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August 2015

July 2015

Friday Ephemera

“Top 10 Medieval butt-licking cats.” // Channelling Whitney Houston, a robot professes its love. // A gentle ballet of hippo pooping. // Children pawing at light. // This parrot seems to like The Lego Movie. // Stairs for small dogs. // Designer dog digs. // The sounds of sci-fi movies. // At last, bespoke water. “We’re putting the peninsula in your mouth without any strain on the environment.” // Interchanges. // Overviews. // Carnivorous plants up close. // Add caption of choice. // The art of the car chase. // Comprehensive school, 1962. “Those who need to express themselves through art also have good opportunities.” // Bursts of man-made sunshine. // Headline. // And finally, the Lexus luxury maglev hoverboard is way better than that crappy old hoverboard you make do with.

Feel the Racial Healing

Living in London, the Guardian’s Aisha Mirza is, naturally, unhappy:

I understand there is a psychic toll of living in a place where you have to fight, for space, time, money. But what these Why I am Leaving London articles are missing is that, while the psychic burden of living in the city with the highest living costs in the developed world is very real,

Wait for it. 

for a brown person, the cost of living surrounded only by white people is worse.

“Please, no more white people writing smug articles about leaving London,” writes our Guardianista, smugly, before claiming that “the world will validate your beautiful white children,” wherever they are, “forever.”

She continues,

I feel the comfort of London peel away whenever my train pulls out of King’s Cross and the threat of overt racism is increased... Outside London, I am put immediately into a position of defence. This is something my white counterpart will never understand.

Because, obviously, outside of the capital, folks ain’t never seen a woman whose skin is slightly brown. Behold ye, then, a mysterious, alien creature unknown to Northern brutes:  

Continue reading "Feel the Racial Healing" »

Behold his Radical Buttocks

This just in

On August 21, the world’s first official, naked public performance art festival will occur in the streets of Biel, Switzerland, featuring projects from 18 international artists. 

Local artist Thomas Zollinger has organised a two-day display of self-imagined transgression, during which he and his fellow artists will “increase beyond gallery walls the presence of the naked body as an artistic medium,” and will “explore the possibilities of the naked body in the urban space.” But sadly, not in the way that people with particular tastes might actually want to pay for. Instead, “nakedness is employed as a sculptural element in dialogue with the architectural environment, ground structures and pedestrian traffic.”

Be still my girlish heart.

Given the lack of pornographic appeal, and with it a lack of public interest, it’s perhaps unsurprising that some funding issues have arisen:

Although Biel’s culture office and other institutions helped fund over half the festival’s cost, the organisers are seeking donations online to cover artists’ lodgings, security measures, and other expenses. Incentives to contribute include options to participate in a nude performance of one’s choosing: for 111.55 CHF (~$127 USD), one may partake in “Naked Audience,” which involves stripping and sitting on a chair on a sidewalk while watching pedestrians; 280 CHF (~$290 USD) earns one an invitation to a “Naked Lunch” during which a series of “creative activities” will unfold.

Oh don’t pretend you’re not tempted.

Mr Zollinger’s earlier forays into Incredibly Daring Nude Performance Art™ can be beheld at length here. Where, for instance, you’ll find a seven-minute piece titled Naked UFO, also staged in Biel, in which members of the public cope quite well with the Incredibly Daring Nude Performance Art™ - a composure that rather deflates the ostentatious claims of transgression and taboo, and the alleged “challenge and confrontation of the naked body.” A handful of people wait around looking slightly puzzled, possibly hoping that something interesting will happen, eventually. Two children look amused before wandering off to be amused by something else. And for the most part passers-by pass on by, their minds somehow unshattered by the Incredibly Daring Nudeness™ of it all.  

Hey, Franklin found it

Attack of the Art World Death Star

Tim Blair brings terrifying news from the world of Australian taxpayer-funded art: 

Readers may recall the brutal warning handed down last month by journalist and tax-funded art enthusiast Ben Eltham. “The arts are a powerful latent force in Australia’s political landscape,” Eltham wrote following Arts Minister George Brandis’s rearrangement of arts funding. “George Brandis and his colleagues would be wise to reflect on this, and whether they can win a war of symbols against some of the most creative and energetic people in our society.”

