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August 2015

Elsewhere (177)

Janice Fiamengo on feminist narratives and unmentioned history: 

After 1832, about one in five men had the right to vote. Almost half of adult males, though, were still not eligible to vote when they accepted the call to fight and die for their country in the First World War. It wasn’t until 1918 that the right to vote was extended, not only to women - which of course we hear a great deal about - but to all men. So how can this be – that this part of the story is almost completely unknown? How come when we celebrate the extension of the franchise to women, we don’t talk about its extension to poor and working class men?

Via sk60, Jonathan Foreman on the Tim Hunt “sexism” drama and the dishonesty and malevolence of certain key players: 

The most generous interpretation of Connie St Louis’s bizarre behaviour is that she was too intellectually limited to recognise irony that was somehow obvious to an audience composed mostly of people who spoke English as a second language. A leak of the unedited version of her “Stop Defending Tim Hunt” piece for the Guardian is so garbled and incoherent that this actually seems plausible, though it also makes you wonder how and why she came to be teaching journalism even at a third-rate institution like London’s City University.

And Peter Hasson on ‘progressive’ educators and predetermined conclusions: 

Multiple professors at Washington State University have explicitly told students their grades will suffer if they use terms such as “illegal alien,” “male,” and “female,” or if they fail to “defer” to non-white students. According to the syllabus for Selena Lester Breikss’ “Women & Popular Culture” class, students risk a failing grade if they use any common descriptors that Breikss considers “oppressive and hateful language.” […] Students taking Professor Rebecca Fowler’s “Introduction to Comparative Ethnic Studies” course will see their grades suffer if they use the term “illegal alien” in their assigned writing.[…] White students in Professor John Streamas’s “Introduction to Multicultural Literature” class are expected to “defer” to non-white students, among other community guidelines, if they want “to do well in this class.”

Imagine what such ‘thinkers’ might do if granted real power. 

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

Friday Ephemera

Fun with hydrophobic sand. // A hashtag devoted to animals’ genitals. // The Doctor meets Pan’s People. // Come play with us, children. // I denounce the cultural appropriation. // Cat purr noise generator. // Eight frying pan bottoms and one moon of Jupiter. // An interactive map of jazz collaborations. // Jog. // 12-year-old trips in gallery, causes $1.5 million in damage. // This is one of these. // Chasing storms. // 3D printing with molten glass. // Apollo guidance computer simulator. // Artisanal globe-making. // Foldable paper microscope. // It’s a flask, it’s a compass, it’s a flashlight. // “I’m calling in Veronica.” // Mom, there are bears in the pool again. // Cruise with Shatner. The cheapest bunks are only $975. // And finally, a bike horn rendition of Mambo No. 5

Diary of a Hunter-Gatherer

Picture the scene.

Last weekend, I camped with my family at a barn-raising party on the western foot of the Quantock hills, in Somerset. On Saturday I crept out of the tent at 5am, when the faintest skein of red cloud netted the sky. Below me, mist filled the valley floor. I slipped through the sagging fence at the top of the field and found myself in a steep, broad coomb, covered in bracken. I climbed for a while, as quietly as I could, until a frightful wail shattered my thoughts. I crouched and listened. I could see nothing on the dark hillside. It came again, from about 50 metres to my right, half-shriek, half-bleat, a wild, wrenching, desolate cry, a cry that the Earth might make in mourning for itself.

Yes, dear reader, we’re visiting the pages of the Guardian. Specifically, the latest transmission from the strange, anguished mind of Mr George Monbiot:  

Walking without a map, I reached the valley floor too soon and found myself on the main road. In some places there were no verges and I had to press myself into the hedge as cars passed. But on such early walks, almost regardless of where you are, there are rewards.

Wait for it.

Just as I was about to turn off the road, on to the track that would take me back to the barn, I found a squirrel hit by a car that must have just passed me, dead but still twitching. It was a male, one of this year’s brood but fully grown. Blood seeped from a wound to the head. I picked it up by its hind feet, and though I had played no part in its death, I was immediately gripped by a sensation so discrete, so distinct from all else we feel, that I believe it requires its own label: hunter’s pride.

Gasp ye at the dark, animal side of a Guardian columnist:

It’s the raw, feral thrill I have experienced only on the occasions when I have picked up a fresh dead animal I intend to eat. It feels to me like the opening of a hidden door, a rent in the mind through which you can glimpse a ghost psyche: vestigial emotional faculties that once helped us to survive.

Ah, the savage romance. Of roadkill. 

