would be totes amazeballs! And possibly also YOLO and maybe even twerking?

I don't know what twerking is, and as a middle aged man I'm not about to Ask Jeeves in case I end up on some kind of register. I did ask my wife and she thought twerking was the robot with the speech impediment from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

I liked that programme, but Battlestar Galactica was better because it had Dirk Benedict as a sort of Sainsbury Basics Han Solo and the Cylons were so painfully cool with their gleaming chrome and Knight Rider visors and sinister robot voices. BY YOUR COMMAND!

I would pay all the money to see the Cylons fight the Daleks.

However, Buck Rogers had Gary Coleman:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_LLc74FKuF8o/SrPYARRHMdI/AAAAAAAABkg/vNIvfh_tEco/s400/GilandGary.jpg

And the XL sized raw hunk of corn-fed American beef that is Buck himself:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v228/klangtone/buck08.jpg

I'm sure there was at least one episode that included a futuristic disco too.

So maybe, in the end, it doesn't really matter what twerking is. What matters is that all of us, humans, cylons and stuttering robots, can do the hustle like it's space year 1975.

Hal

But - by Odin's six-legged steed!

Yeah, I'm picking nits, but Sleipnir has eight legs . . . .

Steve 2: Steveageddon

Hal - Well OBVIOUSLY I was thinking of his other magic horse, the one known to the Aesir as Pinkie Pie. Sheesh!

Hal

Buck Rogers . . . . I'm sure there was at least one episode that included a futuristic disco too.

Very much off the top of my head---it's been several years since I last saw it---that'll be the scene in the initial movie when Buck formally meets Ardala on the command ship during the grand introductory reception. I'm remembering something about calling for an change from the gavotte variety ritual dance, where he has the band's drummer shift to 180 beats a minute, and then has the band wing it from there . . . .

Patrick Brown

You mean this scene?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJkbVAs8rjo

It's just as excruciating at I remember it.

Hal

You mean this scene?

Maybe.

This video is not available in your country.

Ehn. I'll have to have a look when I get home. Included in my wall o' DVDs is the complete original movie and all episodes---apparently the "original movie" was basically intended as a large screen TV movie, and then the series got launched from there . . .

---Yes, where David does recording and music stuff, my research is in taking stock, unaltered, video game production software and sorting out the documentation to use it for making any movie one wants instead of video games . . . so I have just a few movies in my collections for research and reference and whatever . . . .

dicentra

This is what happens when the Humor Police at Salon decide that one of theirs is Too Hip for the Room:

What I really couldn’t stomach, though, was Oswalt's almost pathological need to confuse and belittle that ubiquitous Internet specimen, the Easily Outraged Commenter. The premise of his Twitter experiments is always the same: use the platform in such a way that people who are in on the gag can congratulate themselves on their literacy while everyone else gets offended.
I looked for clues in the article to see if the author were being satirical, but no. It appears that the writer might have got himself caught in the trap and is mad he got had.

Here are Patton Oswalt's more egregious sins:

Breaking a comment across two tweets such that the second one sounds scandalous.

Apologizing for having to delete something awful he'd just tweeted, only he didn't actually tweet it.

God forbid a comedian should exploit the conventions of a format for the sake of comedy.

I wonder how long it will take him to break ties with his putative political allies.

Nikw211

OT

Unprofessional, unprepared, not researched, ignorant, rambling, incoherent, circuitous … basically an insult to even a willing audience.

I managed about 9 minutes.

Gregoryno6

"But when I started to work in Birmingham, I was almost disappointed to find there were no current billboard campaigns for these companies, thus nothing to truly offend me."

Damn this society that refuses to minister to my needs!

Rich Rostrom

Readers may wish to imagine how our somewhat inarticulate Social Justice Warrior might have behaved if a similar placard were being held by a bearded adherent of another religion.

This calls for an experiment. Two signs: one reading "God hates homos" and one reading "Allah hates homos". Or some more decorous form of a similar sentiment.

A man holds up each sign in ten different public spaces for an hour (not the same set of places for each sign, but comparable places and times).

The man holding the second sign is a bit swarthy. Maybe he has a beard.

Compare the responses. FUN!

David

I managed about 9 minutes.

That’s the thing about Laurie’s mind. It’s so erratic and disorganised. If you plough through a dozen or so of her articles in one afternoon, you’ll find lots of bald assertions and begged questions, piles of them, one on top of another, with little if any connecting logic. Sentences often seem deployed for phonetic effect rather than relevance. It’s as if she were repeating vivid phrases lifted almost at random from someone else’s lecture notes. That Laurie gets hired for these things repeatedly and is part of the left’s intellectual circuit probably tells us something about that audience too.

carbon based lifeform

And once we’re all busy vandalising billboards and drowning out views we don’t share, the world will be so much more civilised and art will flourish.