We Brits have of course endured the full brunt of such a clash. The references to Derrida were particularly distressing.

There are, however, signs of low morale among the art world’s would-be storm troopers:

“Maybe the best option really is to get out of the country,” Hobart-based sculptural artist Theia Connell told Vice magazine last week. That’s Connell’s response to news that previous Arts Start grants for emerging artists have been cut. “The likelihood is that I’ll find myself in a day job,” complained Sydney’s Luke Devine.

Ah, yes. Plan B. 

Continue reading "Attack of the Art World Death Star" »

Friday Ephemera

The Shining, the board game. // Big runaway balloon. // “I love my job.” // British Movietone newsreel archive. // Bond is coming. // Precarious camping. // Round-the-clock roundabout cam. Eternal vigilance. // “No artificial reverb added.” // TIE fighter music box. // Underwhelming special effects. From Shark Attack 3 to Killer Meatballs and Birdemic. // Author photo of note. (h/t, dicentra) // Pluto’s size. // Cactus chair. // Movie quote search engine. // Theatre auditoriums seen from the stage. // His sandcastles are neater than yours. // The Lost World (1925). // “All cute. All the time.” // Attention, ladies. Roadkill fur. // Fight the signs of ageing. // Old gold. // Tactical diaper bag and other dad gear. // And finally, defiantly, “What are you gonna do, put it on YouTube?” 

My Kingdom for a Time Machine

The left should revisit the good old days of the feminist collective.

So says the Guardian’s Julie Bindel

Our fearless scribe is pining for the days of “anti-hierarchical collective working” in the twilight of the Seventies. When, coincidentally, she was young. “In many ways collective working was successful,” says she, though the basis for this claim is somewhat sketchy, beyond a further claim that “eminent professionals” and “working class women” bathed in mutual respect and “recognised we could learn from each other.” Ms Bindel’s attempt to persuade us of the virtues of feminist collectives is, however, derailed by sharing her memories of actually being in one:

I recall a collective meeting about setting up a weekly telephone support service for lesbians. It was decided that each collective member would volunteer to take turns manning the phones at their own home, until we could raise the money to rent a space. One of the members did not have a telephone in her house, but insisted she was being discriminated against and “oppressed” by being left out of the rota.

Some difficulties involved scheduling conflicts:

Whenever the media wanted a quote from a feminist organisation, the collectives always missed out in favour of those with a hierarchical structure. All decisions had to be made by consensus, so if the journalist’s deadline was the next day, it was no use explaining that our next meeting was a week on Thursday.

The list of problems does in fact take up quite a lot of the article:

Sitting in endless meetings, unable to reach agreements, and taking days to produce one leaflet because someone objected to the word seminal.

Perhaps sensing that her sales pitch is faltering somewhat, Ms Bindel stresses the immense radicalism of it all:

There was a total resistance to the cult of the individual… until the Thatcher government declared war on society.

What, you didn’t know?

Continue reading "My Kingdom for a Time Machine" »

Elsewhere (172)

Paul Joseph Watson on people who like the idea of a “white privilege” tax: 

Asked to sign the petition to support a 1% income tax on all white Americans in order to “even out the playing field” and redistribute the wealth amongst minority communities, the first man in the clip is incredulous that such a policy would pass but signs his name to it anyway. After a Puerto Rican man signs the petition, another individual who admits he is a non-resident asks for clarification, remarking, “so in other words, tax the white man?” before signing the paper. “We’re gonna take the silver spoon out of the white people’s mouths and put it back into yours,” [prankster Mike] Dice tells an African American man who enthusiastically signs the petition before stating, “appreciate it, man!”

