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November 2014

Friday Ephemera

How to cut string. // Carnivorous plants and their prey. // Canadian prairie towns of yore. (h/t, Kate) // Calculating machines. // 10,000 antique cameras. // “The effect of cymatic frequencies on matter.” // Forget socks, these mutant flesh sculptures are ideal Christmas gifts. // Goldfish teabags. // Bee. // Plankton. // Giant squid. // The gentlemanly world of bespoke British tailoring. // A tiny axe for squeezing the dregs out of toothpaste tubes. // Strange lands to the north. // Chocolate Lego. // 112 years of alien invasions. // Neighbourliness. // Distract small children with some 3D hand drawing. // Batman versus Darth Vader. // Tornado versus rainbow. // The rave preservation project. Re-live the largeness. // The forgotten songs of Spotify. // There are foxes in our garden. And also in Russia. // Frost flowers. // Hong Kong of the 50s. // And finally, a map of odd and saucy British place names, from Sally’s Bottom to Tickle Cock Bridge

The Passing of the Hat

Patrons are reminded that this rickety barge is kept afloat by the kindness of strangers. If you’ve been remotely entertained by what goes on here and would like to help this dubious endeavour remain buoyant a while longer, there’s an orange button below with which to monetise any love. Debit and credit cards are of course accepted. Think of it as a magazine subscription, a way to keep abreast of the various, never-ending agonies of the left

You can, for instance, learn why food should be made much more expensive and more difficult to find. For the poor, of course. And why being handed a plate with food on it induces comedic fretting. Or why something radical must be done about litter inequality. Or learn what happens when intersectional feminism meets prosthetic comedy buttocks. Or perhaps you’d just like to stay attuned to the latest developments in the intensely cerebral world of performance art. Artists, remember, are our betters, and so modest with it

A monthly subscription option is also available, top left, for those who prefer to show their love at regular intervals. 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. And hey, Christmas is coming.

For newcomers wishing to know more about what’s been going on here for the last seven years or so, almost eight in fact, the reheated series and greatest hits are good places to start. And do take a moment to poke through the discussion threads. The posts are intended as starting points, not full stops, and the comments are where much of the good stuff is waiting to be found.

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

Thoroughly Educated

Schooled in the sins of “privilege,” a Georgetown University student feels the pain of his muggers

Who am I to condemn these young men as “thugs”? If we ever want opportunistic crime to end, we should look at ourselves first… Until we do so, we should get comfortable with sporadic muggings and break-ins. I can hardly blame them.

You see, when threatened and robbed at gunpoint, you mustn’t “otherize” your attacker. Because predatory vermin have feelings too. 

There Goes the Neighbourhood

Further to this comment here, Laurie Penny wants us to know that she knows more than the Ferguson jury:

Because she's wiser than the jury who heard details she didn't.

Meanwhile, Gateway Pundit has coverage of the ongoing violence. 

As you can see, nothing says “we are righteous and entitled to deference” like smashing and looting a local woman’s cake shop. And smashing and looting the mini-market that Michael Brown robbed and then running away laughing, and looting the local phone shop, and burning down the local pharmacy, and burning down the local auto spares business, and the local pizza restaurant, and the local beautician’s, and then shooting at the firemen who are trying to put those fires out before other people lose their livelihoods too. You know, for “social justice.”

Other locals, however, have taken the high road – by bragging on Facebook about those lovely new shoes that were sourced somewhat mysteriously during the commotion. Note the new owner’s chosen hashtags: #NoJustice. #GotMine. Here’s a fellow protestor expressing his grief via the classic medium of big screen TV theft. And when words alone can’t express the woe, there’s always the option of carjacking the elderly and then running them over

Continue reading "There Goes the Neighbourhood" »

Bedlam by Design

Linked in the comments earlier but worth wider attention, here’s Heather Mac Donald’s latest essay on the academic cultivation of pretentious victimhood: 

The pattern would repeat itself twice more at the UCLA that fall: students would allege that they were victimised by racism, and the administration, rather than correcting the students’ misapprehension, penitently acceded to it. Colleges across the country behave no differently. As student claims of racial and gender mistreatment grow ever more unmoored from reality, campus grown-ups have abdicated their responsibility to cultivate an adult sense of perspective and common sense in their students. Instead, they are creating what tort law calls “eggshell plaintiffs” — preternaturally fragile individuals injured by the slightest collisions with life. The consequences will affect us for years to come.