Let's turn Drummond's argument on his own work.

'It not only offended me morally and aesthetically, it also went against everything that I feel [art] should be about. Thus there was nothing for it.'

When I've vandalized his crap paintings can I have an article in the Guardian so I can brag about it?

Jonathan

" where talking, it turns out, is now considered violence."

I'm not opposed to abortion but I can see that some disabled people and disabled rights campaigners might have concerns over unrestricted abortion on demand. Of course, a reasonable person might think you'd have an open and honest debate with them to address those concerns. Some pro-choicers seem to have forgotten their genesis in the Eugenics movement:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Stopes
N.B. For the benefit of our colonial cousins, Marie Stopes was the founder of a national chain of sexual health and abortion clinics.

Nikw211

Sentences often seem deployed for phonetic effect rather than relevance. It’s as if she were repeating vivid phrases lifted almost at random from someone else’s lecture notes.

She's like Benjamin Button in reverse – it's her personality that's growing ever more juvenile as her body ages.

Having tried again and made it through to the end this time, I was amused to find that while I originally managed only 9 minutes, it turns out that members of the audience started to drift away from around the 20-minute mark but best of all is Penny herself doesn't make it much past 35 minutes into what was supposed to have been a 60-minute talk, prompting the following exchange with a conference organiser:

    Laurie: How, how long have we got for questions?

    Organiser: We have …[embarrassed pause as she wonders how to tell Penny she has another 20-25 minutes to get through] … time for questions. So, if people have questions?

What follows are excruciatingly lengthy bouts of complete silence followed by questions that, when asked, have almost no relevance to anything that Penny has been saying – though given that there was almost no way of telling what on earth she was actually supposed to have been talking about – none of what she said remotely reflected the brief abstract given by the organiser introducing the talk - that's hardly surprising.

It's a car crash on an absolutely epic scale, and I can't seem to stop rubbernecking at it, it really is that abysmal.

She starts by telling her radical audience that the talk will involve rape culture, women's rights and democracy (even though none of these things is remotely connected to the title of the talk) and says:

    And if, um, you are upset with that in any way the exit is behind you. It's there. And, um, I'm assuming you guys are all comfortable because none of you are leaving

Yes, because clearly she has to heavily signpost that what they are going to hear in the talks is nothing less than dangerous sedition.

Still only five minutes in, she informs the audience that she has done research on Emily Davison (the suffragette who was killed by the horse) and then proceeds to tell a complete fabrication, a Hollywoodised version, of what happened to Davison when she was in prison.

According to Penny's 'research', Davison was stripped naked and put into a waterproof cell; put a hose in through the window and then "slowly filled the cell up with cold water until she almost drowned.".

That story is complete rubbish, no such thing ever took place. Davison was on hunger strike when she was blasted with cold water from a hose as a punishment – why, when the reality seems to have been quite harsh enough already, does Penny feel the need to fabricate an even more ludicrous vision of torture which sounds like it's come straight out of a James Bond movie?

Not surprisingly, she later tells the audience that almost all her information comes to her via Twitter.

Even more incredible to me is that she makes absolutely no concession whatsoever to the fact that she is speaking in English in Germany to a presumably international audience, many of whom will have English as a second language.

However good their English is, she is not helping them by these random and unplanned digressions into everything from her height to what cartoons she watched on TV as a child and on top of that she fills the spaces in-between fashionable buzz words like 'rape culture', 'occupy', and 'rape deniers' with Anglophone idioms that would likely challenge even someone with a very advanced level of English – one example is when she says the Suffragettes are often now perceived as:

    … this sort of jam sale, W.I., fluffy instance in the history of, um how democracy was won

What? I can barely make sense of this and I'm someone who at least grasps the 'jam and Jerusalem' reference. She also says:

    The story I was told, growing up in the UK, and the story I learned from being a latch-key kid in the early '90s and watching a lot of American cartoons – um, I actually learned first about the, uh, the American Constitution and the American Civil War by watching The Chipmunks …

Can you imagine being German, French or Italian in that audience – latch-key kid? Chipmunks? What the hell would they have made of that?

Can't believe I've wasted so much time on this crap, but I've got that loose tooth thing where you just can't seem to stop prodding it.

David

Nikw211,

she later tells the audience that almost all her information comes to her via Twitter.

Despite her intellectual pretensions, I don’t think Laurie has an enquiring mind. She’s much too needy and dogmatic for that - too eager to assert and arrive at certain self-flattering conclusions, though not by any discernible logic, and regardless of whether those assertions and conclusions have been earned or are remotely defensible. It’s an urge to signal, and thereby conform to an imagined peer group, not an urge to think. That it’s presented (and presumably imagined) as being “radical” – a word Laurie uses habitually, about herself - makes it comical. Or sad, depending on how sympathetic you feel.

