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September 2015

When Starbucks is a Hate Crime Scene

Sweat-shaming is when someone points out your sweatiness as a way to signal disapproval. Like its counterparts, slut-shaming and fat-shaming, sweat-shaming is aimed mainly at women, who are actually not supposed to sweat at all.

Well, it’s been a while since we’ve had a classic Guardian sentence, let alone a reminder of just how many brickbats and indignities our brave feminists must endure. The sentences above are courtesy of Ms Amy Roe, who, as you’ll see, has been terribly violated (and is therefore heroic and righteous in her ire). 

Let the full horror of the episode wash over you:

I was ordering coffee when I noticed a well-dressed woman staring at me. “You look like you just did a class,” she said, giving me the once-over. I had no idea what she meant so I said nothing. “Or swimming?” she offered, with a tight smile.

Well-dressed. Tight smile. The bitch.

I’d just run 12 miles and the hair sticking out from under my hat was wet. It took me a moment to formulate an answer. “Um, running,” I mumbled finally… Rather than challenge sweat-shaming, I played right into it, conceding that I “sweat a lot.”

Tight-smiling woman is obviously a hired goon of The Patriarchy. Her mission, to stamp on the self-esteem of hitherto fearless Guardian columnists. 

And so,

I took the paper cup of drip coffee and hustled past the condiment bar. Screw the half-and-half; I’d drink it black. Once safely inside my car, I threw off my damp running cap and flipped up the hood of my sweatshirt in embarrassment.

Harrowing stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree. Ms Roe is what we must henceforth refer to as a sweat-shame survivor.

Happily, however  - and despite the misogynist violence of having one’s copious perspiration acknowledged by someone standing next to you, possibly closer than they might wish - Ms Roe’s drama ends on a note of empowerment and feminist defiance:

I’ve got another long run this weekend and afterward, I’m going to sit down with my coffee, all sweaty and transgressive. The stigmas surrounding women’s bodies are powerful, but they’re no match for how powerful I feel after running.

Hear her roar. And fetch towels. 

Elsewhere (180)

Thomas Sowell on affordable housing and its opponents: 

Nowhere has there been so much hand-wringing over a lack of “affordable housing” as among politicians and others in coastal California. And nobody has done more to make housing unaffordable than those same politicians and their supporters… One of the first things taught in an introductory economics course is supply and demand. When a growing population creates a growing demand for housing, and the government blocks housing from being built, the price of existing housing goes up. This is not a breakthrough on the frontiers of knowledge… When more than half the land in San Mateo County is legally off-limits to building, how surprised should we be that housing prices in the city of San Mateo are now so high that politically appointed task forces have to be formed to solve the “complex” question of how things got to be the way they are and what to do about it?

Old Holborn steers ladies to the radical lover of their dreams. Seriously, brace those loins for impact. 

And Mick Hartley quotes David Brown on the Shoreditch “anti-gentrification” protesters and their class war credentials: 

Adam Barr, 23, the editor of Freedom News, a left-wing online newspaper, dismissed criticism of the protest as “reactionary bourgeois drivel” on a blog post on his website yesterday. “The Cereal Killer café is a legitimate target for protest as a symbol of the invading hordes that have taken over Shoreditch,” he added. Mr Barr, the son of a company director from East Yorkshire, could not be reached for comment.

In short, it seems the protesters are the usual clumping of middle-class academics and charmless misfits. The nearest thing to an actual member of the downtrodden proletariat seems to be the self-described “class warrior” and “rebel ethnographer” Dr Lisa McKenzie, currently blunting minds at the London School of Economics. Readers may recall Dr McKenzie from this video here, in which she explains that her academic role entails “not trying to find out something.” Instead, her purpose is to “challenge” the “negative stereotypes” of rough council housing neighbourhoods. Curiously, Dr McKenzie attempts this by proudly showing us graffiti – sorry, “muriels” - that actually confirm those stereotypes - of gangs, vandalism, car theft and, as she puts it, “young people who have died on the estate.” And Dr McKenzie does all this, quite earnestly, while a police helicopter rumbles overhead.

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

Hysterical and Therefore Righteous

Behold the modern campus, home of deep thought and cool intellects: 

The incident happened Tuesday night, when students thought they found several nooses hanging from a tree. Word quickly spread as campus officials swiftly released a statement condemning the foul hate crime. But come morning, police said a short investigation had led them to conclude the “nooses” were really just the remnants of paper lanterns from an event held all the way back in June. 

In the video linked here police chief Patrick Ogden calmly explains what a paper lantern looks like, and the fact that a paper lantern isn’t actually a symbol of racial hatred

Yes, I know. It’s almost funny. But then,

Unperturbed by the truth, students launched an assembly following the incident to speak as though the hate crime really did happen. According to the News Journal, a local paper, the assembly was held “to find ways to change the campus climate” in the wake of the bad atmosphere apparently exposed by a fictional hate crime… One administrator said the climate of hate at Delaware was exposed by the mere fact he could even believe the alleged hate crime occurred.

And so,

The University of Delaware’s vice provost for diversity Carol Henderson… said the college is planning to launch a new “diversity action plan” as soon as it’s approved by school officials.

