Previous month:
September 2015
Next month:
November 2015

October 2015

Always Winter, Never Christmas

Determined to be unhappy about something, the Guardian’s Michele Hanson turns her drab, sad face to the subject of superhero dolls:  

They’re bendy and athletic, rather than stiff, pointy and girly. The teenage version of superheroines. 

Not pointy. Not girly. Um, that’s good, right?

They have physical powers rather than sex appeal.

Again, I’m not quite seeing the problem here.

I suppose it’s a step in the right direction.

Heavens. Things are going suspiciously well today. Perhaps a but is coming.

But why do the new dollies have to look so odd? Why the super-long anorexia-style legs and the thigh-gap? The weeny torsos with no room for innards? The giant or robot-style heads, the big (mainly) blue eyes and formidable eyelashes? 

Um, because they’re small plastic dolls based on a cartoon about comic book characters – you know, toys, designed to amuse children? And not, therefore, geared to the preferences of a self-described “single older woman” who writes for the Guardian. And I suspect the “thigh-gap” that so offends Ms Hanson has quite a lot to do with making a small, poseable doll with legs that can actually move.

They still give me the creeps. Dolls always have.

And… well, that’s it, really. So, class. Today we’ve learned that Ms Hanson isn’t a fan of dolls with big eyelashes and insufficiently discernible internal organs. At this point, readers may detect a hint of frustration, the sense that our grievance-seeking columnist has tried very hard to find fault with an unremarkable product – some damning evidence of sexism, perhaps – and then fallen on her arse. Indeed, just days earlier, the dolls in question were hailed by the Guardian’s sister paper, the Observer, as “challenging sexism in the toy industry,” in part because said toys were “designed by women following creative input from girls.”

Thwarted in her fault finding, Ms Hanson concludes by sharing a childhood memory, the point of which is somewhat unclear:

I had a pram full of animals when I was little, but my auntie insisted that I have a dolly, because I was a girl, and she gave me a cloth one, with moulded cloth face and shiny, pretend hair. But I scribbled all over its blank, spooky face, pulled its hair out, and my mother had to hide it from auntie in the wardrobe. Forever.

So there’s that.

Readers may recall Ms Hanson from this earlier display of factual rigour and socialist bonhomie.

“Social Justice” Broke My Mind

FIRE’s Greg Lukianoff talks with the Daily Caller’s Ginni Thomas

Not only is the situation on campus bad for freedom of speech, I think we’re teaching students to engage in cognitive distortion. We’re teaching them to magnify problems, we’re teaching them to personalise problems, we’re teaching them to engage in all-or-nothing thinking. All things, research indicates, that if you adopt them as mental habits are going to make you miserable. 

“Censorship is like taking Xanax for syphilis. Essentially, it just makes you feel a little better, calms you down, but it sure isn’t doing anything for your disease.”

Elsewhere (181)

Kevin D Williamson on New York City Council’s perverse choice of heroes: 

The Communist movement worldwide murdered some 100 million people over the course of the 20th century. The Soviet enterprise specifically, to which Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were fiercely committed — they are described as “devoted” in the Soviet literature — had at the time of the Rosenbergs’ recruiting already intentionally starved to death some 8 million people in Ukraine for the purposes of political terror. I do not wish to include them here, but put “Holodomor” into Google images if you want a visual indicator of this. 

Janice Fiamengo on toxic feminism: 

Repeating the [‘male privilege’] mantra is a hazard to your mental and emotional health. If you come to believe it, it requires your shame as a man.

John Galt on leftist thuggery and tantrums: 

So inured are we to the childish, yet violent behaviour of the left, that for the most part we are more disgusted than surprised, but could you imagine the opposite happening? A bunch of sneering Young Conservatives turning up to protest at the Labour Party conference? No – me neither. This is the fundamental problem at the heart of the left – that when their arguments are rejected by the electorate, they don’t seek better arguments, they just reach into their grab-bag of socialist solutions for what has worked in the past and try and apply that. The problem being that strikes and sit-ins and the rest of the panoply of student union politics seldom works in the real world for the simple fact that the real world is not made up of 20-somethings who’ve never had a job and have too much time on their hands. As the left crumbles, expect more intimidation and “Direct Action,” but the more they do it, the more the general populace will become alienated by it and contemptuous of those who practice it.

Regarding the above, our dear friend Laurie Penny offers her wisdom

And added via the comments, Matthew Hennessey on “progressive” priorities

How else to explain the decision earlier this year to allow 33-year-old Rebecca Wax to graduate from the Fire Academy despite having failed the Functional Skills Test five times? The FST was designed to mimic the conditions of an actual fire. Probationary fire-fighters are required to complete a gruelling six-floor obstacle course while hauling 50 pounds of gear and breathing through an oxygen tank. Wax succeeded in completing the course on her sixth try but took nearly four minutes longer to do so than is typically permitted. Nevertheless, she was allowed to graduate and was assigned to Engine 259 in Sunnyside, Queens. FDNY commissioner Daniel Nigro admitted at a city council hearing in December that the department had lowered the fitness bar to allow more women to pass the test.

Dramatically lowering standards of competence puts lives at risk, both of fire-fighters and the public, but apparently what matters is that we mustn’t have a fire department that’s mostly male.

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

Friday Ephemeraren’t

I’m heading out of town for the weekend, a long one, for a wedding, so I’m afraid you’ll have to throw together your own pile of links in the comments. Oh, come on. How hard can it be? I’ll set the ball rolling with these: a good deed of notewhy you can never tune a piano, and a close encounter with some trees

Phone signal permitting, and festivities permitting, I may check in on you at some point. So play nicely. And don’t get any stains on the upholstery.