I showed the squirrel to the small tribe of children that had formed in the campsite, girls and boys between the ages of three and nine, and asked them if they’d like to watch me prepare it.

Creepy man waves dead, twitching squirrel at bewildered children.

Continue reading "Diary of a Hunter-Gatherer" »

Elsewhere (176)

Christina Hoff Sommers on the fantasies and evasions of hashtag feminism: 

Someone needs to tell [campus feminists] that most of [their] statistics are specious and that… they are among the most liberated and privileged — and safest — people on earth. Because their professors would not tell them, that someone turned out to be me; for this I was furnished with a police escort on more than one occasion… Too often, today’s gender activists are not fighting injustice, but fighting phantom epidemics and nursing petty grievances. Two leading feminist hashtags of 2015 are #FreeTheNipples and #LovetheLines. The former is a campaign to desexualise women’s breasts; the latter promotes stretch-mark acceptance. If the imprisoned women of Iran and Afghanistan were free to tweet, what would they say about these struggles?

Ah, but in terms of “oppression” and “patriarchal assumptions” - according to feminist scholarship - the average American campus is indistinguishable from Uganda and Somalia. What, you didn’t know?

John Leo shares a list of things that are apparently racist, including hoop skirts, raised eyebrows and Christmas dinner: 

Writer Ron Rosenbaum said in Slate that racism accounts for the popularity of white-meat turkey over more flavourful dark meat. “White meat turkey has no taste,” he explained. “Despite its superior taste, dark meat has dark undertones for some. Dark meat seems to summon up ancient fears of contamination and miscegenation as opposed to the supposed superior purity of white meat.”

And Peter Fricke notes a progressive approach to shoplifting: 

Everett Mitchell, a former assistant district attorney, suggested that communities of colour may prefer that police refrain from enforcing laws against theft from large retail chains because responding to such crimes leads to an increased police presence in neighbourhoods where shoplifting is prevalent.

Apparently Mr Mitchell prefers “restorative justice” and “community service” for non-violent offenders under the age of 25. Though one wonders how justice of any kind is to be achieved if criminals with brown skin mustn’t be apprehended.

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

Friday Ephemera

Endless bi-directional spiral made with model trains. // Inhale your booze among fellow booze inhalers. Or stay home and inhale, whatever. // The wearable multi-tool you’ve always wanted. // “The convenience and flexibility of a car, the freedom of the open sky.” (h/t, Dr W) // Ferro-fluidic alarm clock of note. // “Aircraft carrier, hairdryer, digital clock.” (h/t, Franklin) // Trek fan does Borg maths. // Big lady shark. // How speakers make sound. // His spinning top tricks are better than yours. // Concerned tweet of note. (h/t, dicentra) // “Comrade Coninternov flew to Mars and vanquished all the capitalists on the planet!” // A history of light bulbs. (h/t, drb) // Designer lollipops. // Attention all toilet users. // And, er, why parents rarely want their children to be artists, part 14

Do Not Date Bedlamites

Melissa Fabello shares her interracial dating advice with the chronically fretful readers of Everyday Feminism

While interracial dynamics always add a layer of work to romance, it’s important to note that I’m white. Because when you’re a white person in an interracial relationship, there’s this whole – ohhh, ya know – white supremacy thing hanging in the air. And that has to be acknowledged – and dealt with – constantly.

At this point, the opening paragraph, we could probably cut things short. I mean, if you’re considering dating someone who thinks it important to mention their melanin levels and thinks that “white supremacy” is a feature of any future relationship, something to “acknowledge constantly,” you should probably walk away, quite briskly. Seriously, just get the hell out of there. However, for the morbidly curious among you, Ms Fabello has a list of “things to remember as a white person involved with a person of colour.” It begins thusly:

As a feminist and a woman, I could never be in a relationship with someone who didn’t feel comfortable talking about patriarchy.  

Hey, baby. Wanna talk about patriarchy?

Gender (and the social dynamics therein) is a part of my everyday life, both in how I’m perceived by the world and in the work that I do. So if I tried to date someone who felt discomfort to the point of clamming up every time I brought gender into the conversation, that “It’s not you, it’s me” discussion would come up quick.

Note the words “every time.”

The same goes for race... While it’s okay for conversations about white supremacy to make you uncomfortable (hey, we should be uncomfortable with that shit), being generally aware of how race plays out and feeling fairly well versed in racial justice issues is important.