With so many witch finders now in business, witches will be found. 

Temptations of the Flesh

Here’s a thing: 

Meat should be treated like tobacco with a public campaign to stop people eating it, Jeremy Corbyn’s new vegan shadow farming minister has suggested. Kerry McCarthy… admitted she was a “militant” when it came to clamping down on meat consumption. She said: “I really believe that meat should be treated in exactly the same way as tobacco, with public campaigns to stop people eating it.”

Because using your own taxes to scold you from above and correct your preferences is what she thinks her job is.

Via Samizdata

Friday Ephemera

Battleship probability calculator. // Cat eggs for breakfast. // Caffeinated shaving cream. // Cashless money box. // A brief history of modern art. // Nutcracker of note. // “How well do you know your toes?” // A global map of racial tolerance. // Enterprise-D VR headgear tour demo. Do the crew quarters have curtains? // Invisibility cloak. Hides particles, not people. // Raccoon earns her keep. // Donkey in a hammock. // Land’s End, from the makers of Monument Valley. // The lost tunnels of Liverpool. // Supersonic shock waves. // McDonald’s straws. // Speed chess. // Walther PPK rubber band gun. // Peek-a-boo fence. // Giant wooden megaphones “amplify the sounds of nature.” // And finally, cheerily, an interactive chart showing how many years you have left to live, probably.

Friday Ephemera

These guys are way more flexible than you. // Moroccan tree goats, obviously. // Top end kitchen knives made from molten meteorite. // A calendar of tiny dramas. // “It was designed to be an enjoyable ride.” // Only rub the underside. // Bias in social psychology. // Test your ear for pitch. // Candlestick. // “The global number of trees is approximately 3.04 trillion, an order of magnitude higher than the previous estimate.” // Meanwhile, in exploding toilet news. //“No lumps, no waste, no mess.” // Lots of Lithuanian garage doors. // Designing hideous clothes is now even easier. // The Fallout Shelter Handbook, 1962. (h/t, Things) // The earliest known fuck. // And finally, as my dear old grey-haired gran used to say, “When walking past a monkey, don’t ever give it the finger.” 

Elsewhere (179)

Via dicentra, Darleen Click finds a mother whose environmentalist pieties have produced a nightmare teenager: 

I can do nothing right in my teenage son’s eyes. He grills me about the distance travelled of each piece of fruit and every vegetable I purchase. He interrogates me about the provenance of all the meat, poultry and fish I serve. He questions my every move — from how I choose a car (why not electric?) and a couch (why synthetic fill?) to how I tend the garden (why waste water on flowers?) — an unremitting interrogation of my impact on our desecrated environment. While other parents hide alcohol and pharmaceuticals from their teens, I hide plastic containers and paper towels.

The mother in question, Ronnie Cohen, is a “freelance journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area” who writes about “social justice issues.”

And Andrew Stuttaford quotes Peggy Noonan on lofty border policies: 

Rules on immigration and refugees are made by safe people. These are the people who help run countries, who have nice homes in nice neighbourhoods and are protected by their status. Those who live with the effects of immigration and asylum law are those who are less safe, who see a less beautiful face in it because they are daily confronted with a less beautiful reality — normal human roughness, human tensions. Decision-makers fear things like harsh words from the writers of editorials; normal human beings fear things like street crime. Decision-makers have the luxury of seeing life in the abstract. Normal people feel the implications of their decisions in the particular. The decision-makers feel disdain for the anxieties of normal people, and ascribe them to small-minded bigotries, often religious and racial, and ignorant antagonisms. But normal people prize order because they can’t buy their way out of disorder. 

I spotted a not dissimilar attitude, albeit in a different context, while watching this BBC documentary on the preservation and listing of despised Brutalist architecture - specifically, the notorious Park Hill estate in Sheffield, which embarrassingly dominates the city’s skyline. Note the romantic enthusiasm of the presenter, architecture critic Tom Dyckhoff, for this locally infamous eyesore, which is known chiefly for muggings, prostitution and the joys of dodging objects hurled from upper floors. (Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mr Dyckhoff does not live in, or near, Sheffield.) Note too, around 18:25, the views of Martin Cherry from English Heritage, who airily dismisses the preferences of Sheffield residents and insists that the local population will eventually come to embrace this “demanding” and “difficult” piece of “progressive” architecture.

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

Friday Ephemera

The sounds made by a man playing with his nut sack. Lasts an hour. Headphones recommended. // The secret underground garage you’ve always wanted. // How to walk through walls. Do let me know how it goes. (h/t, Damian.) // Wood skins. // Books, stones and glass. // Bicycle-riding robot. // Taj Mahal made of balloons. // Hefty bells. // Free Hitchock. // Tea bag holder of note. // Bone conduction headphones. // Mozart, the hard way. // Smoke angel. // Earth View. // I think he’s being punished for not eating his vegetables. // BBC election coverage, 1955. // Hippie tree house village, 1969. Warning: hippie nudity. // The science of penis preference. // Fluid dynamics. // How to be James Bond. // And finally, via PegLeg, Yoko Ono performs the theme to The Good Life.