One of the incidents mentioned, in which students claimed to be oppressed by corrected grammar and any public questioning of their far-left politics, will be familiar to regular readers.

Other debates centred on the political implications of punctuation. [Professor] Rust had changed a student’s capitalisation of the word “indigenous” in her dissertation proposal to the lowercase, thus allegedly showing disrespect for the student’s ideological point of view… During one of these heated discussions, Rust reached over and patted the arm of the class’s most vociferous critical race–theory advocate to try to calm him down — a gesture typical of the physically demonstrative Rust, who is prone to hugs. The student, Kenjus Watson, dramatically jerked his arm away, as a burst of nervous energy coursed through the room. [...] The student, a large and robust young man... eventually filed a criminal charge of battery against the 79-year-old professor.

Mr Watson has subsequently been awarded academic credit for instructing other “Students of Colour” – a tribe that excludes students from East Asia – in the subtleties of “constructive intergroup relations” at Penn State, St. Louis University, and the University of Michigan. Mr Watson describes his fellow grievance-seekers – and of course himself - as “courageous.”

Ms Mac Donald discusses the vanities and dysfunction of modern academia in this 90-minute video

Friday Ephemera

Fear the terrible power of Telekinesis Cat. // Trash owl sees all. // Think lettuce, think Toshiba. // Oh, no-one lives in London any more. // Quantum whirlpool created. // On sloshing, spilling, beer and coffee. // Red Kubrick. // Orchestra versus chili peppers. A test of musical discipline. // Pocket-size espresso maker keeps your hiking classy. // Pygmy seahorse camouflage. // Poultry lifter. Cook bird first. // A near miss. // The big wide world of Spam and Spam-like products. // Baseball players of yore. (h/t, Coudal) // Paying a fair share. // “Nearly half of the president’s 43 million Facebook followers appeared to be fake.” // Fire in the sky. // For that elegant dinner party you’ve been meaning to have. // And after dinner, obviously, grandma and her friends will want to smoke some weed.

Your Children are in Good Hands

At DePauw University, Indiana, someone may have said something unkind to a student with brownish skin. And so, inevitably

Professor of Sociology David Newman stated, “I’m a white man. I’m a white middle-class man. I’m a white middle-class heterosexual man… This is my fault. I didn’t do anything directly, but this is my fault. My silence makes this my fault.”

Because what’s education without a little Maoist pantomime

Just Don’t Look at his Crotch

Yes, it’s time for more of that lovely performance art. Today we bathe in the radiance of Mr Joseph Ravens, a fearlessly non-conformist artist who uses the medium of “action and movement” to “project energy and images with abundant focus.” Not just that, of course. Mr Ravens also “devises highly stylised situations in which images and actions coalesce to produce decidedly poetic, often conceptual, narratives.” It’s decidedly poetic. He says so himself

Naturally, all this decidedly poetic energy projection is harnessed to “touch on subjects such as materialism, insatiability, conformity, and alienation,” with works presented in “hay fields, school buses, closets, and [on] rooftops.” “My images and ideas are designed to have impact,” says he, “while at the same time embracing depth, resonance, and artistic integrity.” Pondering his own efforts to awe and enlighten, Mr Raven adds, “Only a short time ago I realised that in much of my work I am expelling something from my body. I often produce objects from my mouth, my anus, or compartments within my sculptural costumes. For me, these objects represent creation and the creative impulse.” I’ll just leave that one there, I think.

In the following piece, titled Ravenous and performed in 2012 during the Venice International Performance Art Week, Mr Ravens projects his energies, poetically, with the aid of a marker pen, feathers and a small metallic groin cup. Go on, taste the art. 

