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May 2015

Elsewhere (161)

Via Thomas Pauli, Brendan O’Neill on post-election bewilderment: 

The Twitterati — the time-rich, mostly left-leaning set, consisting of cultural entrepreneurs, commentators and other people who don’t work with their hands and can therefore tweet all day — were especially dumbfounded by the results. Boiled down, their pained cry was: “But everyone I know voted Labour.” […] The real Two Britains… is, on one side, the Britain of the moral clerisy, which is pro-EU, multicultural, anti-tabloid, politically correct and devoted to welfarism and paternalism... and, on the other side, the Britain of the rest of the us, of the masses, of those people increasingly viewed by the cultural elite as inscrutable, incomprehensible, and in need of nudging, social re-engineering and behaviour modification. […] 

The more Labour comes to be occupied by influential but unrepresentative middle-class professionals, the more contemptuous it becomes of the Other Britain, the lesser Britain, the stupid Britain that won’t obediently vote Labour... We have seen this already in the few hours since the results started coming in: Neil Kinnock musing over the “self-delusion” of the electorate; Polly Toynbee, grand dame of knackered Labourism, speaking of the “mind-blowing ignorance” of some of the electorate, who are “weak readers” and don’t know what is in their best interests (which is Labour, obviously).

Ace of Spades takes a big lens to “microaggressions”: 

Now I know it’s the Worst Thing Ever to try to find out if the person you’re speaking to is of Korean or Chinese, or Korean or Japanese, extraction, because, like, You Should Just Know Or Something. These questions are said to be “microaggressing” or “othering” or “exoticizing.” One could also call them a stranger taking an interest in you and your culture… Like most SJW microkvetches, this one is a bit incoherent, insisting, as it does, that Anglos should simultaneously take no interest in Asians’ heritage and also have perfect native-level fluency in cultural differences between Asian cohorts.

And Franklin Einspruch on the virtues of “cultural appropriation”: 

Akira Kurosawa studied American pulp novels, and George Lucas studied Kurosawa. Elvis is unimaginable without black-gospel music, and Jimi Hendrix is unimaginable without Elvis. I could go on. Forever. Where does new culture come from? It is copied, with alterations, from existing culture. The process is reproductive. Sexy, even. So of course, the outrage-as-a-lifestyle wing of the progressive Left wants to dictate rules for its proper enjoyment. 

Demanding constraints on such an ancient and universal process is like trying to turn the tides by yelling at them, but these particular scolds seem unaware of the folly. They have complained about straight women appropriating lesbian fashion, art students appropriating Native American dwellings, couture houses appropriating Native American garb and Latina hairstyles, a Canadian post-punk band appropriating the name “Viet Cong,” non-Asian pop singers looking too Japanese or too Hindu, and white models looking too black. […] As is the case in all examples of political correctness, it is an attempt at control masquerading as an appeal for justice.

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

Friday Ephemera

Bowling in Antarctica. // Bond song on a budget. // Berlin, July, 1945. // Brought to you by Coca-Cola. // You know, that volcano down the road. (h/t, Dr W) // City layouts as rarely seen. (h/t, Coudal) // Lust Be My Destiny and other classic pulp covers. From Playgirl Pad to Orgy Ranch, a spectrum of fine literature. // When pets look at food. // At last, squid ink oven toaster pizza. // Symphonic Pokémon. // Cactus paintings. // Touch pianist. // My mutant hands. // Moon streaks. // Dry dog, wet dog. // WiFi-enabled smartbin of note. // New York World’s Fair, 1964. // Assorted foodstuffs, organised. // Jellies being jelly. // The thrill of castanets. // Self-organising robot swarm. Continue the research. // Instant muscles, only $919. // And finally, the Queen’s hats, a millinery history. 

That Frontier Spirit

Time, I think, for another classic Guardian sentence. A headline, in fact: 

How can our future Mars colonies be free of sexism and racism?

The author of this latest ostentatious fretting session, Martin Robbins, is concerned by the “white and male race to conquer Mars.” The rest is pretty much what you’d imagine: 

The first woman to be raped in space has probably already been born.


The only population on Mars that we know of is a handful of rovers, but no doubt we’ll start a war anyway, before dragging them into some form of slavery or oppression. It’s just what we do.

And so on, and so forth.

Just Surrender to the Will of Clever People

When it comes to authoritarian presumption, it seems that leftist intellectuals just can’t help themselves

Is having a loving family an unfair advantage? Should parents snuggling up for one last story before lights out be even a little concerned about the advantage they might be conferring? 

So asks ABC’s “educational broadcaster” Joe Gelonesi, before turning for an answer to a mind even loftier than his own:

Once he got thinking, [political philosopher Adam] Swift could see that the issue stretches well beyond the fact that some families can afford private schooling, nannies, tutors, and houses in good suburbs. Functional family interactions — from going to the cricket to reading bedtime stories — form a largely unseen but palpable fault line between families. The consequence is a gap in social mobility and equality that can last for generations. So, what to do?

Dr Swift, whose interests include “sociological theory and Marxism,” starts with the obvious. Obvious to him, that is:

One way philosophers might think about solving the social justice problem would be by simply abolishing the family. If the family is this source of unfairness in society then it looks plausible to think that if we abolished the family there would be a more level playing field.  

It’s a bold move, one that’s been suggested many times, typically by people bedeviled by totalitarian fantasies and insatiable spite. Thankfully, our concerned academic shies away from such directness and even praises the family and its “love-based relationships.” Instead, he wants to, as Gelonesi puts it, “sort out those activities that contribute to unnecessary inequality from those that don’t.” Dr Swift’s definition of “unnecessary inequality” will soon become clear.

What we realised we needed was a way of thinking about what it was we wanted to allow parents to do for their children, and what it was that we didn’t need to allow parents to do for their children.

What “we” will allow parents to do. For their own children. 

Continue reading "Just Surrender to the Will of Clever People" »

I Am Radically Repeating What I Was Told (2)

Cornell University’s “protest community” of around 50 or so leftist students decided to celebrate May Day by disrupting a farewell party and sitting in a road and blocking traffic for over half an hour, while sharing their wisdom with the world. Or rather, sharing it with those on whom they could impose their screeching. Among their collective insights, the following: “Destroy masculinity. Fight the straightness… It is not okay to identify as straight.” Apparently, “masculinity and straightness… exist exclusively to marginalise and profit off of other people.” The declarations of profundity are varied and confusing, and get particularly, um, emotional around 2:42.


Friday Ephemera

Start your day with Hasselhoff. (h/t, ac1) // Homemade robots on a budget. // Assorted botanical mazes. // Chicago building age map. (h/t, Coudal) // Johnny Cash machines. // Kaleidoscopic Tokyo. // Add lots of ‘fucks’ to your favourite web sites. // At last, swerving bullets. // Bunkers. // Because you’ve always wanted big, slanting ice cubes. // Animals with cameras. // Old London. // More cardboard sculptures. // Modern drama. // Dogs with their tongues sticking out a little. // It’s a tough tongue to master. // This is one of these. // Virtual aquarium. // Play with gravity. // Promotional ephemera from You Only Live Twice. (1967) // Pretend you have friends. // Tiny food. // 19th century seal fur G-string of note. (h/t, Randall) // And finally, golfing just got extreme, dude.