And feeling mutually awkward while sharing identitarian dogma and confessions of “white supremacy” is what binds lovers together, surely? Sadly, these moments of shared discomfort, however frequent and interminable, may not suffice:

While it’s important to be willing to talk to your partner about race and to feel comfortable bringing it up, it’s just as important to be willing to step back and recognise when your whiteness is intrusive… Not all family structures operate the same way… Maybe it isn’t appropriate for your partner to take you home to meet their parents.

Apparently, the thing to take away from this is that if your partner-of-colour’s family-of-colour don’t want to meet you, a person of pallor, or have you in their home, then, obviously, it’s your fault. Because “you represent an oppressive system” by “virtue of your privileges.”

Because as white people, we’ve been socialised racist.

In short, honkie germs. And for the excruciatingly pious, further complications can loom in the bedroom:

Continue reading "Do Not Date Bedlamites" »

Elsewhere (175)

Neo-Neocon on leftist narratives and post-Ferguson policing: 

One effect of the “hands up, don’t shoot” lie is to tell would-be perpetrators that they’re better off defying a cop than surrendering, because it won’t help them to put their hands up since the cop will shoot them anyway. So the covert message is that they may as well try to attack the police officer (or run), who would just as soon shoot them as not, no matter what they do.

Somewhat related, Salon’s Scott Eric Kaufman insists that black males “shouldn’t have to” comply with lawful instructions from the police. Which sounds like exactly the kind of attitude that gets people hurt. Presumably, Mr Kaufman is untroubled by such details.

Christopher Snowdon on obesity as “incurable” and the rigorous journalism of Mr George Monbiot: 

[Monbiot’s] second piece of evidence is a recently published study which found that only 3,500 of a cohort of 176,000 obese Britons tracked in 2004 had returned to a healthy weight by 2014. A success rate of two per cent would have been disappointing if this was a clinical trial, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t a trial at all and no attempt was made to ‘cure’ the people involved. The researchers never met them, didn’t know their names, didn’t attempt any intervention and there is no evidence that they were even trying to lose weight. 

And this, from Thomas Sowell

Despite an old saying that taxes are the price we pay for civilisation, an absolute majority of the record-breaking tax money collected by the federal government today is simply transferred by politicians from people who are not likely to vote for them to people who are more likely to vote for them.

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


What we’re trying to show you is that this bad reporting comes from a particular historical, political and social milieu… There’s no way to explain why somebody isn’t a good person, doesn’t behave professionally, doesn’t behave ethically at their job [as a journalist] unless you understand their motivations.

Those of you who’ve been following the GamerGate saga may find the video below of interest. It’s an abridged version of a debate held over the weekend at the Society of Professional Journalists’ Airplay event in Miami, in which assorted journalists, gamers and game developers tried to communicate with each other, with varying degrees of success. I was watching it via livestream on Saturday evening. It’s the first time I’d seen a bomb threat announced live, twice. Even if it’s not your thing, it may be worth listening to Christina Hoff Sommers’ “huge boobs” anecdote around 6:46.

An unedited recording can be found in two parts here and here

Your Failure to Agree Will Not Be Tolerated

Janice Fiamengo explains why she’s happy to be called an “anti-feminist”:  

If further explanation is required, it may be worth revisiting this video here, which offers vivid illustrations of the behaviour Fiamengo describes, including harassment, thuggery, and the spectacle of supposedly empowered feminists getting quite literally hysterical. See also this related video, in which a feminist professor of philosophy, Alice McLachlan, tells us that she’s “warmed” by the sight of students - self-imagined intellectuals – congratulating themselves for making discussion impossible. Apparently Ms McLachlan, whose gift for dishonesty is something to behold, “cares a lot about free speech.” Just not for people who might dare to disagree with her. But then we mustn’t expect consistency and logic from a professor of philosophy.

Friday Ephemera

Gosha the raccoon likes washing things. // The secret Google searches of Commander Riker. // Everyone hold hands. // Big horn. // Beer storage solutions. // Ice carousel. // Drinking turtle tears. // Drinking toilet water. // A guide to ignoring foodstuff expiration dates. This blog is not responsible for any fever, delirium or catastrophic bowel trauma. // Where gummi bears roam. // Why Star Trek: Generations is a really, really bad film. // Roger Corman’s Fantastic Four. // Asimov’s Foundation trilogy, a 1973 radio broadcast. // Coping with wind. // More sci-fi corridors. // 365 paper models. // Roger Moore in Spectre. // Striking tube drivers, please take note. // A 500-metre ladder of fire. // And finally, via Simen, it turns out there’s a thing that people do called butt lips.