Continue reading "Just Don’t Look at his Crotch" »

Meanwhile, on the Battlefield of Facial Hair

Apparently, there’s now a fashion trend called “lumbersexual.” As the avid fashionistas I know you to be, I’m sure its details and subtleties are already familiar, if not passé. For those as yet unschooled in lumbersexual grooming, here’s a brief summary:

Lumbersexual men have a calculated look with the desire to be (and be seen) as rugged and the heteronormative version of “manly.”

If that isn’t sufficiently clear, here are some inspirational pictures

And here’s where you can buy a sling for your axe

However, not everyone is thrilled by this rugged, or rather pseudo-rugged, fashion development. Among the aggrieved is a student and blogger named Indi, who looks like this and describes himself, at length, as:

Cisgender maletype, he/him pronouns. Type-2 diabetes, clinical depression… Panromantic pansexual… A multicultural global nomad… Seen a lot of stuff, done a lot of things… Formerly at Monash University, formerly at Lasalle College of the Arts, currently at Deakin University. Former theatre kid wholly sick of the industry… I want to perform or write for the rest of my life, whether it’s music, theatre, comedy, films, TV, voice acting, whatever… I don’t like people that ignore intersectional issues.

Regarding the lumbersexuals’ ersatz burliness and ostentatious facial hair, he says, rather testily

Let’s promote traditional aspects of masculinity by pretending it’s harmless! Let’s glorify large beards, because only ‘real men’ have huge amounts of facial hair based on their level of testosterone! Let’s make something seem harmless to give credit to a bunch of cis white men for no reason other than to uphold [a] European beauty standard.

Fads, it turns out, are terribly important and something that people attuned to “intersectional issues” should spend their time seething about: 

This shit is as transparent as the people promoting it. It’s the same as normcore, glorifying behaviours typical of people in white hegemonies. Take this ‘real men’ shit and go elsewhere. Stop trying to make what white men like fashionable, thanks.

Beards, then, are harmful and oppressive. Especially when combined with plaid shirts and skinny jeans. Because they’re “glorifying behaviours typical of people in white hegemonies.” Like this. And no, I’m not entirely sure what normcore is. Though that does seem quite a lot of baggage for a chap of 22 who’s still at university.


Continue reading "Meanwhile, on the Battlefield of Facial Hair" »

Self-Knowledge is So Troublesome

The Guardian’s Zoe Williams once again imparts her infinite wisdom:

I would like to see shops treated a bit more like shoplifters – prosecuted for dishonesty even when it seems petty – and shoplifters treated a bit more like shops.

Yes, I know. Its profundity resists mere human comprehension. The gnomic nugget above is from a piece, the headline of which insists “the world is run by sociopaths,” and in which our moral guru airs her belief that “the successful entrepreneur or innovator will be sociopathic.” This, you’ll remember, is the same Zoe Williams who believes that rich people helping Romanian orphans and funding the distribution of retroviral drugs in Africa is a Very Bad Thing™ because giving money away “creates inequality.” Dear sweet Zoe, who values “moral clarity,” therefore likes to imagine how upscale charity galas, which raise millions for such causes, might be made more amusing and congenial if those doing the giving suffered some hilarious physical injury

When not wishing injury on people richer than herself, our high-minded Guardianista spends her afternoons conjuring scenarios reminiscent of the Soviet Union circa the 1920s, in which parents who can no longer afford to send their children to private schools are “whittled out” and ritually humilated on entering the state system. You see, preferring private education (even if you can no longer afford it) is sinful and must be punished. By people like Zoe, whose own education was at Godolphin and Latymer, where the list of extracurricular activities includes visits to Rome and Morocco and an eight-day tour of Barbados, and whose own children, named Thurston and Harper, are no doubt thriving at the local comprehensive.

Oh, and lest we forget, this is the same Zoe Williams whose most famous written line is, or certainly should be,

As for vindictive, ha! Good.

We’re lucky she’s there to show us the way.