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Elsewhere (160)

George Will on the dysfunctions of academia:  

What I want to talk to you about tonight is the amount of intellectual ingenuity that is now devoted to rationalising the disappearance of free speech… Today’s attack… is an attack on the theory of free speech. It is an attack on the desirability of free speech… What we have today is an attack on the very possibility of free speech. The belief is that the First Amendment is a mistake.

The bureaucratic farces and assorted psychodramas described by Mr Will may be familiar to regulars of this parish. Though it may be news to some that Texas Tech University, with an undergraduate enrolment of 28,000 people, now confines displays of WrongThought™ to a “free speech gazebo” some twenty feet wide.

Charles C W Cooke on the cultivated pretensions of student “radicals”: 

Take a look at this farcical missive from the Oberlin Review, in which around 150 students at the college claim repeatedly that Christina Hoff Sommers was coming to campus to present not a viewpoint with which many of the students vehemently disagree but rather an actual threat to student safety. Sommers, the signatories contend, is not an academic sharing her work, but a participant “in violent movements” and an accessory to “threats of death and rape.” […] Held hostage by the twin evils of mawkishness and self-indulgence, [the protestors] have taken to masquerading as the martyrs of the piece. You will note, of course, that none of the outraged parties at Oberlin were obliged to attend Sommers’s talk, or even to be on campus while she was being hosted. Had they wished, they could have sat the whole thing out with nary a word. Indeed, it was quite by choice they injected themselves into the event at all.

Ah, but a sense of moral proportion is of no use whatsoever to an in-group of narcissists, poseurs and passive-aggressive harpies. The kind of would-be intellectuals who, instead of doing something else, turn up out of spite to jeer and interrupt - thereby drawing attention to themselves - while making theatrical displays of how “unsafe” they feel when confronted with information they do not like. The kind of would-be intellectuals who claim that theirs is a campus “laden with trauma and sexualized violence,” who pre-emptively slander those who disagree with them, and who respond to criticism with the words, “We could spend all of our time and energy explaining all of the ways she’s harmful. But why should we?”

And Darleen Click quotes the deep, deep wisdom of professor of anthropology and ostentatious male feminist, Melvin Konner: 

In addition to women’s superiority in judgment, their trustworthiness, reliability, fairness, working and playing well with others, relative freedom from distracting sexual impulses, and lower levels of prejudice, bigotry, and violence, they live longer, have lower mortality at all ages, are more resistant to most categories of disease, and are much less likely to suffer brain disorders that lead to disruptive and even destructive behaviour. And, of course, they can produce new life from their own bodies, to which men add only the tiniest biological contribution — and one that soon could be done without… There is a birth defect… called maleness… To call being male a syndrome is not an arbitrary judgment.

Yes, “a birth defect… called maleness.” Thank goodness only the finest minds educate your children.

Modern Romance

One for Julia, I think. From the pages of the South Wales Evening Post:  

Former alcoholic Mike Holpin, of Ebbw Vale, was criticised after admitting he did not even know the names of some of his kids.

In fairness, Mr Holpin is thought to have sired “around 40” children via 20 different women, and hence the inevitable difficulty recalling their names. Or indeed their whereabouts.

Mike, 56, has been receiving benefits for 13 years and admits to spending his £195 a week handouts on his 20-a-day smoking habit, as well as owning games consoles and widescreen TVs.

Happily, a new tenderness has blossomed in Mike’s life.

Diane Morris, 46, has a 28-year-old son from a previous relationship and met Mike through [online dating service] Plenty Of Fish in 2012. She said: “His profile on Plenty of Fish might be active but I know Mike wouldn’t dream of cheating on me. I had been single for years and I was instantly attracted to Mike. He had lovely blue eyes and he was so charming and witty.

And so,

Diane met the former fairground worker - favourite chat-up line: “Fancy a rump?” - a few weeks later.

You can’t fight that kind of magnetism.

“Mike and I have a great sex life. It used to be once a day when we got together but now we are at it like every other day.”

Good to know. 

The pair are now inseparable and spend their days watching horror films and going for long walks.

I think that covers everything. 

Via PootBlog

Elsewhere (159)

Kevin D Williamson on the strange fictions of Hillary Clinton:

Herself, who speaks in clichés and who gives some indication that she thinks in them, too, says that she is in the van — “Road trip!” she tweeted — because she is “hitting the road to earn your vote.” The Clintons — not too long ago “dead broke,” as Herself put it — have earned more than $100 million since the president left office... That’s armoured-car money, and an armoured car is of course what Herself is riding around in… There is something ineffably Clintonesque in that: She declined the use of the customary limousine because she wanted to appear to share the lives and troubles of the ordinary people, so she rides around in a customized armoured van, having spent a great deal of money — starting prices for such vehicles are comparable to those of Porsches — to avoid the appearance that she has a great deal of money.