And not coincidentally, Laurie makes noises about “how hard it is for a woman to be taken seriously” in the media or in some other sphere of life. Apparently she finds it “exhausting” having to “justify” herself. Though I suspect what Laurie means is that she isn’t taken as seriously as she’d like. Which is to say, she’d rather be deferred to, unquestioned, without those pesky factual corrections and fits of mockery. Other, more gifted women don’t seem to have anything like the same trouble. Is, say, Heather Mac Donald not taken seriously by her readers and peers? And maybe, just maybe, that’s because Ms Mac Donald isn’t a walking parody whose hyperbolical screeds are very often devoid of facts and logic.

Imagine the two ladies at a table, discussing, say, feminism.

Joan

I managed about 9 minutes.

The rambling, it burns.

Whatever it is Penny Dreadful thinks she's doing, she's really bad at it.

Henry

The main impression of almost every Laurie thing I see is just how embarrassing it all is. She's nervous as anything, and can't remember why she chose her quotes, so starts skipping from subject to subject based on what the latest slide says.

Her career can't be helped by giving crappy presentations like this, and having embarrassing public bust-ups with David Starkey etc.

It all invites ridicule - but I don't want to be as rude about a nervous young woman* (even if it's her behaviour that is teenager-like, not her actual age). I imagine much of the support such people get is made up of cliques and fragile friendships. Doesn't seem like a glamorous, fulfilling life

I'm happier being rude about other people - though she represents much of a political end of the spectrum that I dislike very much. But we do need to bemoan the appalling quality of her writing, speaking and argument - and that there exist people who believe in her inspite of this


* must be this pernicious patriarchy that's oppressing her

Mal

What follows are excruciatingly lengthy bouts of complete silence

Christ, that was bad. Did people pay to hear that?

It’s an urge to signal, and thereby conform to an imagined peer group... That it’s presented (and presumably imagined) as being “radical” – a word Laurie uses habitually, about herself - makes it comical.

What David said.

Hal

"But when I started to work in Birmingham, I was almost disappointed to find there were no current billboard campaigns for these companies, thus nothing to truly offend me."

Or, as we note out here in reality, No news is good news.

If I and everyone around me found ourselves devoid of hipsters, we'd prolly not even notice, or care.

Andi Lucas

If I and everyone around me found ourselves devoid of hipsters, we'd prolly not even notice, or care.

However this fine blog would be reduced to nothing but friday ephemera posts.

Hal

However this fine blog would be reduced to nothing but friday ephemera posts.

Weeeeellll, unlikely, there would be other things to talk about . . . . But just the same, how would that be a problem??!?!?!!

BackwardsBoy

" This is violence. It is not ‘discussion’.”

Sweep the participle...

Pitkin

I wonder if this would have been even more exciting and worthwhile than Laurie's effort:

[cancelled] The Web Women Want – A new generation of thinkers

The programme for that conference is quite intriguing: a bemusing mixture of hardcore tech, practical business advice, soft-headed sociology and wannabe-revolutionary workshops. I wonder what they said to each other in the bar?

David

Links fixed, I think.

phil e stine

I planned that I would paint over a big billboard in the city. I had in mind a billboard advertising one of the big chain of bookmakers or one for the modern crop of loan shark companies... But when I started to work in Birmingham, I was almost disappointed to find there were no current billboard campaigns for these companies, thus nothing to truly offend me.

The 'daring artist' admits to deliberately looking for offence to justify his attention-seeking.

present & correct

Debate is a conversation of power

...said the lefty with the totally non-powerful argument.

AC1

>The Web Women Want

Well what colour should the increment operator be?

dicentra

Well what colour should the increment operator be?

#FF99CC

Doy.

The original Mr. X

Nikw211:

"But since then I've seen that same idea of refusing to engage in debate on the grounds that the issue already resolved and therefore closed be picked up time and again by other groups with highly tendentious claims that are, indeed, a long way from being indisputable.

And once such-and-such a group has decided that something is beyond debate, because it, like, just is OK?, there is literally no restraint placed on the rising tide of ever more idiotic provocations as having no counterbalance, members of the group vie with each other to see who can come up with an ever purer, ever dumber version of the same arguments."

I think John C. Wright nailed it when he said that leftists are addicted to unearned moral superiority. At any rate, that handily explains the ratchet effect you see whereby reasonable positions gradually become more and more extreme over time. After all, if you hold certain views because you want to be seen as morally superior, and those views become mainstream in wider society, your only options are to abandon your pretensions to superiority or to move to a more extreme view to keep up the sense of being better. And then when that extreme view becomes mainstream, you become more extreme, and so on, and so on...

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