Somewhat related and somewhat less funny

Heather Mac Donald on women in science: 

The myth of a sexist science hiring process has persisted, even though it is contradicted every day by the observable characteristics of faculty searches. And that myth has given rise to a stupendously expensive campus bureaucracy tasked with increasing diversity and combating alleged faculty bias. Last month, the University of California at Los Angeles hired its first vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion at the jaw-dropping salary of $354,900 — enough to cover the tuition of nearly 30 underprivileged students a year.

And again, on the University of California’s plan to extinguish WrongThought™: 

The “message” conveyed by this particular microaggression, according to the university’s “Recognising Microaggressions Tool,” is that “people of colour are given extra unfair benefits because of their race.” Now where would anyone get that idea? Well, you might ask any high school senior, steeped in his class’s SAT rankings, if it’s true that “people of colour” are given “extra benefits” in college admissions. He will laugh at your naïveté. A 2004 study of three top-tier universities, published in Social Science Quarterly, found that black students were favoured over whites by a factor of 5.5 and that being black got students an extra 230 SAT points on a 1,600-point scale. Such massive preferences for “under-represented minorities” are found at every selective college and graduate school. Every student knows this, and yet diversity protocol requires pretending that preferences don’t exist.

Regular readers will be familiar with ‘progressive’ interference in school discipline policies and the emergence of punishment quotas based on race. And familiar, too, with the grotesque consequences

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

Embracing Herself

When my wife told me she wanted to open our marriage and take other lovers, she wasn’t rejecting me, she was embracing herself. When I understood that, I finally became a feminist. 

Says New York magazine’s Michael Sonmore. And so, 

As I write this, my children are asleep in their room, Loretta Lynn is on the stereo, and my wife is out on a date with a man named Paulo. It’s her second date this week; her fourth this month so far. If it goes like the others, she’ll come home in the middle of the night, crawl into bed beside me, and tell me all about how she and Paulo had sex. I won’t explode with anger or seethe with resentment. I’ll tell her it’s a hot story and I’m glad she had fun. It’s hot because she’s excited, and I’m glad because I’m a feminist.

I don’t think Mr Sonmore is quite making the persuasive case he presumably hopes for. Still, his children, aged six and three, must be thrilled by their parents’ progressive, self-embracing relationship, and delighted to hear that Mommy is out all night shagging strangers again.

Via Ace, who shares a few thoughts on this

Elsewhere (171)

Franklin Einspruch on the Great Boston Kimono Outrage of 2015: 

Just when you think we’ve reached Peak Sensitivity, the scolds of social justice sprinkle more sand into their underpants… This incident — call it Kimonogate — demonstrates just how far the new puritans are willing to reach to impose their version of politics upon all of our pleasures. Watching Chinese and South Asians lump themselves into an aggregate for the sake of claiming offence on behalf of the Japanese, when that conflation of Asian identities is an established microaggression, is weird enough. Worrying that someone might touch a robe Orientalistically is out there in tinfoil-hat territory. Is that the kind of person you want deciding which activities you’re allowed to enjoy at the art museum? 

Franklin also has a message for the modishly indignant.  

Thomas Sowell on favoured narratives and unintended consequences: 

To many on the left, the 1960s were the glory days of their movements, and for some the days of their youth as well. They have a heavy emotional investment and ego investment in the ideas, aspirations and policies of the 1960s. It might never occur to many of them to check their beliefs against some hard facts about what actually happened after their ideas and policies were put into effect. It certainly would not be pleasant to admit, even to yourself, that after promising progress toward “social justice,” what you actually delivered was a retrogression toward barbarism.

And Katherine Timpf reports from the throbbing edge of academic enquiry: 

Sociology researchers are now insisting that we as a society start accepting people who choose to “identify as real vampires” - so that they can be open about the fact that they’re vampires without having to worry about facing discrimination from people who might think that that’s weird… Dr Williams [director of social work at Idaho State University] explained that no one should be bothered by a person wanting to drink another person’s blood because “it is generally expected within the community that vampires should act ethically and responsibly in feeding practices,” and it’s not their blood-drinking that’s the real problem here — it’s the fact that they have to worry that other people will judge them for their blood-drinking.

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