Heather Mac Donald on crime, race and shooting: 

Blacks make up over half of all homicide perpetrators [in the US]; in 2013, they were 42 percent of all cop-killers, despite being merely 12 percent of the population. From 1980 to 1998, young black males murdered police officers at almost six times the rate of young white males. According to Gary Kleck, a criminologist at Florida State University, police officers are less likely to kill a black suspect who threatens or attacks them than they are to kill a white suspect who threatens or attacks them… A 2007 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that police officers were no more likely to shoot unarmed black men than unarmed white men in video simulations of encounters with armed and unarmed suspects. A 2014 simulation study from Washington State University found that officers waited longer to assess the situation when confronted with black suspects than they did with white suspects.

And via Dr Cromarty, James Bartholomew on signalling one’s virtue: 

It’s noticeable how often virtue signalling consists of saying you hate things. It is camouflage. The emphasis on hate distracts from the fact you are really saying how good you are. If you were frank and said, ‘I care about the environment more than most people do’ or ‘I care about the poor more than others,’ your vanity and self-aggrandisement would be obvious. Anger and outrage disguise your boastfulness.

Which may help explain why some signallers of piety make a point of telling us how they “long for the pure, uncomplicated political anger” felt by their younger selves. An odd thing to long for, given the possibilities. Our old friend Laurie Penny is forever romanticising anger and saying, with a hint of pride, that she’s written something that’s “angry,” as if anger were the important thing, the marker of status, as opposed to, say, being coherent or truthful. “It’s getting harder to stay angry,” wrote Laurie, in one of many posts about her fascinating self. “That terrifies me more than anything.” One of Ms Penny’s fans subsequently asked, “Why do you feel it important to be angry all the time?” Sadly, no answer was forthcoming. But it’s interesting to reverse the sequence of ideas. After all, pretending to be angry makes some people feel important all the time. And if anger is hard to muster, there’s always everyday obnoxiousness. That can be a credential too.

Feel free to share your own links and snippets in the comments. It’s what these posts are for.

Brand Loyalty

The modern world is a strange and wondrous place:

A neighbour came home from work around 1 am and found a man staggering around the parking lot covered in blood. When police interviewed the man about what had happened, the man told them he and his roommate had got into a heated debate over whether the iPhone or the new Samsung smartphone is better.

Such was the passion on the subject,

The roommates’ argument escalated and they ended up stabbing each other with broken beer bottles. One of the men smashed a bottle over the back of the other man’s head.

Both men are expected to make a full recovery. However,  

Police did not respond when our photographer asked which phone is better.

Feel free to glass each other in the comments. 

Wherever Possible, Avoid Mad People

For instance, people such as these

Stevenson College is apologising to its students for serving Mexican food during [a science fiction event]. In a letter sent out to students, the college apologised for having “a Mexican food buffet,” while also featuring spaceships and aliens.

Wait for it.

The college received complaints saying the combination was racist because of the association between Mexicans and illegal immigrants.

Despite eight years of doing this, I didn’t see that coming. Let’s take a second to check the algebra of umbrage: Science fiction event plus chili and burritos equals racism. 

After receiving complaints, Dr Carolyn Golz said that the event “demonstrated a cultural insensitivity on the part of the programme planners and, though it was an unintentional mistake, I recognise that this incident caused harm within our community and negatively impacted students.”

At this point, bear in mind that several students, our fearless intellectuals of tomorrow, have felt a need to publicly articulate some version of the following, rather staggering idea: “Dear Sir or Madam, I have been negatively impacted by your insensitive buffet.”  

Naturally, this explosion of WrongThought™ will have to be punished:

As a result, Dr Golz “will require cultural competence training for Programmes staff, in addition to implementing mechanisms for future programme planning that will ensure college programmes are culturally sensitive and inclusive.”

In the wake of this terrifyingly racist punch in the face of decency, expressed via the medium of reheated beans, Dr Golz urges students to report any further incidents of “hate” to the university’s Report Hate website, and thereby “cut down on insensitive events like Intergalactic Night.” 

Update, via the comments: 

Continue reading "Wherever Possible, Avoid Mad People" »

Friday Ephemera

That giant woollen cat head you’ve always wanted. // It takes brains to live in a technological world. (h/t, PootBlog) // Tiny computer. // Robot glockenspiel. // Kissy, kissy penguin. // Responsive sand. // Alaskan Dr Seuss house. // The Sun, its atmosphere and a passing Moon. // Simulacra. // Lenses. // Lab beaker wine glasses. // Tonic water lighting isn’t terribly efficient. // Marionette drummer. // Michael Douglas is shrinking people again. // A tiny English village with a tinier one inside it. // Today’s word is vertiginous. // Plastic bottle sculptures. // Passports. // Big rabbit. // Rapping while deaf. // Indian science fiction films. // The gluten-free museum. // Three-way hammock. // How to hold your smartphone. // And finally, behold the Guild of Evil’s luxury helicopter

Uterus Rising

The Guardian’s Deborah Orr tells the unenlightened that Hillary Clinton should be elected president of the United States because she has ovaries and fallopian tubes, and that’s what really matters:

She’ll be the first American president who has experienced childbirth, or even admitted to wearing a bra… She’ll be the first president to have prompted the need for an answer to the question: who is that guy then, if he isn’t the first lady?

An opening for a feminist gag is what voting is all about.

I’ve never been a big Hillary fan. I don’t expect her to be the best president ever. In my book, anything more than competence would be a bonus.

Yes, if elected Mrs Clinton may be barely competent, and possibly much worse, but she would nonetheless be,

the perfect US president.

Why? Because Hillary is a she-person:

The symbolic power of her appointment transcends all else. Anyone who doesn’t understand that, in this one respect, Clinton is an absolutely perfect presidential choice, is simply refusing to acknowledge reality.

You heard the lady. We must vote based on a person having the right kind of genitals. It “transcends all else.” Because the “perfect US president” is one whose merits, so defined, are an accident of birth.

Continue reading "Uterus Rising" »

Elsewhere (158)

Devorah Goldman on “diversity” in schools of social work: 

[The professor] explained to me that people who were viewed as too conservative had had problems graduating in the past, and he didn’t want that to happen to me. I thought he was joking… until I realised he wasn’t.

Dave Huber on Duke’s vanishing “noose” story and faculty demands for “eliminating white supremacy” on campus: 

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, chair of the Sociology department, added that “Duke is not a neutral racial space,” and that the school “oozes whiteness.”

If oozing whiteness sounds a bit much, you may want to revisit previous mentions of Professor Bonilla-Silva. When not denouncing “white logic,” the professor equates critics of affirmative action with 19th century supporters of slavery. One of the more bizarre indicators of Bonilla-Silva’s mental state is his written insistence - published in a course syllabus - that students must control their “body language” and avoid “irresponsible contestation” of his arguments. Black students who disagreed with the professor’s lurid racialist theories have been denounced by him as “Uncle Toms.” Professor Bonilla-Silva, a grown man, a tenured academic with a six-figure salary, refers to the United States, in class, as “AmeriKKKa.”

And Bryan Burrough on the “revolutionary” terrorism of the Weather Underground: 

Outside the leadership, there was widespread confusion as to what kinds of actions were authorised. There would be bombings, everyone assumed, but what kind? “There was so much macho talk, you know, like the Panthers: ‘Off the pigs,’ ‘Bomb the military back into the Stone Age,’” recalls Cathy Wilkerson of the New York cell. “But did that mean we were actually going to kill people? I never really knew.” Bill Ayers and others would always insist there were never any plans to harm people. The handful of Weathermen who crossed that line, Ayers claims, were rogues and outliers. This is a myth, pure and simple, designed to obscure what [the group] actually planned. In the middle ranks, it was widely expected that Weathermen would become revolutionary murderers. “My image of what we were going to be was undiluted terrorist action,” recalls a Weatherman named Jon Lerner. “I remember talking about putting a bomb on the [Chicago railroad] tracks at rush hour, to blow up people coming home from work. That’s what I was looking forward to.”

But hey, why endure the tedium and pretension of far-left politics if there isn’t a little pay-off, a little personal gratification...?

Feel free to share your own links and snippets in the comments.

Elsewhere (157)

Robert Stacy McCain on self-flattery and groupthink: 

If your worldview is decisively formed within the insular climate of an elite university, the equation “liberal [i.e., leftist] = smart” is a formula you can never permit yourself to doubt, unless you are willing to admit that you have been hustled, scammed and bamboozled. A fellow with a diploma from Harvard or Stanford cannot confront the possibility that he has been swindled like an ignorant hick playing a carnival game at the country fair.

Mentioned in the comments yesterday, Professor Jere Surber unwittingly provides a textbook example. Note the parochial conceit that an educated worldview can only be a more or less leftist one. Note too the professor’s casual dismissal of those who challenge his self-flattering expectations. It’s rather like when George Monbiot waved aside those who disagree with him as mere dullards struggling with racial phobias. In George’s mind, a non-leftist outlook “thrives on low intelligence” and “appeals to stupidity.” It’s “the critical pathway from low intelligence to racism.” While self-imagined super-intellectual leftists – people like George, in fact - are apparently “self-deprecating” and “too liberal for their own good.”

Charles C W Cooke on the not-so-latent fascism of Mr George Galloway: 

Britain now has a range of unbelievably capricious “hate speech” and “public order” laws that effectively give anyone who feels offended the power to shut down his critics. Such measures are sold with mawkish appeals to the protection of the weak. But they are typically used by the strong and the rich and the well-connected.

Mr Galloway’s boldness is something to behold. 

And Katherine Timpf on things now deemed “unsafe” on campus: 

Last October, Arizona State University’s athletics department banned face paint — “whether the theme is black, maroon, gold or white” — because ASU is an “inclusive and forward-thinking university” and they must make sure that “everyone feels safe and accepted.” They did not explain whether or not any students had actually reported feeling threatened by the paint, and if so, how those students were handling their lives currently.

Also declared emotionally hazardous to young intellectuals: the words “freshmen” and “bullet,” and, obviously, petting-zoo camels.

Feel free to share your own links and snippets in the comments. It’s what these posts are for. And tickling the tip jar makes me feel loved.